Thai Kitchen is a leader downtown.

by | September 7, 2006 | 24 Comments

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Thai Kitchen is located at 327 Dean McGee in downtown Oklahoma City (map). They are open Monday through Saturday, serving lunch from 11am (noon on Saturday) to 3pm and dinner from 5pm to 9pm. Contact them at 405.236.0229.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? For me, it’s Pad Thai. Of all the Asian food varieties, Thai is my favorite, so you can understand why I have spent a good amount of time trying many of Oklahoma City’s Thai restaurants. So far, Thai Kitchen is winning.

Thai KitchenBesides the great food, I like Thai Kitchen for its courage. This little restaurant sits near the Arts District downtown, not too far from the art museum and the downtown library. If you’ve ever been to that area, you know there aren’t many other restaurants around, and the ones that are there only open at lunch or maybe on certain evenings to accommodate the Civic Center crowds.

But Thai Kitchen breaks the mold, staying open for lunch and dinner (until 9pm!) every day except Sunday. Sure, they’re building a pretty major apartments complex (Arts Quarter) next door, which should be great business for Thai Kitchen, but that project is at least 6 months to completion yet Thai Kitchen is already there, open and serving up great dishes day and night. As a person who lives near downtown, I very much appreciate this opportunity to find good food downtown in the evenings and on the weekends. Thai Kitchen, may your tribe increase!

Ok, so now to the food. There are other good Thai places in the city, but Thai Kitchen simply adds that extra bit of flavor to every bite. I judge things mostly by the Pad Thai, and theirs is right on. The noodles are moist but not all clumpy or drenched in extra sauce. The flavors are a great blend with just a hint of sweetness that doesn’t overpower. Sometimes I order chicken into the mix and whatever they do back there adds a nice smokiness and flavor to the meat.

At lunch, Thai kitchen usually offers a buffet option ($6.99) which includes Pad Thai and a variety of other specialties. The Pad Thai on the lunch buffet doesn’t include meat, so if you need it with meat, you have to order off the menu. Luckily, they offer a host of lunch specials ($5.95) including Pad Thai with meat. It’s a tough call. Either get Pad Thai with meat, or get the meatless version and the chance to sample everything else. I’d say if it’s your first time, definitely get the buffet so you can taste it all.

So what’s the downside? Well, the atmosphere isn’t anything to write home about. The room is a bit run down and the collection of very plain restaurant booths and tables have holes and duct-tape patches of various shapes and sizes. I guess it could be kind of hip if they were going for the sort of intentionally run-down look, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s intentional. But, for me, this all just kind of adds to the fun. It’s all a part of the surprise of finding such great food in such an unlikely location.

The only other issue is that the popularity of this little place sometimes works against it. Sometimes the lunch rush can overtake the buffet line and leave you waiting five or ten minutes for it to be replenished. But generally the wait staff is nice enough to let you know when your favorite dish has been refreshed on the line, so have patience, OKC. Bring a friend or spouse and think of the buffet down time as quality time together. Thai Kitchen is definitely worth the wait.

Thai Kitchen Cafe on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Thursday, September 7th, 2006. It is filed under:

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  • Nicole says:
    October 4th, 2007 at 1:07 pm   

    Moon Thai on 23rd and Penn. is the best!

  • Tim says:
    October 4th, 2007 at 9:45 pm   

    Thanks for the comment, Nicole. I’ve tried Moon Thai once. It was pretty good, though I like Thai Kitchen better.

    If you want to write up a review on Moon Thai and send it our way, we will consider it for publication.

  • jimmy paravane says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 6:41 am   

    A little pricey for the amount of Pad Thai you get. I wish we had a Pink Pepper in the OKC area. There use to be a place on May called Coa Coa’s? Or something like that. Great Pad Thai! Huge helping of it for the price. It’s gone now, so it may just be nostalgia talking.

  • Tim says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 2:01 pm   

    Jimmy, I hear you on the price. Thai Kitchen does have a buffet at lunch and on select evenings (Wednesday and Saturday, I think). For $6.99 you can have all the Pad Thai (and whatever else) you can eat, which isn’t a bad deal if you eat a lot.

    But, Pad Thai on the buffet is meatless whereas off the menu you can get it with meat.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Maggie says:
    November 7th, 2007 at 12:31 pm   

    All of these comments are a great help, but i need some more. My brothers wants to eat thai or indian food for his birthday and I need to find the best restaurant to take him. Price is not a problem. Can you help?!

  • Tim says:
    November 9th, 2007 at 3:15 pm   

    Maggie, thanks for the question. As mentioned, my favorite Thai Place is Thai Kitchen, but it’s not all that “fancy” for a nice dinner out. I don’t know any other Thai Places that are, either.

    Also, with Indian food, I am very ignorant because I have not tried and Indian food place here in OKC yet.

    Maybe some of the other readers will comment or you might check out http://www.okctalk.com which is a forum where you can ask questions. They have a “food court” section and you could post your question there to get some feedback. There are a lot of great readers there.

