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Best Thai food in LA?

pkpk Aug 10, 2006 04:30 PM

Probably been covered a million times. But I have not been in to Thai until my recent trip to Vancouver (where the Thai is amazing). I am coming back to LA with intense cravings but no idea where to go. I live in Hollywood, but am willing to drive. What are your top picks?

  1. a
    Alice Aug 10, 2006 04:41 PM

    Hi there,

    In the West LA area I like Tuk Tuk Thai. There was a post earlier about great thai food near westwood. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/315924

    However since you are in Hollywood, you're very close to Thai Town where a lot of good Thai food is. My favorites being Red Corner and Rodded for their duck noodle soup and fried bananas.

    See this previous post as well =

    1. e
      estone888 Aug 10, 2006 04:44 PM

      I've spent a lot of time in Thailand, all over the country, so I think I have a reasonably good idea about Thai food. I have yet to find any outside of Thailand that holds up to what I've eaten there. But, that said, some of the best I've found outside of Thailand has been here in L.A. Here are my three current favorites:

      Yai - 5757 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood

      Wat Thai - 8225 Coldwater Canyon (at Roscoe), North Hollywood - only on Saturday and Sunday days

      Renu Nakorn - 13041 E. Rosecrans, Norwalk (I've heard it's closing for remodelling at the end of August.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: estone888
        Curt the Soi Hound Aug 12, 2006 12:32 AM

        I've accumulated years in Thailand, and have been living in Bangkok since March.
        But, I have been told that my opinion on Thai food is lacking by LA standards.

        I Really like Wat Thai.
        Although there are hits and misses, this is real Thai.

        1. re: Curt the Soi Hound
          coffeeguru Aug 12, 2006 03:47 AM

          I also like Wat Thai for their papaya salads and mango sticky rice. I've been around Thailand they taste authentic.

      2. m
        Mr Grub Aug 10, 2006 05:26 PM

        Ayara on 87th St in the Westchester Triangle is the Grubs’ current “best l’il Thai restaurant in LA.” Menu has all of the classic sit-down Thai restaurant favorites, each prepared perfectly & to the Thai palate. One of us Grubs has one of their soaring curries on each visit. Because it is, um, off the beaten path, parking (free street or public lot) & waiting are seldom a problem. Routine stop for Thai Airways flight crews.

        For more adventurous Thai street food cuisine, you have 2 great options:
        Wat Thai Temple (weekends only at Coldwater/Roscoe in SFV), or
        Pot luck at almost any spot in Thai Town on E Hwood Blvd. Ruen Pair is the Grubs’ first choice, for papaya salad, duck stuff like soup & egg noodles, & omelets. But lots of other Thai Town places serve up amazing free-wheeling dishes.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Mr Grub
          Dommy Aug 10, 2006 06:11 PM

          Thanks for the rec Mr. Grub! I'll be trying it soon! I've had major Thai cravings and the one near here (in the hughes center) really stinks...


          1. re: Mr Grub
            la_hound_not_foodie Aug 11, 2006 05:32 PM

            Wow, so you are saying this is great Thai food AND a "Routine stop for Thai Airways flight crews"? Nuff' said, I am there 24 hours a day now!!!!

            Gotta start practicing: "sawat-dee! sabai dee mai kaa? khun chue arai kaa?"

            1. re: Mr Grub
              Capybara Nov 14, 2006 10:12 PM

              Ate again at Ayara this past weekend, and I love it. Really fresh food with clear flavors, rather than simply a spicy (or not so) mosh. And the people running the place do seem nice as well.

              Won't claim it the best in LA, since I haven't widely sampled, but can't ask for better from a small neighborhood Thai.

            2. b
              bza Aug 10, 2006 05:32 PM

              Ruen Pair is closed right now for expansion, but I've been to most of the "best" Thai restaurants in LA and RP stands up to all of them. It's in the same plaza as Palms (which is way overrated) and Red Corner (which, in my opinion, is terrible and watered down) on Hollywood.

              Saap Coffeshop a few blocks down has great jade noodles, and Sanamuluang (I know I spelled it wrong) is good for late night, though I think its glory days have passed it by.

              Renu Nakorn is also great, but you have to drive. They've got some serious spice though if you're in the mood.

              1. i
                igj Aug 10, 2006 05:44 PM

                in Hollywood, I would hit Ruen Pair, but as previously mentioned, it is closed right now. Rodded would be second choice unless it is later in the day and then Sanamluang becomes a better option.

                For low-key, almost just-like-back-in-Muang Thai food, I'd try Sri Siam in NoHo (although the waitstaff isn't always in a super helpful mood, many of the specials listed only in Thai on the whiteboard are very Thai dishes). I am a bit like a broken record about this place, but they have it about as close to the right feel as I have found. One waitress there told us it wasn't exactly the same because there are just some ingredients that are unavailable or unavailable at quality in the necessary quantity - but they usually don't dumb down the flavors.

