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Best NON-seedy-looking THAI restaurant in LA??

Hi Everyone,

I want to take my mom out for great Thai food when she comes, but I've noticed that most of the respected Thai places on this board are in these kind of dumpy-looking places. For example, I had a hard time enjoying Sanamulang in Hollywood cause the place was just too dirty!!

I'm not necessarily looking for a shi-shi Thai restaurant, but it must absolutely be clean, and if it has some charm... even better!

The only Thai place I've eaten at so far with a decent atmosphere was actually in West Hollywood (can't believe it!) at Galanga Thai. The place was cute when they lit the candles up at night. The food was solid, although may here might think the menu on the conservative side.

Any other suggestions??

Yes, we love crab salad, fish, etc. NOT CRAZY about the coconut-curry stuff though. THANKS A MILLION!!

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  1. Saladang Song
    363 S Fair Oaks Ave
    Pasadena, CA 91105
    Phone: (626) 793-5200
    Fax: (626) 793-7030

    3 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        Yes, Saladang Song has wonderful ambiance, but I've found the food keeps getting more unremarkable every time I go.

        Chan Dara on Larchmont is also in a nice setting (though not as "wow" as Song - except maybe for the waitresses!). The food there doesn't blow me away either, but it's probably better than Salandang Song these days.

        1. re: stochasticgirl

          Yes, all the Chan's would be good options. In addition to Larchmont, I believe they still have ones in Hollywood, West LA, and Marina del Rey.

      2. I've had a great dinner Naraya Thai. Upscale and modern interior with some nice twists on Thai cuisine.

        Naraya Thai
        1128 S Robertson Blvd
        Los Angeles, CA 90035
        (310) 858-7738

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ernie

          Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!
          Naraya's kitchen is fantastic, great service too.

        2. Jitlada is very clean, an mildly charming, inside but the parking lot is a tad seedy. The the food, however, is fantastic and the staff quite nice.

          1. I have not been but the "atmosphereics" of Nakkara sound good for Mom.

            1. I haven't been there in a while, but Rambutan on Sunset just east of Silverlake Blvd. is a very nice, comfortable atmosphere. When it first opened the food was very good, although my last couple of visits - admittedly more than a year ago - it had become a bit too middle of the road for my tastes. But, that might be a good thing for mom.

              1 Reply
              1. re: estone888

                I think the food and ambiance of Rambutan make it a perfect fit for the original poster's request. I've eaten there most recently about 3-4 months ago, and the food was very good. Love the atmosphere and the soju cocktail menu as well.

                Their website has photos of the restaurant interior:


              2. Ruen Pair has really nice decor.

                And Palms Thai has Thai Elvis! It's not seedy, it's campy!

                2 Replies
                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  Though I have a personal preference for RP, I think a better suggestion in the same mall to meet the needs of the OP is Red Corner Asia. The ambience and decor at RCA exceeds the others in that particular mini mall and the food can be very good.

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    Funny thing you should mention PALMS. I just happened to be getting a facial today and was right next door to Palms. So I stopped by and got a few dishes for takeout. I had the duck noodle soup (fantastic!) and their salty crab salad (not as good). Saw Elvis too.

                    Was definitely cute and campy. Kind of felt bad that the waitstaff seemed to outnumber the customers 3 to 1!! Maybe some of the Chowhounders can go support them?

                  2. Cafe Talesai, on Olympic just on the edges of Beverly Hills. Also, just a bit further south and east on Pico, Tuk-Tuk has a certain charm. Decent food and better ambiance, nothing more nor less...

                    1. Talesai on Ventura in Studio City has pretty good food and a very nice atmosphere. Plus posh quasi-Asian martinis.


                      1. the restaurant on the second floor of thialand plaza mall is probably the nicest in thaitown... second would go to KT thai (kruang tedd). both have live music on weekends. both have darkish ambiance.. both have good food...

                        1. Natalee Thai (either Culver City or BH location). I know some ppl on the board don't find their food authentic enough, but I have enjoyed every dish I've ever tried there (almost everything!). And the atmosphere is modern and hip (but still reasonably priced).

                          1. CHADAKA THAI
                            in Burbank on San Fernando Road between Magnoli and Palm.

                            on Sunset Blvd in Silverlake

                            TUK TUK
                            on the westside

                            CHAN DARA
                            on Larchmont

                            SIMPLY THAI
                            on Hillhurst in Los Feliz just south of Franklin on the east side of the street.

                            All these places are very nice on the inside. The food is fresh and the quality of ingredients is super. Chadaka thai has actually become one of my favorites because it also has a great bar and a great wine list.
                            Good service, great food and very reasonable prices. They are not insulted if you need to tone down the spicey-ness for some of the people in your group and they will happily add extra spice for good measure.


                            12 Replies
                            1. re: tatertotsrock

                              Is it correct to suggest OP is ok with getting gentrified Thai food as long as the place looks clean?

                              What's dumpy and dirty about Jitlada? or Pailin? It seems you are, contrary to what you're telling yourself, looking for a chi-chi restaurant, Thai or otherwise?

