For a long time, the two main Thai restaurants in Harrisonburg, VA, were Thai Café and Taste of Thai. I was introduced to Thai Café and it was love at first bite. When I eventually got over to try Taste of Thai, I was impressed by the interior décor, the comfy booths, and the soft romantic lighting. At the end of the meal, though, I couldn’t see why Taste of Thai got so much buzz when it was more expensive and not nearly as tasty. Taste of Thai is the place you might take your date to impress them, but Thai Café is the place were you are going to have a happier belly and leave with more money left in your pocket.
My favorite food from Thai Café is the pho. I tried the other pho joint in Harrisonburg, but I always end up back at Thai Café. Even by looking at the tables, you know they are serious about pho because each table has a small lazy susan stocked with hoisin, sriracha, red pepper flakes in oil, fish sauce, chopsticks, and soup spoons. However, as you can see from the picture, I did take-out and Thai Cafe does a great job of setting you up with all the fixings.
The pho itself is fantastic. It has hints of anise and cinnamon and you have the option of chicken or beef broth. I tried the chicken broth once and have been a dedicated meat broth person since. Although you can get the usual meat, steak, and pho balls (as my best friend calls them), I always ask for fried tofu because it greedily soaks up the broth. The portions are huge with a regular size bowl costing around $6.95 and a large, $7.25.
Besides pho, Thai Cafe also has a good pad thai, ginger chicken, and rich curries. Nine chances out of 10 at any Thai restaurant, I will get the green curry (because green curry is my favorite). Thai Cafe's has sharp hints of ginger and spicy jalapenos, lightened with fresh cilantro, and offset by sweet coconut and basil.
Thai Cafe is tucked away behind the Target in Harrisonburg and it is part of a strand of three of the greatest ethnic restaurants that are all in one little strip mall. Thai Cafe is sandwhiched between Inca's Secrets, that has awesome fried yuko and Peruvian chicken, and Cafe Jacko, that serves up sushi, bento boxes, and udon soup. All three are a deal and will make it hard for you pick. But, who says you can't get a pho starter, peruvian chicken for a main, and then an eel roll chaser. I wouldn't judge.