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“Very good food but felt rushed”

Isan Thai Restaurant
Ranked #54 of 1,050 Restaurants in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $11 - $29
Cuisines: Thai
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Delivery, Reservations
Description: Isan Thai Restaurant features authentic cuisine from the Northeast region of Thailand bordering Laos and Cambodia known as Isan. Owner Koong brings her home recipes to Isan Thai Restaurant, featuring items like Nham Clook that you will not find elsewhere. Isan Thai Restaurant celebrates the culture and tradition of Isan, with its delicious food, captivating folk dances, and the beautiful sounds of Thai country music. We have a separate lounge featuring quality beer and wine, an Isan/Thai-themed dining area, and outdoor dining.
Reviewed August 6, 2014

Our first visit. Each of the 3 of us had a different dish and they were all very good, good portions and fairly priced. We did feel rushed and pushed to leave the table even though we did not see anyone waiting. After the credit card transaction was completed with signature and tip amount, it was immediately looked at and whisked away. Normally, this is done after the occupants of the table leave. We would have liked to digest our food for a few moments but we did not feel it would be OK.

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Thank giacomojim_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (262)
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181 - 185 of 262 reviews

Reviewed August 5, 2014

Finally a US based Thai restaurant that knows how to make authentic Thai food. I have lived in Chiang Mai Thailand and had given up getting good Thai food...this place is a gem! The som tom(papaya salad) actually was prepared properly and had the right ingredients and taste. Chicken cashew(gai pad med muang) was delicious. I wish this place was closer to me as I would be a regular.

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Thank sawadee21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2014

We have been to nearly all of the Thai restaurants in Sarasota and finally gave Isan Thai a try. We were very pleased with the atmosphere, food, service and value. There is no 'great' Thai food in Sarasota county, but having been to Isan Thai, I now have a new favorite Thai restaurant; and it's just up the street from where we live.
We started our meal with the Tom Yum Goong soup. It was truly delicious. The combination of flavors, aromas and spicing was absolutely superb. It was one of the best Tom Yum soups I've ever tasted. The Fresh Roll Shrimp was good, though the rice covering was a bit chewy. The Pad Khing scallop (a salad) was very good-the scallops were fresh, sweet and very tender. The Pad See-Ew Chicken was also very good. The flat noodles were just a bit al dente while the flavoring was very, very good. The chicken was moist and fresh. Then Panang Curry was also very good. The Tofu was cooked so that the outside was firm and the inside soft-just as it needed to be. The curry sauce was rich and flavorful, but a bit salty for my taste.
There was quite a crowd in the restaurant and I suspect that despite the many Thai choices, people in the community recognize how good this relatively new restaurant is. You won't go home disappointed!

1  Thank SarasotaBill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2014

Based on the review I had to try this! It was amazing, I had the Thai sausage and was a pleasant surprise. I had soup and the green curry with Thai eggplant. Everything was very flavorful and served quickly. My only issues is the rice was a little dry, but it was 9:30pm. I will be back to try other items.

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Thank EatLocalBuyLocal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2014

This is not my first review of Isan, but in the past year or two, I've come to truly appreciate this tiny jewel of Thai cuisine (and culture and traditional art). I last ate here last autumn, both in the restaurant with family and take-out/take-away once. For the travelers into Sarasota, one of the things which impresses me is that Isan Thai has endured! It first enjoyed a burst of popularity about 2 tourist seasons ago, then stayed low-key but a favorite of locals during slower seasons. My point: many restaurants around here close and open and close, all the time. Summers especially. Isan is not only known for its staying in business and continuing to draw 'fans' with its consistent quality, but it is a favorite also of several chefs who enjoy Asian/Indonesian cuisine. So in terms of authenticity (in its spices, pad noodles, and preparation) it is right on the mark, spot on.

For the 3rd or 4th time now, I ordered the appetizer called (accurately!) "fresh roll'. It's not Japanese sushi style, but a thin, bliny/blintz like pancake, but translucent enough to see all the fresh ingredients rolled together. Sorry, this was 'to go', so my photo includes the dish of tangy sauce it came with rather than the decor of the restaurant. Ditto with the "Thai Calamari"~ Pla Meruk Tod This was a new try for me. In NY the wonderful Malaysian/Indonesian restaurants have disappeared, but "Penang" used to entice me with "Malaysian-style calamari" - calamari being Italian, of course. Anyway, this was crisply battered and fresh, and should anyone have doubt about whether it's really squid (as opposed to some chewable facsimile) it's all here, I suppose caught nearby, tentacles and all. Like the Pad Thai, a winner.

I spend most of my time in New York and other cities and have sampled what can be found of "authentic Thai restaurants", in touristy areas or on urban 'restaurant rows'. This tiny, easy to drive by restaurant (as I did a few times), is about the best basic, authentic, Pad Thai (Thai style noodles) I've ever had. No complaints. Usually I get it with shrimp or (this night) chicken, & sometimes the whole seafood kettle too. It ended up with that nice crunchy topping over fresh-tasting actual Thai noodles (not linguini). Impressive compared to what I've seen. So that's my standard, for great Pad Thai. I was asked about 'spicy' and I said, 'normal, for ... Bangkok.' (On the order: "Medium") She told me she came from Bangkok herself, in Thailand, and was nice enough to let me snap a photo or two (for all you!) She and the staff were very polite, happy to discuss Thailand, or arts of cooking, or history....

But though it was fairly slow and I'd have loved to linger and chat, I was perfectly on time to be greeted by my "take-out" (Northern version of "take away". Trying to become bilingual Northern/Southern. So.. y'all who live nearby and haven't checked it out, it's slow now, and they are there! I hope to go back to sit and dine in the lovely inside. But it's also great for a full-sized Thai meal to take home,without paying the price of a crab cake or two at Roy's or the Bijou.

Carting it out was fine, exactly as ordered by old-fashioned telephone - with chopsticks too.

I began by looking at their web site, for the menu, and finding myself enjoying some very pop-ish Thai music. Then I went analog and actually, you know, called and ordered. I asked for chopsticks, and like Staples used to say, "that was easy". It's important to look West while on 'the trail' (Route 41), need to do a U-ey if heading North, for the small mini-mall just off-road, where there lies hidden a real pearl in its oyster. Enjoy.

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1  Thank drmikenyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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