Saigon Basil: You Get What You Pay For

Let me try to contextualize this for you: we visited Saigon Basil on a Saturday evening at 7PM, and the restaurant was empty. Completely. I was really confused, but stuck to my guns…

Saigon Basil is an impossibly small Vietnamese-Thai fast food joint with an impossibly smaller parking lot that’s ideal if you’re looking for inexpensive takeout food, determined because 1) they deliver and 2) lots of people came in over the course of our meal to pick up food, answering some of the questions raging inside my head.

I don’t think there’s a single item on the menu that’s over $10, but the price means some quality is definitely sacrificed, and I have to question that quality.

The first sign of this was when the food arrived in plastic containers, by which I mean Styrofoam plates that looked like cafeteria trays. But first impressions can be misleading, right?

Second sign was when the food arrived unreasonably fast (5-7 mins max), leaving me to wonder what percentage of our meal was pre-prepared.

I don’t have a firm aversion to frozen food, because it makes sense in some situations, but there’s definitely and obviously a problem if  you can taste it so easily!

The fresh rolls; we ordered the ones with chicken, which came 2 for $4. Large portions all around, fresh taste, and delicious if dunked in that dark, thick, sweet and tangy sauce.
The fresh rolls; we ordered the ones with chicken, which came 2 for $4. Large portions all around, fresh taste, and delicious if dunked in that dark, thick, sweet and tangy sauce.

 

photo 2 (10)
Steamed and fried dumplings: we ordered one dish of both, each of which came with 6 for $5.25. Small and fried, tasted decent but nothing special, and not worth the price in my opinion.

 

photo 1 (8)
The chicken tom yum ($8) featured chicken (tasted frozen) in a broth that was barely spicy (which means something coming from someone very sensitive to spicy foods) mixed with overcooked noodles and tomatoes that had basically just been chopped up and tossed in. Eh. Not a winner.

 

photo 5 (2)
The $8.25 shrimp and chicken egg roll dish did a lot better in terms of imparting fresh flavor into the chicken; however, the shrimp did not taste fresh, and looked small, as if off-season. Many flaws, despite the vibrant picture.

 

photo 4 (5)
The Massaman curry was not spicy, even though the menu indicated that it would be ($9). Rather, the curry sauce was very sweet (as expected) but very liquidy (not expected). Your best bet would be to mix in some brown rice to sop it up. The chicken in this dish tasted okay, but the green salad that came with the dish was supposed to have ginger dressing?

 

I think Saigon Basil was aiming for that traditional, classic spicy ginger dressing that lots of Asian restaurants toss their salads in, but they missed. It wasn’t spicy at all, just lingering with memories of ginger flavor. Sigh.

Ultimately, our visit here was disappointing and the place is ordinary, from their foods all the way down to the decor. I’ve had better Thai and Vietnamese food for a lower or at least, similar price.

However, if you tend to have slightly lower standards for food and just want some delivery takeout, this place is a tempting option…

1870 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30324
(404) 892-8688
Delivery fee: $1.50 for 3 mile radius
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