Thai Food Cafe

Thai Food Cafe Brief Review
Overall Service Food Quality Atmosphere Vegan Options
8.25 9 9 6 9
Location: 833 N Killingsworth Ave Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-8745
Hours: M-F 11am-9pm
Weekends 12pm-9pm
Times Visited: 9

North Killingsworth has always had a smattering of vegan options at the various businesses like Mio Sushi, Beaterville, Eddie’s Pizza, E’Njoni Cafe, The Florida Room, and Pho Jasmine. But now there’s a restaurant with a full vegan menu -Thai Food Café. Really Portland doesn’t need another Thai restaurant but Thai Food Café is the Vege Thai of the north with their offering of a variety of vegan dishes including faux meats.

At lunch this brightly painted restaurant is filled with hungry Portland Community College students. The orange and green walls may be blinding for sit-down dining but the food cannot be missed. If the color is too much, I suggest sitting so you face the window, or eat outside during the summer.

Beyond the full menu, where anything can be made vegan, the friendly owners offer both vegan and non-vegan specials. Most of these specials include faux seafood like Asparagus with Shrimp and Sweet and Sour Fish. Personally, I stay away from faux seafood so you will have to enter into that adventure alone.

My favorite dishes include the Pad Thai, Pra Ram, and various vegan curry dishes. These three dishes all have a deep sweetness I cannot stay away from. Each are offered with tofu, soy pepper steak, or soy chicken. The fake meats are similar, if not the same store bought products Vege Thai uses. They are often sauteed, firm, and slightly chewy pieces of soy protein.  If you’re avoiding faux meats because of recently reported falsifying of product ingredients coming from Asia, or just just find them weird and unnecessary, the fried tofu is a great addition to any meal.

The Pad Thai has been perfect on all fronts with fresh broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. Crisp bean sprouts and peanut sprinkles top it off. But it’s the squeeze of lime makes this dish my favorite Thai food in Portland. The sauce is not overwhelming to the taste of vegetables nor is it too greasy. It’s perfect with all the sweetness, acidity, and spice you’d want from this popular dish. If you’re not a fan of the traditional rice noodles used in this dish, check out my new favorite dish – Pad Thai Woon Sen, which is the wonderful Pah Thai sauce and fresh veggies with glass noodles.

The Pra Ram has a great sweet, smooth peanut sauce poured over a mountain of fresh steamed veggies. The sauce is reminiscent of Vege Thai’s jarred sauce – sweet, peanuty, with a ting of heat. It’s probably not enough for the typical Thai food lover, but you can always add more heat as desired. One of the main reasons I love Thai Food Café is because of their perfectly cooked veggies. I have never had a dish that was over cooked, or questionably un-fresh. Too many restaurants in Portland don’t pay attention of their vegetables so it’s refreshing to have consistent crunch in my orders.

Two dishes I was not a fan of were the Spicy Eggplant and the Evil Jungle Noodles. The eggplant fell short on flavor and dishes with a lot of mushrooms or bell peppers rarely impress me. There wasn’t enough spice or eggplant for this dish to be labeled Spicy Eggplant.  The Evil jungle Noodles were fun to order because it sounded dangerous and I was expecting more evil in my dish over just normal looking meal. This dish was similar to the Pad Thai but with a lighter, spicier, less peanutty sauce. The undercooked noodles were an additional turn-off. If you have an aversion to cilantro be sure to let your wait person know – it’s been seen creeping into plenty of my dishes.

Thai Food Café isn’t just another Portland Thai restaurant, it has the best vegan Thai option in Portland, in my humble option. (And yes, I have tried Pad Thai Kitchen.) The service is outstandingly attentive and nice with constant refills of water or tea and pleasant check-ins without being smothering. The price is right at about $8 for a meal large enough to share. Once you get past the wall colors  I hope you’ll love this joint as much as I do.

Exterior:

thai_food_cafe_exterior
Interior:

Thai_Food_Cafe_Interior

Pra Ram:
thai_cafe-chicken_pra_ram

Pad Thai:
thai_cafe-pad_thai

Chicken Pad Thai:

TFC_Chicken_Pad_Thai

Pumpkin Curry:
thai_cafe-pumpkin_curry1

Spicey Eggplant Stir Fry:
thai_cafe-spicy_eggplant1

Won Tons:

thai_cafe-wontons

Evil Jungle Noodles:

tfc_evil_jungle_noodle

Pad Thai Woon Sen:

TFC_Pah_Thai_Woon_Sen

Pineapple Fried Rice:

TFC_Fried_Rice

Thai Iced Tea:

thai_ice_tea

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13 responses to “Thai Food Cafe

  1. Thanks for reviewing this little gem! I think it’s great too and actually the colors don’t bother me, I kind of like them! The carpet is just gross and the bathroom even more so, but the owners/staff are so nice. I do think it’s pricier when you’re getting dinner with the faux meats, (more like $10) but it seems like all Thai restaurants have recently gone up in price like everythign else!The only way to still pay $6 is going to a good cart for lunch. In fact, what are we going to do once crappy weather sets in and carts are no longer fun or even closed for winter? 😦

  2. Thanks, but no thanks for reminding me about the carpet! It was in my notes and everything. It’s pretty gross isn’t it.

    I also forgot to mention that you can get 10% off your meal by providing a coupon they provide with their take out menu.

  3. These guys are awesome. This doesn’t happen every time but I’ve noticed it usually happens when it’s slow. On three or four occasions, I’ve ordered takeout and when I arrived to pick it up, they had a thai iced tea waiting for me. When I told her I couldn’t drink it because I was vegan, she took it away and made one with coconut milk instead!!!!! SO GOOD!!!!!

  4. I wish I could support all of my favorite restaurants more, and this is an example of one of those restaurants that really deserves as much business and vegan rep as it can get.

    With tofu, mock meats, AND tempeh available for our dishes, we can really make it how we want it, which is so nice and so rare. Who knew that sweet and sour with tempeh would be so incredible? Everything I’ve eaten there was fantastic, but my favorite of all was definitely the larb!

    Kittee and I were so excited to happen upon this place when she was visiting last winter, and we were excited by the friendly owners, bright and inviting decor, and ultra-flavorful food! I’ve taken a handful of other visitors since, and I love how it’s the kind of place that really impresses vegans and omnis alike!

    Anyway, yum!

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  6. I ate there once, and the food was quite good and the people very friendly. I think I had Pad See Ewe and the spicy green bean dish. The only reason I haven’t been back is because it’s so far from my house.

    HOWEVER… I’d stick with the tofu. The menu claims that all the fake meats are vegan, but when we inquired (to double check) if they were really vegan, the waiter said, “Well…. the chicken is!” They may be unclear on what ingredients to look for.

  7. As a completely delicious alternative to the incredible “laab” — order the spicy tempeh salad off of the vege specials menu! I had it today, and it was wonderful, served quickly with complimentary tom kha! So many things to choose from there, and the owner is so so friendly and accommodating. 10 visits for lunch gets you one free one! I know I wrote on this one already, but it’s really one of the best places in Portland, and it simply does not get enough recognition yum yum yum!

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  12. Had this last night and it was awesome. Their Yellow Curry with Tofu is so creamy and delicious! Everything tasted really fresh. My boyfriend and I tried the soy chicken and soy shrimp. Not bad, but I am not a huge fan of fake meat so I will probably stick with the tofu which is perfectly cooked to soak up all the delicious flavors of their dishes. Double-Yum!!!

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