Three of us visited on a weekday afternoon right after the lunch rush. The restaurant was still half-full, and the waitress was busy but extremely attentive.

We were first treated to a not-very-Thai (but still really good) garden salad that featured carrot shavings, raisins and what I suspect to be Russian dressing. It was flavorful and a welcome surprise to three hungry diners. 

The entrees came quickly, but not all together, leaving a couple of us awkwardly waiting in front of a steaming plate of food until everyone’s lunch arrived. Fortunately the awkwardness did not last long. The shrimp phad Thai was the first to appear and featured nearly ten good-sized shrimp, plenty of peanuts and well-cooked noodles. I had ordered it extra spicy, and unfortunately it was hardly spicy at all, but nonetheless delicious. A slice of lime on the side gave it some extra tang. 

My companions ordered tofu curry and basil chicken, both of which were reported to be tasty. The curry arrived over a fluffy bed of rice and the basil chicken was sauteed with spinach.

Unfortunately the chicken meat was ground into tiny bits and had it been cut a bit larger, it would have given the meal some much-needed substance. The spices were flavorful with a nice hint of licorice and there were plenty of leftovers, so the meal was overall satisfactory. 

The ambiance of Thailand Restaurant is somewhat lacking. It’s wide open and feels a bit like a cafe. But they offer good food, decent prices and generous helpings, making for an excellent stop for lunch or a quick dinner. 

Thailand Restaurant is located at 176 Liberty Street in downtown Salem. For information call (503) 581-1006. Reservations are not necessary.