Basil Thai Cafe

Basil Thai CafeI’ve been hearing a lot of buzz surrounding Basil Thai restaurant on the corner of the Loop and 5th Street, the majority of it proclaiming the food delicious and the decor downright scary.  After I’d heard so many negative things regarding the restaurant’s interior I was actually quite relieved when I tried Basil Thai for the first time on Saturday to see that it’s not so awful after all.

Sure, the dining room is decidedly minimalist, yet it’s clean and tidy and sufficiently serves its purpose.  There was only one other table in the dining room when we arrived, so we had a moment to ask the girl behind the counter for a few suggestions.  We’d been advised that the dishes are served in astronomical portions, so we knew ahead of time that we would start with an appetizer and split an entree.  We were told the Pad Thai and the Spicy Basil were the two most popular dishes, so we decided on the Pad Thai and ordered a bowl of Tom Yum Goong (really spicy shrimp and mushroom soup).

Basil Thai CafeItems on the menu at Basil Thai are rated in terms of heat by either one, two, or three stars.  One star meant you’d experience a tingling sensation, two stars a stimulating kick, and three stars meant raging fire.  Our soup had two stars and it felt to me like raging fire, so I am certainly happy I didn’t try anything with three stars.  The Pad Thai had no stars so it was not spicy, yet it was very delicious.  And yes, the portion was ridiculously large.   It had chicken, bean sprouts, egg, tofu, green onion, and Thai glass noodles all together in a tasty sauce.  I would most definitely order it again.

I am so pleased that Tyler finally has a good Thai restaurant.  If you’re concerned about the no-frills dining room, I’d suggest calling in your order for takeout so you can enjoy your meal at home or at work or wherever you prefer.  This is one hole in the wall not to be missed.

Basil Thai CafeBasil Thai Cafe
1700 S Southeast Loop 323 #102
Tyler, TX 75701-5000
(903) 566-8000


  1. Absolutely delicious food. I had the Pad Thai, and it was easily the best I’ve tasted. For dessert, the mango and sticky rice cannot be beat. Try the Thai Iced Tea, which is amazing but very rich.

  2. I’m wild about this place. My favorite is the deluxe Thai salad (with the green papaya strips) and spicy dressing, the Thai egg rolls and the red curry chicken. My husband and I get those almost every time but I’ve also tried the coconut soup (spicy) and the pad Thai. We like spicy things and they certainly deliver. Another new place to try is Pho Vietnamese on Hwy 64.

  3. Decent Thai food for Tyler, but they need to work on the decor a little IMO. Their outside sign is so small I’ve driven right past it many times before finally stopping to eat there one day when I remembered we actually had an authentic Thai restaurant in Tyler.

  4. Their Yellow Curry Chicken dish is soooooo good. And for the price you get a ridiculous amount of food. As long as the food is delicious, they can slide on the decor. But I do agree that they need a bigger signnage outside their establishment.

  5. Fantastic food! Love the pad thai or the pineapple fried rice with chicken. The tea is ridiculously good. So glad it’s here!

  6. Best curry in Tyler…way better than Wasabi’s or Kung’s…

  7. We have been going to Thai ever since it opened, at least once a week and sometimes twice at lunchtime. The decor is simple, but, I can deal with it better than having loud noise and music. We have had business meetings there with sales reps. You can converse and hear one another speaking in normal tones. The food is great, and enough to feed 2 or 3 people. Only place I can eat that has tofu, as I am not a meat eater. My favorite place in Tyler to eat.

  8. Really the ONLY place in Tyler to get authentic curry…sorry Kung & Wasabi…ya’all’s curry doesn’t cut the mustard!

  9. I ate at Basil Thai today got the Pad Thai it tasted like nasty wok metal. I liked the Thai tea. I have had the best Thai Food in Calif.

  10. You don’t actually think Thai food in lil ol Tyler is gonna compare to Thai food in CA, now do you….?

  11. We’ve eaten at Basil Thai Cafe many times, and it is usually just okay. If you want some of the best Thai in the US, it’s worth a drive over to Longview for Lil Thai House. They are located downtown, in a tiny dive location, always a long line, short hours (M-F, 11-2 & 5-9, ONLY), be prepared for a bit of a wait… they are usually super busy… and don’t be intimidated by all the piercings & tat’s on their longtime employees… very friendly place and recently written up in Texas Monthly for their excellence. If you can’t make it over to Longview try Bamboo Garden in Tyler on NW side of the loop. It’s a new Thai/Vietnamese combination restaurant. They are very nice, and prepare each and every dish they offer very well.

  12. We had lunch at Basil Thai today. We have had just about every thing on the menu. If a person does not like the food, its either because they like Thai American or they don’t know how real Thai food is prepared by Thai cooks in the kitchen. We have lunch there once or twice a week. My question is how many places are there in Tyler that have vegeterian meals, or tofu?
    Oh, yes, Miss Ca. all the food from there is cooked different any more. There are blends of ingredients that don’t go together, and y’all call THAT GOOD. LOL

  13. Well,I am a native Texan. And thanks for the info on the other places to try. I will try both.

  14. You can also get a four star that is super hot I only eat 1/3 of my plate because my mouth was on fire but it tasted great

  15. it was ok when I ate. not one of my top faves though. the thai in seattle is WAY better but can’t really compare the two areas can we!

  16. Finally a decent Thai restaurant in Tyler! Long overdue. Atmosphere has improved immensely from the first time I visited. 2 new dishes on the board are very good. Now I don’t have to drive to Dallas to get good Thai food. Staff is v friendly and dishes are quite generous for the price. Always going to find someone who complains about food they are not accustomed to. The best part about this restaurant is that the chicken fried steak crowd doesn’t frequent it that often, if ever. Nice to have some culture in Tyler, finally! Now if I could only buy a beer in the supermarket or gas station.

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