The East Side of Providence is home to a wealth of restaurants, with most of them concentrated along Wickenden Street in the Fox Point area and Thayer Street in the College Hill neighborhood. But among the huge homes and beautiful blocks around the lower end of Hope Street (just east of College Hill and north of Wickenden Street) is a small, quiet commercial area with a few stores and dining spots, including a tiny restaurant called Sawaddee Thai. And while Sawaddee might not be on the radar of diners enjoying a night out in Providence (especially considering some of the great places to eat in and near this upscale section of town), it is definitely not a place to be overlooked.
Sawaddee Thai has barely enough room for anyone to sit inside it, so the place does a lot of takeout. But the white-walled dining area is oddly cozy and intimate, with that satisfying feel of a restaurant that has been discovered. A couple of tables are situated next to windows, giving diners a good view of this beautiful neighborhood. And though the place is small, the menu is actually rather extensive, with all types of entrees including seafood, noodle and rice dishes, chef's specialties, and northeast-style hot and sour dishes. Sawaddee Thai also has a number of soups and appetizers, with the steamed dumplings being a very tasty way to start dinner here, as the dumplings have a terrific mix of ground meat and veggies inside a fresh dumpling, and served with a delicious soy-based sauce. The entrees range from Americanized dishes such as the classic pad Thai dish (which is particularly good here), to exotic, such as sauteed squid with sweet sauce and string beans, to a number of entrees somewhere in between, including a tremendous version of the popular drunken noodle dish (flat, wide noodles with stir-fried meat and vegetables, all in a tasty brown sauce). Service at Sawaddee Thai seems pretty good, but don't expect the food to come out right away, as items tend to be cooked to order here.
Sawaddee Thai is probably not going to win any awards for Thai food (and certainly doesn't approach the greatness of Dok Bua in Brookline, MA), but it is a charming little spot located in one of the nicest urban neighborhoods in all of New England. Combine that with easy parking and reasonable prices and you have yourself yet another restaurant worth seeking out in Rhode Island's largest city.
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