Maenam is a Thai restaurant in Kitsilano. They offer authentic Thai dishes with a modern twist. They won restaurant of the year and best Thai awards back in 2016.
This review is based on an in-dining experience during COVID-19.
The interior of Maenam is quite fancy. It’s a little dark (romantic ambiance) and the tables are separated far away from each other. All staff were wearing masks.
Seating was comfortable and our table had a good view of the pretty bar.
We order 1 appetizer and 3 mains. Keep in mind we always over-order to try different dishes.
We are offered complimentary amuse bouche (small appetizer) to begin our meal. Today’s amuse bouche is a mixture of tuna and other things on top of a slice of pineapple. It is a one-biter and full of flavour.
Thai iced tea ($?)
I actually ordered a Thai iced tea without looking at the beverage menu so I don’t know how much it costs, but I always order a Thai iced tea whenever I go to a Thai restaurant. The Thai iced tea here is not too sweet, which is what I prefer.
Grilled thai sausage and crispy rice salad ($16)
We choose this appetizer because we see many people posting pictures of this dish so we wanted to try it. They list this under salad but as you can see from the picture, it’s not really a salad at all because it’s full of carbs.
This “salad” has house made pork sausage, crispy curried rice puff, coriander, lemongrass, ginger and fried shallot. I thought the pork sausage would be similar to the Chinese/Taiwanese sausages, but they are very different. The crispy rice puff is delicious and crunchy, adding great texture against the soft sausage. The lemongrass, coriander, and ginger give the rice and sausage a sour and refreshing feel… almost like a salad!
Very interesting appetizer and it tasted great. I would order it once to try it but I would not order it again.
Penang curry with beef ($32)
This is listed as one of their specials of the day. Their regular menu offers penang curry with lamb shank, but I prefer beef over lamb. Penang curry is a type of red Thai curry that is thick, salty and sweet, with a zesty kaffir lime flavour. The flavour of the curry is delicious! I also really like the taro chips they add on. The beef is soft and very tender to the touch.
Portion size is not super big. We did not order a bowl of rice because I refuse to pay $3 for a bowl of white rice (lol I’m so cheap). It ended up working out because we over-ordered so we had leftovers and we ate this again the next day with rice, which was delicious. I would recommend eating it with rice if you’re not stingy like me.
Stir fried of purple eggplant & crispy pork belly ($27)
I love eggplant so we try this main. They use fermented soy bean paste, fried Thai baby garlic and Thai basil to stir fry the eggplant and pork belly. Again, this dish is better paired with a bowl of white rice.
The pork belly is crispy and not too salty. The eggplant retains its original yummy flavour with a kick to it.
This dish can also be served vegetarian for $24.
Pad thai ($20)
Lastly, I cannot leave without trying the pad thai and a Thai restaurant. Pad thai is my favourite Thai dish! Maenam uses rice noodles, tamarind, peanuts, tofu, egg and sustainable prawns. You can always order a vegetarian version of this for $18.
I have to admit, I almost didn’t order the pad thai because I saw it was $20 – a big difference from casual Thai restaurants. But in the end, we ordered it and we were surprised at how large the portion size is. This is definitely enough to feed 2 adults!
The pad thai tasted authentic and delicious with the sweet brown sauce (not the red one). Prawns are cooked well too and did not taste rubbery at all.
In total, we spent around $125 after tax and tip for 2 people. In general, prices are high compared to other Thai restaurants we’ve been to in Vancouver but the quality of food is very high. We also left with all 3 mains as leftovers and had them for lunch and dinner the next day. Keeping in mind that we over-ordered, you definitely don’t need to drop $100 for dinner for 2 people.
Out of all 3 mains, I enjoyed the penang curry the most. All the dishes were delicious but I found the penang curry the be the most sophisticated. Maenam is a restaurant we don’t mind returning to try the other dishes. After having tried some of their staple menu items, I am interested in trying their other specials of the day as well as their chef tasting menu.
This content was originally published here.