Now that I am a jolly Vancouverite - I am hoping I am living in a land of delicious thai food. My first venture into the land of thai cuisine was at a new restaurant on Main called Bob Likes Thai Food. I'd read about it on chowhound and urbanspoon and the online community was buzzing over the distinctive name, and over the marvelous pad thai. I was wandering Main on a rainy Saturday afternoon with some friends when we stumbled upon Bob. Minamilist in decor, the small restaurant space was mostly empty (we were there at the strange meal time of 3 pm). While I normally try to avoid ordering pad thai at thai restaurants, I had read that Bob's claim to fame is the best pad thai in Vancouver and decided to give it a shot. As an appetizer I had the fish cakes. For mains my two companions had the pad thai, and the green curry with chicken. The fish cakes were different than I was expecting - more fish pancakes than cakes, but they were very good, as was the relish that accompanied them. The red curry in the fish cakes was subtle but present. As soon as our appetizers were done, our mains came out of the kitchen - piping hot. This was my only real complaint about the meal - I was in the mood to sit for awhile and savour my food, I wouldn't have minded more of a wait between the appetizers and the mains. That said, you can't really fault a place for having your food ready and hot. The pad thai had the right balance of components - enough fish sauce, enough tamarind, peanuts, and lime. It was spicy enough to have some warmth, but not overpowering. Everything that came out of the kitchen was hot and delicious. It wasn't even generically 'good' thai food. The food was very good, and thoughtfully made.
update: I went back for a second time and was just as delighted. This time I had the spring rolls and my bf had the wontons - both were magnificent. The only complaint was that I could have used more delicious dipping sauce. I had the panang curry with prawns and he had the pad thai - the pad thai was amazing (again) and the panang curry was bomb diggity - creamy, spicy, and a little bit of sweetness - perfect. I may have mentioned it before but the portions here are small - I've never gone for dinner, only lunch - so I'm not sure if they're bigger (I guess that's an excuse to go back again). That said - I'm always totally satisfied with an appetizer and a main. I got to talking to the owner - this is his first venture into the restaurant industry after moving from thailand about fifteen years ago. Apparently unimpressed with the thai food he found all over Vancouver he thought to himself 'I know how to make a pad thai without ketchup - I could do better!' He definitely has. The restaurant hasn't advertised at all and has only been open about 3 - 4 months so far. According to the owner he wants to perfect everything coming out of the kitchen before pushing the restaurant. After two incredibly successful visits I have to say it is definitely worth a trip to Main.
Check Bob out at 3755 Main or at http://www.boblikesthaifood.com/