Anise Thai Cuisine

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Photo credit: Anise Thai Cuisine

Even on a bright spring day, little light spills into this quiet Thai restaurant, giving it an air of serenity and a feeling of remove despite its location in the busy Tabit Village Square shopping center. The quiet respite offers small touches of elegance that make for a pleasant dining experience: mostly unadorned walls save for simple art, enchanting chandeliers, and a wood-covered menu. Inside, the menu holds plenty of the standard staples of Thai-American food – the pad Thai noodles, chicken satay with peanut sauce, and choose-your-own adventure-style curry where you pick the color, meat, and spice level.

But in small corners of the menu, Anise hides its true treats, a few regional Thai dishes that are worth uncovering from under the rest of the menu options: the bright papaya salad, and larb are a good place to start, but all roads should lead to what the menu calls “Chiang Mai Noodle,” or what’s more commonly known as kao soy. The coconut milk broth comes hiding under a veritable tower of crunchy fried noodles, thick with soft yellow egg noodles and tender chicken. Stirring the soup brings up the riot of richness and flavor, complemented by garnishes like the sliced red onions.

Which isn’t to say you won’t get perfectly good Thai food anywhere on the menu, just that the certain items – like the fresh lime juice on the drinks menu, that seem to hide in plain sight – are what lifts this spot above average. They are not unlike the golden statue, shining quietly in a back corner: treats for those who take the time to stop for a meal in a quiet, easy-to-miss restaurant and look around for its best parts.

Anise is located at 7691 SE 27th St, Mercer Island, WA. Learn more at

Written by Naomi Tomky