5065 Nicholson Ln.
Rockville, MD 20852
Cuisines: Thai, Vegetarian/Vegan
Open Monday and Tuesday 11 to 2:30 and 5 to 9:30, Wednesday through Friday 11 to 2:30 and 5 to 10, Saturday Noon to 10 PM, and Sunday Noon to 9 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: White Flint
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Vegetable spring rolls; shrimp salad with lime and chili paste; larb gai; green shrimp curry; clay-pot mussels with lemongrass and Thai basil; salmon with scallions, Thai basil, and shredded ginger; eggplant with Thai basil; deep-fried bananas with vanill
Appetizers $4.95 to $7.95, entrées $9.95 to $13.95.
Why go: Amina Toopet, the owner of this small and serene Muslim Thai eatery—no pork, no alcohol, Halal meat slaughtered according to Islamic law—is as gracious a hostess as you could wish for. She scrubs the place down daily until the yellow-and-blue walls glow and the wooden floors gleam. The kitchen—headed by her husband, Hassan—is just as committed: The lineup of familiar-sounding Thai dishes sparkles with clear, bright flavors.
What to get: Beautifully fried vegetarian spring rolls; clay-pot mussels redolent of lemongrass and Thai basil; larb gai, the minced-chicken dish enlivened with roasted chilies, red onion, lime, and cilantro; coconut-laced green curry with shrimp and Thai eggplant; crisp-skinned salmon smothered with scallions, Thai basil, and shredded ginger; a clever take on the classic fried-banana dessert—wonton-wrapped bananas drizzled with honey and served with vanilla ice cream.
Best for: Intimate dinners.
Insider tip: Amina Toopet has favorites on the menu and will steer you toward them if you ask.
See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants