You might not expect to find sensational shrimp pad Thai at a Vietnamese restaurant. But Pho Cali elevates this combination of rice noodles, bean sprouts, peanuts and a simple Thai fish sauce to new heights. The key is keeping the dish moist without drowning the crunch of the components. Chef Kim Nguyen says she couldn’t find a great pad Thai anywhere, so she created her own. A squeeze of fresh lime and you could be in a street market in Bangkok—but instead you’re in downtown Sarasota.
Pho Cali, 1578 Main St., (941) 955-2683. Learn more about Pho Cali at chef Judi Gallagher’s Foodie’s Notebook blog.