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Great Thai near UCLA, or anywhere on the west side?

Will be down near UCLA for a few days with my daughter who is going to her new student orientation, and Thai is her favorite. Are there any great Thai restaurants on the west side (preferably fairly close to Westwood?)

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  1. Try Natalee Thai on Venice and Clarington or on Olympic and Robertson. http://nataleethai.com/ I remember that Thai house on Pico was also good (there might be a branch on Galey). All three have very stylish architecture and good food. If you are into seafood, try the adaman sea soup.

    There are a couple of places on westwood blvd that are good as well (Westwood Thai Cafe), but the ambience is not as cool. Noodle Planet on Westwood has a few Thai dishes, and is good for pan asian. They have a fantastic tom kha gai (coconut lemongrass soup)

      1. Good for a convient Thai fix with 18 $6.95 all day specials and possibly the best food for value option in Westwood Village, 1/2 block south of UCLA campus:

        Mr. Noodle - Exotic Asian Cuisine (really Thai & Chinese)
        936 Broxton Ave. (1 block west of Westwood Blvd.)
        (310) 208-1730

        http://www.misternoodle.com

        I tried the a lunch special at the Thai House on Gayley that the other poster mentioned and was very underwhelmed.

        Thai House
        1049 Gayley Ave. (1 1/2 blocks from SW corner of UCLA
        )(310) 208-2676

        http://www.thaihousela.com

        Emporium Thai Cuisine I think is pretty good but honestly I haven't been in a long time so maybe someone else can chime in with a recent experience there.

        Emporium Thai Cuisine
        1275 Westwood Blvd. (5 1/2 blocks south of UCLA
        )(310) 478-2838

        http://www.ethaicuisine.com

        There are 2 others farther south on Westwood Blvd. but have never read or heard of any real resaon to go there (Westwood Thai Cafe & Thai Fresh).

        If Beverly Hills is considered part of the west side, than a more creative upscale (& Expensive) Thai experience at:

        Cafe Talesai
        9198 Olympic Blvd.
        Beverly Hills
        (310) 271-9345

        http://www.talesai.com/cafemenu.shtml

        Driving - From UCLA, south on Westwood Blvd.; turn left on Olympic Blvd. and keep going through Century City into B.H.

        Everything(?) else, like Thai Town in Hollywood, violate your geographical restrictions.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JBC

          Agree with the poster regarding Thai House. Extremely underwhelmed. Most of the recs below look to be pretty accurate.

          I hope your daughter enjoys her orientation and time at UCLA. I was an orientation counselor myself for two years. Great memories.

          1. re: JBC

            Thanks all for the posts; I will be copying the Westwood suggestions for J to check out once she moves there! But actually, we are staying near Beverly Hills (couldn't find a Westwood hotel for any sort of reasonable price by the time I got around to booking) so I think I may try Cafe Talesai....any dishes you particularly recommend?

            Will report back, thanks!

          2. I always recommend Siam Chan. I went to UCLA and graduated there 5 years ago, and now live about 3 blocks from Siam Chan. In fact, I still have their number on my speed dial. It's only about 5 minutes drive from UCLA (Take Veteran Ave or Westwood Blvd --> Right turn on Santa Monica Blvd --> Left turn on Colby).

            And yes, it's a small, cramped restaurant (it used to be pink on the outside, but they recently repainted to a brown or orange color, I think) that needs more lighting, but the wait staff are extremely friendly who smile a lot and are more than happy to answer any questions you might have(ask for Rosie! Poom is pretty nice, too.), and they really zip from table to table, even when there are a lot of orders. Just be patient and nice to them as well! =)

            - I would recommend their BBQ Chicken.
            - If you like peanut-flavored dishes, please get their Praram dish.
            - Their orange chicken is slightly spicy, but quite good. (It's a little more expensive than their other dishes at around $8).
            - Their fish on the Specials menu (pompano?) really reminded me of the time I ate a similar dish overlooking the Mekong River in northern Thailand. (It's heavy on the basil and ginger, though!)
            - Their Pad Thai is loved by some, hated by others (Please know that their dish has two unique qualities: (1) It's pink, and (2) Most have said that it's sweeter than other restaurants).

            I have always been really happy with their dishes, and it's a great place to just hang out and talk with people.

            If you go there or if you go anywhere else, please post up a review! Good luck!

            Siam Chan
            1611 Colby Ave
            LA, CA 90025
            (310) 444-4981
            [Closed on Sundays]

            2 Replies
            1. re: Tmblweed

              i 2nd siam chan. solid food at great prices. and like the above poster, it also brings back fond memories of my ucla days...although i graduated 6yrs ago and live 6blocks away. :D

              1. re: wilafur

                Loved the mee krob, HATED the pad thai. The other thing I do remember is cheap prices and huge portions. Not the best Thai I've ever had, but delicious for its price point. Except for that pad thai. OMG that's horrid. Pink, sweet, like it was made with ketchup.

            2. I think both Mr. Noodle and Thai House, which JBC mentioned, are pretty good. They are both in walking distance from UCLA, in Westwood village. I wouldn't say that the food is "great"--it's pretty average, inexpensive food oriented to a college crowd--but they would provide a nice opportunity for you and your daughter to walk around Westwood and get to know the UCLA area. Mr. Noodle is super casual, whereas Thai House tries to be a nicer restaurant--it has real cloth tablecloths and napkins and everything. Despite their different atmospheres, the food quality and prices are pretty comparable. If you go to Mr. Noodle, be sure to stop by Didi Riese for dessert. This cookie store is a UCLA institution offering 3 yummy cookies for a dollar or an icecream sandwich made with your choice of 2 cookies and icecream for $1.25.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Nicole

                Hear, hear! Diddy Reese is a must for UCLA fans!

                Just FYI, though: Parking is an absolute nightmare in Westwood, so unless by some miracle you find meter parking right away, be ready to circle a few times around the block.

                There's a tiny parking structure on the SE corner of Broxton Ave & Weyburn Ave, but I've forgotten if they still give 1 hour Free Parking, though.

                1. re: Tmblweed

                  Parking is indeed quite difficult, but I imagine that if you are already going to orientation activities at UCLA you will have already shelled out a ridiculous $8 for parking. So just leave your car where it is and walk from the UCLA campus.

                  Also, forgot to mention that I hate Natalee Thai, which another person suggested. Not good quality. Same for their other rec of Noodle Planet...Mr. Noodle is much better than Noodle Planet. For instance, the chicken dishes at Noodle Planet contain really fatty dark meat, which you can upgrade to dried out white meat for a small fee ($2?)...but why do that when you can get the same dishes with decent white meat at Mr. Noodle?

                  1. re: Tmblweed

                    With C session just starting street parking may be more difficult, but I have found fairly good success at finding street parking on Strathmore, Kelton, and Gayley by Veteran. Its a very nice area, so walking is not really a punishment and it saves the $8 for one more dish or 8 more ice cream sandwiches at Diddy Reese.