With the proliferation of noodle shops in Evanston, it seems as though you could eat pad thai every day for two weeks and never hit the same restaurant twice. And while Noodle Garden could be one of your stops, it offers enough one-of-a-kind dishes to make it stand out above the competition. One of the most popular dishes, lite noodles ($8.95), with boiled rice noodles, spinach, bean sprouts, mushrooms, green onions, cilantro and a tangy soy sauce, accomplishes the oft-elusive feat of appealing to both your tastebuds and your scale.
Noodle Garden also offers a welcome respite from the loud, kitschy decor found in some of Evanston's more crowded Thai eateries. The deep green walls, potted plants and mahogany tables are proof that this place is going for more of the Zen appeal rather than the shock factor.
All of Noodle Garden's noodle dishes conveniently come with your choice of chicken, beef, tofu or vegetables, and you can specify your rice dish to feature either brown or jasmine rice. Noodle Garden also carries on the noodle shop tradition of the amazingly cheap lunch special: From 11:30-3 on weekdays, you can get an appetizer and entree for a mere $6.95.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown