Disclaimer: Nope, I am not being paid (or coerced) to talk about Tamarai.
Tamarai Thai Restaurant is undeniably one of my favourite places to eat out at in Kampala. So much so that every time the family wants to go somewhere fancier than Cafe Javas and we fail to agree on a new place to go to, then we’re definitely driving that car to No. 14 Terrace Rd in Lower Kololo. We once changed course on our way to this Turkish restaurant that was supposed to have opened in Bukoto but had no menu online in favour of something we knew. And I’ll tell you, no regrets here. At all.
My first time at Tamarai was in the summer of 2013 when my sister Nicole suggested it as a place for us to meet her best friend Maea who was visiting Uganda for the first time. My mother figured a night of evening tea and causal talk would do us well, so Nicole jumped at the idea of introducing this place that she’d been at the previous weekend for High Tea. Fancy kids, I tell ya.
We get to Tamarai at 7:30pm and didn’t leave till past midnight! You should have seen our expressions when we were walking back to the car only to notice that the parking lot we’d found full earlier was close to deserted! What took the tea so long, you’d ask?
Nothing. The service was exceptional, it just so happened that Tamarai turned out to be a Thai restaurant too. And the family decided, we had to eat everything on the menu. No, not everything, but close. See, the summer of 2013 was the summer after I graduated from high school in Bangkok, Thailand. I’d been living and studying in Thailand for 2 years and of course everyone thought it was a brilliant idea for me to order them authentic Thai dishes. So tea turned into dinner and dessert and many many other visits.
That night, we talked to the manager about the concept, and how happy we were that there was a new Thai restaurant in town. Turns out my sister had already talked to him too during the tea event. Suffice it to say, since that night, I have had at least one dish from each of the categories on the menu for Tamarai. I don’t remember anything I wouldn’t have again. Mentioning all my go-to dishes would take a while, so I made another post for it here: Take Me To Tamarai #2.
To end this, I’d like to list my top 3 reasons why I voted Tamarai as my Best Overall Restaurant of the Year, and Best Asian Restaurant in the 2015 Kampala Restaurant Awards.
- Cuisine – While there have been reviews on Tamarai where patrons complained about the authenticity of the Thai dishes and while I have been to another restaurant in Entebbe (Thammaphon Thai) that does pack more Thai to their meals, I think Tamarai’s authenticity is genuine. Protip: Talk to the waiters about how you want you food done including spiciness. They default to milder meals because that’s what the average Ugandan diner prefers, if you want it really Thai (or even not spiced up), just speak up! That Thai cuisine-trained chef should continue being put to good use.
- Variety: It’s not just a restaurant with good Thai meals. You can go over for just teas and juice or for their amazing Strawberry and Mango cocktails. Rumour has it that the shisha is really good too! (I don’t smoke so I can’t personally vouch for it, nor do I know if it’s still legal in Kampala hmm). On the meals front, they serve more than just Thai food. Check out the full MENU for more. Or my post on my top choices.
- Convenience: Tamarai is in Kololo. For me, that’s really easy to reach from Bugolobi or Bukoto/Ntinda where I spend most of my time while in Kampala. Even better is the fact that it’s my favourite restaurant on social media. I’ve DM’d them on Twitter many-a-time to talk about menus and deals and they’re always helpful and friendly and fast at it!
TAMARAI THAI RESTAURANT
Click here for the MENU.
No. 14 Terrace Rd
Lower Kololo, Kampala
+256 755 794 960/58