                That said, I also think Krua Thai in NoHo is great for noodle dishes. They have been a bit inconsistent, but the pad thai Krua Thai is one of my top Thai dishes in LA.

                And, of course, the Wat is the most 'authentic' experience of Thai street food you can find in LA. During the summer, when it is 104 degrees out there, it REALLY starts to feel like Thailand. My only quibble with the Wat is that the drink selection is seriously lacking. Weak lemonade, instead of a true nam manoa (or even just fresh lemons or limes would do), blaah iced coffee, etc.

                1. y
                  young_chower Aug 10, 2006 06:07 PM

                  Ditto Ruen Pair. Get the papaya salad. GREAT!!!

                  1. Das Ubergeek Aug 10, 2006 06:51 PM

                    If you're willing to drive, go to Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove. Insanely wonderful.

                    Thai Gulch on Sherman Way in NoHo is also well worth it -- there are great late-night dishes at Sanamluang, the pad thai at Krua Thai, the curry and the pork-basil noodles at Bua Siam... mmmm...

                    1. s
                      sumo10 Aug 11, 2006 08:39 PM

                      Ayara in Westchester is great. The owners are nice and the food is really really good. The restaurant itself is very clean and "cute". The owner told me a lot of people getting off of Thai Airlines will order delivery to their airport hotels because Ayara is homestyle Thai food. Don't know how true that is, but the Thai is great.

                      1. e
                        epop Aug 12, 2006 08:34 AM

                        I'm wondering, just in case, if anyone (especially those that have spent a lot of time in thailand) recommends anything on the west side. i read the link to the discussion about thai in westwood but that consisted of mostly people praising the typical and decent thai places. nothing special. i don't count natalee, for ex. I've eaten the food made by the king of thailand's chef and it is so simple and incredible...

                        any jewels found?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: epop
                          igj Aug 12, 2006 04:17 PM

                          On the Westside? Nope, nothing really.

                          That said, having eaten Royal Thai Cuisine and then expecting that from restaurants that don't specialize in that style (yes, it is its own style of food) will doom you to a poor experience.

                          1. re: igj
                            epop Aug 13, 2006 05:30 AM

                            That royal thai cuisine was very simple, actually. Totally different concept of thai cooking than i've had elsewhere. for example, the curries were often totally dry. She made extraordinary noodle dishes, broths.

                            Of course I'm not looking for that but would love to find a place that is all about freshness and quality ingredients here on the west side. not sugar, for example. home thai cooking...

                            1. re: epop
                              Cinnamon Apr 29, 2009 06:24 PM

                              You *might* find Thai Talay on Lincoln in Westchester to your liking. Great modern interior. I love the beef panang curry here (served with slivered fresh kaffir lime threads on top), the crying tiger salad (with what are actually spice/herb bits in the sauce), and some nice fresh soups.

                              I like Ayara Thai but prefer Thai Talay. Also I wouldn't discount Chan Dara West L.A. on Pico - terrific duck, coconut rice and pad thai. Their formerly-not-closed sister location Chan Darette in MDR used to have the best deep, cinnamony noodle broth. Both Thai Talay and Chan Dara West L.A. are nice dining locations, not holes-in-the-wall, but fine to just grab a bite at too.

                              I think Thai Talay's panang is way better than Ayara's, but I like Ayara's papaya salad a little better (Thai Talay's is fine though). I've had many things at Ayara before.

                          2. re: epop
                            Raspberries Apr 29, 2009 10:39 PM

                            On the (very) west side, in Malibu is Cholada. Solid. Very. Have travelled around Thailand a bit, all over the country, and though I wouldn't put this on par with the best Thai food I've ever had, this is my fave Thai by far in this neck of the woods.

                            1. re: Raspberries
                              epop Apr 30, 2009 04:43 PM

                              I don't like much at Cholada. It used to be near me and I went without wanting to... Much better Thai food elsewhere but yes maybe not this part of town.

                          3. ChinoWayne Aug 13, 2006 07:38 AM

                            I have not been to enough local Thai restaurants to give you a definitive opinion, I can only relate my last experience for your consideration.

                            I was rolling down Fairoaks Avenue in Pasadena Wednesday between an appointment at my physician's in Pasadena and my dentist in Alhambra. I had about an hour and a half to kill before going to "the chair". It was between 11 and 11:30 as I passed Saladang Song and noticed that there was plenty of available parking in the lot. Quick decision, do I continue on to the terror emporium and have a nutrition bar for lunch, or do I turn around and score a parking place and get a taste of real food.

