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Around the Corner: Senae Thai Bistro, a unique and local favorite

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Senae Thai Bistro, a Tucson favorite, offers outdoor seating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy Amonwadee "Dee" Buizer. 

Located in the heart of downtown Tucson is Senae Thai Bistro, an award-winning and popular restaurant notable for its creative and authentic take on Thai cuisine.

Senae Thai Bistro sits at the corner of East Congress and Scott Avenue. Recognized by the Royal Thai government and awarded the Arizona Daily Star’s 2019 Readers' Choice Award, Senae Thai stands out for its high quality and unique dining options.

Amonwadee "Dee" Buizer is the owner and head chef at Senae Thai Bistro. She spoke about how important the restaurant is to her.

“Senae Thai is my passion. This is my baby," said Buizer. “This is the sixth restaurant I have opened in my life, but in the past, it was with my siblings. This one is my very own. I opened Senae because I think it is important to offer upscale and refined Thai dining here.” 

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With COVID-19’s impact, Senae Thai has made many modifications to both their dining and kitchen functions. For Buizer and the staff of Senae Thai, it has been important that they serve the community safely. 

“I have been watching the positivity rates on a daily basis and when it got high, we shut down the dining room. We decided that seating at 25% capacity was not worth it, and we shut it down to protect not only us but the community," Buizer said. “Right now we are doing outdoor seating and take-out only. But when the infection rate reaches 10%, we will look at safely opening the indoor dining area.”


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Chefs prepare food at Senae Thai Bistro. Courtesy Dee Buizer


Dominic Cook is a staff member and cook at Senae Thai Bistro. For him, working at Senae Thai creates a connection to the Tucson community.  

“Being a part of the community is a wonderful feeling. Knowing the quality of our products [that] we provide to our neighbors and customers while also introducing [them] to tiny bits of the Thai food culture is a feeling I won't take for granted," Cook said.

But it's not just the community that Cook said he feels appreciative of. It's also the great food. “Amazing is an understatement when it comes to all the flavors and dishes Thailand creates. I don't think it gets any more authentic than Senae Thai Bistro," Cook said. 

When it comes to liking Senae Thai's dishes, Cook isn't alone. According to numerous staff members, the food is remarkable. 

Moe Abdallah, who has worked for Senae Thai Bistro for four years, said that the red snapper with lemongrass and garlic is his favorite meal at Senae. Sergio Gastelo, an employee of three years, said that his personal recommendation is the pad thai. 

When Buizer thought of her favorite dishes, she considered what she likes to eat and what she likes to cook.

“Pad kee mao is my favorite noodle dish,” Buizer said. “In terms of entrees, I love our duck. It is really hard to find restaurants that serve really great duck. What we use is sustainably raised and is cooked with red curry or lemongrass sauce.”

Buizer went on to say that she's proud of all of the dishes at Senae Thai. 

“I eat by my mood, so my answer when customers ask me what I recommend is that if I do not enjoy any of these dishes, I would not put it on the menu," Buizer said. "If I am not excited about it, it won't be on the menu.” 

Senae Thai Bistro is open Monday through Saturday and offers limited outdoor seating as well as take-out and delivery. You can order online at Senae Thai Bistro's website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (5/18)
378 3 0.8%
Total (8/4)
270,694 4,359 1.6%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated May 18, 2021