Vancouver's oldest Thai Restaurant
A meal at Sawasdee never fails to disappoint. This is one of the best Thai restaurants I have been to in the area. Not only is the service swift and fast, but cheap as well.
Every time I go, no matter how crowded it is, the service is done at a lightning speed. The food comes in 10 or maximum 15 minutes from the time you order. The servers literally run to get to everyone as fast as they can.
The curry really tasty, whether it be in the red curry chicken or in the curry with tofu dish. I would highly recommend their coconut rice. Simply delicious. A slight surprise many non-meat eaters get here are the varieties for vegetarians.
Went there on a weeknight and they were fairly busy. Nice interior and warm greetings by the hostess. Tried the duck in red curry - good but I'm sure they use chinese BBQ duck as the color on the skin is just like it; yellow pork curry - very good with bamboo shoots, quite a large portion; pad Thai - very good with raw sprouts on the side. The papaya salad was good but a bit weak on the spice but I guess you can order to you liking. Overall a very good dinner with farily good value. Speedy service.
We've been hurt by a long string of failures in Vancouver. Oh the unfulfilled promises of what could be! So we entered this place, despite the raft of good reviews, with a fair bit of scepticism.
Well, at least it was packed and busy! Always a good sign. And the interior decor was reasonably done. Maybe the dark made it looked cleaner than it was, but a short trip to the w.c. didn't cause any cause for concerns.
Servers were okay friendly, definitely helpful enough and dishes came out in good time, so no complaints there, especially given how busy they were. Help was appreciated as the menu was relatively sizeable (though to be fair, many are variations on the same thing).
Now the food. Hmm.... actually not bad! We had the tom yum soup. For $10, it was enough for 4 people and unlike any other place we've been too, it was loaded with big, plump straw mushrooms and prawns. The tasty was pretty good, though not the best I've had (and perhaps I'm being overly critical now). It lacked a bit of that "bite" I like from either the lemongrass or lime leaves. The green papaya salad, also quite decent. We also ordered a pineapple fried rice and a chicken curry. The currey was very fragrant and quite satisfied with that.
If there was one complaint about the meal, it's that both the soup and rice semed overly salty (and maybe it's just our sensitive taste buds). And maybe I'm being a bit picky here because there's not much else to grumble about.
Total price including everything was about $25 per person, but we also ordered too much. Compared with other Thai places in town, the portion sizes were quite decent for the price.
Is there a better Thai place in town? Maybe. Cheaper place? Probably. But a place with food this competent, and such reasonable portions and still manages good service? Maybe not. There's a reason they're so busy and have such good reviews. I'd say it's worth your patronage at least once to see if their cooking is to your liking.
This is one of the older and better thai restaurants in the city. I've been coming here years ago. The curries are very good, as are the noodle and rice dishes. Service is friendly and attentive. Very good and traditional thai cuisine. The ambiance is nice, nothing fancy or over the top. It is also very good value for your money.
I have been going to Sawasdee for many years, and haven't been there for over 5 yrs. I truly forgotten how good their food was, how my taste buds dance, and it was delight to eat something that brought you to your knee's. No I don't eat spicy, but how well it was prepared & lots of flaour.
I had order the chef pick's with Chicken in peanut sauce, served with spinach, Thai spring roll, Chicken satay that my dish came with rice. I also ordered their spinach that was prepared in garlic. This was experience, I quickly remembered how flavourful, delicious and all the dishes complimented one another. At first I didn't think I would finish my plate, other than my order of spinach, which I took home. When I finished my meal, I wanted to lick the bottom of my plate, but that would be rude..lol.
This lunch experience wasn't over, and I continue to grin in how my meal truly made my day.
There's only 1 place I will eat coconut ice cream, and its a dessert that doesn't overwhelm you in coconut, but the ice cream has lots of flavour. I did order Ice Thai with my dessert, and It was excellent, and next time I will have to try the Thai ice coffee that they didn't have anymore, oh well next time.
My server was friendly, knowledgeable, a delight to have serving me, and gave great recommendations. Its truly nice to see someone in the industry that cares, and his personality definately added to my lunch time experience.
I promise It won't be 5 yrs for my next lunch, this is a spot everyone should try, and they cater to all taste buds from the non spicy to bring on the fire dept.
Highly, Highly Recommend.
Stopped in for dinner on the weekend, curiously enough, it went from nearly empty to packed-house in all of 30 minutes.
