First impressions are lasting and this one was good.
Located in the old location of Tina's Creekside Cafe it is beautifully redone. I'd say nicest restaurant in within a 10 mile radius ,,, even though there are so few contenders that they can be can be counted on one hand ... with lots of fingers left over. Anyone local could use this as a nice date restaurant without having to drive to Berkeley. Wine and beer is served. I didn't see the wine list, but saw a bottle of Sterling.
It seems they have items that aren't often on Thai menus. The dishes are very fresh tasting. Here's what I ordered for takeout with menu description
- Lime prawn soup $4
A tart, hot broth accented with prawns, lime juice, lemongrass, cilantro, mushrooms and house-roasted chili sauce
-Himapan chicken $7.25
Chicken and cashew nuts sauteed with garlic black sweet sauce, pepper, onion and broccoli
They also are fond of baby corn and both dishes had a few.
The soup was lovely though not hot in terms of spice and not that tart. None of the mentioned ingredients stood out in the broth, but it was subtle with the shrimp flavor dominating. There were lots of fresh button mushrooms and four plump shrimp with tails on.
There was a mix up and I got the himapan version with both shrimp and chicken. The sauce was lightly applied. i really couldn't see it but it gave the whole dish a pleasant subdued garlic flavor. It came with a nice scoop of jasmine rice.
Service was very pleasant and welcoming. There is a long green banquette along the wall with three large windows. Four cozy booths line another wall. there are a few tables. Cloth napkins are folded beautifully.
The only caveat is that their take-out menu is kind of a mess with lunch dishes mixed with dinner dishes and very little to indicate which is which. They say the new menu is on the way. Until then, I'd ask to see the in-house restaurant menus if planning takeout.
Calilfornia Thai Restaurant
3873 San Pablo Dam Rd, El Sobrante, CA 94803