Thai


Saigon Flavors is something of a local favorite, offering a good bowl of pho as well as Thai and Chinese dishes to their customers. Service is attentive and good.

larb beef.

Saigon Flavors serves a good bowl of pho.

Besides pho, we had their larb beef, some bubble tea and a rice (Com Dia) dish. We didn’t have enough of their Thai or Chinese offerings to judge those, but based largely on their Vietnamese cuisine, I’d say this could easily become a routine stop on the way to the mall.

Saigon Flavors
3200 Woodward Crossing Blvd
Buford, GA 30519
(770) 932-7705

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Gogi Brothers was mentioned by a reader of my blog some time ago, but life, work changes, and all made it really impossible for me to run around Snellville the way I normally do. My focus was inward, towards the city of Atlanta, not out of it. I never found this restaurant until I made an ill fated run for jerk chicken towards Grayson (I should realize that small, mom and pop Jamaican eateries are invariably closed on Sundays).

It turns out that Gogi Brothers has occupied a building a stone’s throw from the Mellow Mushroom on Highway 78, and so most Snellville residents can find Gogi simply by heading down 78 towards Loganville. It will be on the right if you do. The building is handsome, a pretty brick, and if my memory serves, the building used to be home to a Dickey’s BBQ in the past.

Kimchi as an appetizer. It's not on the menu but you can ask for it.

Now, Gogi is the word for “meat” in Korean, and this restaurant doesn’t easily fit into any single category. Instead, it’s a cross cultural assortment of foods that they serve, everything from Korean influenced dishes, Thai dishes, some Japanese dishes (teppenyaki style dishes, mostly), American and American-Korean favorites — what else is a bulgogi burger — and they also push their hot wings. They serve beer and wine, and this place will deliver as well.

Gogi's babimbap. No stone bowl, and a lot of greens in this version.

Bulgogi

When you cover this much ground, some things are lost. Korean dishes are not served in stone bowls, so the bibimbap here isn’t like what you can find in, say, Assi Plaza. In fact, my favorite Korean dish here goes by the very proletarian name of “spicy pork”. They have “spicy chicken” as well.

Spicy pork.

Staff here is largely Korean, well dressed and mannered, and pretty nice. And what this place loses in authenticity it makes up for in sheer willingness to serve. Snellville is better off with this place than without, as Korean is a bold assertive cuisine, and any inroads they can make into our dining habits are probably good ones.

Gogi Brothers
2624 Cindy Lane
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 837-2201

Gogi Brothers on Urbanspoon

Probably better with a plate of rice, but still quite good, Yum Yum Thai’s mussels have a touch of spice and a pleasing amount of sweet peppers to match.

Yum Yum Thai
3977 Lawrenceville Hwy
Tucker, GA 30084
(770) 496-0307

Yum Yum Thai on Urbanspoon

Little Thai is on the corner of a strip mall, roughly on the southwest corner of Sandy Springs Circle and Johnson Ferry Road, in the same mall that houses Brooklyn Cafe. It’s a pretty eatery, and this elegance and grace is perhaps its best attribute.

Service is good here. The staff are both charming and quick to suggest alternatives. The menu is small but useful. There are 6 curries, not 60. There is one entry for penang curry, for example, and several options for meats.

Little Thai has a fair number of noodle dishes, and of course, coconut milk is featured prominently in the cooking. I found a dish I thought I could manage, their Ocean Seafood, a variety of seafood in a spicy basil sauce.

Though rated “two peppers”, I’d have rated it one on my personal scale. The spicing here is, as another customer noted, “spicy but not too much.” Toned down to Atlanta tastes? Perhaps, but there are worse fates than having a moderate level of spice.

I liked the staff at Little Thai. They managed to be serene, helpful, funny, graceful. If what you’re wanting is 50 minutes of serenity before heading back to the office, some good food, a chance to relax, this eatery, off  the beaten path of Sandy Springs, can deliver.

