Cha Am (Berkeley)

Review by: Ken

1543 Shattuck Avenue
(Between Cedar and Vine)
Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 848-9664


Cha Am is by far my favorite Thai Restaurant. They’ve been on Shattuck since 1985, and they’re absolutely still going strong. They hit the mark with dish after dish, it seems you can’t go wrong. Their lunch specials are great, and I often go there with a group of people from work. Dinners are even better, especially when you can order with friends and try several different entrées.

There’s a wide selection of vegetarian items, with delicate spices and flavors that set the bar for me with other Thai restaurants. These days, I love the red and green curry dishes, Gaeng-Tofu and Gaeng-Pak, the most. For a long time, I was a Pad-Pak-J adherent, with every great vegetable and fried tofu. The Cha-Am Fresh Rolls are similar to other Thai restaurants I’ve tried, but the Vegetarian Po-Piah, their deep-fried cousins, sing with wonderful base notes, and a nice light crunch. It doesn’t say it on the menu, but you can order a vegetarian version of the Cha-Am Noodle which makes a superb alternative or complement to a rice dish.

My only gripe is that they recently stopped serving the lovely Thai tea that they had for years. I hope it’s just a temporary thing.

Let’s hope Cha Am will still be as great 25 years from now.

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