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Apr 16, 2007 07:57 AM

Thai Heaven (more like Thai Hell...)

This place is located in the Mervyn's shopping center on the corner of Main & Garfield in Alhambra. As I have the neverending cold, I thought some good old Tom Yum Kai was what this girl needed on Friday evening (note to self: NEVER second guess your first plan of eating at Pho 79 - EVER!) and spied it after exiting Mervyn's. Thought I would give it a try. Not sure of what time it was. Just walking in should have been my first hint. There was a guy setting up equipment in the back corner and there was no one else in the place with the exception of him and the waitress. I sat as far away from whatever this guy had planned and opted for a table near the window. Ordered the soup in hot pot and water (I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible). The soup came and it was passable once I really doctored it up. Then the guy started singing. To all 4 of us in the restaurant. Nice. Sinatra, he would throw in his own words into the song. His young daughter (maybe 6 or 7) sang "L is for the way you look at me, O..." that song - and actually had a very nice voice. It was all very odd and had a strange vibe to it. Service was spotty - even though there were only about 6 people in there (not counting the 5 people that were friends of the singer). It took her 10 minutes to bring me a napkin. Not cool, especially since my nose had started bleeding (a wonderful side effect of this dry weather)! I will definitely not be going back. I will stick to my Pasadena choices for Thai.

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  1. Wildswede - so sorry to hear about this. This restaurant is 1 min walking distance from my new house and I have always been intrigued by the possibility of Thai take-out just steps from my door. However , *every time* I duck my head inside this restaurant, there are no customers. Using the crowded = good, not crowded = bad logic, I have always stayed away from this place. Sorry to had to take one for the team.

    I have always found Alhambra to have a dearth of GOOD Thai food. There is Thai purple, Green Papaya and others, but none of them compare to Thai food in Pasadena. (and let's not open the debate of where in Pasadena is the best Thai.). :D

    4 Replies
    1. re: kotatsu

      I miss Pho 79! I used to be a regular back when I lived near Alhambra. It's not the best looking restaurant and the service may seem a bit intimidating at first (especially if you don't speak Vietnamese), but once you get past all of that, it really is one of the best places to eat in Alhambra!

      I haven't heard any good responses about Thai Purple so I've steered away from it.
      (Thai food - Saladang/ Saladang Song... I'm just saying... hehehe)

      1. re: cheesecustard

        Pho 79 is definitely my favorite! You are correct about the ambience, but they know me now so we get along fine!! ;-)
        For me, it is Chandra, but I am boycotting them. I will need to try some of the places that Kotatsu mentioned, since I am still desperately searching for a suitable substitute.
        Thanks! ;-)

        1. re: cheesecustard

          I personally like Thai Purple. Thai Purple is rather cramped because they put in an extra row of tables and chairs when the theater opened across the street. Parking is a pain, although you could go for valet parking or parking in the theater parking structure.

          However, I think Pho 79 is a better option--better food, cheaper, and better parking.

        2. re: kotatsu

          Years ago I used to frequent Thai Heaven and they once had good food, especially their goong tod (fried shrimp). I haven't been there in a long time as I now frequent Green Papaya when in the neighborhood and have been very happy with it. Their chef is from Thailand and if you ask for non-"farang" (non-foreigner) style they will oblige

        3. Bah!!! I've been there WS! To think of all the $$ and calories I've eatten and could have gone to a favorite place instead... :P But that is the nature of a TRUE CH! So, thanks for taking one for the team! :D


          1 Reply
          1. Never been...what's good at Pho 79?

            3 Replies
            1. re: broncosaurus

              You know what, I have to say that I am definitely a creature of habit. Nothing irritates me more than knowing I LOVE something and then trying something else and not liking it. Therefore, I get the Pho Tai (less meat, more broth), Spring Rolls and Soda Lemonade. I also really like their Vietnamese Ham Banh Mi. I have tasted other things, but cannot remember. These are my standards and I stick with 'em!!

              1. re: broncosaurus

                pho tai, pho tai nam... all the pho's are good. especially with a little bit of hoisin sauce! I used to get the extra large bowl. I just couldn't get enough. Blended pineapple drink with cherry on top - yum. The chow mein's pretty good too.

                1. re: cheesecustard

                  I have always wondered about thai heaven! everytime i past by i get the urge to check it out, but something always convinces me not to. i am definitely not curious about that place anymore.

                  On another note, Pho Pasteur (Valley Blvd, somewhere between Walnut Grove and Rosemead) has excellent pho. I'm not a big fan of pho but their broth is very tasty ;) oh and their shrimp cake is good, too.