These are reviews of Sophia's Thai Kitchen from 2005. For more current reviews, visit the entry.

There is much debate in Davis about the merits Sophia's. I think that most of of the food flat out sucks. The only good thing they serve are the endless Iced Teas. - JackHaskel

I've never eaten at the restaurant, but I'm rather partial to the bar. They have Chimay White on tap (served in the appropriate glassware), and Duvel in the bottle for Belgian selections, along with the more typical Sierra Pale and Fat Tire on draft. There are numerous other prosaic beer choices. They of course serve a wide selection of mixed drinks, but I absolutely friggin' love Duvel and Chimay White, so I haven't had any other drinks yet. Only the appetizer menu is available at the bar. The shrimp tempura is pretty good, but isn't really tempura, since it was coated in Panko bread crumbs when I got it. Bar service is functional and prompt, which is fine by me. The atmosphere of the bar area is pretty cozy, and agreeably dark. Mmm... Duvel. - MarcRehfuss

The crispy calamari salad is superb- very generous serving of fried calamari, greens, and white rice. And it's only $7.50. - GregSmith

(id like to start out this post by saying that all the thai places i have tried in davis are generally good. you cant really go to a bad thai place here. it is done the best out of all the ethnic cuisines compared to other cities in california) when you order at sophias with another person, ask for family style. youll get more food for the same price. plus you get to share everything. thats how food was meant to be eaten. this place is good, but nothing special, as all the thai places here are good. i think i like Thai Nakorn the best out of the thai places for lunch (they have 5-6 dollar lunch specials that include rice, soup, eggroll, and fruit). for dinner most of the thai places are on the same level. however, the one thing that i like about sophias kitchen is that rice is included when ordering a la carte. most of the places around here charge extra for rice, which i view as just being cheap. - MattHh

2005-03-21 11:07:06   I have been to Sophia's a number of times. Most of the dishes I have ordered have been excellent. The Jungle Chicken, Massaman Beef, and the Boss's Favorite are all curry dishes and are very very good. —GeorgeLewis

2005-03-21 11:44:50   I love the damned Thai Iced Tea. I can't get enough of it. The only disappointment I had was yesterday when they over cooked my heavenly beef and did not apologize for it. Otherwise the food is very yum. —SS

2005-03-21 13:07:29   Ah yes, Saul has reminded me of the Thai Iced Coffee. It is an excellent drink with free refills and I highly reccommend it. —GeorgeLewis

2005-03-25 01:36:32   I used to think Sophia's was the best thai food in town.....back in high school when I didn't know a thing about thai food. The vegetarian versions of their dishes are just awful. Worst pad thai I've ever had. And for the record, 2kThai is not more expensive. Even after they drastically upped their prices (after a huge remodeling ordeal), most all of their dishes still only cost $7.25, and the portions are huge. —TerraSmithers

2005-04-18 14:00:50   Sophia's does not serve Fat Tire, unfortunately. They serve Boont Amber Ale. You can also order certain entrees if you sit at the bar. —JeffSpeckles

2005-04-30 01:10:30   On Wednesdays, if you eat dinner at the restaurant, they will give you passes to bypass the lines AND the cover. On Fridays and Saturdays, quality jazz bands (sometimes with some funky beats) play out front—$3 cover. —MeredithGlaser

2005-05-12 11:41:47   I just ate here again for the first time in a year. Their iced tea was way worse then I remembered. I drank it quick to see if the refill would be better, it wasn't. Go try the Thai iced tea at any of the other Thai places to compare. The food's not great it's decent, but this place is way overrated, especially with the massive lines for some reason. I think it's word-of-mouth: I was a freshman in the dorms this was all I had heard of for Thai food. Definitely go to 2k Thai Food or Thai Bistro instead. —EdWins

  • I think the free refills on the Thai drinks have a lot to do with the huge lines. Mmmm... Corn syrup. —jr

2005-05-17 02:26:00   Get the T-2 or T-6, it's freakin' delicious. —DatNguyen

2005-05-17 02:26:00   It is funny that so many people have such strong opinions about whose thai food is the best. And even funnier that some people would go so far as to say the food here sucks—that's ridiculous. What I can say about Sophia's is that their recipes are consistent, and they use good ingredients and the resulting dishes are neither greasy, nor overly sweet. Well the downside is that generally their portions are smaller (but still—large enough to leave full), and perhaps their variety is a more limited, but I actually find that their food quality is the most consistant of the Thai restaurants. (Beware of restaurants who aren't busy enough to move their ingredients fast enough!) I wish people would articulate better what their problem is with food: does its food lack in sophistication? Or does it fail to please the pallet that loves General Chicken? I think the food is generally delicious, and the recipes that Sophia herself was making when she was serving food out of the kitchen at Froggy's (then Paragon), have remained consistently good. —jr

