Monday, January 24, 2011

Spice Island Tea House

253 Atwood St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Spice Island Tea House is tucked away on Oakland's Atwood Street where champion beer chuggers run amok. In fact, if you are walking there at the right time, you may be cordially invited into a Pitt house party to shotgun beers.

This dive restaurant has a small awning and minimal storefront with the inside closed off with knickknacks. It almost appeared as if it were hiding the inside from its surroundings. And maybe that was precisely the point. If the building were in an uppity neighborhood it would stick out like a sore thumb. But it worked perfectly being that it is in Oakland.

Once inside, the first thing I noticed was the minimalist and simple decor. Back in the 13th century when I went to college, we would toss together any hand-me-down pieces of furniture and arrange them as Feng shui as possible. By frat boy standards that basically meant stuffing as many tv's in a 200 square foot space as possible. But the table arrangements in Spice Island took me back to those days. A table from a garage sale here, a few chairs from a church basement there. It worked great, especially because of the restaurant's location.

Our waitress was as nice as can be. I admitted my culinary ineptitude, which she rebutted with a simple description of each of her favorites. She claimed they had "the best Pad Thai in the world." I wanted to broaden my Thai cuisine horizons but with this claim how could I resist? So I went with the Pad Thai. Stacy was feeling adventurous and went with a new choice. I will spare you the horror of attempting to type whatever it was.

The food was in front of us in no time. It came out on a smaller platter that appeared as though I would be leaving unfulfilled. As we ate I realized it was a visual distortion and that a food coma would ensue by meal's end. The taste was unlike that of many of the other Thai restaurants around. And the peanuts were not as dominant.

My favorite Pad Thai thus far was at Typhoon. So I am not in total agreement with our waitress. But it was still an excellent meal nonetheless. 

The total bill including tip came in at under $25.

Overall, this was a very pleasant and unintimidating dining experience for us novices. 


Spice Island Tea House on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I went for the Chiang Mai Noodles which consisted of wheat noodles in a red curry sauce with minced chicken, hot peppers, carrots, mushrooms, onion, and cilantro. And might I add that I thought it was fantastic! :)