Verdict: Serene, pretty, graceful. A small set of good useful dishes. Recommended.

Little Thai
220 Sandy Springs Circle
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Little Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Wild Ginger is a modest Thai and sushi restaurant found on Savoy Drive, a road that parallels 285. I don’t go here often but when 285 traffic is dreadful I will exit the Interstate and travel along Savoy. In one of these moments I stopped and tried Wild Ginger. I liked the looks of the place, puzzled at the inclusion of sushi, thought the food wasn’t bad. I hadn’t been back until now, until the awful mid December 285 traffic drove me off the road again.

It is pretty inside. Nice tables, wine racks, a good looking bar greet you as you enter. That, and an ever cheerful Rachel Ray on the flat screen. This is one of the few restaurants in town where a flat screen doesn’t have sports. Instead, Wild Ginger tends to tune to the Food Channel.

Service is unhurried and graceful. White shrimp crackers end up on your table by magic. I decided I wanted to try a salad and entrée, so I ordered nam tok and the chicken entrée spicy basil leaf.

Nam Tok

Spicy basil leaf

Nam tok, when it arrived, looked good. But I could taste the salt on it and that affected my pleasure in the dish. Not bad, but would have been better if the salt wasn’t such an obvious part of the taste. I enjoyed the spicy basil leaf much more, in part because whole chunks of long hot peppers were used to spice the dish. Long hots are spicy but not overwhelmingly so, and spicy plus good flavor equals a lot of joy in my book.

Verdict: Good food, welcome respite from a difficult commute. Recommended.

Wild Ginger
2201 Savoy Dr
Atlanta, GA 30341
(770) 451-3880

Wild Ginger on Urbanspoon

One of the first restaurants I reviewed when I started this blog was Danthai, a popular Thai restaurant just a stone’s throw from Snellville. It probably suffered in that my first reviews weren’t all that good, lacking good photos or context. I’ll try to correct that, as I went to Danthai recently and took photos.

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I’ve always been fond of their cucumber salad, light and delicious.

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This day they had a special, a spicy basil with shrimp and scallops. It was good, though the scallops were a bit chewy. Spicing was well nigh perfect. This is a restaurant where I don’t have to correct the spicing before I eat.

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The seating inside is clean but plain. The chairs are simple and the table cloths are plastic. But it was half full of people when I arrived, and more came as I sat and ate. Someone must know about the place!

Danthai
851 Oak Road #89
Lawrenceville, GA 30044-7226
(770) 985-1719

Danthai on Urbanspoon

Rasa Sayang, it turns out, is a decade old Malaysian-Chinese-Thai eatery, once found west of 400 and Holcombe Bridge (i.e. Exit 7 on 400). It relocated about 3 years ago to just east of 400 and Holcombe Bridge – parking on the other side was horrendous. I can attest to that, as I tried twice to get to their old location back in the day and was defeated by the generally awful parking.

The eatery is now located in the same general area as the Publix just south and east of the intersection, though not connected to the Publix. You can get to it by heading right as soon as you can after exiting 400 to the east, or you can wait to the first traffic light, and head south at the light. The new location is really good looking, both inside and outside.

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The tables are a nice deep red-brown, perhaps rosewood or mahogany, and the waiters are gracefully dressed. There are tables and booths inside, and a small bar. There are also ironwork tables outside, if the day is good and you want a view of the city.

The restaurant offers Thai, Chinese, and Malaysian dishes.  The real draw, however, are the Malaysian dishes. The first one I had here was the Kuala Lumpur Kari Mee, a noodle soup.

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The okra was unexpected, a nice touch. There is a lot of flaver, a lot of taste in this soup, and it tends to remind me of dishes with similar themes.  It reminds me a little of udon. It reminds me a bit of cream of mushroom soup, and of course, chicken noodle. It seems to mix elements of several kinds of food and it does it quite well. I liked this dish a great deal.