                            Diet be damned, I turned Herman around, made a big circle and pulled in to the parking lot between Salandang and Saladang Song. I headed in to Saladang Song, which is in a former industrial building with intricate ironwork fencing around the perimeter, creating a large open air patio with tables under umbrellas. (The building very well could have been a former electrical sub-station, with the ironwork "camoflauging" the equipment.

                            I opted to eat inside, the only heat I wanted was from the food, not the sun. Some mellow music was playing on the sound system in the airy VERY high ceilinged room, which is enclosed by full length glass walls on three sides. There were two other parties in the dining room when I arrived, and maybe a couple more by the time I left.

                            The staff, as in my last visit, were friendly and acommodating, and service was just fine. They had a seafood special with asparagus for lunch, I don't know exactly what they called it, but it came in one of two iterations, the second one being a curry. I am not a curry person, so I opted for the first choice.

                            In a short time I was brought a manly sized platter of assorted seafood, mussels, shrimp, big fat scallops, some sort of fish that seemed to be smoked/dried, calamari and crab. The fish flesh was with thin pan juices, slivered spears of asparagus and red peppers and was accompanied by an individual bowl of brown rice.

                            The fish was all great, fresh, and flavorful, not overcooked. The crab was segments of legs that had been split open, and the meat in the legs was very sweet. Of course I asked for the pepper tray and made a slurry of garlic chili sauce and little chopped up green peppers. Then it was just a matter of balancing some slurry, some fish and some rice on a fork and down the hatch.

                            Very satisfying, very relaxing. I accompanied it with a Thai iced tea which was the color of cantaloup. The tea was a great "antidote" to any excessive spiciness, but at this time in my life my taste buds have become battle hardened to spicy food, so the tea was not needed for medicinal purposes, just served as a sweet contrast to the rest of the food.

                            A complimentary little scoop of mango ice cream came with the check, which was for $24. Now some may say that 24 buckeroos is a lot for lunch, but when the ambiance is nice, the food is good, and the company is great, its a small price to pay.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChinoWayne
                              amandine Nov 14, 2006 10:40 PM

                              Don't miss out on the original Saladang next door. My understanding is that compared to Song, Saladang is a little bit more of an innovative take on traditional Thai dishes. I've been to Saladang more times than I could possibly count, and I haven't once been disappointed. They are consistently outstanding in all aspects-- food, service, price, ambiance, etc. I LOVE the Saladang salad, curries are delicious, as are the noodle dishes (esp the one with Thai basil and tomatoes) And when it's in season, the sticky rice with mango is to die for. I believe they have a generous 3 course lunch special for $7.95. GO, anytime, order anything. I love this place.

                            2. CarlieInLA Aug 14, 2006 01:40 AM

                              I love Saladang Song, their Thai food is really great and fresh. Some of my favorites include the red or green chicken curry. The braised cod dish is so delicious, it comes in a spicy sauce with tons of veggies and mushrooms. Their is a duck salad that is also wonderful that is spicy and very flavorful. Its a great place with a wonderful ambiance.

                              1. e
                                El Comelon Aug 15, 2006 06:39 PM

                                I actually traveled to Thailand last November and ate my way through. Anyhow, as others have mentioned, Wat Thai is pretty good. Also, I have found that Thai BBQ has decent Satay's. But I can only recommend the one on Normandie and 3rd street in LA. I understand this is a chain, as I have seen them in the valley and other parts of LA, but this is the one that has decent satay's. Only problem is, on the other items it is a hit and miss. Also, in Hollywood, across the street from Sabor Y cultura there is a little thai rest. that has pretty decent food. I can't recall the name but it is 2 or 3 blocks east of Wilton (Arlington or whatever it the street changes to as it hits Hollywood blvd) if you are heading north.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: El Comelon
                                  George Aug 19, 2006 11:20 PM

                                  That's Rodded.

                                2. k
                                  koan05 Aug 15, 2006 11:37 PM

                                  There isn't a single place in LA that holds up to the street stalls in Thailand but there are a few that can suffice:

                                  1) Sapp Coffee Shop
                                  2) Nadpob Thai in Silverlake - this one is pretty underrated but I don't expect that to last very long. Very good salads, in fact I would say Nadpob has the best papaya salad in LA.

                                  3) There is a hole in the wall on Santa Monica and Normandie that specializes in Northern (ie Chiang Mai) style...

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: koan05
                                    WBGuy Aug 16, 2006 12:33 AM

                                    I'll have to check out that hole in the wall. Sounds right up my alley. Do they do a good khao soi?

                                    Another place that I like, that I haven't been to in a while, is Siam Sunset. On Sunset Blvd (forgot the cross street) across from a 99c store. Really good khao ka moo.

                                    1. re: WBGuy
                                      ladelfa Aug 16, 2006 11:40 PM

                                      I haven't seen kao soi (Isan egg noodle curry soup) on many restaurant menus in this city. Mae Ploy on Sunset in Silverlake/Echo Park has it, but I'm not totally sold on their version.

                                      1. re: ladelfa
                                        markn Aug 16, 2006 11:45 PM

                                        Top Thai in Reseda has kao soi and many other Northern Isaan dishes. Really good.

                                    2. re: koan05
                                      Das Ubergeek Aug 16, 2006 02:09 AM

                                      You're not into the stalls at the Wat Thai, koan05?

                                      1. re: koan05
                                        hounddog Jul 8, 2009 06:07 PM

                                        Ditto for Nadpob. Not open for lunch,boo! This place is still empty every time I go (3 years later). Please support them.

                                      2. Chowpatty Aug 15, 2006 11:40 PM

                                        I've been looking for that place on Santa Monica and Normandie every time I drive down Santa Monica, but I never can seem to find it. Any idea what it's called? I'm sure that must be the place that Thai chef Jet Li mentioned that his mother liked, because how many Thai places are on Santa Monica in that part of town?
                                        I checked Yahoo Yellow pages and I see a place called Spicy Bar BQ at 5101 S.M. Blvd. -- that must be it?

                                        1. k
                                          koan05 Aug 15, 2006 11:56 PM

                                          Yeah I think it's called Spicy Barbeque, it's in a small, small minimall on SM and Normandie. The place is tiny - maybe 6 tables, that's it. A true hole in the wall but it's quite hard to come across northern Thai cuisine here.

                                          1. t
                                            tuttifrutti Aug 16, 2006 12:43 AM

                                            bankok west in santa monica is elegant and affordable, with delicious food to boot.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: tuttifrutti
                                              manny Nov 14, 2006 09:38 PM

                                              I went to a new restaurant in Toluca Lake near Bob's Big Boy called Gindi Thai. I had a great time. The food is authentic to my surprise. Have anyone tried at this place?

                                            2. d
                                              dergrosseludwig Aug 17, 2006 04:40 AM

                                              I've visited Thailand a few times and got turned on to spicy food there 13 years ago. I often have difficulty getting Thai restaurants here to make the dishes as spicy as I like them, but these three places are reliable and produce flavors that are a few notches beyond the many mediocre Thai joints around town. All have been mentioned by others.

                                              1. Yai on Hollywood Blvd in Thai Town, just east of the 101, in a strip mall with a 7 Eleven. This place is nothing fancy, you're not going there for nice ambiance. But every time I go at least half the patrons seem to be Thais. The food is very good, try the shrimp larb. I haven't seen this elsewhere and it is very tasty.

                                              2. Tuk Tuk on Pico, just west of Robertson also makes tasty food and can ratchet up the heat. Tuk Tuk has a nice ambiance and has a mostly west side clientele. They remodeled a few months back and increased the number of tables. Since then they've become just a little preoccupied with keeping the place full, though they've never tried to rush us out.

                                              3. Renu Nakorn in Norwalk is also very good and has some less common dishes. But it's pretty far out in an otherwise very uninteresting neighborhood. You really have to want the food.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: dergrosseludwig
                                                ladelfa Aug 18, 2006 05:21 PM

                                                My impression re the difference between Thai food there and Thai food here is that it's less a matter of hotness, i.e. places like The Palms will dish it up plenty hot if you ask for it -- and sometimes even if you don't -- but more a matter of sweetness. The Thai dishes I ate in BKK, which divided about 50/50 between restaurant-prepared and home-cooked, all seemed an order of magnitude less sweet than similar dishes served in restaurants here, especially those outside Thai Town.

                                                I guess it's no surprise that Americans like sugary food and that places that amp the sugar content of their dishes will please a wider swath of their customers than those who cook to please the drier back-home Thai palate. (The converse of this is true of fish sauce, shrimp paste and other stinkies, of course.)

                                                And so that's my major gripe about 80% of Thai restaurants I go to. Never mind the spiciness -- I can always add more bird chilis to my plate. What I can't do is subtract the four extra tablespoons of palm sugar they dropped in the wok because when we walked in the door we looked (understandably) like typical breakfast-cereal-scarfing, gum-chewing, pepsi-swilling caucasians.

                                              2. k
                                                koan05 Aug 18, 2006 06:10 PM

                                                I would have to agree with the above, the major difference between Thai food there and here is the sweetness aspect, which the Thais tend to dislike heavily when they eat here. I had a conversation with a few Thai friends who said that the food at Palms was unacceptably tainted for the sweet falang palate (I agree). Also it is pretty hard to find sour curries here that are similar to those in Thailand.

