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.