Tamarind Hall is just the kind of restaurant that sets San Francisco apart and above.
Here, in no particular order, are the key ingredients:
- Simply delicious food
- A welcoming atmosphere
- A neighborhood favorite
- Reasonable prices
- Asian ethnic.
Tamarind Hall is the loving obsession of Bangkok-born Salisa Skinner who studied law on the Peninsula, practiced IT law in Silicon Valley and gave all that up to become the untrained chef and no-experience owner of a northern Thai restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach.
And, through a work ethic bordering on all-consuming, led it into instant success.
Tamarind Hall is a loudish, family-friendly, date-impressing room with a sports bar catering to cheering fans at one end and romantic tables for two (and four, and six) at the other. Patrons tend toward young, good-looking and multi-ethnic.
Presentation tends toward beautiful, and service — by adorable Thai waitresses and handsome waiters — is swift and cheerful. Oh, and drinks are among the best I’ve had in San Francisco; the fresh and refreshing Thai Collins ($11) is the best I’ve had in San Francisco.
Some outstanding dishes: Curry + Roti Dip ($9), a four-dip sampler of Tamarind Hall curries. Sai Ua + Namprik Noom ($15), spicy chicken sausage, sticky rice and pepper relish. Yam Makua Yao ($12), grilled eggplant, duck eggs and house-cured bacon. Pumpkin Curry ($13.50), with coconut milk and Thai spices. The ice cream desserts make a cool close to a hot — but not burning hot — meal.
The restaurant is across the street from Caffe Trieste, half a block from the Shrine of St. Francis Assisi, and down the hill from Coit Tower.
Tamarind Hall is an instant Older Fave; try it — we think you’ll love it.
Tamarind Hall Thai Street Food & Bar: 1268 Grant Street, corner of Vallejo. Parking’s a challenge. Open daily for lunch and dinner: Monday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 10:30 p.m. www.tamarindhall.com. For more information or reservations, also available through OpenTable.com and YelpReservations.com, call (628) 444-3158 or (415) 866-6337