                                                Back to the original thread though, I think you can't really say that one Thai restaurant is the overall best - different restaurants specialize in one or more dishes. For instance, I would have to give my vote for the following:

                                                Best boat noodle soup: Sapp
                                                Best som tam: Nadpob
                                                Best prik king moo: Ruen Pair
                                                Best Northern vegetable curry: Santa Monica/Normandie (it's pretty easy for them since they're the only ones who make it)
                                                Best roasted pork leg with chili-garlic: Yai

                                                etc etc...

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: koan05
                                                  igj Aug 18, 2006 07:27 PM

                                                  I agree that while many Thai places make things too sweet here, the problem is a lack of balance. Thai food balances sweet, spicy and sour - which is the reason I wonder in amazement at the Americans who say, "I don't like Thai food because it is too spicy." Prik kee noo is not the dominant flavor of Thai cooking, not is palm sugar. Fish sauce, well that may be! OK - maybe I should say Bangkok cooking since that is where I lived and where I ate.

                                                  And there are some Thai savory foods that are supposed to be tooth achingly sweet (the dipping sauce for tod mun bpla or the sauce that usually accompanies look chim, for example).

                                                  But one thing that makes Thai cuisine really distinct for me is the assumption that, for the most part, the cook doesn't know how you like your dish. Hence, the assortment of condiments including sugar, pepper powder, fish sauce, peppers in vinegar, Sriracha sauce, etc. that should be available to adulterate your dish to your particular liking. This is isn't 'chef knows best' a la French or Japanes cuisine. In a way, good Thai food is like alchemy - you the diner mix great ingredients and out comes gold.

                                                  So, my back-on-topic question is: what places in LA have those condiments out on the tables waiting for customers?

                                                  I have been to many Thai restaurants where a simple request will bring out the tray holding four jars of condiments (even the astoundingly mediocre Thai Dishes has them hidden away somewhere) - but I wonder if there is a correlation between places that put those condiments out for every table and quality???

                                                  1. re: igj
                                                    ladelfa Aug 18, 2006 08:46 PM

                                                    The better places will also have a house-made naam prik of some kind (something like a thin green salsa, essentially) on the table to supplement the standard chili quartet (dried, ground red with garlic, vinegared, fishsauced). The last place I went, Bua Siam in North Hollywood, had a nice one. Krung Tedd (Hollywood) did the first time I went there, but then they had an ownership change/remodeling and the whole menu changed, so I don't know if they still do.

                                                    1. re: igj
                                                      koan05 Aug 18, 2006 09:33 PM

                                                      I know for sure that Sapp has those condiments out on the table waiting for customers. Now alot of Thai restaurants won't bring the condiment tray out if you are a farang but I have noticed that most of the Thai places east of Hollywood bring the tray out to Thais.

                                                    2. re: koan05
                                                      mr mouther Aug 18, 2006 11:18 PM

                                                      I don't know about the similarity to the curries in thailand b/c i've never been but the jackfruit curry (i had it w/ smoked sheetfish flakes) at renu nakorn is nice and sour, and just a beuatiful melody of spices (much different than just spicy, though it did have a nice heat.)
                                                      check out their curries at the back of the menu (but do it quick since they're remodelling soon!) - a great selection and all focus more on the sour than the sweet.

                                                      I consider renu nakorn to be my favorite restaurant in LA actually, but i have been eating at nadpob more and more in the last month since i just discovered it and it's in my neighborhood; it's also far superior for depth of flavors compared to the other thai places around there: mae ploy; thai orange; charmed.
                                                      though sometimes renu nakorn is not at the top of its game (at odd hours, etc.) i have never left there feeling anything but ecstatic about the food.

                                                    3. f
                                                      Frankluke Mar 21, 2008 08:55 PM

                                                      I have suggested Lum Ka Naad restaurant in Northridge on Reseda Boulevard on several occasions. The food is excellent, the variety of dishes impressive. Admit it, you've always wanted to try Chicken Feet Salad, did you not? Don't worry, in addition to choices for the more advanced palate, you will always find the familiar dishes that you came to love: Pad Thai, Curries, Tom Yum soup etc. etc. The presentation is authentic, the flavours amazing and sophisticated, never boring. I have never been disappointed there and I bet you won't be either.

                                                      1. chini Mar 22, 2008 06:51 AM

                                                        Why has no one mentioned Sompun on this thread? I spent a year with a Thai chef and UCLA prof eating at thai restaurants around Los Angeles.. and we always return to Sompun in Silver Lake.. the best Thai homecooking anywhere hands down. (323) 669-9906. 4156 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                                                        1. e
                                                          estone888 Mar 22, 2008 10:15 AM

                                                          I had dinner at Jitlada last night for the first time. It was fantastic. Easily the best Thai food I have ever had outside of Thailand - and I have spent a lot of time, and a lot of that time eating, in Thailand.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: estone888
                                                            aventinus Mar 23, 2008 12:52 PM

                                                            I will say that Jitlada is the most interesting Thai food I've had outside of Thailand. The Southern Thai menu should be very exciting to any adventurous foodie.

