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Great Triangle Thai? Durham, NC

I live in Durham work, work in Chapel Hill and love Thai food. My girlfriend and I adore the Pad Thai and Thai Villa noodles from Thai Villa, but the atmosphere there kind of sucks and with heavy gas prices it is hard to find an excuse to drive to Cary for dinner.

It has been a long time since I tried Thai Palace in Chapel Hill (it was always okay), for a little bit nicer atmosphere we have frequented Pao Lim but were never as pleased with the food, we have also tried Thai Lanna and while we really liked the Pad Thai did not find too many other menu items great. Any suggestions, or comments on our past experiences? (I love spicy noodles with garlic and basil)

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  1. I'd try Twisted Noodle in Durham on University Drive. Kinda back behind the SuperTarget & Sam's Club. Service there can be a little erratic but the dishes are usually quite tasty. I like it a little better than Thai Cafe, up the road a little, also on University Drive, which isn't to say the latter is bad.

    5 Replies
    1. re: otto_pivner

      the food at twisted noodle cannot make up for the horrid service. i am usually forgiving of bad service at asian restaurants, but they take the cake.

      1. re: cervisiam

        Twisted Noodles how-to, for those not so into their often really bad service.

        1) Know what you want to order. They've got a menu on their website, so figure out what you want before you get to the restaurant.
        2) Once seated, give them your full blown order. Apps, Entrees, Drinks, etc.
        3) The time between ordering and the service is usually pretty quick, but here's the trick: if you need anything (the hot sauce tray, more napkins, an extra set up, a refill), ask for it when the food gets dropped off. You might not see a waiter for another 20 minutes.
        4) When the check comes, have your plastic ready to go. Or just pay w/ cash.

        works for me!

        1. re: demartino

          Man, I dig what you're saying about the "strategy" to get service at Twisted Noodles. Lord knows I get a wicked jones going every now and then for their noodles but, damn, that dining room is small and completely wide open. There's no reason the service should be so bad. Personally I've walked out of that place a few times because I've been seated and then forgotten/ignored by the servers for 10-15 minutes. Other times, I've endured the craptastic service because of intense noodle lust.

          That being said, the food is really good. Another "trick" to get decent service would be to go during off hours, like early Sunday afternoon.

          1. re: demartino

            also 2.5) don't ask for modifications to any dish, i.e. sauce on the side because your fish will otherwise be drowning in sticky sauce
            and 2.25) don't ask questions about anything, i.e. if the fish comes with or without the head

            1. re: cervisiam

              I've never put up with such bad service in any other restaurant, but will for Twisted Noodles. I find it to be better than most Thai restaurants anywhere in the country for authenticity.

              Here's a trick I usually use to avoid 95% of the craptastic service: DO TAKEOUT.

      2. I've got to add a vote for Thai Cafe- although the Pad Thai isn't their strongest dish- I've never left there unhappy with anthing- especially when you finish with the most outstanding coconut cake ever served.Yumm!

        1. Did you know Thai Palace started serving lunch in the last year? That would be my #1 choice, followed by Twisted Noodle, and Thai Cafe third. I've only eaten at Thai Lanna (it was okay, bad ambience though) once so I can't propoerly evaluate it yet.

          1. Thai-China Buffet, near where 55-54 meet, wins my vote. Unfortunate name, strip-mall location, and not much in the way of decor, but the food is amazing. The red curry is the best I've ever had anywhere, not just in the triangle.

            At lunch they have a buffet, which is decent, but I prefer to go for dinner.

            1. Thai Palace in Chapel Hill is pretty mediocre; I prefer Lime and Basil on Franklin Street.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Rand

                Lime & Basil is Vietnamese food, not Thai.

              2. I love Thai Cafe (the BBQ chicken is surprisingly excellent, something I would never have tried if my friend hadn't ordered it) and Twisted Noodles is great (timing is off and one of the servers can be strangely chatty, but it's so cheap and delicious!).

                1. I have to say my favorite Thai restaurant is Thai Cafe. On their lunch menu there is a red curry noodle dish with salmon and eggplant that I get often. They also have a citrus yellow curry noodle dish with chicken that is very good.

                  Another Thai restaurant I found it at hwy 55 and 54 in the shopping complex with the Big Lots. I forget the name, but if you are looking at Big Lots, it is to the left. It is a small out of the way place but worth a try.