Top Thai

24 03 2010
Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 5/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  Once   ♦   Will I Return?:  Yep

I honestly don’t know of too many Thai places in the Hayward/Castro Valley area, so when my dad took us to Top Thai on Castro Valley Boulevard, I was intrigued.  There may indeed be many Thai places around, I just don’t know about them.  I’ve been to one place on Foothill in Hayward years ago, but I can’t really even think up the location of any others.  But no matter, Top Thai certainly fills the void.

TT is in a tiny, unassuming, single story building across from the ridiculously huge and sort-of-awful Rite Aid at the eastern end of CVB in Castro Valley.  I probably would have never noticed it, and even if I did, it doesn’t look terribly enticing from the outside.  One step inside the doors, however, and the scenery is transformed.  The decor at Top Thai is very nice.  So nice that it looks like a professional may have had a hand in it, either that or the owner is quite savvy.  Thai-themed artwork scattered tastefully around the walls, dark wood tables and chairs, and subdued lighting all work together for a warm, homey, classy feel inside Top Thai.  Kudos, guys.

One of two nicely decorated seating areas at Top Thai in Castro Valley.

Seat by the window at Top Thai.

The reason we came, however, was not for the wall hangings.  My dad is a true believer in this place, he will testify that the food is darn good.  After trying it, I agree.  The service when we were there was excellent, also, which makes for an even more enthusiastic desire to return.  There are many waitresses, all who are extremely polite and almost too attentive.  Your water glass is refilled before you even know it’s half empty (not being a pessimist here, half empty works better to describe a glass that needs to be refilled).  They “please” and “thank you” you nearly to death.  So polite, so helpful, so attentive.  Not really much more you could ask in that category, I suppose.

We ordered a good variety of food starting with spring rolls and ending with mango and sticky rice and fried banana with ice cream.  The menu has many meat options, but also has a plentiful vegetarian section, for all the veggos out there.  The spring rolls were good, pretty standard fare for a Thai place.  They claimed that the sauce it came with was plum sauce, but what we got was clearly sweet chili sauce (aka sweet and sour sauce).  My dad, being the waiter-questioner that he is, asked the waitress if the dish wasn’t supposed to come with plum sauce instead?  She politely informed us that the sauce on our place was plum sauce.  I beg to differ, Ms. Waitress Lady.  But, she said it with a sincere smile, so nothing could be done short of making a scene.  Plus, I like sweet chili sauce with my spring rolls, thank you very much.

Thai Spring Rolls at Top Thai.

For our entrees*, we ordered a salmon curry, vegetarian pad Thai, Green Top Thai (mixed green beans, zucchini, broccoli, and baby bok choy), and dad got BBQ beef.  There are two salmon curries on the menu, and I think I ordered the Penang curry; I did whichever one the girl recommended was less spicy.  It was quite good: tender salmon, creamy curry sauce (not too spicy, indeed), and chunky veggies.  The pad Thai was good, as usual – again, nothing terribly special about a Thai place that serves good pad Thai.  My dad enjoyed his BBQ beef and the side of sweet chili sauce it came with, which was, incidentally, the same sauce as was served with our spring rolls.  It’s gotta be one or the other, people, the same sauce can’t be both sweet chili and plum!  I digress.  The veggies were really good – it’s nice to see a mix of my favorite veggies all on one plate at a restaurant (baby bok choy far surpasses regular-sized bok choy in edibility, in my opinion).  It was certainly more than enough food, but we made sure to go on to dessert anyway.

Salmon with Penang Sauce at Top Thai.

Vegetarian Pad Thai and Green Top Thai with BBQ Beef behind at Top Thai.

BBQ Beef with rice at Top Thai.

Boyfriend ordered the mango and sticky rice, reminiscent of our trip to Thailand.  This dessert is everywhere in Thailand; the rice is sticky and sweet and made with sugar and coconut milk, giving it a dessert-y texture and taste.  We tried to make it once at home and it just wasn’t the same.  The stuff at this place was pretty much the same as what we got in Thailand, though I’m not a huge mango fan so I only tried a bite.  We also ordered fried banana and ice cream, which I thought was just ok.  But what can I say, I’m a chocolate and hot-fudge-sundae kind of gal, so these fruity desserts typically don’t strike me the same as, say, Death-By-Chocolate Pie.