I also had the tomyum chicken. This dish came with a soup starter and a serving of brown rice and an egg roll.

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The soup shown has a coconut milk base. They also can serve a hot and sour soup and an egg drop soup. The rice is a brown rice, different in texture from ordinary short grain rice. The egg roll was decent, though I’m not really an egg roll person. The tomyum chicken was good. The sauce on the chicken was thick,  and it wasn’t sweet the way some thick Asian sauces can be. You could, however, taste the bits of sweet pineapple scattered throughout the dish. There was a rich flavor to the food. I tossed the chicken over my rice and ate them as a mix. It was really good eating.

One last point, about peppers and heat. The two hottest cuisines I’ve experienced are Malaysian and Thai. Both can create dishes with such fire that I find them inedible. That said, most Malay places in Atlanta offer no heat to speak of or very little heat. This place has dishes marked hot, but on a four level scale of “mild”, “medium”, “hot”, “hot by our standards”, the hot dishes are really mild. You can ask for pepper sauce here, or you can ask them to add more spice when you order. I tend to order “medium”, because it’s spicy enough for me, and my wife can still eat it.

Staff is well dressed and efficient. The owner can be found in this restaurant at times. The second time I showed, he waved to me as if I were an old friend. Later he stopped by my booth, asked how I was doing, how was the food, and chatted.  This kind of personal contact, I think, says volumes about the interest a restaurant has in providing the best for their customers.

Verdict: Decade old Malay institution in Atlanta, well worth visiting. Highly recommended.

Rasa Sayang
1425 Market Boulevard #1309
Roswell, Georgia 30076
(770) 643-8812

Rasa Sayang on Urbanspoon

Notes: Rasa Sayang is, incidently, a folk song popular in Malaysia. Versions of the song can be seen and heard on Youtube. Northside Food has a nice review of the restaurant. And there are AJC reviews dating back ten years, theoretically, via Access Atlanta. Problem is, Access Atlanta is a horrible site,  hard to navigate and with a totally disfunctional search. Maybe the web admin can find their old content. I can’t find a thing on their site.

Thai Taste is a restaurant found just minutes up 78 from Mellow Mushroom, on the left side as you travel east. It’s on the end of a strip mall and easy to miss. And I don’t usually head east on 78 but this time I did, and this eatery is closer to Snellville than most spots on Pleasant Hill road.

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I came for lunch. The inside of the restaurant is neat and clean, and on a blackboard they have posted specials.

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I had the curried catfish. That came with a good tasting soup. The catfish itself was crunchy and the curry base had just the right amount of heat and was well spiced.

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You can adjust the heat of your dishes. My waiter asked if I wanted my food mild, medium, hot, or Thai hot. The medium at Thai taste is enough heat to know it’s there and you can feel it build as you eat.

If you search the Internet for reviews of the place, phrases like “undiscovered gem”, “best of the Snellville/Lawrenceville area”, and “great food” get used repeatedly. And while I’m not giving up Benny’s Bar and Grill or Danthai for Thai Taste, it is good enough to be part of any discussion of the best eateries in the Snellville/Loganville area.

Thai Taste
1009 Athens Highway
Loganville, GA 30052
(678) 344-7444

Thai Taste on Urbanspoon

L’Thai Organic Cuisine and Wine Bar is the kind of place that easily flies under the radar.  It’s in an inconspicuous corner of a strip mall dominated by Pufferbelly’s, behind a Home Depot, and in a town where the most celebrated restaurant is Matthew’s Cafeteria. But it has a few notable reviews to its credit, including this one from Jennifer Zyman, and its use of brown rice drew my attention as my wife has been converting my family from white rice to brown in recent years.

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lto_sign

Inside, it is pretty, with a lot of trellises, and vining plants to add green to the look of the restaurant.  The waitresses are clothed in lavender dresses from neck to ankle. Inside, there are booths, tables, and a small bar. At night, the lighting is fairly dim, and that will show in the photos of the food.

