Restaurant news: A tale of two very different Edmonds restaurant experiences

Exterior of Thai Wisdom Bistro.
Thai Wisdom Bistro interior.

I love that everyone has a favorite restaurant in town to eat — whether you are going out for a special occasion, a weeknight dinner, a date night or just for an evening when you don’t feel like cooking at home.  I visited a new Thai spot in the Westgate neighborhood and a Mexican place that has been around for almost three years. It was my first time visiting both restaurants, and I made a point of visiting during the week rather than on the weekend. You may be surprised about which one I preferred. I ordered two drinks, an appetizer, and two entrees at each restaurant. One dinner cost me $83.96 with tip and the other cost me $64.56. The food and service was stellar at one and the other left us scratching our heads as it was so disappointing. I reached out to the CEO/general manager of one of the restaurants for a comment about my experience but I never heard back from her.

Thai Style Basil Chicken.

So let’s get to the details. Thai Wisdom Bistro has been open for three months and is located in the Edmonds Westgate QFC strip mall where two other Thai restaurants preceded it. We were greeted warmly by two servers. The place was empty, but they were doing a very brisk take-out business. We had our pick of a table in a dining room that is almost unchanged from the previous eateries. The menu is very comprehensive and almost overwhelming. After some thought, we ordered two Thai beers ($4 each), one order of Prawn Fresh Rolls ($11), Mama Noodle with shrimp ($17) and Thai Style Basil Chicken ($18.50). The food came quickly, was abundant (we had plenty of leftovers for another meal at home) and well prepared. The Thai flavors were front and center, and both dishes had generous portions of protein and vegetables.

Prawn Fresh Summer Roll.
Mama Noodle with Shrimp

Obviously you can order online but I would encourage you to enjoy the dishes hot off the stove in person. The service was attentive and it’s rare to find beer for $4 at a sit-down restaurant these days. The extensive menu offers soups, salads, noodles, entrees, curries, fried rice, house specials and many more options.  The lunch specials are reasonably prices and include an entrée with choice of protein, noodle and rice for $15.  I’ll be going back to try out more dishes. In fact it was so delicious that I can’t stop thinking about it and I hid the leftovers in the refrigerator so that my husband couldn’t find them. I hope that three times is the charm and that Thai Wisdom Bistro (with other locations in Kirkland and Capitol Hill) is here to stay.

Thai Wisdom Bistro

22814 100th Ave. W., Edmonds

Hours:  Lunch Monday-Sunday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) Dinner Monday-Sunday (4 p.m.-close. Call to make sure they are open as the closing hour varies until they establish a solid Edmonds clientele.)

Exterior of Kahlo’s Cantina.
Kahlo’s Cantina interior.

The Mexican restaurant that I visited was Kahlo’s Cantina. It has been in the old Skipper’s building across from the Edmonds ferry terminal since 2021. I chose to eat outside on the patio facing the ferry because it was a beautiful evening and we wanted to watch the sunset. We ordered two versions of their margaritas — the Scratch Rita and the Kahlo’s Rita at $14 per drink. They were not overly sweet but it was obvious that they skimped on the tequila. The highlight of the meal was the hot appetizer called Camarones al Mojo ($18.99): Sautéed prawns and mushrooms arrived in a skillet with guajillo butter and tequila sauce. They were beautifully cooked and my only disappointment is that they only brought four small slices of bread, which was not enough for two of us because the sauce was so delicious!

Skillet Shrimp Appetizer.
Mango Salmon.
Fish Tacos.

We split the Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos ($18.99) and the Mango Salmon ($32.99). We had to wait to eat because we did not have forks for our entrees. We waited and waited for them to come and finally I got up from the table and found another server to bring us forks. The tacos came with a fresh coleslaw and pico de gallo. The salmon was accompanied by a mango salsa, asparagus, roasted lemons and rice. The plate looked beautiful but I had to send it back. The asparagus hiding under the fish was mushy (as in the vegetable was actually past its expiration date), the rice was undercooked and the fish was hard as a rock.  In fact, the salmon was so overcooked that I thought it had been hot smoked. I actually sent it back because the dish was not edible nor palatable and at $32.99 the chef should not have let it leave the kitchen. It left me stunned. Thankfully, the fish tacos were enough for two of us along with the appetizer. They did not charge us for the salmon dish. I reached out to the General Manager Claudia Arechiga but I did not get a response.

Kahlo’s Cantina is highlighted in the recent My Edmonds News Best of Edmonds — based on reader votes — in many categories. I won’t be returning because the value, the service and the quality of food did not warrant the price of dinner. But as my father would say…”that’s what makes horse races.” Everyone’s palates are different, and maybe I caught them on a bad night. But in the end — like pizza joints — we have many choices for Mexican food all over Edmonds and readers can decide for themselves who they want to patronize.

Kahlo’s Cantina

102 Main St., Edmonds

Hours: Monday-Thursday (11 a.m.-9 p.m.) Friday (11 a.m.-11 p.m.) Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m.-9 p.m.)

— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She loves to cook from scratch using produce from the gardens she created and maintains with her husband. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and focused on desserts, pastries and bread. She’s worked for restaurants and caterers in the front and back of the house (kitchen) on both coasts. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. Deborah loves experimenting and developing new recipes. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at


  1. Thank You Deborah for those Restaurants reviews. I’ll be sure to take your suggestions and I really enjoyed reading your impressions of both places. My son and I are looking for new places since Lynnwood shut down the “hops and drops” restaurant we loved. After hops closed I’ve been searching for a replacement but so far no luck. Happy 4th weekend Deborah. You should do this as a profession.

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