Cheap Eats: Thai Terrace

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Being from Tampa, I am not completely privy to what outsiders think of when our city is mentioned. However, based on overheard airplane conversations and comments from distant Facebook friends, I would guess three things: Bern’s Steakhouse, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Mons Venus. So if I were to tell you about a restaurant that is across the street from the world-famous Mons, a great many people, including tourists, would know precisely where I’m talking about.

Next to a defunct Athenos with a yellow awning obscured by shrubbery, Thai Terrace is almost literally a hidden gem. Inside you will find a traditional Thai restaurant with wood paneled walls and colorful tablecloths and cushions accented with gold. Blue and white salt and pepper shakers shaped like elephants will entertain you and a tiny chalkboard on the wall informs you “No MSG.”

The service is casual but friendly. The menu features some pan-Asian choices such as Pho (noodle soup, usually Vietnamese) and fried rice. With so many selections, you may need to ask for recommendations. Tom Kha is coconut milk soup flavored with lemongrass and ginger floated with red onions, mushrooms, peppers and your choice of meat or tofu. The broth is rich and complex; a perfect start. The soft spring rolls contained an excess of lettuce and the rice paper was too sticky; better to get these at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Pineapple Lake Curry with shrimp was a lovely soupy entrée and came with a serious kick although the spice level ordered was a 3 out of 5. The yellow curry of this dish was both sweet and spicy. Shrimp fried rice was heaped onto the plate and the shrimp were properly cooked, though the rice was a tad bland. The Pad Prik King (there's a pun there) with chicken also had beautiful vegetables and visible flecks of chili. The menu describes it as ginger with mild curry paste stir fried. The texture of the chicken was fine, but with a definite freezer-flavor; it actually tastes too much like chicken. It would be better if it had time to absorb the sauces, but it’s an accepted trade-off to keep the dinner bill reasonably low.

Lunch specials are available for less than $7. Many beef, chicken or pork dinner entrees are $8.95. Soups, salads, seafood and a long list of appetizers are also available.

Thai Terrace

2055 N Dale Mabry Hwy

Tampa, FL 33689

(813) 877-8955

Mon-Fri. 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Mon-Fri. 4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Sat. 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.



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