Funky Elephant

1313 Ninth St, Berkeley
(510) 356-4855

Recent Reviews

Eileen Hancock

More of a 3.5 stars. I came here for the food and fair enough it was flavorful. I like the spin on the pad thai where they grilled the shrimps before hand and used somewhat of an organic pad thai sauce. I also ordered the Isaan sausage where it came just one for $17. I thought it was regular considering I've had homemade ones before.

austin ligon

Great genuine Thai food.... My Isan wife gave it 5 stars !! ?

Sam Butarbutar

Okay let's get something out of the way.... this isn't your typical $6.50 per entree Thai joint. If you're on a strict budget & want that, head over to Imm Thai or Tuk Tuk Thai. There are plenty of cheap Thai takeout places for that around Berkeley.

Dumnoi

Cute small Thai restaurant with indoor and outdoor tables. Good service. The food was fresh and pretty good. It was a little pricey but they used some organic recipes. I'm from Marin County so maybe that's normal prices for East Bay.

Wenter S.

Literally we come here at least 3 times a week since about 4 months ago. Freshest and best version of Thai food in the bay.

Juan Sanchez

Wow! Fresh, balanced, flavorful Thai food in casual indoor/outdoor seating. Protein is expertly prepared and done just right. Surplus of fresh herbs, contrasting textures, balanced sauces. A class above any Thai food I?ve ever had.

Ben Gruber

Amazing food and super nice owners. Spicy!

J L.

This is as authenthic as it can get in terms of Thai food in the Bay Area! Funky Elephant does not shy away from spice, fish sauce, and funk. So if you're looking for your typical ordinary Pad Thai, you'll be getting something way better! With regard to spice, if you cannot tolerate it, you can ask to have it on the side. The must-trys are the Old Skool Pad Thai, which feature a couple whole large shrimps, and the Drunken Mussels, which are tangy and melt-in-your-mouth. Their menu is well-thoughout and concise, which really shows their attention on making those singular dishes truly the best. Please support this local business because there's a lot of great and complex flavors being cooked up in their kitchen!

Snneha N.

Met a friend for dinner here one night. The whole experience was unexpected! I show up and for a second, I am lost because it's not really in your face kind of restaurant. We walk in, and there are about 3 tables inside and around 4 outside. We sit outside since the day was Beautiful! We ordered their hella drunken mussels, Pad Thai old school,and gang rawang beef. Each one of these items was an explosion of taste on the palate. It wasn't spicy enough for me but I'm on a different level of spices. It was so savory. We had a singha to cut the spices a bit. The ambience was fun and definitely worth a visit!

Elizabeth Keller

Best Thai restaurant I?ve ever been to. Food is amazing, staff is super friendly. I love coming here. You can also actually get spicy food here which I?ve had a hard time finding in the Bay Area. So if you love spicy stuff definitely come here.

Tara Parker-Essig

Really great service and they take the food they serve very seriously! First time I?ve eaten shrimp with the whole head intact, I believe. Keeping the shell on for the ?old skool? Pad Thai really did enhance the flavor. This place is different from pretty much all other ?Thai? food I?ve tired - I now realize I?ve been deceived by watered-down, Americanized imitations! The staff explains things in detail and the head chef is from Bangkok, capital of Thailand and I was told he cooks the way they do there, just has ?turned down the spice slightly? for an American audience - however given that I have zero (zero!!!) spice tolerance they did make my dish without any chili and it was still delicious, complex and multi-flavored, and very filling.

Weston Hendrix

Would certainly recommend trying out this place. Fantastic character, yummy food, fantastic service. Fantastic work.

Norton K.

Phenomenal pad thai - fresh shrimp, tangy tamarind sauce and a nice heat! (Note: the default spice level is a bit above what others would call "medium."). Flavors were balanced nicely - roasted peanuts, tamarind and lime, perfectly cooked pad thai noodles. Service was friendly and prompt. Will definitely be back!

Jenn B.

