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.]
It's funny that you mention how much better the al pastor in LA is compared to that in NYC. The Thai in Hollywood's Thai Town is so vastly superior to anything outside of it that you really must go. Take the bus. Walk. Ride your bike. Steal a car. Go.
Bjartmarr happened to already mention my clear top 3 (as well as standing up for westside food). Jitlada is my favorite with Ruen Pair coming in a close second. They complement each other well as there are so many dishes one has that the other doesn't. I just want to really emphasize that this is something that you should do.
Since you're already in SM, I also suggest you swing by Guelaquetza or Monte Alban to get your Oaxacan fix before you go back to New York and hitting up Javan or another highly regarded Persian restaurant in West LA/Westwood would also be advised.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
5757 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
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.