I recently went to Royal Thai Bistro for the first time, at the recommendation of some of my Twitter buddies. Feeling a little peaky, I really was in the mood for pho, but didn’t want to drive all the way to my favorite pho spots (Pho V&V or Pho King).

Browsing their menu online, I saw they had beef noodle soup. Consider me intrigued. I’d never seen beef noodle soup on a Thai restaurant’s menu before.

I ordered it take-out, brought it home and was pleasantly surprised. First of all, it’s a huge portion if you order it take-out. I’ve since been back to the restaurant and ordered it eating in, and it was probably half the size. When you order it take-out, you get a full soup container of broth and herbs, and a full container of noodles. Let’s just say I ate it out of a mixing bowl, and it was a good four servings.

The soup has a deep, rich beef broth — more unctuous and flavorful than any pho I’ve ever had. I keep comparing the soup to pho, but it really isn’t the same thing. The noodles in Royal Thai Bistro’s soup are more akin to the rice noodles in pad Thai. When you order, they ask you the level of spice you’d like (as opposed to pho, where you add your own). The broth is laden with cilantro, crushed peanuts, some bean sprouts and lots of quality beef. I’m not entirely sure the exact cut of beef they use, but it’s a higher quality than you’d normally get in pho. It’s more of a tender steak.

I’m now obsessed with this soup. With the weather we’ve been having and all the bugs going around, it’s the perfect thing for our next seven months dreariness.

Go forth and order it.

But that’s not all that is tasty at Royal Thai Bistro…

On the appetizer menu is something called stuffed chicken wings ($10.95). My first thought was how the heck do you stuff a chicken wing? They basically de-bone most of it, and stuff it with an eggroll-like stuffing of bean thread noodles and vegetables. My husband really enjoyed these.

Royal Thai Bistro’s pad Thai ($10.95) is a generous portion, and one of the better I’ve had. Their spice levels don’t seem to be as spicy as other Thai restaurants in town, though, so I’d recommend you order one spice level up than you normally do.

Also order-worthy are the fresh spring rolls ($6.95), which have a delicate flavor, and are filled with ground chicken, shrimp, herbs and lettuce.

The interior of the restaurant is bright and welcoming, and nicely decorated. Bonus: It’s right next-door to Pint Defiance, Tacoma’s most excellent beer shop. Rumor is, you can sit at the counter of Pint Defiance, sip a beer and order in Royal Thai Bistro’s food. Excellent.

Royal Thai Bistro | 2045 Mildred Street, Tacoma | 253-564-9409 | Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday 12 p.m.-9 p.m.

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  1. Stephanie Trower

    Royal Thai Bistro doesn’t make up in ambience what it’s food lacks……#blah

    1. adrienne Listing Owner

      I agree that their food isn’t as good as some other places in town! This is just a specific dish I liked.