This review is only for the service. My friend and I showed up without a reservation last Saturday. We were seated at a table facing the door and it was really cold. We saw that a table away from the door was available and asked to be seated there. The person waiting on us was very rude and didn't seem to want to move us. We had to insist on moving. The other servers were fine. The food was pretty good - the pad Thai is tasty and not sweet which is great. The fried tofu appetizer was just meh, I probably wouldn't get it again. I won't go out of my way to go to funky Elephant again, there are plenty of Thai restaurants in Oakland I can go to!

Ash B.

Great concept and the menu is definitely different from your run of the mill Thai restaurant in berkeley. But omg our server was the most condescending and pretentious person ever! He kept saying how this food is like real thai food and how we wouldn't understand (?) and just had no capacity to appreciate the food- this is before we even ordered! We have spent time in Thailand and took thai cooking classes there (not that this should matter at all) and it was just incredibly odd to be told within 5 minutes of sitting down (and then multiple times through the meal) that we had no capacity to appreciate the food ("you won't be able to eat the spice, your palate cant handle it... we gave you spice but you shouldn't' use it, you won't be able to eat it because you don't understand thai food" that kind of thing) . So bizarre. The food was good though! And sitting outside was sweet. I just wish we could have had a server who wasn't so self righteous about the food.

Frances C.

Contemplating on when to go back next time... Spicy Party wings (5/5): Comes with 3 whole wings, it's so good but a little hard to eat. Pad Thai (4.5/5): This is probably my new go-to pad Thai spot from now. The shrimps were grilled perfectly and they weren't stingy with the crushed peanuts. Panang beef (3/5): The beef was tender, and the salad was really good - but the portion was not satisfying :( Couple things to note: - Their portion sizes are a bit smaller considering the prices. It's more of a order-your-own-plate kind of place. - There's not a lot of seats - both inside and outside of the restaurant. And if might get chilly if you sit outside since there's no heater. Service was really good - we didn't have to ask for water at all (we got our bottles refilled at least 3 times) and the servers were attentive for our requests.

Joshua Tomblin

The red curry is freaking amazing so spicy and delicious in the perfect way!

Sam M.

This intimate casual Thai spot in Berkeley is serving some of the most delicious authentic Thai food in the Bay Area. Don't let the size of the place fool you because the dishes here are packed with flavors and heat. Starting with the mussels served with curried broth. The spicy, sweet and sour flavor are going to wake up your pallet for sure. Love the bright flavor of the Thai lime leaf on this dish. The pad Thai was perfectly chewy and came with two perfectly fried prawns. The kao mun gai was such a simple dish yet very satisfying. The chicken was moist and juicy and nicely served over the garlic and ginger scented rice. The Laotian sausage was not disappointing at all; two perfectly cooked house-made sausages served over a bed of aromatic herbs and thinly sliced Thai chilies. Finally, the delicious short ribs served with peanut sauce and Thai pickled cucumbers. The grilled short ribs were marinated with turmeric and coconut milk and tasted amazing!

Kevin Batchelor

The food is amazingly fresh and the service is knowledgeable and friendly! If you think you've had good Thai food, you need to come here and see if it compares. You'll be happy that you did!

Diana R

Delicious food every time. Also, fantastic bathroom experience.

Julia G.

