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Mar 20, 2007 12:33 PM

MSP-the new Naviya Thai on Penn

Has anyone tried this new Thai restaurant on Penn just south of the Crosstown? It is the same family that has a restaurant in Grand Marais, and I ate there one time...pretty good, but not great. Let us know! Thanks

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  1. Had lunch there the other day, by myself: the spicy beef salad. It was decent but, imo, somewhat overpriced. I'll go back to try a few other dishes. I want the place to be good because it's close by and it's nice to have good non-corporate food in that area.

    1. I went when it was in Grand Marais (grew up there) and liked it just fine....was better than Sven & Ole's, for sure! I haven't been to the new location yet and really want to go....but worry that it will be terrible! I work less than a mile away.....guess I should wait for more opinions.

      3 Replies
      1. re: nieves

        I think you just blew my mind. There's a Thai restaurant in Grand Marais?!

        1. re: StPauliGirl

          There has been for a few the old Pierre's Pizza location on the main drag through town. There's not much in the way of food choices up think it was a bit of a novelty. I hear from some friends who live there now, that the word is that it might not be open for the summer this year. (if you are not familiar with GM, a good chunk of restaurants close during the winter.)

          1. re: nieves

            After my wife and I did yard work this weekend we went to Naviya and got two orders of of pork pad thai. Again, just okay but certainly not stellar. They didn't ask about spice level and there was *no* heat whatsoever in the dishes, which was disappointing.

      2. I had dinner here tonight after reading a fairly glowing review in City Pages (which I am REALLY starting to not trust as a source for resto reviews). We ordered the vegetarian spring rolls for an appie - they were ok, but overstuffed with iceberg lettuce. I was hoping they would have more basil or cilantro in them. The lettuce combined with the rice noodles and rice wrapper made for a fairly flavorless roll. My friend ordered the spicy beef salad. Again with the iceberg lettuce! On top of a bed of lettuce were rice noodles and beef slices covered in a very tasty dressing. But for $13.00 one expects a bit more than iceberg. I got the holy basil with tofu. It had very little sauce to spoon over the rice, and was fairly bland. It was $15.00. The sticky rice with mango for dessert was quite delicious.

        All in all, the food is really very pricey for what you get. I think Ketsana is a much better value, even though the service at Naviya was much better.

        1. It's a bit odd to think that there's a Thai restaurant of note on the North Shore of Lake Superior, but from what I hear there is. Minnesota foodies, especially the ones who travel north, have known about Naviya's of Grand Marais for some time now. The closest this city boy has been to that out post is Betty's Pies in Two Harbors. And trust me...the pies are worth the trip. But with the handful of stellar Thai eateries around the upper Mississippi, there was no need to make the trip to any Marais, grand or otherwise for some Pad Thai.

          Naviya's of Grand Marais opened a second location last winter in Richfield. (A rather industrial, not very attractive, section of Richfield by the way) Of the half dozen dishes we tried, none were bad, but none were of the quality that would make me shout from the highest water tower (which happened to be right next door).

          The Green Curry with beef was tough and watery. It came loaded with soft green beans and onions. I missed the bright heat and rich mouth feel a good curry can offer. The Fish Cakes were soft and delicate, once you got passed the tough rubbery crust. Obviously a dish that is good when prepared fresh and not so much when its prepared days ahead then refried to bring it back to temperature. Spicy Rice Noodles with shrimp were as good as I've had, but again I guess I was looking for something to show me some talent. Every dish said the same thing to all of us at the table. We were eating it because we were hungry and it didn't taste bad, but there was nothing laid before us that begged us to come back to try more.

          All of this is unfortunate because the staff, from owner to servers were as nice and pleasant and helpful as you'd want all your dining experiences to be. I had read about a special dinner you can call ahead for that is made up of "special" dishes not found on the menu. Someday I may go back and give it a try. When I do I'll ask to be seated at the beautiful teak dining table in the center of the dining room. I could see the staff on such an evening, putting on a great show of food and hospitality But if your not in the neighborhood, there's no reason to make the trip. If ever I'm on the North Shore though I'll stop in at the original. I can't wait to experience the odd feeling of eating spicy food in the land of Ollie and Lena.

          Naviya's of Grand Marais

          6345 Penn Ave. S.

          Richfield, MN


          1 Reply
          1. re: tnidetz

            I suppose it depends on how far you have to drive to make the trip to Betty's Pies In Two Harbors (on the North Shore) "worth the trip," but I found the pies at Betty's disappointing. I'll bet they were fantastic when Betty Lessard herself was at the helm, but she retired in 1984 (and the restaurant we sold yet again in 1998) and something has been lost in the translation, I'm guessing. She has a cookbook/autobiography out called "The Original Betty's Pies Favorite Recipes" that is a nice read. But, if you're looking for your grandmother's pie with fantastic flaky crust (which is what I was in search of when I stopped at Betty's--my grandmother's pie, that is), Betty's Pies in Two Harbors regretfully no longer fits the bill.


          2. I agree with others that it is overpriced and that the quality is so-so. I went there because it is relatively close to me in south Minneapolis. I also had the veggie spring rolls and found them bland. One of the people I dined with had the pad Thai, and I remember it containing unusual ingredients (maybe mushrooms?) but not necessarily for the better. The portions were huge though, so that may have partially explained the high prices. In defense of the City Pages review, I thought that she implied that it was good for being in a suburb, not really something you'd go out of your way for...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jitterbug

              We went right after the CityPages review and I'm not sure I ever posted my thoughts. Basically the food was pretty disappointing. We got spring rolls, papaya salad, pad thai, and one of their special curries as noted on the menu. It was shockingly expensive for what we got (I don't normally pay attention to price if I've gotten a good meal but this was not worth the money). The flavors were unexciting and not nearly as crisp and clear as other Thai places in town. I see no reason to return when places like True Thai and Tum Rup Thai (and even Amazing Thai despite my distaste for the name ;) are so much better.