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Titaya's Thai: Where does it rank in the Thai game?

Went and tried Titaya's Thai Restaurant last night. It's on 5501 N. Lamar, where Fortune Pho used to be. The decor inside is pleasant - nicely painted walls and little wall decor items that you'd probably expect to see.

The waitstaff there were very attentive --- absolutely no gripes there.

Items sampled:
- Crispy Egg Roll w/ Chicken - a damn fine execution of a classic. It was pretty easy to tell that these were assembled fresh about 5 minutes before they got to our table. Nice cuts of white meat chicken, with fresh veggies (they still had a little snap to them, despite being dunked in a fryer), and little uneven fry-spots on the rice paper.

- Gang Som. You'll find this on the "Specials" section of the menu. Menu description: Thai style red curry with Catfish mixed with Napa cabbages, green beans and white radish. I'm not sure what "Thai style" red curry is supposed to be, but the dish is essentially a broth... and mother of Mary, a HOT one!!! You know it's gonna be good when you see the red oils floating on top. The radishes and beans were very fresh and tasty. The large chunks of catfish tasted great. The dish is a little pricey at $12.95, but probably could feed two.

- Vermicelli Lover. Menu description: Steamed vermicelli served with shredded Lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts and cilantro. Topped with ground peanut. Served with vegetable egg roll and house sweet and sour sauce. We got it with chicken. Again, all very fresh tasting veggies and well-cooked chicken pieces.

- Black rice pudding. I've only had this once before, but this was awesome.

Soooo.... since I'm a Thai novice, and I've got to imagine that other Chowhounders out there have been here (it was pretty busy for a weeknight), what are your impressions? To sum it all up, I thought the meal was really on a higher level than Thai Tara, Thai Passion, and Thai Kitchen. If there are better Thai options in Austin, I'd love to know about them! I've read about Little Thailand... it sounds like this is the only one here that is one of those universally loved choices, as Thai goes.

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Titaya's Thai Cuisine
5501 N Lamar Blvd Ste C101, Austin, TX 78751

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    1. The Thai Passion north is pretty close to the house, so I have to admit that I have been relying on them for my Thai takeout lately. Last weekend we went to Satay for the first time in a while, and their huge menu offers many tempting choices.

      1. This has become the only thai place I will eat. For a while there I swore off of all thai food in Austin till a friend of mine who lived in thailand told me about this place. I always ask for my food to be a peppar spicier than it is on the menu for fact that you really need the spice to balance the other flavors in thai cuisine. That is one of my biggest problems with the other thai food in Austin. It is usually overtly sweet and not filled with that lovely "stink" of good fish sauce and fermented fish paste. They will also "stink" up your dishes for you there if you ask, and I suggest you do.

        2 Replies
        1. re: j1d50

          Some of the Thai experts on this board please go to Exotic Thai on the corner of Lamar and Braker. it just opened up in the new Asian strip mall they built right there. Co-worker and I went there last week and thought it was awesome. But this is only compared to my experiences at Thai Kitchen and Madam Mans. So, someone else let me know what they think.

          1. re: j1d50

            love this place. i went last week, because it's relatively close to my work. a friend and i had 2 appetizers -- the fried rice balls and mushrooms, both delicious -- and shared the ginger tofu. really tasty, everything. i highly recommend it. the watiress was super sweet and friendly, and the atmosphere was nice -- seemed like a nice crowd of ppl from all walks of life. i was surprised when i searched the boards before i went that it didn't show up, but i guess it's getting its due now.

          2. Hello,

            Per the reviews here, I tried this new cafe for lunch. I was excited - especially being a huge fan of Thai Tara. Unfortunately I didn't have a good meal. I ordered Pad Plick Khing with beef. My complaints include the extremely fatty meat - and the incredibly salty dish. Incredibly! I still feel my lips and blood vessels withering. Oh well.

            1. I just had to throw in my two cents about Titaya. I started eating there based on a Chowhound recommendation and its become one of my favorite places in Austin. I love the Spaghetti Kee Mao, which is delicious to the last bite, but I recently discovered my new favorite, which is the Yum Nuer.

              Let me tell you guys something; the Yum Nuer blew me away by how good it was. Its a Thai Beef salad. Not a salad eater usually? Same here. I got it because a friend of mine had ordered it at Little Thailand recently and it was great. First of all, Titaya gives generous portions and the food is always very fresh. This particular salad was incredibly spicy, consisting of freshly cut up Jalapenos, green and red bell peppers, onions and green onions, lettuce and beef. They left in all of the spicy chile seeds so the dish burns your mouth, but the burn is so good. This may be the best salad I've ever eaten in my life; its certainly the most creative. I'm not sure how authentic it is, but it sure beats the hell out of bland Thai food most places serve up. Do yourself a huge favor and try this salad. Its the most interesting dish I've eaten in a long time. And its delicious!