Sawatdy cooks up ‘vivid, succulent’ Thai food


Former London Times and Chicago Daily News music critic Bernard Jacobson now writes restaurant reviews for the Kitsap Sun.

This week, Jacobson treks up to Bainbridge Island to try Sawatdy Thai Cuisine.


Steering clear of the wild disagreements I have seen in online reviews of this restaurant, and of the family feuds that are hinted to underlie the Thai restaurant scene on Bainbridge Island, I want simply to celebrate this place as one of the best restaurants — of any style of cuisine — that I have yet discovered on the island.

Approaching it from the outside, you will not be impressed: the Island Center location is in a rather tired-looking little strip of businesses, including a gas station. But once through the door, you will find a pleasant room decorated with some folksy artifacts, comfortable seating, and a very cordial and efficient wait staff. (The Poulsbo Thai restaurant I reviewed a year or so ago should take lessons from Sawatdy, not only in cooking but in charm.)

The food is delicious, boasting a well-prepared Pad Thai and all the other usual suspects to be found on a Thai menu. There’s also a decent list of beers, and of wines that include one or two from the Bainbridge Island Winery not far from the restaurant.

On our first visit, my wife and I made the mistake of ordering soup, two appetizers, and two main dishes … a mistake only because there was so much food our doggie bags supplied us amply with dinner for two more evenings. Our soup was vividly flavored with lemon grass, appetizers crisp and succulent enough that it was hard to pass them up on a second visit, and main dishes included a green curry of chicken that was exceptionally satisfying in its balance of spices.

The second time around, a red curry was perhaps a touch less successful, but even this was still very good, and at Sawatdy’s moderate prices everything we’ve eaten there has been more than acceptable. It will certainly be one of our regular haunts on future visits to Bainbridge.

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Sawatdy Thai Cuisine

Food: 8/10, Service: 9/10

Where: 8770 Fletcher Bay Rd. NE, Bainbridge Island

Hours: Lunch — Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 a.m.; Dinner — Tuesday to Sunday from 5 p.m.

Payment: Visa, Master Card and Discover accepted

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Information: (206) 780-2429