They have a heat scale in L’Thai I was very pleased to see. You can get food mild, medium, hot and “Thai hot”. And yes, this kind of scale is both useful and good. I’ve had both Thai and Malaysian food that was too hot for me to eat, and I’ve also had restaurants that simply would not spice food to my taste. I tried their “medium” on a dish that can use heat but not too much, and the green curry I ordered was also a medium heat dish. L’Thai’s medium is a nice sneaky heat that will catch up to you at the end of a meal. I suspect their hot will satisfy most Texans (or would be Texans), though I have yet to try it. Most of their food is served “mild” unless you request the additional spices.

The first dish I tried was their seafood soup, called Poo Gub Sarai-Talay. There is no heat in this dish, the flavors are mild and it was a nice way to start a meal.

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Their spicy seafood salad (Yum Talay) was delicious. I haven’t had one this good in a while. This was good enough I took the salad home for my wife a few days later.

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The seafood salad convinced me to try one more dish, their chicken green curry. It also was very good, and reasonably spiced. The rice that accompanied the curry, though called a brown rice, is actually a mixture of brown and red rice. The color contrast is noticeable and pleasing to the eye.

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Service is very good at this restaurant.

Verdict: A welcome addition to the cuisine of Tucker, Georgia. Highly recommended.

4880 Lawrenceville Hwy Suite 14-16
Tucker, GA 30084
(770) 491-9948

L'Thai Organic Cuisine and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

It’s official: I envy everyone working just off Oakbrook Parkway. I used to work there, but my job moved before this restaurant joined us. Kokai Thai Bistro is in the strip mall on the corner of Live Oak Parkway and Jimmy Carter, just east of I-85 and in the same spot that used to house Einstein Bagels and then later, Gaucho’s Grill. It’s cute outside, playing on the chick theme they use as their trademark, and more functional inside.

I’ve been looking for a Thai place to buy food on the way home, and this location is pretty accessible given my commute. This spot, new as it is, has had good reviews both from the AJC and Blissful Glutton. They emphasized a dish I hadn’t seen before, Thai boat noodles, and I found the descriptions intriguing. I found  some spare time, and went to check it out.

Inside, Kokai Thai seemed very amiable, very much a family affair, with aunts, uncles, small children all gathered around a table, chatting. I was quickly seated and given a menu. It’s a pretty menu, but it looks as if it was printed it with an inkjet, as some of the black ink was smudging inside the plastic page protectors.  But hey, it still worked, and I ordered chicken satay, beef boat noodles, and then later, a red chicken curry.

I liked it all. The chicken satay was good, with a lot of flavor, but a little oily. Far better was the red curry. Again, it had a lot of flavor, a decent amount of spice. The serving size was smaller, but it wasn’t expensive either. Almost everything on this menu, barring some hot pot dishes, is less than 7 dollars.

The star of the meal was the beef boat noodle dish. Again, it’s a smaller bowl of food, full of broth, noodles, meat, and a few curls of pork rinds. The broth is dark in color, opaque, rich in flavor. It has decent spicing, enough to let you know it’s there, not enough to overwhelm. The dish is served with a rack of things to add to the meal: salt, ground red pepper, red pepper sauce, and thin sliced green peppers. In all honesty, it didn’t need any of them.

I talked with an older man after the meal, presumably the owner, and he recommended another of his soups and proudly showed me his AJC review.  It’s just an affable place. When people entered, there were polite bows, lots of smiles, lots of conversation, lots of visits from table to table. If the point of it all is to make everyone not just full of good food, but to feel at home, I think Kokai Thai is succeeding.

Veridict: Friendly, family atmosphere with very good, nicely spiced food. The Thai boat noodles are excellent, as good as their reputation. Recommended, especially for the adventurous.

Kokai Thai Bistro
5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd
Norcross, GA 30093
(770) 409-9219

Kokai Thai Bistro on Urbanspoon

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