New Garden Asian Cuisine by Jennifer Burns Bright
Alongside Seaside’s great local seafood options, pub fare and breakfast joints, there’s a small but robust collection of Asian-American restaurants inspired by Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese traditions. These family-owned restaurants offer everything from ramen noodles to spicy Thai chicken wings. Although there are many more to check out in town, here are six restaurants that are sure to please visitors seeking out various types of Asian cuisine.
1. Thai Us Up
Heaping plates of Thai-spiced wings, hearty helpings of rice noodle stirfries and warming curries are some of the standouts at Thai Us Up. This homey little family-friendly spot in the south part of town has changed management and relocated into the former SEA Crab House — the temporary sign still shows the restaurant’s old name, Thai Me Up.
No matter what else you choose, the chicken wings are the absolute must-order here. Available in family-friendly portions, the marinated wings come in classic Thai flavors like tamarind, massaman (a type of curry paste) and the chili garlic. If you love spicy food, you’ll want to give the fiery Dynamite Bomb wings a try — perfect for adrenaline junkies after a round on the nearby ropes course at High Life Adventure Park. Protip for serious fans of Southeast Asian cuisine: Ask about some of the restaurant’s off-menu options, like pho soup, boat noodles or your favorite Thai dish. The chef may be able to make them for you.
2. New Garden Asian Cuisine
If you find yourself craving Chinese food after a long day at Seaside’s beach or cycling around town on a surrey with your crew, stop off at the Carousel Mall downtown for dinner. Within view of the carousel, you’ll find New Garden Asian Cuisine, a favorite of Seaside residents.
Like the best Chinese diners, the lengthy menu guarantees something for all tastes. You might opt for Chinese-American favorites like General Tso’s chicken, or select more traditional dishes from regions like Sichuan. The restaurant serves up excellent chongqing chicken (fried pieces of chicken and green beans with a handful of dried chili peppers), cumin-flavored beef and spicy mapo tofu. You’ll also find fusion Japanese-Chinese cuisine bento boxes, mixing sweet-and-sour chicken with shrimp tempura, or spring rolls alongside garlicky string beans and fried rice.
3. Tora Sushi Lounge
Find all your favorite sushi rolls — as well as signature specialties and melt-in-your-mouth sashimi — at Tora Sushi Lounge. Part of a small coastal chain with additional locations in Astoria and Tillamook, this spot has been a Seaside go-to for expertly made, fresh and delicious sushi since 2006. Located in the Upper Broadway District just a short walk from the beach, it’s also perfectly positioned for an affordable bento lunch before exploring the downtown area or dinner after a walk on the Prom.
With crisp tempura, fresh salads with citrus-soy dressing and fanciful rolls on the menu, you’ll be able to watch the sushi-making if you select a counter seat. Ask about the rolls with unusual names, like the Jayne and Alan’s Roll (a crunchy roll topped with spicy tuna and topped with mustard dressing) — you’ll hear some great stories. Don’t forget to pair your selections with some Oregon-made sake.
4. Tokyo Teriyaki
After scoring some excellent bargains at the Seaside Outlets in the north part of Seaside, pay a visit to Tokyo Teriyaki. This small and efficient Japanese hole in the wall is known for its family vibe and fast service for charbroiled meats in teriyaki combo plates and bowls, as well as staples like sushi rolls, tempura and udon-noodle soup for chilly days. For a taste of everything, get one of the bento boxes, which come with a protein of your choice, steamed white rice, sushi roll, salad, miso soup and tempura.
The Noodle House (Photo by Jennifer Burns Bright)
5. The Noodle House
Overlooking Neawanna Creek just north of the outlet shops, The Noodle House has you covered for savory noodle dishes and soups. Its menu spans a wide range of Asian cuisines with specialties like Cantonese wonton noodles, Vietnamese pho and Japanese pork-belly shoyu ramen. Filled with grilled pork, beef or chicken in a crackling baguette loaf, the banh mi sandwiches and a side of spring rolls make for a great bird-watching picnic on the Necanicum estuary. Pair your meal with one of the fruity boba teas made to order.
A Mighty Thai & Sushi (Photo by Jennifer Burns Bright)
6. A Mighty Thai & Sushi
The flavors of Thailand and Japan come together at A Mighty Thai & Sushi. Located next door to the Noodle House with a river-view dining room and outdoor patio, the location allows diners to watch kayakers drift by and keep their eyes peeled for wildlife while perusing a large and creative menu. Consider tucking into a hearty bowl of tom kha (a savory and sour soup), savory curries or tried-and-true noodle favorites like pad see ew (rice noodles with vegetables and a choice of meat or seafood). In the mood for Japanese instead? Order one of the creative and colorful sushi rolls, including several extra large “burritos” with fillings like spicy tuna and crab salad or tempura shrimp and barbecue eel.