Arts and Culture
Food and Wine
People and Places
Science and Nature
Travel and Lodging
Home » FOOD AND WINE in VT » VERMONT (all topics)
Sabai Sabai

Restaurant Review – Middlebury, Vermont

By Allison Flint | March 02, 2012

Cashew Stirfry

In this technological age, how does one review a restaurant that is so new it doesn’t have a website or online menu yet? You go to it, obviously, and so should you.

Inside Sabai Sabai

Sabai Sabai opened in Middlebury, Vermont at the very end of 2011.   Already its success is evident by the steady stream of customers, both new and returnees.   On a recent Friday night, every table was booked, either by happy diners or impending arrivals by reservation.

To have to wait for a table in Middlebury is rare.   We have a great selection of places to eat, all satisfying and welcoming with generally sufficient seating for all except on big weekends.   So to have to wait for table, particularly during the January lull, is unheard of.

Sabai Sabai is a Thai/Japanese restaurant owned and run by Vermonters Claire and Art Jilandharn, who already own long-running restaurants in Waterbury (Ocha Thai) and in Montpelier (Royal Orchid).

Sabai Sabia, roughly translated, means “comfortable.” Any guest will find this new eatery comfortable, with its superior decor (the newly renovated old tin ceiling is a beauty) and emphasis on a home-away-from-home.

Pineapple Fried Rice

The Jilardharns ensure authenticity in the cooking by buying necessary spices in Boston that are not available locally, bringing Thai and Japanese flavor to Middlebury.

The Thai menu is extensive, and can be ordered for takeout.   Appetizers include fried dumplings and tasty bites of duck and other exotic treats, to salads, and soups.

Entrée choices such as stir fries, curries, and vegetarian, meat, poultry and fish options means there is something for every palette.   The prices range from $12 to the mid $20’s so there is something for every budget too, particularly as the generous portions will leave most taking home leftovers.

The pineapple fried rice is served in a diced pineapple (still in the rind) with rice and spiced shrimp, chicken and fresh vegetables.

The cashew stir-fry is so fresh that the green vegetables are vivid – al dente crispness amid spicy peanut sauce, savory cashews and perfectly cooked jasmine rice.

Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

The rice deserves a special mention.   Having lived in New England most of my life, I know what basic rice tastes like, and this was anything but basic, it was phenomenal.

With the enticing and unusual desserts offered, making a choice was difficult.   The sautéed bananas with coconut ice cream was tempting, but we opted for the coconut sticky rice with mango.   The fruit was fresh, the flavors sweet and pungent, and the rice perfectly sticky. Delicious.

Next time I visit, and yes a return trip is a must, I will eat from the Japanese menu, which includes such delights as sushi, rolls and udon dishes.

TELEPHONE(802) 989-7376

Sabai Sabai
22 Merchants Row
Middlebury, VT 05753


Mon - Fri: 11:30AM - 2:30PM (lunch menu), and 4:30PM - 9PM

Sat & Sun: 12:30PM – 9PM

Holidays: 12:30PM – 9PM, except Thanksgiving and Christmas when the restaurant is closed.

Share |
ONE is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.