Daughter Thai in Oakland's Montclair is a bright spot. It looks like a house you'd find in a Hallmark romance movie, with tons of faux flower arrangements covering the rustic tables, windows, and even the wooden beams, and servers walking around in floral shirts. We expect it since it's the sister restaurant of Farmhouse Kitchen. While the Thai dishes aren’t as remarkable as Farmhouse Kitchen’s, we love going to Daughter Thai with a group since it's always a good time.
Like the space, the food is vibrant. They’re garnished with chilies and flowers that are perfectly arranged by someone who has likely seen Oprah's garden. There are reliable Thai dishes like papaya salad and pad see ew, plus more creative plates you won't find at most Thai spots. Case in point: spicy stir-fried noodles with braised short ribs busting out of a Cup of Noodles container, the signature hat yai fried chicken with yellow curry, and spicy poke dressed up with seaweed salad and potato chips. But like a friend who went to Spain and now refers to Barcelona as “Barthelona,” some dishes try too hard to stand out (and fall flat). We wish the Thai fried rice was more flavorful, and the chicken from the Daughter Thai taco didn't overpower the vegetables and roti.
But you won’t mind because the drinks shine. They’re balanced and refreshing, and might inspire you to use up credit card points on a ticket to the tropics. The bubbly, minty Thai Lady with gin, basil, and cucumber is the drink equivalent of you lying in a beach lounge chair in an oversized sun hat. And the sweet-creamy Thai iced tea is topped with a giant ball of ice for no apparent reason other than to make nonalcoholic drinks look as cool as the cocktails.
While the food might have highs and lows, this place is a lively, dependable destination, especially for last-minute dinners with a large party (reservations are easy to come by). If you’re in the neighborhood and want to celebrate a birthday, graduation, or the fact that you successfully parallel parked today, Daughter Thai is it.
Ahi Tuna Scoops
There’s a lot going on with this starter, but it works. An ahi tuna cube is encrusted by toasted sesame, and sits atop seaweed and potato flakes. It’s crunchy, slightly sweet and spicy, and is a good way to kick things off.
These crispy vegetarian pockets filled with potatoes, caramelized onions, and carrots are even better when dipped in the sweet coconut curry sauce.
This pumpkin curry packs heat, and that’s why we like it. While it’s spicy, the turmeric, squash, and red pepper flavors still shine through.
Meet the pumpkin’s curry sweeter, creamier sibling. It’s mildly spicy, and we love the buttery flavor. It’s also vegan, but you can add your choice of meat.
Thai Iced Tea
A must order. Aside from being a good candidate for “content,” it also tastes perfectly milky, thick, and sweet.