Cheap Eats 2007: Amina Thai

Arrive early for dinner and you might find owner Amina Toopet sipping soup at a table in the back of this blue-and-yellow dining room. A Muslim Thai, Toopet is the heart and soul of the place, a welcoming presence in her pink headscarf.

She’ll steer your meal to delicately crimped dumplings and perfectly fried vegetable spring rolls. Or to homestyle plates like tart shrimp salad with lime, beef stoked with chili oil, or creamy green shrimp curry that leaves a pleasant tingle. Specials like basil fish (tilapia) pungent with garlic are worth the slightly higher prices. In accordance with Muslim law, there’s no alcohol—or pork. Sweet Thai coffee and tea offer cool respite.

A marvel of a dessert is worth splurging on: banana slices wrapped in crisp rice paper sprinkled with sesame seeds and drizzled with honey and chocolate sauce. Have it à la mode with coconut ice cream for a Thai-style banana split.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.