                                                            Whether Jitlada is the best or not is a matter of personal taste. For me, I'd say it's probably the tastiest Thai food I've had in LA. However, I've had eaten at a few more standard Thai restaurants in America that I enjoy a little more, even if they're not quite as authentic. (I'm the kind of person who would rather not pick through fish bones to get to the flesh in a curry.)

                                                            1. re: aventinus
                                                              gadflier Mar 23, 2008 02:57 PM

                                                              I vote for Tuk Tuk and Ayara as the best on the metropolitan westside; can't speak for "LA" as there's too many I haven't been to. But Jitlada is my next meal out based on this thread.

                                                              Two other thoughts:
                                                              a. I'm genuinely surprised to hear that the Thai Air personnel want to eat almost-Thai Thai frood when they land in LA.
                                                              b. It's time to split this board into LA and OC.

                                                              1. re: gadflier
                                                                epop Apr 29, 2009 04:53 PM

                                                                It doesn't surprise me. I knew folks at the Thai Embassy in NYC who
                                                                always went to the Thai restaurants I thought were only average.

                                                                1. re: epop
                                                                  Simon Apr 29, 2009 06:41 PM

                                                                  hi epop,

                                                                  there could be a few reasons behind why your Thai Embassy pals went to places that you had found to be so-so...it's possible that they ordered special dishes not on the menu and/or that because they are regulars there, the chef knew their preferences very specifically...there are a couple Thai restaurants that i would never recommend in general, but which i occassionally go to a for very specific dish which i trust that the chef can make to order for me...

                                                                  Another explanation is that because Thai's tend to be very social, they will sometimes go to a restaurant where they are friends with the staff, even if the food isn't the best in town...i'm sometimes perplexed by some of my Thai friends' choices in restaurants, and, often, when i ask them about it, they shrug happily and say that a friend works at the place (like: "It's not the best food, but since we want to see our pals, what can ya do?")

                                                                  re: gadflier's surpise that Thai Air personnal will eat Thai food in LA: for a lot of Thai people, any other food than Thai food simply isn't remotely as tasty, so they'd rather eat a "decent" or "half-decent" somdam than a "good" steak/pasta/burrito (even just from living in Thailand for a year or so, i sometimes feel the same way!)...and, there is also the social factor: after a long flight, they'll probably enjoy gabbing with the staff and other customers in a way they wouldn't at a non-Thai place...

                                                                  Having tried Thai food around the U.S., i have to say that LA is really blessed, comparatively speaking...while few, if any, of the Thai Town joints are as good as an average restaurant in Bangkok or Udon Thani, there isn't another US city that has that many decent Thai places...

                                                                  1. re: Simon
                                                                    epop Jul 5, 2009 04:42 PM

                                                                    sorry, Simon, I only now found this reply. That makes sense about why they'd go to places that aren't up to par. Or get the royal treatment.

                                                            2. re: estone888
                                                              a_and_w Aug 26, 2009 09:37 AM

                                                              I was really impressed with Jitlada.

                                                            3. jonahlee Mar 25, 2008 04:58 PM

                                                              Palm Thai may not be the most authentic, but they do have a great variety, and some of their dishes are fantastic (I love the BBQ beef in Lime and Garlic, the Morning Glory and the Tom Yum Soup all Extra Spicy), but what really sets it apart is Kevin the Thai Elvis. He is really something to behold.

                                                              Palms Thai Restaurant
                                                              5900 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: jonahlee
                                                                SmokeyDoke Jul 5, 2009 09:57 PM

                                                                I'm surprised you haven't been roasted for suggesting Palm Thai, as many snub it as a tourist trap. However, their beef jerky with sticky rice is the best I've ever had. They have good Pad See Ew too.

                                                                1. re: SmokeyDoke
                                                                  jonahlee Aug 25, 2009 03:37 PM

                                                                  Don't care if it is not exclusively Thai, but they have a few things on the menu that i find absolutely sublime.

                                                              2. i
                                                                ipinhey Mar 25, 2008 07:49 PM

                                                                Toi Thai in Hollywood off of Sunset is my favorite. It has a rocker atmosphere and the waiters can be a little rude, but the food is really good. I love the pad thai or the crispy honey duck, plus they have really great brown rice that is really different than rice I've had elsewere and lots of vegetarian dishes- try the curry with tofu- yum!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: ipinhey
                                                                  jonahlee Apr 29, 2009 09:39 AM

                                                                  I have not been there in ages, though I do remember enjoying it, and the decor with Science fiction toys hanging from the ceiling.