  • Andrew says:
    November 9th, 2007 at 11:16 pm   

    Expect a review soon on what I think is the best Indian Restaurant in town, KhaZana on 50th and May.

  • johnny says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 3:10 pm   

    Ran across a new place on SE 15th just south of bricktown and oklahoma river. very clean and tasty. Its called tasty thai.

  • Tom G says:
    December 5th, 2007 at 2:10 pm   

    Tried the place for lunch – absolutely great. I’ve lived in both San Francisco/Bay Area and Seattle so I’ve eaten a lot of West Coast Thai. This food certainly ranks in that class.

    Works at so many levels – no wonder it is so popular with the downtown business crowd. Easy in/out buffet with great selection and high quality – all for $6.99 (note the protein will essentially be chicken not beef for that price). You can also order off the menu as some folks were doing. Food is very authentic – not foofy – but not overly authentic either e.g. fishy. Interior decor not great – but typical for similar quality Thai places around the country IMO. Great service, easy parking on street (but you might have to feed the meter).

    Downside is that it is so popular for lunch that I almost had to wait for a table.

  • Ms. Dimples says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 12:51 pm   

    It would be nice if the spring rolls were not deep fried, but baked. For those of us who watch what we eat, would be a welcoming change.

  • CT says:
    June 25th, 2008 at 1:24 pm   

    Went to Thai Kitchen for lunch today. First time. Pretty good and reasonable priced. We all had the buffet. I enjoyed the clear vermicelli stir fry noodles and the curry. The pad thai was made with a lomein type noodle. I would have prefered it if it was made with rice noodles. Maybe they just started offer meat on the buffet, but more than half of the dishes had meat. Service was nice and quick. Although, my friend said it was because I was Asian. I’m pretty sure she was joking. 98% sure. She was laughing but convincing. Overall a good time.

  • Tim says:
    June 25th, 2008 at 6:21 pm   

    CT, that is odd about the Pad Thai because every time I have been it has been rice noodles. But, I haven’t been there in a while so maybe things have changed? Thanks for the report!

  • Kelly says:
    September 20th, 2008 at 2:44 pm   

    I live two blocks from Thai Kitchen, and come in so often, the owners know me by sight. I am a big fan of their curries – a portion large enough for three meals, except for their fish curry. And the fish curry… well, it’s just fantastic.
    I’m not a big fan of buffets, so I avoid going there at lunchtime. But having a late lunch or dinner there is wonderful!

  • Tim says:
    September 21st, 2008 at 8:29 pm   

    @Kelly, great comment. Fish curry sounds terrific. I’m going to have to try that.

  • margaret says:
    January 23rd, 2009 at 2:30 pm   

    I work downtown and go to Thai Kitchen at least once every week. It is by far, the best Thai food I have ever had.

  • Andy says:
    February 27th, 2009 at 11:45 am   

    The Thom Yum Gai is super. Very flavorful, made just right with a typical thick yellow base with chicken and mushrooms galore.
    Follow the hot pot with green curry with pork and it is a meal.
    Jasmine tea too.

  • Eric says:
    March 26th, 2009 at 12:47 pm   

    Try Panang on Penn and SW 89th. I love their pad thai, and they have a lunch buffet where you can pick four items and they bring you as much as you can handle. Very Good.

  • Jody B says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 5:25 pm   

    Best Thai I have ever had. Period. Thai Kitchen is the best. I can’t get enough of it. The curry is amazing and the drunken noodles are equally yummy.

  • Kelly says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 6:38 pm   

    I walked by yesterday, and the city has shut down my favorite restaurant! The sign says its due to taxes (no worries about the food.) But it’s closed, nonetheless. I doubt it’s coming back.

    Where am I going to go now? Are there any comparable thai places in OKC? I need my curry!!!

  • Tim says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 6:42 pm   

    @Kelly oh, man, this is bad news. This is the second really great restaurant we’ve seen closed due to taxes in a short time frame (the other is Turquoise Cafe in Norman).

    I do think Sala Thai on 23rd is a good option that’s not too far away. We haven’t reviewed them yet, but we’ll try to soon.

  • Kelly says:
    September 19th, 2009 at 12:40 pm   

    Good news! Thai Kitchen is back! I drove past yesterday, and there were balloons outside and FOUR lit “Open” signs. Huzzah!

  • Tim says:
    September 19th, 2009 at 4:14 pm   

    Good news, Kelly. I am relieved and need to get back to Thai Kitchen soon.

  • SSSSSNAKES says:
    February 4th, 2010 at 7:11 pm   

    Seems like Thai Kitchen has been there forever, it’s pretty special to me. My first time there was Labor Day amny years ago and I was just passing by when I saw that they were open, so I turned around for a spontaneous late lunch. I was the only one in there, but the entire menu was 50%! Needless to say, I ate like a king that day.

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