PGH Dining: Smiling Banana Leaf

Last Friday night Husband and I were wanting to celebrate my success with all of the interviews I've been having {answers should be coming soon!}, but we've been going out A LOT lately. We decided on Smiling Banana Leaf, because of it's great reviews on Urban Spoon, it's close-by, and it's affordability. AND, it's Thai. Can't go wrong with that combination.
Located in Highland Park/Morningside, which is a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from us in UpLa, Smiling Banana Leaf is somewhat hidden in a residential area. After eating there, I might consider moving! 
We parked alongside the restaurant, and walked in to notice it's a TINY place. There's probably only room for 20 people to have dinner. We were asked by the hostess if we had a reservation {No?}, then were seated almost immediately in the only open table available. The one waitress came over shortly, and handed us one page, front-and-back menus. We proceeded to order two appetizers: Wonton Soup and Thai-Style Samosas.
Wonton Soup
The soup was filled with good-sized pork-filled wontons. They were cooked perfectly, and were complimented by the meaty broth. The mushrooms in the soup were particularly good, and weren't super normal or of the expected type. 
Look at that goodness!
The Thai-style samosas were MUCH smaller than I expected, as I was used to the pea and potato variety that are the size of your palm. These, however, were dainty and small. Their flavor was much more subdued, without the heavy spices of the normal samosa. These were still filled with potato, but were lighter. They were served with a sweet cucumber sauce, but were great with or without it. I wish there were a few more on the plate, because of the price {$5}.

For our main dishes, we ordered the massaman curry and the pad ped talay {Stir-fried mixed seafood with garlic, chili paste, onion, Kaffir lime leaves and green beans}.
Massaman Curry
The curry was "the best I've ever had," according to Husband. He's had a few curries in his time, and this one is his favorite, mainly because of the creaminess and the richness of the spices used. We could detect cinnamon, star anise and clove. Outstanding dish.
I took charge of the seafood dish, and ordered it very spicy. The plate was overwhelmed with tons of calamari, scallops, shrimp,  and fish fillets. Everything was cooked well, and nothing was hard and rubbery. The sauce itself was the essence of what Thai food tastes like to me: spicy and complex. You might only be able to pick out 3 of the blended ingredients, but you know it takes many to make it delicious. The green beans were such a nice surprise, too!

The portions were large, as expected, and we had enough for a lunch the next day. I cooked a generous portion of sushi rice, and poured the containers over top. 
Smiling Banana Leaf is one of our new favorites, and we can't wait to go back for more. One word of caution - for those that like to eat their Thai food with chop sticks, you have to ask for them! The tables are outfitted with forks only. {*Update: I've been privy to some information about chop stick availability...It's not typical for Thai cuisine to be served with chop sticks. I just prefer it!} Take your next date to have Thai food, and dine in a cozy restaurant!

Smiling Banana Leaf on Urbanspoon


  1. Most Thai places don't have chop sticks for the same reason most Italian places don't have chop sticks. Its not typical for the cuisine.

    1. Thanks for the heads up! I had no idea! Evidently. :)


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