Out of the Kitchen: Smiling Banana Leaf - The Surznick Common Room

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Out of the Kitchen: Smiling Banana Leaf

Ever since we moved to Pittsburgh, Smiling Banana Leaf has been in our Restaurant Passport, yet for some reason it has taken us almost two years to actually get there. The thing that troubles me the most about that fact is this restaurant is literally less than 1/2 a mile up the street from our apartment in Highland Park. So last weekend we (finally) ventured up the street to arrive at our 6:00 reservation time, and as a result, I think I may have found a new favorite restaurant.

The Atmosphere:

When we ate at Smiling Banana Leaf, we asked to be seated outside so we could enjoy some nice sunshine. Though we didn't eat in the restaurant, it was easy to tell that it is a fairly tight space, but one that felt really casual and relaxed. The restaurant is BYOB with a $0 corking fee, which is just about perfect if you ask me. Outside the door, on the corner of Bryant St. and N Euclid Ave., there is just enough space on the sidewalk for a few skinny tables-for-two. This gave us a great little "bistro" vibe feel that I really enjoyed.

The Food:

Nick - Incredible. I got the Tofu Pad See Ew with no egg (flat rice noodle, broccoli, napa cabbage, carrots), and it was easily the best Thai dish I've ever eaten. Now, I'm certainly no Thai food expert (or really even that experienced) but this was fantastic. All the dishes come with a the spiciness of your liking on a 0-10 scale. I've made the mistake before of requesting a number too high in the past, so I went really low this time around (really low... I ordered a 2) and I have to say, it tasted a whole lot like a "0". That's got to be my only criticism of the food itself. Overall, I absolutely loved it!

If you're in Pittsburgh and looking for an unassuming, quiet dining experience that will knock your socks off, go to Smiling Banana Leaf. And if you're headed there, get ahold of us - we'd love to join you!

Sarah & Nick


  1. After a name like that, I'd probably be really disappointed that they didn't use banana leaves as plates (since that's what "banana leaf restaurant" means in this part of the world). But i imagine the logistics involved in using banana leaf plates in America would be overwhelming...haha!

    1. Haha, no way! I've actually never thought about the name before, but that makes sense! Only real plates at this establishment :)