There are quite a few Thai restaurants in Bellingham, Washington – Busara, On Rice, Supon’s – to name a few. But the best of the best has got to be Wanida’s. Also, yes, if you say that outloud it does sound like you’re saying “Juanita’s” which some may assume is a Mexican restaurant, not a Thai one.
Address: 1213 Dupont Street Bellingham, WA 98225
This is definitely a dive restaurant. Bellingham has a good mix of them and classic diners. The blue-grey exterior with red frame doesn’t look very appealing or inviting, but don’t let that stop you from going somewhere! Always go inside before making that decision. It doesn’t look run down, but if I was just driving through Bellingham, I wouldn’t notice the restaurant and if I did notice it, I wouldn’t consider stopping unless I was really craving Thai food.
The sign in the parking lot looks nice and detailed upon closer examination, but if I was driving by it would look simple and not really special. The parking lot is small but unlike most restaurants in the same area as this one in Bellingham, it actually has its own parking lot. So even though it’s small, the fact that it’s there is nice. There’s also parking available across the street.
When you walk in, bells chime and you’re immediately in the dining area. There’s bar seating to your right, and behind the bar you can see the kitchen. You seat yourself unless it’s really busy, and dinners here are always busy especially during the school year, and the waiter or waitress will bring you your menu.
The tables are a deep dark brown wood that’s almost black, and matching wooden chairs with red backs are at them. A booth lines one of the walls where a row of tables are. A decent amount of seating, not the coziest, but it’s also not uncomfortable.
Some Thai restaurants have menus that are pages and pages long filled with hundreds of food options. Wanida’s menu is on one 8.5” x 11” “sheet”, with all the appetizers, entrees, drinks and desserts on it. Everything fits on both sides. And the text isn’t super tiny. What I’m saying is, the menu isn’t overwhelming or confusing, but there’s still a wide variety to choose from.
They offer appetizers, soups, salads, curry, stir-fried dishes, rice dishes, noodle dishes and drinks.
I’ve only ever had their crab rangoons from their appetizer options, and they were tasty! First of all, I got five instead of four which I feel is what every other Thai restaurant in town gives you. So automatic bonus points even if I’d never ordered them before. They have a nice golden, crispy exterior, and the hot, creamy filling makes me anticipate the flavors my entree will have.
I have a few entrees I love. If I like a restaurant and establish my favorite dish, I’ll definitely get that the first couple times I return after finding my fav. After a bit though, I feel like I need to try the rest of the menu because if this dish is so good, the rest of their food has to be too, right? Right. Especially for Wanida’s
They have a spice level system that ranges from 1-5, one being no spice, five being the hottest. You can also request a spice rack with your meal. The spice here is no joke. I have a high spice tolerance, but when I order a level three, I get a little upper lip sweat. It tastes bomb, but be aware of that when you choose which level you want!
Their Pad Thai is classic. The sweetness of the pad thai sauce balances out the savory and salty peanut and fish sauce flavor.
The portion sizes here are great. You get what you pay for and more, in my opinion. Large oval plates are filled with whatever entree you ordered and piled high. I personally love large portions so this is great. If I don’t finish it all, I can get it to-go which is also great.
I’ve tried all of their rice dishes and by far my favorite is their house fried rice. Honestly, the menu description makes it sound so simple, but I think that’s why I love it. Much like the Pad Thai, it’s got that classic flavor I’m familiar with, but better. It’s got mixed vegetables, yellow onion, tomato, egg and house soy sauce. The soy sauce is honestly probably what steps the flavor up, and I love it.
Another one of my favorites is the Pra-Rarm Noodles. If you love vegetables and peanut sauce, this dish is for you. It’s a stir-fried dish thin noodle dish with egg that’s packed with vegetables – mushrooms, onions, broccoli, carrots, baby corn, zucchinis, spinach, snow peas and bean sprouts. On top of all that is their famous peanut sauce which is just the right amount of sweet and salty. Pad Thai is a classic, but this is my personal favorite dish.
Their Papaya Salad is bomb. My mom makes the best Papaya Salad, but this is the best restaurant Papaya Salad I’ve ever had. It’s got the perfect balance of saltiness and spiciness. I’ve had too many where the saltiness overpowers the flavor of the dish and it’s not appetizing, but I could eat this dish all day.
Pad See Yew
Their Pad See Yew is the best I’ve ever had. Too often, the vegetables in this dish at other restaurants are cut too big. The way Wanida’s cuts them is perfect. They don’t dominate the dish, but their presence is known and I get the flavor and texture of each vegetable. This is my dad’s personal favorite dish from here because he likes the dark soy sauce flavor and wide noodles.