Tried out a new Thai place in Berkeley! It was definitely a funky place with interesting decor and outside tables, but a little tight and small inside. Nice little outdoor area right next to Philz Coffee. Green Papaya Salad ($12) - Spicy!!! Default they put in 3 chilis and we put in just 1 chili and it was definitely spicy. At one point the spices came up my nose LOL. Couldn't really differentiate the chili from the peanuts. It had a lot of flavor but it would've been better if the Papaya was colder(?). It might've made the salad more fresh. Grilled Beef Short Ribs ($18) - Good. I thought it came with rice (other yelp pictures), but came with no rice. Ordered jasmine rice ($2) and it was blue, which was pretty interesting. Again, a lot of flavor going on. Pad Thai Old Skool ($15) - Lots of sauce and flavor overall. Good pad Thai but not the best I ever had. Size is definitely on the smaller side. Ask for chili on the side or no chili if you don't like spicy. It seems really spicy. Soft Serve Ice Cream Thai Tea ($6) - Nice! It's not super milky and reminds me of the chick fil a soft serve texture (?). Nice light Thai tea flavor. Overall, had a nice experience! Apparently, this place is super authentic and they do things spicy (overheard the waiter explaining to another table - service was good but could've been better if they explained about their restaurant and food to us too. I had no idea it was supposed to be spicy!). The flavors were pretty crazy, but I think overall there was just too much flavor going on that it was kinda overwhelming. There wasn't anything simple to cleanse my palate. I'm not Thai, so I guess I'm not used to all the flavors, but usually at other Thai places, I don't walk away feeling overwhelmed. I might need a juice cleanse lol. I wouldn't really recommend to my family/friends just because we have similar tastes, but would recommend to anyone who wants to try authentic Thai food with lots of FLAVOR and lots of spice!

Ann S.

Funky Elephant why are you so delicious? Your every dish is beautiful to behold and bursting with complex flavor. Your noodles have perfect bite and texture, your meats are all tender and tasty, even your tofu tastes good. Your food is fresh, spicy, sweet, sour, salty in perfect balance. People who complain about the price and portion size aren't realizing how special the food here is compared with other Thai places in the Bay Area. Some people care about authenticity - I care about delicious. That said, I would not be surprised to be served this food in Thailand, and in fact would love it there as much as I love it here. I've had a lot of meals in Thailand that weren't this good. This place is a gem and you should have dinner here tonight.

Bebe P.

More of a 3.5 stars. I came here for the food and fair enough it was flavorful. I like the spin on the pad thai where they grilled the shrimps before hand and used somewhat of an organic pad thai sauce. I also ordered the Isaan sausage where it came just one for $17. I thought it was regular considering I've had homemade ones before. However, I find this place to be on the pricey end and food portion is not really accommodating if you're hungry. I'd say people would love it here if come for presentations.

Devon Breithart

This is almost certainly the best Thai food in the bay. Complex flavors that don't just rely on heat to be interesting. Great prices and friendly service. I've loved everything I've had, but don't leave without trying the party wings.

Craig G.

Been wanting to try this tiny little place that packs a big flavor punch. I only ordered the muscles. They were a tad bit chewy and over cooked, but that broth was to die for. Unfortunately no bread to sop it up with so they suggested rice vermicelli which was ok. Lots of beer and other interesting looking items to quench your thirst. I wasn't hungry enough for ol school pad Thai but will try next time. This place is tiny and appears to do a strong business in take out. Other than the modernity of the building, the size and furniture reminds me of the little shops outside of Bangkok. They are in strip malls,next to gas stations, and office buildings. Unpretentious fast and very solid. However this place try's to elevate and deviate at the same time from pure tradition. In an attempt to cater to western palettes and with all the competition in foodie heaven nor Cal, they seemed to have found a balanced measured approach. You get some familiar items with enough of a twist to bring a new dimension of "yummy" to them. Enough of original presentation with creative deviance to make you want to come back and try something else. Which of course I will be doing!

Adrienne H.

I try to avoid superlatives, but Funky Elephant may have the best Pad Thai I've tried in the Bay Area. Yes you read that right, the best. They create the sauce from scratch using fresh tamarind juice, and what a world of difference this makes! The tangy, thick sauce generously coats each strand without being too salty or overpowering. Combined with the head on, line-caught jumbo prawns, this "Old School" Pad Thai won me over with the depth of flavor, texture, and presentation. I was a fan of the rest of my lunch here as well! The fried organic hodo tofu was simple, but addictive when dipped in the sweet chili sauce. The grilled Gang-Rawang Steak came smothered with a southern style tangy green curry and was topped with a visually appealing salad of green and flower garnish. The Issan Sausage, made from grilled Northeastern-style fermented spicy pork, was a juicy flavor bomb. Their Thai Tea soft serve with coconut cream drizzle was literally icing on the cake of an amazing meal! This small spot in Berkeley is such a gem - amazing food that doesn't cut corners, passionate chef-owners, and friendly service.

