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

Los Gueros Taqueria

Los GuerosTyler has a pretty decent selection of small, mostly Mexican, hole in the wall restaurants that are pretty darn good and definitely worth checking out.  Like I mentioned before, I am a fan of authentic Mexican food.  A big fan.  I like Tex-Mex if it is good and fresh, but not any of that frozen, generic tasting, cheese loaded stuff found in far too many places around here.  I much prefer a simple taco to a plate of enchiladas, and how about some free beans instead of a basket of chips and salsa?   Actually, I love chips and salsa, but it’s nice to change it up on occasion.

This brings me to notable hole in the wall numero uno, Los Gueros Taqueria on Vine Street.  My husband has been raving about this place for years…  Even claiming that their (free!) beans are better than his mothers.  Finally, I agreed to meet him for lunch there this week, and WOW have I ever been missing out.  You walk in, order, then take a seat and wait for your food to arrive.  I ordered one #7 Taco which I believe was something like beef, avocado, and melted white cheese and a small Maria’s salad which was lettuce, tomato, avocado, chicken, beans, carrots served with dressing.  We helped ourselves to the free beans, took a seat and waited for our food.   The food came quickly, and everything was just as delicious as I expected. I was especially impressed with the salad, which was HUGE and a meal in itself.

Los Gueros Taqueria
929 South Vine Avenue
Tyler, TX 75701-1463
(903) 526-8226

Lindo Mexico Restaurant

Lindo MexicoNotable hole in the wall numero dos would be another taqueria, Lindo Mexico on East Gentry. The thing that makes this place notable is the freaking unbelievable prices. For two crispy chicken tacos with rice and beans and a set up of chips with salsa and queso the price is only $3.99. And the food is great! This is another place my husband talked me into trying, and I am so glad he did. Also, they serve breakfast and the parking lot is usually full so it must be pretty good.

Lindo Mexico
2410 East Gentry Parkway
Tyler, TX 75708-9072
(903) 526-5464

Taqueria El Lugar

El LugarNumero tres isn’t so much of a hole in the wall anymore, though it did start out that way…  El Lugar – what every hole in the wall dreams of becoming, started with one small location on Gentry, but now has locations on Troup, in Bullard, and on 5th Street.  I’ve never eaten anything from El Lugar other that the legendary Super Quesadilla, but I’ve heard everything on the menu is delish.  One major drawback is they don’t accept credit cards – cash only.  At least this is the case at the Gentry location which happens to be closest to my office.  If they took cards I would eat there MUCH more than I currently do…  I just never carry cash.

Taqueria El Lugar
1726 E Gentry Parkway
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 597-4717

Taqueria El Lugar
3320 Troup Highway
Tyler, TX 75701-8395
(903) 526-1188

Taqueria El Lugar
2121 East 5th Street
Tyler, TX 75701-3515
(903) 526-6118

Taqueria El Lugar
155 US Highway 69 N
Bullard, TX 75757
(903) 894-9242