Iyara Thai, Redmond, WA

Looking for an awesome Thai restaurant to try? Live in the Seattle/Eastside area? If so, then Iyara Thai is the place to go. Read on to get my full review.

Overview

After living in Thailand for nine months and experiencing authentic Thai cuisine on a daily basis, I never thought that I would find a restaurant in Seattle that could satisfy my Thai food needs (yes, they are needs … some things you just can’t do without!). I’ve eaten at numerous Thai restaurants in my area and while a few have come close to meeting my expectations, the majority have fallen short … until now!

Iyara Thai absolutely hits the mark when it comes to authentic and tasty Thai cuisine. The restaurant markets itself as the place to go for Thai street food and one look at their menu clearly shows you why. Iyara Thai serves common dishes like Pad Thai and a wonderful variety of curries, but they also serve unique street foods like moo ping (sweet pork skewers), som tum (green papaya salad), and khao soi (curry noodle soup from Northern Thailand). These are delicious plates commonly found on every street corner in Thailand, yet are rarely found on Thai menus here in the states. I was thrilled to find a restaurant that served some of these less common favorites!

Here is a rundown of my ratings:

Decor ♥
Cleanliness ♥
Staff ♥
Price ♥
Taste ♥
Timeliness ♥

The restaurant is clean and nicely decorated, the staff is friendly and helpful, and the prices are very reasonable. Most importantly, the food is delicious and comes in traditional Thai portions (enough to take home for later!). As someone with very high standards for a good Thai restaurant, Iyara Thai receives a near perfect score in my book.

This restaurant only receives one and that comes in the form of timeliness. When we arrived at the restaurant at noon, the posted opening time for the restaurant, the doors were not yet unlocked. In true Thai fashion, we waited another ten minutes or so before they were ready to open the doors and seat us at a table. For a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who is used to the laid back attitude of Thai culture (which often leads to lateness) this isn’t necessarily something that bothers me; however, for people on an hour lunch break wanting to grab a quick bite, I can see this being pretty frustrating. In my opinion though, it’s well worth the wait.

All in all, Iyara Thai has climbed to the very top of my list as the best Thai food restaurant in the area.

The Food

Here is a little preview of some of the dishes served at Iyara Thai. I will add to this list after future trips to the restaurant, which will absolutely happen sometime soon!

Grilled Beef

Served as an appetizer, this dish is a marinaded beef cooked on the grilled and served thinly sliced. The beef is accompanied by a garlic ginger dipping sauce. The beef was very tender and had a great flavor. The dipping sauce was high on flavor and definitely enhanced the taste of the beef. I really enjoyed this dish; however, the dipping sauce was obviously refrigerated so it was in stark contrast to the temperature of the meat. I would have liked a dipping sauce that was less chilled, but that’s just personal opinion!

Grilled Beef

Som Tum (green papaya salad)

This salad is made to order in a traditional mortar and pestle. Shredded green papaya is the base of this salad that also includes sliced tomatoes, long beans, peanuts, and a garlic-lime dressing made with palm sugar and fish oil. I highly recommend this dish. I ordered this dish with two stars and it was just right on the spice level (I love spice but like this salad with slightly less so I can focus on refreshing taste of the other ingredients). The sauce is a mix between salty and sweet and the veggies were fresh and crispy. This is the best som tum I have had since arriving back in the states. My only change would be to add more peanuts.

Som Tum

Pad See Ew (beef, vegetables, and flat noodles)  

I didn’t actually try this dish so this review comes from the friend who accompanied me. According to her, this was the most authentic version of pad see ew she has had since returning to the states. The vegetables were sliced thinly in the traditional style and the noodles were well cooked. She ordered three stars and it didn’t meat her desired spice level; however, the waitress was extremely attentive and quickly brought her the accompanying mix of table ingredients. This made the experience far more “Thai” and gave my friend the perfect amount of spice. She’s not usually one to take leftovers home, but she was eager to package this one up!

Pad See Ew

Ka Praao Gai Kai Daao (chicken with holy basil and a fried egg)

This dish was at a disadvantage from the start seeing as though it was one of my favorite dishes in Thailand and is one that I have attempted to cook many many times at home. Luckily, this version was probably the best version of ka praao gai kai daao that I have had (both in a restaurant and at home) since arriving back in Seattle. In authentic style, the chicken was ground rather than sliced and the Thai chilies were red rather than green. There was a different variety of veggies than in Thailand, but it was pretty close to traditional – only onions and green beans. The best part of this dish was the kao daao (fried egg). Fried in a wok full of hot oil, this egg was crispy with a gooey yolk center – absolutely perfect! All in all, this was a great version of this dish and I will definitely be eating it again.

Ka Praao Gai Kai Daao

Khao Soi (Northern Thai Curry Noodles) ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This dish was one I brought home to my boyfriend. This is a dish he had a couple of times in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and absolutely loved. This is the first time he had this dish since his visit to Thailand and he loved it. He said that he liked the flavors in the curry better than in Thailand, but that the noodles were not as good. The noodles in Thailand were baa-mee noodles, a much thicker variety than the egg noodles used here. However, he said that the chicken was juicy, the flavors were complex and savory, and the overall taste of the dish was fantastic. He would absolutely eat it again.

Khao Soi

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