New Restaurant Review: Green Papaya Vegetarian Thai!  »

Green Papaya, an ALL-VEGAN THAI RESTAURANT in downtown Berkeley, opened this week. Upon walking in, one might feel as if he or she is in the center of a fresh papaya, with long walls freshly painted green and pink curtains.

Glancing at the shiny flat screen pasted on the wall, I thought we were in a Supreme Master joint, but then I saw BEER. The menu was super-cute, with appetizers billed as “chill chill,” salads as “yum yum,” and soups as “warm up.” They brought us Thai iced tea on the house. I was sort of anticipating fake meat galore (a la every vegan thai restaurant in Hollywood) but was shown a world of tofu, lightly fried seitan, and fresh vegetables. While my tastebuds missed the processed soy, my butthole said “thank you.”

Despite the lack of faux mutton or veggie whole duck or whatever, the menu was pretty inventive. We started with Curry Puffs, which are four deep-fried triangles stuffed with a moist mixture of pumpkin, shiitake, potato, onion, and pepper.

Then came the delicious Pad Thai. Probably my 4th best ever. And finally: the lunch special, Seitanic Broccoli (my name, not theirs); a mound of rice, crispy tofu skewers (or spring roll), and a sweet cucumber salad.

You don’t have to say “no egg pretty PRETTY please!,” they won’t mistake your gluten dish for beef chunks, and there is no fish sauce—ever.

They’re open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and located a mere block from the downtown Berkeley Bart station at 2016 Shattuck Ave. Check it out!

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