Ordered the pad thai noodles, the pad spinach, the flowered dumplings stuffed with chicken and gai yang. Of the four dishes, the pad thai was my favorite (a little on the wet side, but I like that way) but the spinach seemed to be the favorite among my dining compatriots. The gai yang was decent, and the dumplings we ordered just for curiosity's sake. They were purple steamed dumplings shaped like a carnation, stuffed with minced garlicky peppery chicken.
Servers were quite prompt, attentive and efficient, but I found it odd that the dumplings (which were on the appetizer part of the menu) arrived last.
Food here is pretty good, I wouldn't say it was the best I've had. Their green papaya salad was really good, but their duck curry tasted gamey though. The restaurant gets really busy especially during the weekends so go early or go prepared to be tightly packed in with the other diners.
Service was ok, not bad but not great. I would probably give this place another try, but I wouldn't go out of my way to.
Co-workers and I have been here several times for lunches and they are usually very quick, friendly, and serve up great selection of lunch menus. For about $8.95 you can choose from a variety of standard dinner menu items, except in smaller portion size with a side skewer of chicken satay and 1 vermicelli-filled spring roll. For lunch, I find the portion size more than sufficient and actually easily shareable with table mates. We ordered the green curry with beef, chicken cashew nuts & veggies, and one other noodle dish whose name I can't recall. All the dishes were served within 15 minutes of ordering and the quality and taste were great. Curry was not as spicy and aromatic as I had hoped but that could be the presumption that we couldn't handle the spiciness. Service is consistently friendly and professional on every visit. Our server gave us good suggestion when we were indecisive about our selection and came by several times to refill our water. For lunch, the entire meal took about an hour. The value is fairly good for set lunch menus although other places may charge about $1 less per set, but factoring in the convenience and comfort of going to a known entity, I much prefer sticking to what I know. Ambiance has improved with new paint, chairs, and tables. The layout of the restaurant is still much in tact with a seating area in the front under the skylights, and another dining area in a darker area towards the back. Service is equally good in either area so it doesn't matter where you sit.
I would consider this my first time. I haven’t been here for so long, now I know why.
As a trial, my friend ordered the Chicken Green Curry with coconut rice. The portion was a nice size and had plenty of chicken breast meat with julienne bamboo shots. The sauce could have been a bit thicker. But it was all right.
My spring roll order was very disappointing. Four rolls for $6.95 was definite over priced and not very tasty. The rolls were made up with just green bean vermicelli and flecks of mushroom (quoting my server) rolled in wonton wrap and deep-fried. I asked the other server where the vegetables are in the spring roll? “He replied that’s how we make them.”
Let me see… 10 cents of vermicelli, 2 cents of chop mushrooms (appears like black sesame seed and as plentiful as sprinkle black pepper), and 4 pieces of wonton wrap. The dipping sauce is not from a Thai receipt! They’ve even cheapen out on the chop peanuts and the palm sugar, making the sauce too sour. What is there to recommend? This restaurant is only a shadow of it’s former self. I will not be returning soon.
The food here is amazing, and the value is great; much better value than Maenam (which is still awesome). They have a solid papaya salad (though not the best I've ever had), and their stuffed boneless chicken wings are amazing, also, try the deep fried tofu with green beans and red curry. Sounds weird, but damn is it tasty.
We came here Wednesday night around 6:30 and there were about half a dozen tables already occupied, throughout the night the tables were taken mostly by small families like ours with a few couples thrown in. The room was quite darkly lit and the candles on the tables offered an intimate feel when first entering through the front door. There's a large mirror on the back wall separating the kitchen area from the dining tables giving the room a larger feel, there's about 16-20 tables in the restaurant.
You're greeted warmly when you go in, and they give you a warm farewell as you exit. Nice.
The staff are very efficient when it comes to taking, serving and packing-up your food. The food came out very hot and fresh, the water glasses were never empty for very long, and the plates were changed for clean ones right after our appetizers were done. Nicely done.
The food was very nice, the presentation had nice touches of contrasting colours e.g. we had the Thai Springrolls and the Cho Muang. The springrolls had a nut sauce, which discreetly gave it a different flavour, and carrot flower to brighten up the plate. The Cho Muang by itself was a purple coloured flower dumpling with simple orange slices to make for a more visually appetizing platter. Add in Pad Thai and a Green Chicken Curry and I think we had all the colours of the food rainbow covered. Seriously the Pad Thai was very good ( about 5-6 prawns in the dish ) , the noodles weren't overcooked and the spiciness was just right ( for us anyways ), the curry had a nice abundance of crispiness because of the bamboo shoots, a smidge of green peppers and a smoothness to the palate from the coconut milk. Simple food made very well.
