Authentic new Thai Bistro restaurant opens on Boise Avenue

Crab Rangoon ($9) is served with a signature, housemade dipping sauce. One Google reviewer raved that it was “the best I’ve ever had. They add a hint of citrus to it that’s amazing.”

Crab Rangoon ($9) is served with a signature, housemade dipping sauce. One Google reviewer raved that it was “the best I’ve ever had. They add a hint of citrus to it that’s amazing.”

Thai Bistro

Jib Waggoner had wanted to own a Thai restaurant for years.

So when word got out that Thai Basil might sell its operation at 590 E. Boise Ave., she and some foodie pals — natives of Thailand, all — seized the opportunity.

“She’s always had a dream with her two friends of having their own Thai restaurant,” her husband, Todd Waggoner, explained. “All three of the owners have 15 years combined (Thai) restaurant experience.”

They’re off to an encouraging start.

After soft opening Sept. 1 and officially opening Sept. 9, Thai Bistro has racked up a perfect 5-star score from reviewers: 10 on Google, two on Yelp. Todd Waggoner, the restaurant’s “business liaison,” says they’re actively encouraging customers to post feedback.

“This is the most authentic Thai restaurant in Boise so far,” one Yelp reviewer raved. “Well thought-out menu with wide variety. We loved the flavors and the level of heat. Great selection of beers and wine.”

“Very, very pleased,” added a Google reviewer. “I live right down the road and was devastated when Thai Basil closed down because Thai is my favorite food. I’ve only eaten here once so far, but they outdid my expectations.”

papaya salad.jpg
Som Tum papaya salad is on the menu for $13. Thai Bistro

Thai Bistro is not a carbon copy of Thai Basil, which closed in June after a three-year run.

Waggoner candidly describes Thai Bistro’s pricing as “mid- to high range if you look at all of the Thai restaurants in town. But our portion sizes are very ample. Our ingredients are well-sourced. For example, we don’t mix half-and-half with our coconut milk like a lot of places do.

“And we believe our quality is superior, of course,” he said, adding with a laugh: “Like everyone.”

Pad Thai, the national stir-fry dish of Thailand, is $14. Som Tum Thai/Laos (papaya salad) costs $13. Pineapple Curry, a favorite? $14.

Summer Rolls, a popular appetizer, go for $10. So far, diners are loving this choice of chicken, shrimp or fried tofu, blended with fresh lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, basil leaves and rice vermicelli, wrapped in a rice paper sheet. “They’re delicious, they’re fresh,” Waggoner says. “They’re healthy. And it’s homemade sauce that we dip them in.”

Seating separates Thai Bistro from its predecessor. Hampered by pandemic-era business challenges, Thai Basil reverted to takeout only. Thai Bistro offers full-service dining with a capacity of 91. Takeout is available, but delivery is not.

Bottom line? “We’re aiming to hit the mark with authentic Thai cuisine,” Waggoner says.

Thai Bistro does offer one notable nontraditional Thai dish, though: pho. The popular soup — made with noodles, broth, meat and herbs — is “just such a trend,” Waggoner explains. “And there’s not a big presence on that end of town for it.”

To date, customers are ordering pho only sporadically. So it may not last forever on the menu. “It takes a long time to prep,” Waggoner admits.

Thai Bistro is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It’s closed Sundays.


This story was originally published September 14, 2022 11:37 AM.

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An entertainment reporter and columnist, Michael Deeds chronicles the Boise good life: restaurants, concerts, culture, cool stuff. Deeds materialized at the Idaho Statesman as an intern in 1991 before taking on roles including sportswriter, features editor and music critic. Over the years, his freelance work has ranged from writing album reviews for The Washington Post to hyping Boise in that airline magazine you left on the plane. Deeds has a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Nebraska.