Mango with Sticky Rice in front, Fried Banana and Ice Cream behind, at Top Thai.

Top Thai is certainly well named in my opinion, I’d be happy to go back again for great service, beautiful atmosphere, and delicious food.

*Side Note: Did you know they call appetizers “entrees” in Australia?  It confused the heck out of us for a long time; we could not figure out why the entrees were always listed first on all the menus.

P.S. – Sorry for the void in posts, I was in Japan on vacation for three weeks and didn’t write quite enough drafts to stave off suspicion of my absence on this site.  But, I’m back, and I’m hungry.  See you here again soon.

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7 responses

24 03 2010
Greg & Tena

Thanks for the nice review of our little restaurant! It is truly appreciated. We consider our establishment to be partly a reflection of ourselves, so we really try hard to put our best foot forward. One thing we might add to your review is that there is free delivery in Castro Valley from Top Thai, and also many people do “carry out” orders (you can call ahead with the order and have it ready for quick pick up). Our menu is online at
Incidentally, no professional designed our restaurant, we did it pretty much all by ourselves. All the artwork on the walls (there is a lot) comes from our purchasing at the street markets in Northern Thailand (we have a home there and go back very often).

24 03 2010

Wow, hi Greg and Tena!! I am wondering how on earth you found my entry so quickly? You’re the first representatives of a restaurant I’ve reviewed to respond to one of my posts, I’m so excited! It’s great to hear from you…I’m glad I was contacted by someone whose place I gave a good review to!

That’s awesome about free delivery in the CV area – too bad I’m in the Hayward hills! Take out is always good too, thanks for the tips. Great job on the decorations (as I mentioned way too much already), I think it looks really pro. Thailand is really nice, you don’t by chance happen to have your home in Chiang Mai? We stayed there for a couple weeks in 2007 and had a great time.

Thanks again for responding, and feel free to link my review on your website if you feel so inclined. :)

24 03 2010
Greg & Tena

Our home is in Chiang Mai, just southeast of town. We have a large & beautiful Thai home, and will retire there in about 2-3 years. Right now, we try and visit about 3 times a year, staying about a month on each trip. So we know Chiang Mai quite well, and love it there. Also, Tena has family in the area.
Next time you or anyone else that reads your review and comments stops by Top Thai, I hope you (or they) will let us know so that we can say hello. We appreciate all your nice comments and very fun blog. A link on our site will be coming.
Greg & Tena

25 03 2010

Chiang Mai is a great place, you’re so lucky to be able to get over there so often. I usually don’t ever want to announce my presence as a blogger to restaurants (even though my blog is not prominent in any way), but since I’ve already reviewed yours, I suppose there’s no harm in saying hi next time we’re in! Thanks for the compliments and comments, I look forward to seeing a link on your site! All the best to you both.

25 03 2010
Uncle Jeffrey

No, dear, you’re an engineer; hence, it’s not “this glass is half-full” or “this glass is half-empty,” but “this glass is has twice the capacity it should have.”

4 04 2010

Jeff….WTF? Whatever you’re doing, save some for me, ok?

Hey Angie, I have been to Top Thai several times to get take-out and I always have a nice little conversation with (the owner?) – that must be Greg. He took me around the restaurant last time I was there waiting for my order and showed me some of the amazing artwork on their walls that they brought from Thailand. Very friendly guy and cool wall decorations. Next time I go in, I’m telling him I am the famous blog restaurant reviewer’s dad. I’ll be treated like royalty. :) :)

4 04 2010

I think Jeff was pointing out that an engineer is neither optimistic nor pessimistic; we just state the facts. The glass is, indeed, only filled to half capacity. But that makes for boring writing, gotta jazz it up!

Cool dad, sounds like you’re already in with the important folks over at TT, good times! :)

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