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May 22, 2008 03:08 AM

Best Thai nearest Santa Monica?

I'm in town for a visit from New York and want to eat the best Thai food I can. I'm partial to Northern Thai, but will gladly settle for anything great. I don't care at all about decore, service, or hell, even cleanliness. I just want tasty Thai food that will make me love this city.

L.A. is so big and boring to an outsider who knows not what he does or where he goes. I'm in Santa Monica (which outside of the farmers market doesn't impress me, food-wise--am I missing something?) and getting around by bicycle. I'm willing to bike 10 miles or so, one way. Where should I go?

[And unrelated to Thai food, can I just mention that the al pastor from taco trucks in L.A. is so much better than the al pastor in NYC. It must be a Mexican regional thing.]

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  1. A couple of previous threads that may be of help to you. Within a 10 mile radius of Santa Monica you are not going to find great Thai, but good Thai. For great Thai you need to head for Thai town in Hollywood. While there have been some disagreement we and more than a few other hounds like Thai Boom on Venice Blvd. which is east of Sepulveda Blvd. a mile or so on the north side of the street.

    1. Well, you're about 13 miles from Thai Town, so most of your best options are out of range. Unless you take the 704 or 720 bus down to Western or so and ride your bike from there, in which case Jitlada is probably the place you should go if you want to impress your foodie friends back in NY. Jitlada is Southern Thai, but there are plenty of Northern places in TT; maybe try Yai or Ruen Pair.

      Santa Monica has some fine cooking, if you're willing to fork over some cash. But inexpensive holes in the wall run by recent immigrants are hard to find -- awesome ethnic food and high rents don't mix.

      5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

      Ruen Pair Restaurant
      5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

      Yai Restaurant
      5757 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bjartmarr

        The 702 and 704 will get you there pretty quickly as long as there's no traffic. Just keep in mind that they're like express trains in NYC and skip a lot of stops.

      2. My favorite high-end Thai restaurant is Talesai. I go to the one on Sunset and Doheny in West Hollywood but I believe they have another location near Olympic and Beverly which is sort of close to Santa Monica. It's expensive but incredibly fresh, flavorful and delicious.

        1. Thanks for the tips--both the place names and the thread links (I searched but couldn't find them myself)!

          I picked 10 miles sort of arbitrarily. I'd hate to bike 10 miles and stop 3 miles short of the good stuff! And I can always put my bike on a bus if I'm too stuffed of tired to bike back to Santa Monica (though it's easier to bike back because it's downhill). Thai Town it will be! Thank you all.

          1. I'm not sure it is worth the bike ride - unless the bike ride itself is reason enough - but I just had lunch at Ayara Thai in Westchester before dropping my GF at the airport. We were both pleasantly surprised. We had been there once before, but I don't remember much about that initial meal. Anyway, taking a non-highway route, that is probably a 7 or 8 mile ride from Santa Monica.

            For our lunch, my GF both had noodles. I had pad see ew and she had pad kee mao (although the menu listed them as something like drunken noodles). The noodles had that smokey, fresh off of a very hot cooking surface taste that I miss from my days in BKK. While I am one of the people that likes Thai Boom, I never order their noodle dishes because they are simply not very good to my taste. I'd rather go without and go to Krua Thai when I am in NoHo. But Ayara's noodles were good enough that I will have a hard time ordering anything else.

            Probably some riding on Sepulveda would be required for that trip, if that is a consideration.

            3 Replies
            1. re: igj

              Ayara really is a good Thai restaurant, and doubly so considering it's location in Westchester. What was their lunch crowd like? When we have gone for dinner we have generally walked right in. (and if our bike riding friend wants to avoid Sepulveda they can always take the bike path down to Culver and then up to Pershing to Manchester to the restaurant.

              1. re: Servorg

                Lunchtime was BUSY, full of local office and medical workers. We got there at about 12:30 and within 5 minutes, the place was full, front room and back. Our food came out very quickly though, so it seems they are used to handling a lunch rush.

              2. re: igj

                i frequent both ayara and thai boom and i completely concur that the noodles at thai boom are not nearly as good as the noodles at ayara.
                on the other hand, imo, the salads at ayara are not nearly as good as the salads at thai boom. also, the prik pao at thai boom is good and it isn't served at ayara.