Nong Thon 10086 San Pablo Ave., by Cerrito movie theater, (510) 647-8038. L-D W-M; $-$$. Reservations accepted.
The perfect spot for a pre-movie meal, this spacious, clean, and quiet Vietnamese restaurant features a rustic natural-wood interior with high ceilings and comfy booth seating under overhanging thatched "roofs." The decor is meant to resemble a Vietnamese country farm, complete with a model water buffalo in one corner. Should there be a wait, children and adults alike are entertained by an indoor turtle pond and children’s play area. Lunch specials come with rice and soup and include a tasty bo luc lac shaking beef-style salad. Stir-frys, clay pots, and rice plates are always good choices, and many people praise the shrimp cake (shrimp paste is spread on bean curd skin then deep-fried) and egg noodles with grilled beef. More exotic items include banana flower salad (shredded banana flower with chicken and mint), wild boar grilled at the table and served with sides to wrap in rice paper, and morning glory stems stir-fried with garlic and ginger. Thai ice tea is a primo drink, but durian, avocado, and jack fruit milkshakes are also options.
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image ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
update 10-31-14; 9-6-19