My husband and I have a Friday night Thai food ritual. Each week, like clockwork, our cravings for Thai lead us around town, trying new places and revisiting old standbys.

Galanga Thai Cuisine is a favorite of downtown Tacoma dwellers and workers. Its central location and consistently quality, flavorful food brings customers back again and again. A recent visit to Galanga sealed the deal as one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Tacoma.

Galanga Four Buddies and One Pal Galanga drunken noodles Galanga pad thai

If you think all Thai restaurants are the same, think again. Sure, many have the same or similar menu items, but subtle flavor differences between dishes from restaurant to restaurant set them apart.

Take, for instance, Phad Thai. This classic dish of stir-fried rice noodles, sprouts and protein in a peanut sauce is present on nearly all Thai restaurant menus in the area, but this dish can range from overly sweet or sour, bland to bursting with flavor. Galanga’s Phad Thai (top right) ($10.95, chicken, beef or tofu; $12.95, prawn) is a perfect balance of savory and sweet, with good heat levels of your choice.

Their fresh salad rolls (inset) ($7.25, for four), a light, refreshing appetizer with prawns, vegetables and Thai basil, is a great way to start your meal. Less impressive are their fried spring rolls (inset) ($6.25, for four), which aren’t particularly special, but still good.

My personal favorite dish to order is drunken noodles with chicken (above middle) ($10.95, chicken, beef or tofu, $12.95, prawn). The wide rice noodles have a chewy bite, with hits of Thai basil, peppers and intensely savory sauce.

A dish with a unique name, Four Buddies and One Pal (top left) ($11.95, pork, chicken or tofu; $13.95, prawns), is one I hadn’t tried before. With carrots, broccoli, baby corn and mushrooms with your choice of protein in a garlicky, uniquely flavored sauce, is served with rice.

Also setting Galanga apart is their willingness to accommodate vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners. Simply make your dietary needs/preferences to the server.

On my most recent visit, the service was good, but not stellar. The food came quickly, but water and beer refills didn’t come until we were finished with our meal. This was, however, on a busy Friday night with full tables.

What’s your favorite dish to order at Galanga?

  • The Lowdown:
    Galanga Thai Cuisine | 1129 Broadway, Tacoma | 253-272-3393
    Cuisine: Thai, wine, beer, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options
    Menus: Lunch | Dinner
    Neighborhood: Downtown Tacoma
    Price: Appetizers, soups and salads $6.75-$14.50, noodles and entrees $10.95-$18.95.
    Atmosphere: Casual, warm, and comfortable, with minimalistic decor
    Dining Options: Dine in, take-out, lunch, dinner
    Reservations Needed? No. Even if it’s busy, you’ll get seated pretty quickly.
    Hours: Lunch – Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Dinner – Mon.-Fri.  2:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sat. 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

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