Basil Café and Noodle House

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Any restaurant that is so thoughtful so as to name their eatery after my English Bulldog, Basil, is going to get me to stop in for a bite. Actually, I tried stopping at Basil Café three times to eat before it even opened. It was on my fourth attempt that I finally was able to discover the only thing greater than their name was their food.

The outside of this building is not overly impressive nor is it abundantly clear which of the three doors is the main entrance. However, once I found my way inside I discovered each of the outside doors worked equally well. I was also re-affirmed not to judge a book by its cover because the inside of the restaurant is beautifully decorated in a tastefully simple Asian theme. Though the restaurant is very open, the dark colors make it feel very cozy and intimate.

The young lady who served as our waitress was very nice, but didn’t fully speak English. Among a few other difficulties, when I asked for a water with lemon, she returned with a lime. I gave that a pass, it still tasted good and she seemed sweet.

A young Asian gentleman with his hair pulled back in a pony tail also stopped by the table to discuss the menu. He was clearly passionate about the food they served and described the menu options in mouthwatering detail. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him and he gave an excellent recommendation on a Vietnamese Crepe appetizer that I’m told you will not find elsewhere in the valley.

The crepe was extremely light and buttery, it almost looked more like an omelet with its rich yellow color. Stuffed with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, scallions, and a sweet oil to drizzle over, my friend and I happily cleared our plates.


Before we were even done talking about how much we enjoyed the crepe, our main entrees arrived. I ordered the Pad Kee Mao. The menu warns this dish is spicy, but being a glutton for pain I would have happily kicked it up a notch. However, the spiciness and the flavors were very well balanced so I did not need the extra heat to thoroughly enjoy eating it.

What transformed this dish from a good meal to a great meal were the noodles. Not only were these wide rice noodles super pillowly and the perfect sponge for all of the flavors on the plate, they were actually lightly seared to give them additional texture. Mingled in with all of the chicken, onions, peppers, carrots, and chili garlic sauce, I couldn’t get enough of them.

I was routinely impressed with Basil Café’s culinary attention to detail that really helped make everything on the menu better, and all of this for very reasonable prices ($9-10 entrees are common). I am already excited about the next time I eat at Basil Café. Though they may not have actually named the place after my dog, there is now another reason I love Basil.

Basil Café on Urbanspoon

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  1. says

    Nice review. Last week I decided that Appleton needs a restaurant review blog and proceeded to start one myself. Looks like I’m a few days too late! I look forward to reading more of your reviews and be sure to check out mine as well.

  2. Erica says


    I lived in rural Viet Nam for two years, eating home-cooked traditional meals and fresh, hot street food daily. Basil Cafe certainly lives up to its promises for authentic cuisine! In my eagerness I ordered too much food for the three of us, but the bánh cuốn appetizer was as fresh as the lady around the corner cooked up nightly, the chicken pho took me back to a multitude of breakfasts while motorbiking to worksites in the remote countryside, the fried rice lunch breaks from the office, the watercress and garlic cooked at my friend’s homes to accompany a meal of rice and pork. Oh, and not to forget the fresh Thai green papaya salad – crispy and spicy, a perfect accompaniment to a Friday night out with friends and a bottle of beer.

    There’s still plenty left on the menu to try! But this was a great trip back for an evening!

  3. traveler73 says

    I haven’t tried this place yet, but intend to, especially after your great review. The photos were a nice bonus. I, too, love taking pictures of good food because they bring back such nice memories … and make my mouth water!

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