Tempting Thai and Vegetarian Food at Sawatdee Thai Cuisine in Temple Terrace

Snugly nestled into the same Temple Terrace plaza that sits the infamous Five Star Pizza, the relaxing Naga Tea, and the delightful Armada Games, is a tiny Thai restaurant called Sawatdee Thai Cuisine. Boasting intimate seating, a fairly extensive menu, and PORK STUFFED CHICKEN WINGS, Sawatdee brings Thai dishes to Temple Terrace, along with the option of choosing your preferred meat, veggie, or otherwise for nearly all the dishes offered (except the pork stuffed chicken wings).

Despite its sad exterior, Sawatdee is nice and dark on the inside. Sexy. There’s this weird 70s wood paneling on the walls. Also sexy. And the walls are lined with golden baubles of all sorts, which is kind of sexy too. So it’d make a great place for a first date, especially if your date is partial to classic porn flicks. You’ll be greeted with kind, friendly service, and given a menu that may overwhelm you with many delicious possibilities for your meal. Get yourself a sweet Thai Tea and settle in – you’re gonna want to try a bit of everything.

For appetizers, we had the standard and satisfying spring rolls, the tasty and unique krab rangoon (krab being the non-real cousin of actual crab) which was sweet, with a nice hint of curry flavor, and the pork stuffed chicken wings. Naturally. These bad boys (bad boy?) were quasi boneless wing(s), crammed full of a pork meat-type filling akin to what you might find in an egg roll, and fried, served atop some shredded lettuce with a slightly spicy dipping sauce. Honestly, the totality of the stuffed wings did not meet my high expectations (but really, what could?) – the filling was nothing special, the chicken itself tasted like chicken wing meat, but was so far removed from what I expect from any chicken dish that it was kind of all lost. On top of that, I’m still not quite sure what I had… there weren’t bones to be found, but there was one single wing tip. It was like they exploded a chicken wing and pasted it all back together with pork. A less than stellar showing for a dish that held a lot of promise.

For my main dish, though torn between many a curry option, I decided upon the Adventure Duck, chosen on name alone. I was met with a mildly spicy and surprisingly crispy fried piece of duck, served in a curry sauce with a side of Jasmine rice. The duck was excellent, hitting that perfect sweet spot of tender juiciness without being overly greasy, and the curry sauce was an excellent accompaniment, with a full sweet, spiced and buttery flavor. The whole dish was incredibly flavorful, and definitely hit the spot. My only complaint is that I never actually felt like I was on an adventure.

Our meal was closed out with an order of fried bananas, which I really enjoyed, despite my hating bananas. They were nice, crispy, crunchy fried bits of goodness, the outside reminiscent of fried noodles, and inside almost like a sweet banana sauce. Warm and delightful.

The real strength of Sawatdee lies in the endlessly customizable menu, packed with a multitude of different dishes. Soups, salads of all sorts of compositions, stir fry, fried rice dishes, noodle dishes, curry, fish, and more, with options ranging from veggies, steamed or fried tofu, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, squid, multiple types of curry and other sauces… the sky is the limit. Go hungry with a group, order a bit of everything, and try it all. Or put on your best gold jewelry, take your date, and get inspired by the atmosphere.

Sawatdee Thai Cuisine is located at 10938 North 56th Street in Temple Terrace.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch 11:30am-3pm and dinner 4:30pm-10pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm, and Sunday 12pm-9pm.

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