Tony V.

Came here for an event so we were able to try a few of their top dishes. We had the crispy tofu, pad thai old school (with fried eggs), green curry beef, and soft served thai tea ice cream. Also came with blue rice. All the dishes were great, but what really stood out to me was the pad thai -- it was out of this world! I don't think I've had pad thai this good since I've been to Thailand! It was sooooo gooood! The flavors were great it had that sweetness with the citrus of the lime squeeze and had a lot of heat! It also comes with huge pieces of shrimp. The head chef/owner mentioned to us that the pad thai was spicy and he wasn't lying. It has that spiciness and flavor where it definitely has a kick, but you can't stop eating it because it's so addicting! Luckily I had a nice refreshing thai tea to cool down the burn a bit. I would come back for pad thai alone! It was that good. The owners were so nice and opened up this restaurant because they wanted to bring back those authentic Thailand flavors that they are use to back home and share it with their customers. Nothing made is frozen, everything is fresh. What's not to love!? A big thumbs up from me!

Evelyn E.

Exceptional service. We had walked in 5 minutes until closing... at first the server offered take out since they were closing. BUT, then she asked the owner, and they said we could go ahead and eat in!!! Being our first visit, they explained that all the sauces and seasoning were made in house which is amazing!!! The Iced Thai Tea was delicious. My daughter's Beef Short Ribs were flavorful and succulent. The jasmine rice was a fun bluish color... hence the funky. Speaking on funky... my daughter said there was a disco light ball in the bathroom!!! I'm kinda bummed out I didn't get to check that out!!! My Pad Thai was flavorful. It may look like a small portion. But it was quite filling.

Blake Balmer

Best Thai food in the US, hands down! You can never go wrong here. Excellent ingredients, polite and knowledgeable staff, great service. Be prepared for spicey though! Genuinely fantastic restaurant, you'll keep coming back!

Will Soley

We discovered this place right after we came back from a trip to Thailand, and immediately fell in love. The traditional flavors and methods are complimented by the passionate staff. Dishes can pack some heat, but are always well balanced, and they always ask for your comfort level with spice. This gem is a good thing in a small package, but with the outdoor seating, you can almost always sit right down.

Jason Latorre

Simple, low-kew little restaurant. Food quality is A1 & customer service is amazing!

Jacqueline F.

Usually an ethnic-themed restaurant, with a clever name send a red flag. The same one I get when I see wines with clever names. But this place was the bomb. I discovered it when I went across to whole foods and my husband got the crispy rice salad. I ate some of it, and it was so yummy that I fantasize over it. Being allergic to gluten and shellfish, means that my pickings are slim. But the salad more than makes up for it. The food isn't the usual coconut milk, sickeningly sweet concoctions - which is little more than a veggie, in coconut milk and lots of sugar, and some curry paste. Their food has a character, all it's own, and I actually managed to taste some in New York. A good rival, but way to far of a distance to travel. I also liked the Mango with sticky rice. This is the first time in years I've had it and actually liked it. All and all, I love coming here.

AnneMarie W.

They get an A+ for ambience!!! I haven't been to a restaurant that has put so much care into the details of making their place original/funky. It's beautiful. The food is really great too! I got to try 3 things on the menu because my friends and I shared. Their curry is delicious! The beef is great too. The stir fried chicken dish wasn't exactly what I was expecting but it was good. A real comfort dish and good if your belly isn't feeling up for spicy. The servers are really super friendly. I can understand what the hype is all about. p.s. You must see their bathroom.

Michiko W.

