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New menu at Kitsilano's Maenam combines traditional Thai with West Coast flair.
Curry from Vancouver’s Maenam restaurant, serving upscale Thai at affordable prices in Kitsilano.
Kitsilano’s Maenam restaurant recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. That year, which included the recession, saw Maenam go from strength to strength, picking up Vanmag’s award for Best Thai, as well as Silver for Best New Restaurant.
This summer, Maenam, blocks away from Kits’ beach, plan to offer a beach basket so that you can enjoy their fresh flavours in the fresh air. But for the full experience, you’ll want to dine in.
1938 W 4th Ave, Vancouver
Pad Thai is synonymous with Thai food the world over, and no self-respecting Thai restaurant would be without it. Maenam’s classy version of this classic dish is cheaper than some local Thai holes-in-the-wall.
All dishes respect Thai food’s balance between sweet, salty and spicy, none more so than Chef Angus An’s eight-spice Ling Cod.
Special mention also goes to Maenam’s desserts. Often a weak point in Asian cuisine (for Western palates), An diverges from “authentic” Thai and serves up classic dishes with Thai accents (think cheesecake parfait with kaffir lime leaf syrup).
Maenam strikes a fine balance, elevating the Thai restaurant from the usual cheap and cheery to that fun stage before you hit fine dining.
The rear section of the restaurant, raised up a few steps, gives Maenam a casual neighbourhood feel, as do the long bar and windows that open onto lively West 4th. The décor nods to its Thai influences with a faux-bamboo panel behind the bar and through the room’s subtle pink and green colour story.
To fully partake in the fun atmosphere, allow time before dinner for one of their bespoke cocktails. Maenam’s cocktails are a) beautiful and b) far too easy to drink. They mix traditional components with exotic flavours. The Monsoon blends Remy Martin Cointreau with calamansi juice.
The wine list features local and international wines, with bottles starting from $31. They have even managed to find some stellar reds that complement the Thai cuisine, though, for me, Kruger-Rumpf’s sweet Riesling was too delicious a counterpoint to the spices.
• Starters: $8–9
• Mains: $15–18
• Wines: $7–10 (by the glass)
• Cocktails: $9–10
Vegetarian options: 2 starters, 1 main Vegan options: 2 starters, 1 main Gluten-free options: 7 starters, 11 mains
Protein: Organic and local (except the beef, which is from Alaska). Fish is Oceanwise.
Produce: Uncertified organic. Local where possible, but with a large number of specialty ingredients from Thailand, LA and Hawaii.