If you like Thai food, you'll like Sawasdee.
Went here for fiancee birthday dinner. She wanted Thai. Almost 30yrs aga this place was started. We enjoyed their cuisine in our youth. Well I can say today in my mid 50's the taste is recallable and very familiar. The consisancy of flavours have remained the same. So too has the selection available. Was very pleased to see this passed onto a younger generation. Was very good and could recommend for another 30 years/
After reading the review below I had to put in my thoughts. I frequent this restaurant often and always find it to be a wonderful experience. The staff, which is all family, are always accomodating and go above and beyond. I appreciate this site for the food critiques. With so many different personalities, everyones experience will never be exactly the same at any restaurant. Judging by all the other 23 reviews, with most being super positive, please don't rely nor boycott this place because of one persons bad experience.
We ordered the pad thai and a seafood combo red curry with rice. The pad thai was very good as usual, just enough sweetness and spicyness to it. The seafood curry was a bit disappointing because the seafood came from a frozen package but the curry sauce had the right mix of spices.
This is the best Thai restaurant I've been to. I went with a friend who got the Pad Thai, and I got Red Curry with chicken and rice. Both of which were amazing. I sampled my friend's dish as well, and up until then I had been under the impression that I didn't like Pad Thai. I asked for my Red Curry to be very spicy, and it came to me at the perfect level of spiciness: very hot, but not so hot that it overpowers the food.
The service was fast and friendly, and made sure we had everything we needed in a prompt manner.
Value is very good, though I thought the red curry should have just come with rice (you order it seperate), since I can't imagine eating it without, but that is just nitpicking on my part.
The ambiance is probably the weakest link which I must address. Decoration is rather uninspired. Not bad, just not great. we sat next to the window and the plug in for the open sign was right next to my foot. Heh heh. There was also a plug leading to an interesting peice of decoration behind me, though it was broken.
But all in all, I go to a restaurant more for the food than the atmosphere, so, in summary, this is a truly incredible Thai experience that should not be passed up.
Absolute sweetheart people work at this place. If you go twice then they'll have your take-out order memorized - that impressed me. Here's what I love and recommend people order: Tom Kha Gai soup, Beef salad (best in city - Sawasdee grills the beef so that it has the most delicious grilled, slightly smokey flavour....it's sort of a tie with "O-Thai which also makes an awesome version of this dish), all the curries, chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce, green papaya/mango salad, and my best friend swears by the cashew chicken dish. Decor is very Thai and feels really authentic. It doesn't hurt that all the people who work at Sawasdee are Thai AND really good at their jobs - hardworking and totally efficient, charming and hospitable. Clean washrooms too. Also the wait time for food is fast.
Now that I no longer live in Vancouver, I don't get to Sawasdee very often. When I do, I realize how much I love their intense flavours. Thai spices are my favourite: I love basil, galangal, lime, lemongrass and chili especially. Tom yum soup and beef with basil are wonderful! And don't even get me started about their home made coconut ice cream!! I am such an addict that a friend who lives in Vancouver has to bring a huge container of it out to me in Surrey from time to time!
I acutally braved crossing Cambie for the for the ginger beef and it was worth the traffic madness. Awesome red and green curries and the warm beef salad is an adventerous winner. Forget all the pretentious 'cafe-artsy' type places and try it out. These people care about the food and care about the guest. Not all that common anymore....
The prices are 'downtown' high, but not unreasonable. Take out is also fast and friendly.
Food-wise: Food portions were not very big, but were still reasonably sized. Food was flavourful and nicely served.
Service-wise: Water was always filled up without anyone asking. Food was served fast and hot. Waiters/waitresses were very nice and accommodating to our large group.
Ambiance-wise: Simply put, outside looks are deceiving. The place isn't chic but is nicely decorated. Small room so it gets noisy. Great for a casual meal.
Recommendations: Green papaya salad
My favourite Thai place. The lunch specials are very reasonable. I like the place because it has that mom & pop feeling to it. Since I go about once or twice a month. The waiter now knows me and knows my order and how I like it. One time that we were there with a group two of our dishes had way too much black pepper and we told our waiter. To make up for it he brought everyone in my party free mango ice cream. Now whenever we go back and if anyone orders it he always remembers and says light on the black pepper!! Great service, great price, great food!!!