Savory A La Thai, Thai food restaurant in San Ramon, Costa Rica is the latest gift to the Central Valley’s culinary experience, and it will not disappoint! I know that I speak for more than myself when I say that I as a North American living in Costa Rica am happy to be here, albeit, I do miss the variety of foods that come from the vast amount of restaurants that I was surrounded by before I relocated. I am also, however, very excited to be able to talk about and introduce others to one of my most favorite places to eat when I and my family get hungry for some really healthy food that we don’t have to cook ourselves. Food that is bursting with great flavor in a quaint little restaurant with wonderful owners who I am lucky to also call my friends.
Located a short drive outside of the Centro on the way to San Juan and Volio, Addie and Gerardo are a unique blend of many good things from their many different places and their combined experiences. Gerardo is originally from Costa Rica, and has come back home from his many years abroad to share with his countrymen the things that he has seen and appreciated from his time with people from all over the world. Addie was raised in the kitchen of her mother’s restaurant in Thailand, and demonstrates the techniques, flavor profiles and flavor combinations that can only come from a lifetime of understanding Thai culture and food. That seems to be only fitting as she hails from a family heritage that includes being the cooks in the palace for the King of Thailand. The two of them met in the melting pot of New York City when they were both living in the U.S.A., and the joining of their two worlds has blessed us with the best that all of the cultures that they represent have to offer.
As soon as you arrive, you are immediately greeted by each one of this lovely couple – Addie’s enthusiastic ‘hola’ with her great big bright shining smile as soon as you cross the threshold is followed up by Gerardo’s gentle attention to your seating and beverage needs. Gerardo easily switches between his native Costa Rican Spanish to show his command of the English language. Addie adds to her Spanish vocabulary every day, but admits that they communicate best to each other in English, as her husband’s Thai is non-existent! She makes the joke that they meet in the middle and communicate to each other in English, and that ‘sometimes it works, and sometimes it no work’! He is gracious in explaining the new food choices and their flavors to those unfamiliar with Thai cuisine, and the pictures of each menu item that are displayed bring those menu choices to life. While you are looking over the menu and the large pictures, which also kindly list the calorie content, the aroma of all of the wonderful fresh ingredients is inviting you to try one of everything, because it is just too hard to decide on just one item! Their slogan is:
‘Cook Fresh, Serve Fresh, Happy and Healthy Meal’.
They understand the health benefits of all that they serve which makes it the best place to frequent, especially if you are of the mindset that food is medicine. They even have the health benefits of each ingredient posted for all to understand the multiple blessings of their amazing food!
Each menu item can be made to order, direct from the ‘fire’ to your table, with the choice of vegetarian, chicken, pork, or shrimp (goong in Thai) for any dish. Since ‘spicy’ is relative, Addie is happy to add it to your dish while she is creating it, or just as easily put it on the side for you to decide how brave you want to be that day! The flavor profiles are incredible, as they use the freshest ingredients, organic whenever possible. Many of those organic items come right out of their garden and their neighbor’s greenhouse, as he watches over their ingredients with care while they’re at the restaurant. Addie shows her love of cooking, love of food, and love for people in every dish, remembering the orders and favorites of her loyal customers. She sends the food out with a smile on her face hoping that you enjoy eating it as much as she enjoyed cooking it for you! Gerardo keeps the steady pace of customers served, comfortable and happy as he effortlessly attends each individual and supports Addie’s work over the stove.
Although it is hard to choose, some of my favorite dishes are the famous Pad Thai – a blend of the flavors of Thai cooking which include meat, lemongrass, bean sprouts, peanuts and more served over a bed of rice noodles (a gluten free option of cabbage noodles is my daughter’s favorite), the Spicy Fried Rice which has flavors that just ‘pop’ in your mouth, and the Pollo/Cerdo Al Ajillo (garlic chicken/pork) which is a beautiful blend of sweet and spicy that the most tender of palates can appreciate. Her Spring Rolls are a vegetarian work of art that shouldn’t be ignored. If you want a truly unique flavor explosion, however, I highly recommend you try Tom Kha Gai/Sopa de Leche de Coco/Thai coconut soup. I have never tasted a blend of flavors that was so satisfying. It was amazing, as a new flavor would come to the forefront with each subsequent spoonful. I thoroughly enjoyed the huge, hearty bowl of her famous soup, served with a side of Jasmine rice. The color, the amount and quality of vegetables, the aroma and the flavors were like a symphony.
You don’t need to just order one dish, however, as family style ordering is a great way to experience a multitude of homemade curries (red, yellow and green), flavor combinations, and meats, while enjoy a dining adventure from another part of the world. Because each dish is affordably priced at an average of under 3,500 colones, it is easy to get a few things on the table so that you can try a little bit of everything, from savory to sweet and everything in between.
Savory A La Thai is open Tuesday-Saturday, from noon to 9 pm. You can eat there, take it to go, call them for delivery, or place your order to have it hot and ready as soon as you arrive. Show them how right they were when they had the dream to open up a Thai restaurant, and let them know that their desire to bring Thai cuisine to San Ramon, Costa Rica because they knew it would be a big hit wasn’t in vain!
Location: In front of the Pharmacy Asiel in San Juan, San Ramon, Costa Rica
(Frente Farmacia Asiel,San Juan San Ramón, Costa Rica)
Hours: Tues-Sat 12pm to 9 pm
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