2005-06-10 22:28:36   Stephen Hawking apparently likes it. He was giving a speech at Mondavi, and went there the night before. Apparently he liked it so much he came back the next night. —RogerClark

2005-06-12 12:06:42   They raised their prices. Everything costs a dollar more now. =( Also, my friend and I just wanted to sit there and sip thai iced tea for a while, but they wouldn't let us do it. They also would not give us free refills on it. They will, however, give you a medium sized cup to go. On a separate note, if you don't like spiciness, make sure you tell the waiter NOT SPICY! I've had so many of my dishes ruined because of misunderstandings, and they come out laden with chili oil, which really burns. —MattimusMoyus

  • I waited almost 45 minutes for my table last night. On a Tuesday! Being that you, like most everyone else that goes there, probably waited 30-45 minutes for your table too, sitting there sipping unlimited Thai Iced-T refills after dinner while other people are patiently waiting to eat probably isn't the most considerate thing to do. I actually find it pretty cool that they gave you a cup to take more tea with you. You shouldn't be offended. I think they're just looking after their hungry customers. —TaylorJackson
  • No, no, they didn't give me a cup to take more tea with me—the cup WAS the tea. I didn't get tea before that. I came to Sophia's so that my friend and I could wet our throats for a bit while we waited to get a haircut at Supercuts. For $2.50, I was not allowed to be seated, and I was given a non-refillable Styrofoam cup full of thai-iced tea that they forced me out the door with. The restaurant was NOT full, and there were plenty of empty seats, but they claimed that it would be bad for business if I just sat there with my friend sipping tea since it was "close to dinnertime." —MatthewM

2005-06-17 17:06:31   I think there are other good places for Thai in Davis, but Sophia's is still nice. I love that room that they have to the side where you can sit on the floor and eat. —RohiniJasavala

2005-06-24 17:01:50   I just noticed that room! I want to try it. —SS

2005-07-24 22:54:38   Every time I've eaten here I've found the Pad Thai to be really bland. Thai 2K does it a lot better in my experience. The free refills on Thai tea are the only thing that would attract me to Sophia's. —KenjiYamada

2005-07-26 17:28:04   Sophia's is pretty mediocre Thai food. I am Southeast Asian, and I KNOW their Thai food is very mild and Americanized Thai food, so it can't possibly be the best in Davis. Their service is good. I like their bottomless Thai iced teas. —MindyYang

2005-07-26 20:10:11   Yeah, pretty much the only thing going for this place is the bottomless Thai Ice Tea. And, frankly, that sells it. If you happen to own a competing Thai restaurant and read this, you can likely steal all their business by copying them on the free tea refills. —ScottRitchie

2005-07-26 20:26:42   It's free refills - but it's not better, it's worse. I think it tastes horrible when compared to all the other Thai restaurants in town. I'd rather enjoy 1 good cup then 3 mediocre ones. —ES

The Thai Room, that small room off to the side where you take off your shoes and sit on cushions with the pretty murals all around, is a lot of fun. My math modeling team went there for our celebration lunch this past spring. Highly recommended. —CynthiaHe

2005-08-29 10:25:04   Although not as good as some Sac Thai places (especially Thai Cottage) I like the food and atmosphere, and (has anyone mentioned this?) bottomless Thai tea. I'd rather enjoy 16 medicore cups than 1 good one. ;) —LeightonHinkley

2005-09-14 16:08:29   I have to agree with JackHaskel. I have never understood why so many people wait so long to eat at this place. The food is mediocre at best. The prices are essentially the same as every place else. The service is uneven and the environment is tacky. What makes it so popular? Can it really be the iced tea refills? I'd rank it below Thai Bistro (1), Thai Nakorn (2) and Thai Recipes (3). —GusTavo

2005-10-01 04:12:43   I guess you could consider the food here to be "good" as in it tastes okay. The problem is that it's not really authentic. —ChekOunkomol

