There's no doubt that my personal favorite Thai food in San Francisco is at Bangkok 16. It's in my neighborhood, I've known the owner for a long time, and there's plenty more I could say about it.
BUT, looking a little further a field and thinking about Thai food all around San Francisco, there are only a few other restaurants that ever come to my mind to visit. One of them, perhaps the top of the list, has to be Thai Time: 315 8th Avenue, between Clement and Geary Blvd. It's one of those small, family-run places that specialize in good service and great food.
Take the fish cakes for example. To begin with, the cakes are at least 1/3 larger than what you'll see in most places. And, they're thicker than most you'll see as well. The texture is perfect with just a slight chewy-ness, but crisp on the outside. The flavor is next to none with just a bit more than a hint of seafood flavor, basil, and spices. The cucumber sauce that goes with it has just a little sweetness with medium-sized diced vegetables. You won't find a better tad mun in San Francisco! Besides the fish cakes, their Thai egg rolls are flavorful and packed with vegetables and come with a delicious, slightly peppery sauce. The chicken sauté is tender with no skin or fat, and it comes with what my wife insists is the finest peanut sauce of any Thai restaurant in the city.
For the soup, we had a coconut milk soup with chicken and vegetables. We asked for it hot, and it came hot. REAL hot! In my book, that's the way it should be. When a person asks for hot, that's what they should get, and too often restaurants today are afraid to serve anything really hot.
Main dishes are equally good, although they are relatively typical of what you will find in other Thai restaurants in the city. We had a noodle dish with vegetables and chicken, beef with more of that luscious peanut sauce, duck with a curry sauce and lots of vegetables, and pineapple fried rice. The pineapple rice was the hit of the evening for me with the slightly tart pineapple completely breaking through any potentially oiliness of a fried rice dish.
We were all so stuffed that desert just wasn't an option on this visit. Maybe next time, and there will certainly be a next time.
Good, flavorful, and plentiful food is hard to beat. You'll get all of this with plenty of beverage selection at Thai Time. Try it soon, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.