Albany: Bua Thai Kitchen

Took over the old Potala (Indian Vegan) space. 1045 San Pablo Ave., Albany, CA 94706 (Marin Ave & Buchanan St).

Extensive menu with some wonderful surprises on it. We were feeling carnivorous so skipped the curries and went for “the meat”, LOL. We’ll definitely be back to try more dishes later.

  • Mango Salad. If you love ripe mangoes, GET THIS. Extremely generous serving of sweet mangoes, perked up with a tangy dressing, raw onions, and chopped mint.

  • Corn & Cheese puffs. A sweet/savory pastry, shaped like empanadas. 3 to a serving. We’re not much into sweet things so next time we’ll try the mushroom alternative.

  • Sai Aou. We love this spicy pork sausage and this was excellent. Fat juicy link, similar to Vientian Cafe’s version but served sliced. We wrapped it in lettuce and mint - yummy! Monkey Thai/Alameda is still the hottest, but this was decently spicy (we seriously love hot chiles and as little sugar as possible).

  • Coconut Lemongrass soup, chose shrimp option. Broth a little light, but flavor was good and well-balanced.

Grilled category:

  • Rib Eye, served with garlic/lime dip - came medium-rare as requested. Loved it; dip wasn’t sweetened or watered down, as some places do. Spouse was ecstatic, and we really appreciated neither grilled dish was salted.

  • Lamb. Three fat, beautifully trimmed chops off the rack, also med-rare. Served over sweet/sour veggies with the sweetened fish sauce; we left both and just ate chops. These were dynamite lamb chops, as good as any steakhouse would give you. Juicy and trimmed tomahawk-style.

Got a side of steamed rice noodles to share. Finished with Thai Iced Tea w/Coconut Milk - a bit sweet so I diluted it with some addt’l tea - made it perfect for an ending. Coconut flavor was strong and complemented the spiced tea.

Our server - Pazzy - was very sweet and told us Bua Thai tries to make their dishes more authentic with less sugar. We told them to keep up the good work, and we will definitely be back to explore more of the menu!

FYI: they still have the small parking lot next to the restaurant, altho street parking is easy (and free, being Albany).


I have eaten the pad see ew, pad kee mao, and whole fried fish here, and they were all excellent, as good or better than my recent meal at Jitlada in LA (to be fair, jitlada’s curries were out of this world, unlike the rest of my meal). Highly recommended!


Subsequent visit to Bua turned up a couple of duds. The pork skewers were very overcooked; the meat - even the pork belly - is chewy and leathery. Mango salad wasn’t as generous as first time, but came better prepped, with the raw whole cashews and cherry tomatoes; we still liked it very much and would rate it above average.

Green salad rolls, what Bua calls the fresh spring rolls, were below average. Shrimp was tasteless and there was shredded cabbage(!) as well as lettuce leaves. Anh/Richmond, a fusion Asian restaurant, does these much, much better than Bua or Tigon/El Cerrito.

Garlic noodles were good, but altho the pork slices weren’t dry, they were unseasoned and boring. I’d suggest getting the noodles plain or with shrimp; Bua seems to handle shrimp well. Just FYI, Bua’s version of GN isn’t overly heavy on the Parmesan, which is what we prefer.

Pad Thai (I know, I know - I’m not fond of it, but my spouse loves it) had the beansprouts on the side so they could be avoided, which pleased him. It was sweet, but less sweet than many other places make it, so Bua gets points for that.

We had the rib-eye steak again and it was still quite good. Overall, stick to what they do well, and order that iced tea w/coconut milk! So far, Bua is our choice for Thai if we’re anywhere near this end of San Pablo Ave., which we are a lot as most of my family lives out this way.