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REVIEW: Siam Thai Restaurant

The Round-up:

  • Food - 4 out of 5
  • Service - 3.5 out of 5
  • Decor - 3.5 out of 5
  • Total - 11 out of 15
$9 for lunch buffet, $13-18 for dinner or Saturday lunch. Open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner.

1946 Hamilton Street, Regina, SK


When I first heard there was a Thai restaurant on Hamilton Street downtown, I have to admit I was a little skeptical.

I pictured a little hole-in-the-wall place that would see a lot of foot traffic during the day (but few actual customers) and almost no one at night (when Regina's downtown transforms into a semi-deserted ghost town).

Boy, was I wrong.

First of all, Hamilton Street is undergoing a huge makeover. Over the last couple of years, new shops and eateries are popping up and filling in the holes left by vacant storefronts. There are still a few gaps, but given time they'll fill in too.

Second of all, Regina's downtown office crowd loves the place. Pay a visit almost any weekday at lunch and you'll be lucky to get a table if you're not there right at noon.

If you're new to Thai food, Siam's lunch buffet is an excellent place to start. There's always a good selection of meat, vegetable, and noodle dishes (Pad Thai is a sure bet), along with a couple of appetizer and dessert items.

Best of all, you can be in and out of the place with a full belly in 30 minutes or less. And get this, the grand total for the lunch buffet comes to less than $10 per person, tax included. I know, shocking.

Hold on now, before you drop the laptop and run down to Hamilton Street I need to talk more about the food.

On a recent Saturday morning, a group of us paid a visit to Siam for a not-so-traditional brunch (there's no buffet on Saturdays, FYI). We got off to a rocky start when we showed up at 11 a.m. (opening time) and the doors were still locked for another 15 minutes.

This didn't sit well with me -- unlike my usual Saturday morning of sleep and relaxation, I'd already done two loads of laundry, shopped for groceries, and ran a couple of other errands. I was hung-ree.

Once we were seated, things went more smoothly. Our gracious waiter was patient with us as we waited for others to arrive and took our time figuring out what to eat.

We ordered a ton of food, by the way. Siam makes this relatively easy by including pictures in the menu and on nifty digital photo frames hung on the walls next to tables.

These are my top three picks, for the first-timer:

- Appetizer: Mieng Kham (Leaf Wraps): This dish is a pleasure to behold and to eat. Crispy fresh coconut, fresh ginger, red onion, Thai chili, lime, cashews, and plum sugar sauce, served on top of bok choy leaves that you roll up yourself, then pop in your mouth.

- Entrees: Larb Moo: This item technically falls under the Salad category on the menu, but its size and filling portion makes it more like a meal. Spicy ground pork is mixed with roasted rice, red onions, green onions, cilantro, and lime juice. It's got some heat but not so much as to scare the beginner away.

Pad Thai: You haven't truly lived until you've had this Thai classic. A bed of warm rice noodles is covered in fried tofu, bean sprouts, and shrimp, then layered with sauce. Practically everyone likes Pad Thai. If you're completely unsure of what to order, start here.

On the whole, Siam is one of downtown's best restaurants with a huge menu, good service, reasonable prices and decent opening hours.

OK, you're dismissed. Eat much and prosper.

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