Are you looking to experience authentic Thai flavors in the Berkeley area? You found it. I came here after my trip to Thailand because I was craving Thai food go figure! I was not disappointed. Get the fried egg salad. It's not something I would usually order but I'm so glad I did! Another favorite is the party wings. They warn you about the spice levels. If you have a low tolerance for spice you may find this dish overwhelming. If you're one of the lucky ones you'll be licking your fingers like me. Don't forget to get the soft serve! Perfect for cooling your tastebuds. In summary, I will definitely be back to try everything else on the menu. Update to come.

Deanna Y.

Funky Elephant is a total gem! The unassuming restaurant serves up authentic Thai food in a small space that is big on flavors! They have a limited menu, but the items they do offer are prepared very well. We ordered the Pad Thai Old Skool and Kao Mun Gai (chicken and rice) and both were delicious! The pad thai had an intense spicy tamarind sauce that coated each noodle perfectly and the shrimp on top were juicy and plump. The hubs said this reminded him of the pad thai he had in Thailand! The KMG had tender poached chicken breast, flavorful broth, and the sauce was on point. As a heads up, the dishes here pack some heat! I love spicy food, so this wasn't an issue for me, but if you're a lightweight, I'd recommend asking for less spice :) Prices are reasonable for the high quality. I got Daughter Thai vibes from some of their plating and flavors! Service was consistent and friendly throughout the meal - attentive, but not overbearing, and one of our servers, Alex, spent the time to explain the meaning behind the restaurant's name. Funky refers to the bold flavors that contrast with your "typical" Thai food and elephants are a sacred symbol and culturally significant in Thai culture. What prevented this from being 5 stars for me, was the small space. I recall there being 7 cramped tables and a 2 person counter top inside along with 2 tables outside. This is not the place you want to go for groups larger than 4, although I think you could get by with 5 or 6 outside. Quirky details like disco lights in the bathroom and unique beer finds like BeerLao added to a memorable visit. I'll be back to try the crispy rice salad, chicken wings, and green beef curry!

David Gomes Bourdier

We came there while looking for the brewery which was closed. The people are nice and friendly, the food is honest (I had old school pad Thai), but is far too overpriced! For a meal and a beer (bottle) we ended with more than $115!

Alexa A.

KMG #2 is soooooo good! If you're looking for something homey tasting and filling--this is what you need to order! The chicken is so well poached and the skin on it is nice and salty. It comes with some super salty broth (for those of you that crave some extra salt in your life) to either dip the chicken in or drink on the side (if you're like that). The chicken is presented on a bed of rice which ties it all together! If you like SPICY things, try the grilled beef short ribs! They're somehow so juicy, even though they're on the smaller side. They come with a spicy sauce on the side that you can either dip the short ribs into or drizzle on all of them. Soooo tasty! For this you have to order rice on the side if you're in need of it (I was because as much as I love spice, this was on the spicier side of me--call me weak if you'd like). On special days (perhaps weekends..? though this was never clarified to me) they have mango with sticky rice. A must-try if you can catch it! PLUS SIDE: Staff is always super informative & extremely friendly, but not over the top when it comes to checking in on you and asking how your meal is :) Tips: 1. if you have a small butt/a butt with a little less cushion, perhaps consider bringing one to sit on. 2. There are only three to four tables inside! And two or so outside! It's best to catch this place on their off-hours :) 3. There is only ONE bathroom!! Which is always super festive inside. 4. It's not in plain sight so you're gonna have to navigate to Philz to find this place

Kartik Sathappan

Crispy rice salad is a game changer. Seriously used to debate if Thai food just wasnâ??t my thing until I realized itâ??s just butchered at most locations. Try funky elephant and fall in love with Thai food. Easily worth the drive from the city as well.

Justin Hartung

Best Thai in the area. Not too sweet, lots of layers of flavors. A little pricier, but worth it. Some draft beer would be nice. .

olivia robinson

I was so surprised. Wanted some basic Thai food and got SO much more than that. They're food is incredibly authentic and cooked with care. Our server was knowledgeable, kind and enthusiastic. He explained every dish and even the best way to enjoy it! Our food was delicious, it's a small menu so we ended up ordering a variety and it was all great. Dinning here was an experience, I cannot recommend it enough!