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Thai Food in Palo Alto???

  • c

What's your favorite Thai food restaurant in Palo Alto?? Thanks!

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  1. the only one that comes to mind is the small thai restaurant on lytton, across from the 7-11. i believe it's called bangkok cuisine or some really generic name.

    1. I don't think there's any fantastic Thai food in Palo Alto. I do go to Indochine on Middlefield because it is close to my house, inexpensive, and decent.

      1. I have not been there in a long time, but Thai City on El Camino near Page Mill was decent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tomritza

          We had a very subpar meal at an empty Thai City once. We haven't been back- it was a bummer.

        2. Certain connoisseurs from Thailand (with high standards, it's true) maintain there are no Thai restaurants in this region worth attention.

          The next-best authority I know, an American who lived in Thailand, favors a small restaurant that may be little known because of unlikely, inauspicious location (attached to a bowling alley on El Camino in southern PA). The people there actually are Thai, my source claimed -- not true of many Thai restaurants in the county -- and they don't cut corners: Lime juice where they should use lime juice, not substituting lemon. More comments below. Several lunches there have been very good indeed.

          Thai Garden (650) 949-5259 -- 4329 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306. Lunch and dinner.

          "I believe it is under-respected because of the diner-like ambience and the lack of sophistication of most casual droppers-by. I've found it to serve some of the best Thai food in the area, though not quite as good as a now-closed place in Santa Clara that also was attached to a bowling alley and whose chef was a perfectionistic Thai woman well on in years. I believe its former owners are related to those running Thai Garden.

          "If you do eat there I recommend specifying you don't want the spices purposely numbed-down, because of good bit of the flavor goes with it. Also, if they still have good ripe mangoes available, please try the sticky rice with mango dessert even if you don't go for a full meal."

          2 Replies
          1. re: eatzalot

            Either the owner or the chef moved from Thai Garden to Thai City. I knew the chef at Thai Garden and followed him to Thai City. But, as I say, it has been a looooooong time since I have been to either.

            1. re: eatzalot

              We call this place "Bowling Thai"- had an odd very saucy version of Yum neua there, but it was spicy.

            2. My background: I've taken a few trips to thailand, eaten there. I love the spice. I've lived in Berkeley for a long time, what Cha'am was good. I probably eat Thai every other week. Favored dishes are Green Curry, Thai Basil Chicken. GF loves Cashew Chicken. My personal thai food fantasy is that I could find those Chang Mai sausage coils somewhere local. Thai food isn't about the searing heat, but about the spice richness and balance *behind* the searing heat - some dishes, anyway.

              Here's my rundown:
              Bangkok Cuisine - Lytton - Owned by the same folks as own Amarin in MV, and serviceable. I prefer Amarin, but both seem to have suffered from a lack of spice over the last few months, so I've stopped going. When I got some to-go on Monday, I looked the owner in the eye and said "spicy!" when he mumbled that I must want Medium. He looked at me again, questioningly, and I repeated, "SPICY!" and he made a note. The food was up to previous snuff on that particular dish - but you worry about places like this, because their curries and soups will be tuned to a particular spice level, and you can't just shake pepper on.

              Thai Garden / Thai City - El Camino, as mentioned by other posters - I've been a few times, but frankly don't remember it as being more memorable than Bangkok Cuisine. I probably need to give each another try. I live on the Menlo Park side of PA, so they're not exactly local.

              Siam Royal - University - Very serviceable, even tasty on a good day. The food's never underspiced, but never is a huge wow. Just had a remodel and looks great inside - def. in high rotation.

              Krung Siam - University - yuck.
              Thaiphoon - Emerson - very nice atmosphere, interesting menu, bland food. Too bad, after three tries, won't be back.
              Siam Garden - Crane St, Menlo Park - Atmosphere is so depressing I'll never be back. Food wasn't bad, though.

              Nearby Palo Alto:

              Thai Time, El Camino, San Carlos - I used to work in San Carlos, and it's still on the way home from my current gig. I picked up takeout from there two weeks ago, and was pleasantly surprised. Still solid, and while waiting for my takeout, I found they had a happening little bar. Who knew?

              Woodside Thai Spot - This is one strange little place, but I love it. One strange frenzied waiter/owner, uneven service, laminated menu, dim lighting, ex-coffee-shop interior, but the guy looks at you and said "we make it SPICY here", and they do. I think he directs you to certain bland menu items if you show fear - but I wouldn't know. Very tasty. When I stir myself to travel farther than a few miles, it's to Woodside Thai Spot. (Last time I was there, a large black van with gvt plates disgorged 10 young 18-year-old men with crew cuts, large necks, and the easygoing calmness that projects their own confidence in crushing and/or strangling anything nearby that needs crushing and/or strangling. They seemed to like the food, too.)

              Amerin, MV - sets the standard for Thai in the south peninsula. May be slipping - I certainly hope not.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bbulkow

                Just ate recently at Siam Royal. Hadn't eaten there in ages. Was quite surprised at how much fresher and less standard the food tasted. Some of the better Thai food I've had on the peninsula. I too still dream of the food I ate while in Bangkok....

                1. re: bbulkow

                  Add my recommendation to Amarin (100 block Castro Street, downtown Mountain View, right off Central/Alma and the train station). Near Palo Alto. Extremely popular among the 90 or so restaurants in that little downtown. I go to Amarin a few times a year, it's still going strong IMO.

                  Lots of creative, exuberant dishes not seen on genre Thai restaurants of the region.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    We had a disappointing meal at Woodside Thai Spot- what was odd was that the Tom Yum soup smelled totally disgusting, but tasted pretty good. I think I had the Tom Yum Ga (chicken) soup, but that the chicken pieces were quite random and tendony/jointy. Maybe they had nicely flavored the soup but it didn't seem so appetizing. We were hoping this hole-in-the-wall would be our little Thai House Express, but it wasn't. I think we'll have to revisit.

                    We've had an OK meal at Siam Royal on University. One OK meal at Krung Siam on University. And next door to Amarin there is King of Krung Thai in Moutain View. Only went once but one of the curries was amazing that night.

                    None of these places has much beyond the generic Thai restaurant menu, though, so nothing that gets you exited. I wish there was a cheap Thai take-out place for pad kee mao, but it is the Penisula so nothing is really that cheap.