Established in 2006, the Thai Garden is located in a Publix strip mall on the southeast corner of Congress Avenue and Boyton Beach Boulevard. It is tucked away from the street and would be missed without the large moving neon sign out front.
The owner – known as Eddy – cares about the quality of his food. He grows all his fresh herbs in his home garden without pesticides.
Inside, the restaurant is long and narrow with rows of small wooden tables and colorful woven palm leaf fish mobiles hanging from the ceiling between waves of white cloth from the Chiang Mai region of Thailand. Thai tapestries and elephant statues finish off the Asian ambiance of the restaurant.
As soon as we walked in Eddy greeted us and directed us to a table in the back, near the 80 gallon salt water fish tank. He thanked us for coming to his restaurant and told us the specials.
I was delighted to see authentic Thai desserts on the menu because this is how I find good Thai restaurants.
We started our meal with Green Mango Salad ($7.95), and Fresh Rolls ($4.95). The mangoes in the salad were a Thai variety fresh from the Eddy’s home garden. The thin sliced mango was mixed with red onions, ground chicken, lime juice, fish sauce and mint, all sitting on iceberg lettuce. It was a good dish but not spicy or salty enough for me, so I got some more fish sauce and chili flakes to liven it up.
The Fresh Rolls were made with uncooked rice paper wrapped around steamed rice noodles, shrimp, mint, cilantro, pressed meat, and lettuce. They came with thick sweet peanut dipping sauce. We loved them and polished them off very quickly.
Thai Garden didn’t have the same Jasmine tea found at other restaurants, instead they served a caffeine-free recipe made with herbs from the owner’s garden. His tea ($1.50), had fresh lemon grass, Pandan leaves and dried Jasmine flowers. Eddy said it had medicinal properties to aid digestion. It was very lemony with a earthy undertone, quite refreshing.
Our main meals came with a small bowl of hot and sour soup that tasted more like an egg drop soup because it was not very sour or spicy.
We ordered the Chicken with Thai Basil and Lemon Grass ($10.95), and a medium heat Red Curry with Pork ($12.95). The succulent chicken dish had carrots, straw mushrooms, and white onions, all in a brown sauce. The sauce was addictive, spiced with garlic, lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, and the freshest Thai basil I had ever tasted.
The coconut milk based curry arrived on a rectangular plate and was spicier than expected. It had diced carrots and red bell peppers, peas, Thai basil, Kaffir lime leaves, and very tender pork. It came with a side of white rice even though brown had been ordered for an extra $2.00. This was easily fixed by the server. The nutty flavor of the brown rice really complimented the spiciness of the curry.
For dessert we had Thai Custard with Sticky Rice ($4.95). It came with a ramekin of very sweet steamed pumpkin custard that was topped with toasted sesame seeds. The custard was pale orange in color and tasted a bit like Crème Brulee, but made with coconut milk. The sticky rice was, well sticky, and delicious with a slight salty taste that brought out the flavor of the rice.
We were delighted to find a restaurant that cared so much about the fresh flavor of their dishes. We have returned many times and are now regulars of Thai Garden.
They also have food to-go.
Located: 125 North Congress Avenue
Hours: Lunch Mon – Fri, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Dinner Mon – Sun, 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.