There’s no shortage of Thai restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area, so why go to Thai Spice where the prices are about 25% higher than you’d pay elsewhere?
The visit for the review and the review were written before the COVID-19 shutdown. Contact the restaurant for its current dining guidelines.
The quality of ingredients for one.
The shrimp and scallops you get in seafood dishes are much larger than those you’d get elsewhere, and they are, for the most part, cooked to perfection. Service is another reason. Although it is not a white linen tablecloth restaurant, the level of service is as if it were. Very attentive staff and friendly and efficient service make dining at Thai Spice an experience worth remembering.
It is consistently ranked among the best restaurants in South Florida and is the first and only Thai restaurant in the world to win the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences’ Five Diamond award. It has also received “Best of” accolades from TripAdvisor, Sun Sentinel, New Times and has been Zagat rated since 2000.
Even though it’s high season, we were able to get a reservation the same day we requested one. Of course, it helped that we were dining early before attending a show. We arrived at 6:20 p.m. for our 6:30 reservation and found the restaurant busy, but not packed. We were seated immediately. By the time we left at 8:30 there were lines waiting to get in.
Again, you have to ask yourself why the long lines when there are so many other Thai restaurants? In addition to the reasons above, the extensive menu is, no doubt, a draw. It’s no less than six pages (plus an additional page of specials). In addition to classic Thai noodle dishes, there are stir-fries and steaks and chops offered. Thai Spice’s prime Black Angus steaks and chops are 30 day dry-aged and ribeye, porterhouse and strip cuts.
For those seeking more authentic dishes you won’t be disappointed. They’ll even make those dishes not quite as authentic but known on Thai menus, such as the popular “Drunken noodles.”
Two in our party were looking forward to ordering the dish (the same thing one of them orders in every Thai restaurant). Our friendly server informed them the kitchen would be happy to make it for them. Although it arrived with a thinner noodle than usually used in this dish, it tasted exactly as they expected.
We began our meal with crispy curry puffs and Siam chicken bites. These dishes went beyond the expected on a Thai menu. The curry puffs featured ground chicken and sweet potato in a flaky pastry. The Siam chicken bites were merely chunks of chicken breast wrapped in bacon. When I say merely, I mean that was the limit of ingredients, but the flavor was not limited, although the dish would have been improved with a sweet chili dipping sauce. An order of yum woonsen (clear bean thread noodle salad) was delightful and refreshing and provided plenty for two to share. The only appetizer that disappointed us was the grilled calamari. It was over-cooked and rubbery.
Soup accompanies entrée dishes (but not noodles or stir fries). The offering on the night of our visit was a chicken meatball and rice porridge. It was surprisingly bland, a good option for those who are not into spicy fare, but a bit of a disappointment to me. Thai Spice tends to be prudent in its spice levels. I ordered my entrée medium and it was quite mild. If you like spicy food, go up one level from what you usually order in a Thai restaurant. This is one place where I would not be afraid to order my dish prepared spicy or Thai spicy.
An order of steamed tofu pad Thai featured abundant blocks of tofu and well-prepared noodles. My husband does not like the dried shrimp usually served in this dish and forgot to ask for it to be omitted. Fortunately it came without the savory dried crustaceans. Another example of the Thai dishes being adapted slightly for Western palates.
I tried one of the house specials, “Three Buddies.” The ménage-a-trois featured chicken breast, shrimp and scallops stir-fried in a basil-garlic sauce with mixed vegetables. The scallops arrived plump, juicy and perfectly cooked. The same could be said for the large shrimp. The dish is served with jasmine rice. Sautéed calamari in a red curry sauce proved to be the only disappointment among the entrees. Again, the squid was over-cooked to the point of where it had the consistency of a rubber-band.
We were tempted by the array of desserts, most of which were Western treats such as brownie, cheesecake, etc., but we were too full to indulge.
There’s a full bar featuring classic cocktails and exotic Polynesian drinks. Wines, available by the bottle, and to a limited selection, by the glass, are fairly priced.
1514 E. Commercial, Oakland Park