Possibly the Best Thai in the Twin Cities

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Our friend Kim’s choice for our February’s Girls’ Dinner Night Out involved some of the best Thai in all of the Twin Cities.

How can I dare say that? There are countless Thai restaurants all over the metro area!

Because Naviya’s Thai Brasserie in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis has upped the game on Thai cuisine.

Per the website:

What we have to offer is nothing like the other Thai restaurants in town. We cook every dish not only with fresh ingredients but also with a strong sense of pride, and we’re already receiving wonderful feedback and reviews.

Because:

Most of our meat is natural without added hormones and antibiotics, and almost all of our food contains ZERO MSG. With that said, there are some trace MSG in our Mushroom Soy Sauce and Oyster Sauce. Upon your request, we offer a MSG-free Tamari Sauce as a substitution for either of the two aforementioned sauces.

Talk about transparent!

But it’s not just the food:

We’re not only about the food – We believe that beverages complement and enhance a perfect dining experience. Kim Labarge, the brasserie owner, studied from WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certification Wine & Spirits certified materials. He flew to Sydney and completed a series of rigid exams. He has also travelled around Asia to gain a first hand experience in selecting the best quality tea. His expertise is the foundation of our select list of quality wine, beer and tea from all over the world. They bring out different aspects of our menus. All of our staffs go through a mandatory wine and tea workshop, so please feel free to consult with our servers for their recommendations of wine and tea to make your meal complete.

Both Kim and I decided to try the specialty teas!

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So tasty, but not sweet if that’s what you are into. There were actually a lot of people in the restaurant drinking these teas! The wine list is pretty phenomenal, too. Too often, Asian restaurants will offer only, say, a Riesling and Chardonnay, a Merlot and Cab – both cheap and generic. The wine list is much more interesting here! Beer is bottled. I don’t believe they have any on tap. But nonetheless, it’s nothing to squawk at! Check out the beverage menu online.

The portion sizes are more than generous. Here is Jen’s entree:

Cashew Chicken: Stir-fried chicken with cashews, sweet yellow onion, green scallion, cauliflower, Yellow and green zucchini, seasoned with fresh garlic finished in Naviya’s brown sauce – $15

Jen was delighted! She said that she never thought to put cauliflower in a stir fry like this, but it worked really well.

Kim enjoyed the Massaman Curry. For whatever reason, I don’t have a photo. But here is the menu description:

Massaman (Gang Matsaman) is a southern-style Thai curry which originates in India brought by the traders 100′s of years ago. The dominate ingredient is turmeric. Your meat or protein selection is braised in a peanut and coconut puree finished in the aromatic curry sauce finished with caramelized sweet carrot and potato.

For my entree, I decided to go with something a little more interesting outside my normal Thai realm. So I chose a dish listed under Naviya’s Favorites:

Rama Thai: Slow cooked fresh cracked peanut puree, sweet coconut milk and red curry paste tossed with choice of meat served on bed of wok-charred veggies. Recommended with Shrimp!

Rama Thai: Slow cooked fresh cracked peanut puree, sweet coconut milk and red curry paste tossed with choice of meat served on bed of wok-charred veggies. Recommended with shrimp. {And that’s how I ordered it!} – $18

Wow! Was this dish tasty! The shrimp were aplenty as well as plump and perfectly cooked. The sauce was peanuty, but of a texture I’ve never had before. And oh, those vegetables! They were charred just beautifully. I ate every single vegetable on my plate. It would be hard to stray from this dish next time, but I’m really curious about the Hot Plates on the menu.

We split a serving of the ultimate Thai dessert: 

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Mangoes with Sticky Rice

While not truly necessary, Naviya’s puts extra coconut milk on the side for dipping.

The restaurant was generally full with two or three people waiting to be seated at any given time. There was also a lot of take out going on! If I lived in the area, I’d probably get takeout from Naviya’s quite often.

~

After dinner, we decided to go for coffee. On our Girls’ Dinner Nights Out, after dinner, we usually go for dessert, coffee or a nightcap. It was coffee FTW on this chilly February night!

Kim found Royal Grounds, a coffee shop I’ve been meaning to hit ever since we got back from Australia. They were the only purveyors in the Twin Cities to make a Flat White{That is, until Starbucks started doing it.}

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I most certainly had to get a Flat White, but there were a few other interesting options:

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I love the “royal” look to this place.

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One thing I found interesting at Royal Grounds:

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I know that the banishment of tipping is becoming more of a trend in the USA, although I haven’t been to restaurant yet that does this. It’s much more up-and-coming in NYC, although there are a few in Twin Cities that do it, too. Here, it is built into their prices. Some restaurants just add the service onto the bill at the end.

For the record, there was no real tipping trend in Australia. Minimum wage is roughly $16/hour. We didn’t find service to be typically that good in restaurants there, but that’s all based on our American standards, you know. Many of the servers we encountered were foreign, too, English being their second language, which sometimes made it difficult to communicate.

I digress, because we were not in Australia here! On the contrary. It was a cold, February night in Minnesota.

The girls got much more beautiful beverages than my little flat white:

Royal Grounds was a cozy little place to relax and chat over delicious caffeinated beverages. Now, if only they could make me some Caramel Slice… 😉

What is your favorite Thai Dish?

Is there a beverage from your travels you wish you could order at home?

Cheers~
Carrie

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