When in doubt, there are two fairly “safe bets” for dining out if you’re a vegan: Middle Eastern and Thai food. I plan to review my Phoenix favorites for both cuisines in this blog over time.
We recently visited Malee’s Thai Bistro on Main St. in Scottsdale prior to seeing David Sedaris at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. The meal was so I good thought it deserved a quick shout out.
There are some darn fine Thai restaurants in Phoenix, most of which are small, family-owned casual dining restaurants. Malee’s stands out from the crowd because while the prices are still reasonable, it is an “upscale restaurant” – aka the type I can take business associates to for lunch or dinner. It also does a great job of catering to vegetarians/vegans.
Not only do they have a vegetarian section on the menu, but I’ve also been able to order non-vegetarian items with tofu (and the required verbal verification that the sauce doesn’t have beef/chicken broth or fish oil). We also like that you can get many dishes as a small plate or full size (which is enough for two) which allows us to each order an entrée and share, or share a large dish and get an appetizer!
Our favorites are:
- Arizona Heatwave with tofu – a nice red curry with veggies that is on the hotter side
- Fresh Veggie Rolls – the dipping sauce is lick-your-fingers good (add the hot sauce to it!)
- Fried Tofu – I haven’t had this in awhile, but I remember it being of high quality (unlike the over-cooked greasy stuff I’ve gotten elsewhere)
I wouldn’t swear that Malee’s is the most authentic Thai/SE Asian restaurant in Phoenix, but it’s close. When I was in Singapore I had a red curry at Villa Bali that still blows my mind when I think about it. Malee’s Arizona Heatwave is the only dish that has come close to replicating the flavor that I remember from Singapore.
It’s a great place to go with omnivores when you’re looking to have a nice dining experience that makes everyone happy.
Malee’s blog: http://maleesthaibistro.wordpress.com/