The Spice Room offers an appealing date-night option in Columbia City, with its romantic décor and long menu of Thai specialties.

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Date night in Columbia City might include a browse through Bookworm Exchange, a movie at Columbia City Cinema and a bite at any one of a dozen restaurants — for instance, The Spice Room, a serene little spot well-appointed for romance. Prices here are neither supercheap nor sky-high (most entrees range from $11 to $14), and the décor strikes a note of mystery and sophistication.

The menu: Choose from more than two dozen Thai standards, including phad Thai, satay, tom kha gai and swimming rama, plus a handful of specialties from India (such as yellow curry) and China (spinach flambé in garlic, chili and yellow bean sauce). You can order many of the stir-fries and curries with chicken, pork, beef, prawns or tofu, and choose your preferred degree of spiciness, from zero stars (mild) to four (superhot).

Celebrating? Start with an exotic cocktail, such as a tamarind martini ($8), or a selection off the short but varied wine list.

What to write home about: On a recent Thursday night, we found some of the small plates the most pleasing: petite fried spring rolls with a sweet chili sauce ($7); fried wontons with a creamy crab filling ($7); and a refreshing grilled-beef salad flavored with mint, lime and cucumber ($10).

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The setting: Exposed brick walls, dark-wood booths separated by filmy curtains and dramatic lighting set the stage for a quiet rendezvous.

Summing up: This may not have been the best Thai food we’ve ever tasted in Seattle (where there’s stiff competition), but for $48 we sampled a favorable array of flavors, from the starters listed above, through phad Thai ($11), a red curry ($11) and a side of jasmine rice ($2).

Lynn Jacobson: 206-464-2714 or

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