                                                                2. s
                                                                  schrutefarms Apr 29, 2009 11:01 AM

                                                                  I like Torung, on Hollywood and Wilton. That lemongrass soup is the BEST!!!! I believe they are cash only.

                                                                  1. s
                                                                    Simon Apr 29, 2009 03:08 PM

                                                                    my fav place in the greater Thai Town area is Hollywood Thai (at the corner of Hollywood and Harvard)...

                                                                    sidenote to the OP: i've tried pretty much every Thai restaurant in downtown Vancouver and none were better than average...most of the places in Hollywood's Thaitown are significantly better...

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Simon
                                                                      Servorg Apr 29, 2009 07:11 PM

                                                                      Have you been to Jitlada on Sunset yet? Especially if you feel like Southern Thai specialties it is the only place to go.

                                                                      5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                    2. MikeLee Jul 5, 2009 05:55 PM

                                                                      Bua Siam on Sherman Way is one of my favorite places to eat. Can't go wrong in Thai gulch. Love the beef ball noodle soup at Khun Dang.

                                                                      1. SmokeyDoke Jul 5, 2009 10:07 PM

                                                                        I'm an assistant organizer to a Thai Food Meetup Group and I've been to several Thai restaurants the past year. They may not be the most "authentic" choices, but the food tastes great!

                                                                        #1 is still Jitlada, it is some of the tastiest food around, and not just on their Southern menu. The food is simply delicious, highly recommend their steamed mussel, crispy morning glory salad, crab curry and their mango sticky rice. Here's my blog post about on Jitlada

                                                                        Here are my other favs in no particular order: Thailand Plaza restaurant and Ruen Pair in Thai Town, Krua Thai has the best noodles (North Hollywood and West Covina), Original Thai BBQ (Thai Town and lots of other places), Thai Basil in Long Beach, and Thai Princess in Huntington Beach

                                                                        Thailand Plaza
                                                                        5321 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                        Ruen Pair Restaurant
                                                                        5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                        Krua Thai Restaurant
                                                                        13130 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                                                                        Thai Basils
                                                                        5466 E Del AMO Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90808

                                                                        Thai Original B B Q Express
                                                                        484 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                                                                        Thai Princess Restaurant
                                                                        16338 Beach Blvd, Westminster, CA 92683

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: SmokeyDoke
                                                                          epop Jul 7, 2009 06:54 PM

                                                                          I went to Jitlada this month and wasn't all that impressed, though we ordered a ton of food, all seafood. I haven't been having much Thai food, mostly b/c the better stuff isn't near me. I hope Jitlada is not the best in town.

                                                                          If so I won't be eating Thai food in LA but will wait until Thailand or try the place in Vegas.

                                                                          1. re: epop
                                                                            Das Ubergeek Jul 7, 2009 08:26 PM

                                                                            Try Renu Nakorn and Thai Nakorn.

                                                                            Jitlada, you need to order from the specials. Same with Thai Nakorn.

                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                              epop Jul 7, 2009 09:18 PM

                                                                              Most of what we had was specials and recommendations.

                                                                              I've been lucky and had food cooked by the King of Thailand's chef. It was very simple but nothing has come close. Besides that the regular meals in Thailand, the freshness, just don't get replicated here. Thai food is seen as cheap food and so sometimes skimping goes on, I imagine.

                                                                              1. re: epop
                                                                                SmokeyDoke Jul 8, 2009 10:51 PM

                                                                                I'm not Thai, so I don't know if my suggestion are "authentic" I just know it tasted good to me. Jitlada has been crazy busy lately, maybe it was a bad day? One of my fave bites is their Crispy Morning Glory Salad.
                                                                                Also, I don't see many restaurants serving Southern Thai food. I like the novelty of it, but for someone who grew up in Southern Thailand, it may just be "average" Southern Thai food.

                                                                            2. re: epop
                                                                              carter Aug 25, 2009 08:55 PM

                                                                              Ate at Jitlada a week plus ago, had the giant prawn with a curry sauce that you would put on any protein deemed appropriate for curry, and think it was the best dish of that particular meat/fish you had ever eaten. That sauce is phenomenal.
                                                                              Also, the broth in the mussels is equally sensational. Also, morning glory salad, and a basil/pork dish that the 3 of us really enjoyed - can't remember its exact Americanized name.
                                                                              Also, when I mentioned they should open one in Irvine since one of the owner's daughters goes to UCI, she said they would not want to hurt the business of their nearby relatives, who operate Renu Nakorn and Thai Nakorn in GG and Stanton!!!
                                                                              Now you know.

