Chabaa Thai Downtown

Originally posted Dec. 17, 2011

This one is a little late coming (sorry, it’s busy being a journo student) – but about a month ago, I celebrated a good friend’s birthday with a big, spicy, delicious feed of Thai food at Chabaa Thai – and I’m still thinking about it.

For a long time, I had heard that Chabaa Thai was the best Thai food in the city. I’m a big fan of both spicy and Thai, and I’ve had pretty good meals at some of the other Thai restaurant in Halifax.

We arrived pretty late on a Saturday night, after debating back and forth over where to go for the birthday celebration that was good, but not too expensive (don’t let two foodies, the birthday boy, and a chef ever try to debate on a restaurant).

I was intrigued by the interior – it wasn’t what I had expected. It was sort of modern, almost with an industrial feel, bright colours, and touches here and there of Southeast Asian flare. I really liked it.

I started with the hot and sour soup, and chose tofu as my protein. The soup is flavoured with lime leaves, lemon grass, tomatoes, mushrooms, shallots and of course chilies. The broth was a nice deep tomato-herb base. I loved the heat in this soup – it wasn’t overpowering, as in your mouth wasn’t burning with each bite – but a slow, deep heat set in your entire body and began to make you sweat it out about half-way through the bowl. Perfect.

For the rest of the meal, the four of us ordered a few different dishes for sharing. These were:

  • Fresh spring rolls (cold)
  • Spicy seafood noodle
  • Garlic and pepper squid
  • Cashew vegetables
  • Green curry prawns
  • Steamed jasmine rice

Everything was delicious. While my all-time favourite Thai dish is green curry prawns, I actually enjoyed the spicy seafood noodle the best on this particular occasion. This dish is pictured above. It had fantastic heat, with the seafood (squid, mussels and shrimp) all cooked very nicely. Great use of fresh herbs, especially cilantro, in most of our choices.

The rest of the dishes were done well, the curry also having nice heat. But the two dishes that really stood out for me were the hot and sour soup, and the spicy seafood noodle.

Service was excellent. We enjoyed a bottle of wine, lots of Thai beer (Singha), and of course copious amounts of water.

I was surprised when the bill came – we had chosen Thai over some of the fine dining restaurants in the city because we thought it would be more economical – but we still spent more than $200 among the four of us. Beer and wine will do that.

I agree – this is the best Thai (I’ve had) in Halifax. I’ll let you look for yourself with some photos.

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