                              The "nicest" Thai place I'd go to is Luum Ka Naad on Reseda. Any more "atmosphere" than LKN I'm pretty sure it's gonna not taste like Thai food...

                              1. re: TonyC

                                Dearest TonyC,

                                The OP is taking his mom to dinner, can you fault him for trying to give her the best of both worlds?
                                I happen to have lived in Van Nuys for over 5 years, now that I am in a more "civilized" part of town, I do miss my strange little thai places that do not have any engligs menus nor a name on their sign that I can pronounce, but ya know, it's also nice to eat some flavorful things with top quality ingredients in a nice atmosphere....what the he!! is wrong with that?
                                I also happen to be a 1st generation mexican and my family always enjoyed going down to TJ to eat off carts and visit the family...my more "civilized" friends thought it was creepy and disgusting and they still find it appaling how I will head to Figuroa/6th and get a tamale and menudo from a shopping cart stolen from big lots. Does it make me gentrified when I decide I want to eat at La Cabanita when my friends are craving tables, chairs, friendly service, and a clean rest room? NO! CUz I like La Cabanita too...just as much as I like the places I mentioned above along with my grimy fun places in Van Nuys.

                                1. re: tatertotsrock

                                  Boy do I agree with you. I have eaten in many places of the world including carts in the streets of Tijuana and Guadalajara, Tai Pei, and Lenchita's in Pacoima. There is room for the special occasion and room for the reality of life. Bravo! Ole!

                                  1. re: Hughlipton

                                    Thanks Hughlipton,
                                    You ROCK!
                                    So, what "gentrified" thai places are your favs, and which "gimey" ones do you enjoy?
                                    Wouldn't it be sad if we were limited to enjoying only one or the other? Golly, thank goodness we like it all...the "strange" and the "not so" strange.

                                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                                      Hello Humble Cowhounds, this thread reminded me of the 1st time I was at To Rung, on Hollywood Bl. in 1989. There was a huge roach that walked down the wall above our table and dissapeared into our booth! Did I let it ruin my experience? Hell no. I just ordered another beer, afterall it was my intro to authentic Thai and it was outstanding, compared to any of the watered down thai I was used to at the time, and I continued to frequent it for about 8 yrs until I found better.
                                      I often frequent scary looking places in search of that killer unique and authentic product.

                                      1. re: Sarsa

                                        Yah! Authentic! Could you find me a German one? Fancy or not fancy just so long as it is authentic. As far as the Thai restaurants it often galls me to go to places of ambience and have pad thai which is no better and in some cases worse than simple places, and ambience costs you at least twice the price. The same is true about other ethnic foods as well.

                                      2. re: tatertotsrock

                                        Excellent points, excellently stated Tater. Not all of us need ultra-authentic all of the time. Having a nice meal in a nice place doesn't have to be relegated only to American or Continental cuisine. Upscale ethnic restaurants exist for a reason: many people like them. And that's what this thread is asking about.

                                        1. re: tatertotsrock

                                          If forced I will go to Lanathai and I like the Talesai on Sunset Blvd. The only reason I go to these places two or three times a year is that they have a bar and i have a true affinity for asian appetizers and scotch. I know I coould always get to go but sometimes it's nice to meet the wife at some nice restaurant to talk and eat some appetizers and down a good double scotch.

                                  2. re: tatertotsrock

                                    Agree about Chadaka, but be aware that you're paying for the decor and the so-trendy waiters with the collars of their polo shirts turned up (roll eyes).

                                    If you're down in OC, Thai Nakorn is not run-down at all -- it's just busy and caters to large parties so there are some long tables in the centre.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      Good Morning Das Ubergeek,

                                      I actually think that Chadaka is pretty easy on the wallet...but then, I go for lunch (great lunch special prices) and on Tuesday's (all day and all night) they have a 1/2 price bottle of wine special...their happy hour rocks the appetizer prices and the drinks are $3-$5...all good things for me and I've always gotten better serivce there than I have at AOC.
                                      I agree with Hughlipton, I think the big draw for me is the bar that has some good quality drinking choices...plenty of sakes, top shelf liquor, fabulous wines by the glass choices, and more beers to choose from than I've seen at any thai place-chan dara comes close, thier sake list is wonderful!
                                      I think thai food is a perfect treat for much of what I like to drink and my "strange" places in "the hood' just don't offer those ooptions.

                                      1. re: tatertotsrock

                                        Chadaka's not EXPENSIVE... it's not like Granville where you can blow $20 on lunch and not notice... but you have to understand that my comparison is Thai Gulch in North Hollywood, and the $2.50 "spaghetti with pork and basil" type menus.

                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                          I probably should explain that I'm certainly not one to shy away from holes-in-the-wall in search of great food. I'm a huge support of taco trucks and other food trucks and stands.

                                          My mother, however, is another story. She gets freaked out if a place is below a certain level of aesthetic quality. And yes, roaches don't exactly help the matter.

                                          I figured there could be some compromise. Thanks, Hounds!!