Mai Thai restaurant – San Leandro – Review

October 2013 Update

Mike and I have returned to Mai Thai many times.  It continues to offer great food at a reasonable price. It’s really a jewel.

July 2011 Update

Mike and I went back to Mai Thai for dinner last night with our friends Auguste and Cecily and I had another wonderful meal.  If anything, I would say the food has improved and flavors seem even better balanced and intense.  We had six dishes last night, and the five I tasted were simply excellent.

We started with the pork imperial rolls, which were a bit underseasoned by themselves and contained too much cabbage and too little pork, but which were redeemed by the wonderful accompanying sauce.  Next we shared the wontons, a dish I don’t usually like, but these were bursting with filling and flavor and were absolutely delicious.  It would have been my favorite dish of the evening if the other ones were not also so good.

Mike ordered the chicken panang and I had my usual musaman beef.  They were both wonderfully balanced and intense and oh, so good.  The panang was a bit spicy – too much for Cecily – but the musaman was not (and it shouldn’t be).  The large chunks of beef in the musaman were perfectly cooked, tender and not dry.  Auguste ordered the chicken with eggplant, and it had also a wonderful, intense, slightly sweet sauce. It could make you a fan of eggplant even if you’ve never liked it before.  Cecily had the shrimp, which I didn’t taste but they seemed to like.

I didn’t take pictures this time, but dishes continue to be as beautifully arranged as in our first visit.  Service was also quite good, but then again, we got there early and there we no other parties in the restaurant.

In all, I’d say that despite my loyalties to Zen’s (where I’ve never gone for dinner fearing having to encounter loud music), I’m ready to declare Mai Thai the best restaurant in San Leandro.

December 2010

I have since returned to Mai Thai several times, and every time I have been very pleased. The food is very good and beautifully presented, the restaurant is very cute and the service very attentive. Mika loves the sticky rice dessert (it’s really good) and she was quite fond of the shrimp appetizer. The pad thai is not very spicy, making it a good choice for little kids. In all, it’s where we go when we want Thai food in San Leandro.

July 2010 review

Mai Thai has been open for about two months, but I only heard about it when Mike rode by it a few days ago. It seemed like a logical place for an affordable Friday-night date, and it proved to be a very nice one as well. It may not be saying much, but I’d consider Mai Thai one of the best restaurants in San Leandro right off the bat.

Mai Thai is located at Marina Faire in San Leandro, in the space briefly previously occupied by the Brazilian restaurant Biggies BBQ Restaurant. But if you’ve been to Biggies you are not likely to recognize the space, Mai Thai has painted the walls, decorated it with elegant Asian-inspired art and created an atmosphere that is both stylish and comfortable. In other words, it has followed the winning formula of a number of what I call “Asian Bistros” throughout the Bay Area (restaurants that offer good food in stylish surroundings at surprisingly affordable prices).
Mai Thai goes a little bit beyond some of these by also serving beautifully arranged food – they must have a food stylist on staff (or at least they must have used a consultant). The results are really unbelievable for the prices (entrees are $9-12) and add an element of “specialness” that makes this a perfect place for an affordable date or business meeting.

But of course, the the real question is “how is the food”? Here I’m a bit less impressed. We ordered the pork imperial rolls (6 rolls for $7) and I found them to taste mostly of cabbage and to be in need of some spicing. The accompanying sweet & sour sauce was delicious, however, and Mike was very pleased with the resulting dish. The sauce was also great with the little mixed green salad that came with the dish.

I was not in the least original by ordering the Massaman beef for dinner – it’s my favorite Thai dish. Mai Thai’s version was very conventional, and yet very good and satisfying. The sauce had a great balance and just the right amount of spiciness. The beef was fork-tender and delicious. I’d definitely order it again (and again and again).
I was less happy with Mike’s chicken panang. It had a strong basil flavor and was quite spicy, but I felt it otherwise lacked depth. I wouldn’t order it myself, but Mike would have it again. The portions were nicely sized – we both had leftovers to take home.

We finished our meal by sharing the fried banana with ice cream ($4). The two bananas were perfectly and freshly fried, they came steaming hot, and went wonderfully with the ice cream. That said, I think the batter needed some more sweetness or something to make it less plain.

Service was fine but not stellar – the main problem being that our cokes ($2 each) were not refilled. Still, there were not major glitches and they were nice enough to pack our leftovers in the kitchen.

In all it was a very nice meal – it came to about $36 after tax and before tip, a very affordable price for a meal of this caliber.

Mai Thai also offers lunch specials for $8 – though it’s a little bit further ride, I think I’ll definitely go here (rather than Thai Satay) when I’m in the mood for Thai.

Mai Thai
137000 Doolittle Dr. #110
San Leandro, CA
510-351-9898
Open M – Su 11 AM – 3 PM and 5 PM – 9:30 PM

San Leandro Restaurant Reviews

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