Thai Spice Restaurant - Fine Thai Dining in the Heart of Downtown Pinole

By Vickie Lewis

Nestled in the center of a small strip mall across the street from the busy Pinole Valley Shopping Center is a delightful local eatery, Thai Spice, just celebrated eighteen years as a successful Pinole business in July. While the pandemic caused the demise of many small businesses over the last year, Thai Spice owners, Jack and Cindy Douangpanya, kept their business viable by continuing to serve to-go orders, offering all of the favorites from their extensive menu on a take-out basis. Thai Spice reopened their doors for indoor dining in July and the owners welcomed new and returning customers!

Thai Spice is a small, quaint restaurant that serves delicious made-to-order fresh Thai food combined with personal, attentive service. The owners both worked in Thai restaurants with their parents from a very young age, and previously owned a Thai restaurant in San Francisco. After moving to Contra Costa County twenty-five years ago, they decided to abandon their commute and open a restaurant on this side of the bay. Jack and Cindy completely renovated their current location, which was formerly a barbecue restaurant, and transformed it into a cozy dining room where customers can enjoy authentic Thai cooking in a friendly and ambient environment.

We visited Thai Spice for dinner on a Friday evening before the start of the pandemic, and were immediately impressed with the tasteful interior décor, accented with gorgeous Thai accents and tapestries. Cindy, the primary chef at the restaurant, was our hostess for the evening. She advised that she would prepare for us a few of their most popular items, but also invited us to select any items from their menu that looked especially appealing. My guest and I ordered the appetizer combo plate, and three specials: Crab Fried Rice, Baby Back Ribs, and Massaman Beef Curry. We were soon in culinary heaven, as plate after plate of beautifully presented food was delivered to our table. All items were steaming hot and aromatic, and portions were generous.