  • I'm pretty down on what makes Davis's chinese restaurants inauthentic, but in what way is this Thai place inauthentic? CraigBrozinsky
  • For one, the dishes that should be spicy, in the colloquial sense of the word, are not—the last time I ordered a curry dish, I said "I want it as hot as they can make it, please," and the waitress said, "okay, Thai hot, then," and assuming that meant "really, really, hot," I responded in the affirmative. But the food was far from hot. As a basis of comparison, one Serrano chili minced and tossed into a stir-fry is about five times hotter than what they served. And the chili you can "add yourself" to adjust the temperature does not mix well and changes the flavor of the dish. Also, the sauces seem far too runny. A fish sauce, I suppose, could be naturally runny, but what about the others? A curry sauce, which derives from a thick paste and pungent spices, should not be broth-like and vapid. After all, curry simply means "with sauce," and "sauce" is not always brothy. I'm guessing they use the broth method to reduce costs and preparation time. ZacharyNorwood
  • A note on the authenticity of the food. All the recipes at Sophia's were created by a nice little lady named Sophia who grew up on a rice paddy in Thailand. After tweaking her recipes back and forth for awhile, she realized that the majority of diners don't *want* authentic Thai food. Can Sophia make a super authentic Thai dish that is so hot you will go to the hospital? You betcha, and I've tasted them. Will it sell, and fill tables with hungry customers? Nope. JeffSpeckles
  • Ha! Added support for my hypothesis :) If that's true though Jeff, can't you tell Sophia—wink wink, nudge nudge—to provide a few dishes that she and the fam would approve of? There could be a section called "Not for the Weak Palated: Sophia's Super Authentic Specials" that features authentic Thai dishes that, while not potentiating a hospital trip, may tantalize folk like me and Craig (above)? Or would it cost too much to make a few true dishes available to a few true gourmands? ZacharyNorwood
    • I've always wondered the same. I think the problem lies in the fact that most people consider themselves able to handle spicy food when the truth of the matter is they can't (and they'll be doomed if they leave the country). Obviously not all Thai food is spicy, but I disagree with you Jeff. I think the lack of authenticity is one of the major reasons so many people actually don't like Sophia's and prefer the other Thai restaurants. On the flip side, either that (or the free refills on tea) may be while Sophia's is probably the most frequented. Through trial and error, people would learn what dishes to avoid - or more likely they'll order it anyway and ask for it to be less spicy, thus making the cooks used to neutering it by popular demand, bringing it full circle. Or if it's a sauce that's really spicy or specially spiced and flavored, there'd need to be two versions of it, etc, making the costs not worth it. -ES

2005-10-18 22:51:15   ES, so many people dislike Sophia's and prefer other Thai places? You could have fooled me. How many other Thai places have an hour wait Thursday through Friday for dinner? —JeffSpeckles

2005-10-18 22:52:31   Zachary, there are hotter dishes. T-3 is very spicy, and most dishes can be made "thai hot". —JeffSpeckles

  • "Thai Hot," unfortunately, is not hot—at least not here. Read my full review above. —ZN

2005-10-19 08:46:56   It may be the most popular, but that doesn't mean that everyone loves it. As a freshmen, it was the only place I had heard of. I honestly think it's just word of mouth that keeps it popular. Once a place is established and people assume thats the way the food should be, they'll often stand by it. But, if you've had Thai food at a variety of other places before ever visiting here, you might not like it. Their iced-tea is flat out horrible (compared to Thai Bistro and Thai 2k) and served from watered down pitchers. The bar, the refills, and the cool environment draws a lot of people, not just the food. —ES

2005-10-21 18:56:35   4 or 5 people? Are you joking? Yes, of course not *everyone* loves it. Make some food that everyone loves and it will be a first in the restaurant industry, I assure you. The fact is that the formula works, and the long wait is a testament to that. I don't know what 'cool environment' you mean, either. Up until a few weeks ago the interior decor looked like it was designed in the 70's. —JeffSpeckles

2005-11-16 16:29:20   My beef was too salty, my iced tea wayyy too sweet. —ReginaSikora

2005-12-16 09:43:55   I'm not into iced tea so I have no comment on that; the food is good for a good price and service is always quick. I like sitting in the smaller room on the mats =D —JoAnnaRich

2005-12-25 18:39:33   What was here before? —SteveDavison

  • I believe it was a Moroccan restaurant. And I know that Sophia's started out as a restaurant within Paragon's (which is now Froggy's) —JimEvans

2005-12-29 08:51:03   The food here is pretty decent, but not spectacular. Seating is tight and there is often a wait during mealtimes. The Pad Thai isn't great, but the spinach with peanut sauce is excellent. —AlexPomeranz

2005-12-31 17:41:19   Word to the wise: Padt Thai was invented in NYC by some chinese people, no joke. So it's not real thai food even though pretty much all thai restaurants serve it. No one remembers what was here before because Sophia's is the best restaurant in Davis!!!! Many other restaurants use sticky sweet sauce (Thai recipes and Thai Bistro) and Sophia's thankfully does not. The wait does suck though... —HaleaMeese