                                                                          2. j
                                                                            jackt Jul 7, 2009 07:53 PM

                                                                            i'm thai so these may be better for thais, but here's my list:
                                                                            krua thai has excellent noodles. (sherman way, north hollywood)
                                                                            yai restaurant has a number of excellent dishes. (the one at hollywood blvd near the 101 fwy- the new location further east doesn't taste as good)
                                                                            ord noodles for soup noodles (hollywood blvd in thaitown)
                                                                            thai/chinese breakfast and hainan chicken rice at siam sunset are awesome. (sunset blvd in thaitown)
                                                                            hollywood thai restaurant i like a lot (hollywood blvd in thaitown)

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jackt
                                                                              Simon Jul 7, 2009 08:03 PM

                                                                              glad that you like Hollywood Thai...it's one of my favorites, esp for the Isaan dishes...

                                                                              1. re: Simon
                                                                                Melvin Surdin Jul 8, 2009 09:39 AM

                                                                                The ribs at Thai Barbeque in Glendale are excellent ...

                                                                            2. jonahlee Aug 25, 2009 03:40 PM

                                                                              Anyone have any good Thai places in North Hills or Granada Hills area? Just moved there, and would love some good Thai food, without always having to go back to Hollywood.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jonahlee
                                                                                Das Ubergeek Aug 25, 2009 08:16 PM

                                                                                Not exactly North Hills, but there's a second Thai Town on Sherman Way between Woodman and the 170 freeway. Anyplace you eat there will be good, and don't forget about Sri Siam on Vanowen and Coldwater.

                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                  odub Aug 26, 2009 09:16 AM

                                                                                  Surprised Spicy BBQ in east Hollywood hasn't come up yet. Excellent for Northern Thai - I'd put them up there with Renu Nakorn on most dishes and their khao soi is far better. I believe Spicy BBQ is run by the same family who runs Top Thai in Reseda.

                                                                                  1. re: odub
                                                                                    Peripatetic Aug 26, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                                                    I was put off trying Spicy BBQ after reading this from Erik M earlier this year. I would love to hear that things have changed.

                                                                                    From: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/529261

                                                                                    "1) If you are a fan of the Chiang Mai-style, curry-flecked pork sausage called sai ua, you've got to try the stuff at SWEET LEMONGRASS in N. Hollywood. I admit, I used to be keen on the version that SPICY BBQ made, but, these days, and along with a number of other things--kaeng khae, khao soi, laap khua, laap thawt--they've resorted to taking some unacceptable "shortcuts" in my book. Two of the *most* unacceptable being (1) dosing the khao soi w/ non-dairy creamer instead of coconut creme, and (2) switching from natural to artificial casings in the case of the sausage."

                                                                                    1. re: Peripatetic
                                                                                      odub Aug 26, 2009 05:19 PM

                                                                                      Personally, I didn't think it was non-dairy creamer but I wasn't peaking behind the counter to make sure. It certainly tasted like coconut milk to me and I've been going over the last year or so.

                                                                                      They also offer pork neck off the menu. Ask for it!

                                                                                2. re: jonahlee
                                                                                  bulavinaka May 7, 2010 05:05 PM

                                                                                  MY wife loves Lum Ka Naad in on Reseda in Northridge. I know you posted this last year, but just in case...


                                                                                3. 1newyorkguy Aug 26, 2009 11:52 AM

                                                                                  easy to answer: Sri Siam in N. Hollywood. Jitlada is way to inconsistent...I've been served chicken that was clearly leftover from the day before.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: 1newyorkguy
                                                                                    thinmanentertainment Dec 16, 2009 12:59 AM

                                                                                    A great new place just opened in San Pedro a few weeks ago called Sirinat Thai Restaurant. I went there by accident the day after the Grand Opening and it was fantastic!!! It's on the corner of 25th and Western Ave in San Pedro/ border of PV. I went back 4 times in 2 weeks.

                                                                                  2. k
                                                                                    KurtinCO Apr 11, 2010 09:42 PM

                                                                                    Sanamluang is my favorite in Hollywood and Thai Dishes on Wilshire in Santa Monica is just as good. The best Southeast Asian cuisine, though, is in Long Beach. The best Thai food in LA County is at Long Beach Restaurant on the southwest corner of Anaheim and Redondo. No one serves better Panang curry, Thom Kha Kai or Thai BBQ chicken.


                                                                                    Wilshire Restaurant
                                                                                    2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                                                                    Panang Restaurant
                                                                                    1801 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: KurtinCO
                                                                                      KurtinCO Apr 11, 2010 09:50 PM

                                                                                      Oops, I forgot Jitlada in Hollywood. More expensive than Sanamluang, more crowded too. Great food though.

                                                                                      5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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