When Chai Siriyarn opened his celebrated Marnee Thai restaurant in San Francisco in 1986, he hoped to give his patrons a taste of Thai cuisine and culture so transporting that they could enjoy the country’s wonders without ever having to leave the neighborhood. His plan worked. And yet more than twenty years on, Chef Chai’s artistry and balanced hand with Thailand’s inimitable cuisine may in fact have sent just as many newly minted Thai-food enthusiasts to his homeland as they’ve brought through his restaurant door. Perhaps that’s because of Chef Chai’s infectious enthusiasm for Thai cooking, both in its simplest home style, as well as in the tradition of its royal courts. Marnee Thai is a very personal operation, a labor of love that’s a capstone to a life lived in celebration of food. Bangkok born and bred, Chef Chai grew up in a culinary family and spent his childhood steeped in the restaurant business. Having learned to cook at his mother’s knee–herself a master chef of Central Thai cuisine–Chef Chai determined not only to continue in his family’s craft, but to extend its reach to the United States.
Address: 1243 9th Ave