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Apr 5, 2008 12:12 PM

Fancy Thai?

Entertaining the parents, who want good Thai food, but looking a much nice decor than you're average Thai place. Natalee is a bit too industrial, and the food at Typhoon is not that great, so looking for something traditional fancy, a good example would be Khan Toke in the Richmond in San Francisco:

Any suggestions?

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  1. I used to love Khan Toke! We don't have anything with quite such impressive decor, but here's a few Thai of the nicer variety. Unfortunately, I feel like you often sacrifice flavor for nice plates and flowers at these places.
    Naraya on Robertson
    Nakkara on Beverly
    and Saladang Song in Pasadena.

    363 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

    Nakkara on Beverly
    7669 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    Naraya Thai
    1128 S Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty

      I can support two of those recos -- Saladang Song and Naraya. I like the flavors better at Saladang but I though that food wa more creative and the amibiance nicer at Naraya.

      I have not tried Nakkara yet.

      1. re: Chowpatty

        I stopped going to Naraya Thai after last ownership change.
        So you guys above mean it's still as good as before?

        1. re: RicRios

          I haven't been in awhile so I can't speak to a quality drop. That's too bad.

          1. re: RicRios

            All the more reason to go back after the change of ownership. Much better quality of food

        2. Haven't been to Nakkara either, but if closer also prefer the more intimate Naraya over Saladang Song (which I've also enjoyed in the past)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Ernie

            Intimate is absolutely the right word to differentiate. And I LOVE the passion that the ownership have at Naraya. They desperately want you to leave pleased and happy with the food and experience. That's something that a big, high volume restaurant like Saladang Song can't provide.

            1. re: Frommtron

              It's too bad that the epically large concrete frame of Saladang Song works against it in the intimacy department, because the food is really nice.

              But if the OP feels that Natalee is too industrial, then surely Saladang (or Saladang Song) will feel the same.

              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Not necessarily. While I don't like the frame of the building Saladang Song occupies, it doesn't feel cold and impersonal to me. Just a bit imposing.

          2. Chan Dara is a step above a neighborhood ethnic restaurant. Your dad, at least, would not be focusing on the decor... ;-)

            1 Reply
            1. re: nosh

              I certainly like 'the decor':) but the food at Chan Dara has been atrocious lately, so I've sworn it off. And the quality of 'the decor' has also noticeably dropped off.

            2. i just went to daisy mint in pasadena last night. I really really enjoyed the food there. The decor is really nice too.

              i dont think its a straight up thai place though, they had korean inspired dishes too. I guess its semi fusion-ish.

              1. I'd also throw Rambutan Thai in Silverlake into the mix. It's got a nice interior and I've always liked the food. It's in a mini-mall, so from the exterior it doesn't appear so nice, but once inside, that shouldn't matter.

                Rambutan Thai
                2835 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

                5 Replies
                1. re: DanaB

                  I wasn't terribly impressed with my one experience there and even less so with the sister restaurant Tuk Tuk. My sense with both those places is that the extra money is paying for the decor and not the cooking. Kind of like a Thai version of Chin Chin. I'm not saying RT is horrible or anything, but I would much rather eat at Saladang/Song (even if the interior at RT is the better one - and I agree that it is).

                  1. re: ahuacatl

                    I've eaten at Rambutan probably 10+ times, and I really think the food is in a much more authentic category than a place like Chin Chin. It may be a bit more gourmet in its presentation than your average hole-in-the wall places, with prices to match, but the food *is* good and has a decent spice level.

                    I've also eaten at Saladang and Saladang Song, and think they are good recommendations as well for somebody looking for upscale Thai. I personally find the food -- especially at Saladang -- pretty comparable to Rambutan.

                    1. re: DanaB

                      I intended the Chin Chin remark as hyperbole and the sentence that followed it was the tip off. It's possible that I had two meals that were not representative. Maybe I'll try RT one more time, like I said it's not horrible. I had the Pad Thai at Tuk Tuk and it was Chin Chin-level disappointing though, sorry.

                      I agree with jlrobe, below - the hole in the wall places are the best and it's not that I have anything against trying to serve it up gourmet/upscale.

                      1. re: ahuacatl

                        I've never eaten at Tuk Tuk, so can't speak to their food. I thought you said you'd only eaten once at Rambutan?

                        My experience with Chin Chin is that it's pretty much akin to an Americanized chain version of Chinese food, like P.F. Chang's or the like, so I think that's why I wanted to respond. I definintely don't think that Rambutan falls into that category for Thai food, but YMMV.

                        Of course, I think we'd all agree the best thai food can be found in hole-in-the-wall places, but that wasn't what the OP was asking for.

                        1. re: DanaB

                          2 meals: once at RT and once at TT. I lumped them together because they are similar in concept, owned by the same people (this is something that I've been told, but can't vouch for) and I felt that both under-delivered on what the space over-promised. Chin Chin is Americanized sure, but I trotted CC out for a different reason. CC charges too much for what they serve, but they get away with it because of perceived value, the gussied up interior says "you're getting more, we take this seriously" when in fact you're just paying more. I'm very comfortable saying this about CC, but only barely about TT & RT because I've only eaten at those places twice in total. It's probably unfair to make this judgement on one meal/restaurant, but Hounds do it all the time. I certainly wouldn't lump them in with P.F. Chang's.

                          If you've had good experiences at RT and it sounds like clearly, you have, I'm not trying to discredit you. Everyone is entitled to their own experience and sometimes it's perspective, palette or just a bad sampling (on my part). I did agree with you that RT had a nice atmosphere and you're right, if that's what the OP is looking for...