My dad went to Thailand in 1989 for a month. When he came back home he would throw Thai food parties for family and friends. As a kid I used to help him wrap the shrimp and pork wontons while he'd be stirring a large brothy seafood soup. I remember mussels in large black shells, fish sauce, and cilantro in everything.
A decade later when I was in my 20's I started going to Thai restaurants with friends around Vancouver. Expecting the same Thai cuisine that my dad made, I was surprised when I tasted the so-called traditional Thai dishes which reminded me more of Chinese food than any Thai food I had ever eaten at home. It made me wonder if my dad's cooking was just an invention and wasn't much Thai after all.
When I tasted the food at Simply Thai, I recognized the same flavours that my dad used to cook from recipes he adopted while in Thailand. In the end, my dad's interpretation of Thai food was quite accurate. It was no surprise to find out then that Simply Thai is the only Thai chef and owner-operated restaurant in Vancouver. The head chef, Grace, used to cook for the Royal Thai family before working in Thai restaurants in Vancouver.
Grace finally has her own restaurant, stylized after the New York Soho district. Jazz music plays on the stereo and the long and narrow interior is decorated with class without being too overbearing or snooty. The servers were all very pleasant and professional, and the top quality and standards just exude from the food. Simply Thai has now become my favourite Thai restaurant in Greater Vancouver.
Favorite Dish: Oooh... the food here was sublime.
Satay Gai (8.95) - Sliced chicken breast marinated in exotic herbs with coconut milk and spices, served with homemade peanut sauce.
These chicken pieces were incredibly tender. There were 4 skewers with generous pieces of chicken. The peanut sauce was thankfully not like the jarred peanut butter concoctions that you'd normally get in Vancouver Thai restaurants. The peanut sauce had a delicate consistancy of honey. It was so good, we kept it on our table to eat it with our next dishes!
Ghiaw Grob (7.95) - Deep-fried Wonton Wrap with ground chicken and spices. (10 pieces)
These were similar to the wontons that I used to help my dad make. The chicken was perfectly spiced and the wonton wrap practically melted in my mouth. These were served with a plum sauce and a vinegar cucumber salad.
Tom-Yum-Talay (12.95) - Combination of seafood in hot and sour soup with lemon grass, fresh mushrooms, green onion, cilantro kaffir leaves and chili paste.
We ordered this soup with medium chili. It was so tasty! The soup was brothy but dense in flavour. I couldn't remember enjoying such a flavourful soup in a long time. It was such a large portion, we each had 2 bowls and still couldn't finish it!
Pa-nang (Thick Red Curry) (13.95) - Your choice of chicken, beef or pork sauteed in a thick red curry with coconut milk, bell peppers & basil leaves.
Mango Martini - Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango Juice
Thai Orchid Martini - Vodka, Soho Lychee liquor, Red Bull, Thai Orchid
Yaletown's restaurant choices are constantly changing but it has two Thai restaurants that have been around for awhile. Simply Thai is by far my favourite. It's smaller, more intimate, and most importantly has the best Thai food in the area.
The spices are very fragrant and distinct, though not overpowering.
Favorite Dish: Lunch, plus:
6:30pm-8:00pm or 7:00pm-8:30pm
8:15pm-Close or 8:45-Close
Takeout is also available.
I found information about this wonderful restaurant on a Vancouver website prior to leaving for this trip. The night we had planned to eat at 'Simply Thai', it was poring down rain but it wasn't cold, just a little chilly. Even though we didn't have a car (this was the only night we could try this restaurant) so we decided to walk there from our hotel. It probably took us a good 20 - 30 minutes to get there but it was worth every minute in the rain. I must not have remembered to bring my camera as all I came home with was their business card.
'Simply Thai' has 'simply' fabulous food and it is beautifully prepared. As good as the food was, my favorite memory has to be the beautiful Asian waitresses dressed in gorgeous, jewel-tone silk and gold thread dresses. Each one wore a different color creating a lovely palate of color. The friendly restaurant host came to our table 3 times to speak with us and make sure we were enjoying our meal. I can't remember being treated so well at any restaurant in the past.
Having a wonderful meal at this restaurant certainly was one of the highlights of our time in Vancouver!!!
NOTE: researching information to update this trip, I found that 'Simply Thai' may be part of a chain. Nevertheless, I think fans of Thai food will really like this restaurant.
Favorite Dish: If we are ever in Vancouver again, you can bet I will order the 'Swimming Angels' and jasmine scented rice again. I cannot remember what my husband or daughter had that evening, but everyone enjoyed their meal and the whole experience. This was my husband's first experience eating Thai food, and now he is a true fan thanks to 'Simply Thai.'
I'm sorry I don't have pictures!!!