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Jul 7, 2008 10:24 AM

IMO The best Thai food ever (Lotus of Siam)

Every time I go to Las Vegas I have to make it a point to make reservations at Lotus of Siam. IMO it is the best Thai food ever! Don't get me wrong, it's not like like I am a Thai food aficionado, but they simply serve delicious food. I have pictures posted on my blog:
I was wondering what others order when they eat here or do you guys recommend other places in the area?

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  1. Thanks for the pics and suggestions. I plan on eating there thanksgiving time. Would you suggest dinner or lunch? what is the price point for 2 people incl 2 drinks each?

    6 Replies
    1. re: drewb123

      Make sure that you make reservations in advance! And never go during lunch! There lunch selection is more like a buffet from my understanding and it is not the same. Only go for dinner. As far as prices go, dishes range from $7-$30 approximately. I would suggest to order family style and share. Don't forget to order some German Reisling to along with the food. They have one of the most extensive Reisling menus around and the prices are extremely fair. Just ask the waiter for suggestions. They are very knowledgeable.

      1. re: Mr. Gohan

        There is also a full menu available at lunch, as I recall. When you are seated, you can just tell them that you'd rather order off the menu than ordering the buffet.

        1. re: Mr. Gohan

          We've lived in Vegas for three years, but only been to LOS three times, the most recent being last Thursday. Got there about 6:00PM and we were seated immediately. No reservations, just walked in. Plenty of empty tables during our meal. It did seem to fill up about 8:00PM as we were leaving.

          Service was good, but slow. This time, we decided to trust the advice of other hounds and order your favorite dishes rather than ours. We had:

          1. NAM KAO TOD Minced sour sausage with crispy rice. Truly great depth of flavors. The sour taste punched through but the minced sausage was hardly discernible and the dish was a bit too dry overall.

          2. DRUNKEN NOODLE SEAFOOD. I only wish there was more noodles to enjoy. Great flavor but I wanted more noodles!

          3. BRAISED SHORT RIB with PANANG. Braised short rib topped with Thai style red cream curry sauce with cognac. When I heard RIBS, I was concerned that I would be gnawing on bones. I need not have worried, as there were no bones, just buttery tender beef. Maybe a bit too much fat for my taste, but my wife likes it that way. The panang sauce was tremendous. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough sauce to pour generously over rice. Was this dish better than the Panang Beef I regularly eat at Pommares? No. And at Pommares, there's much more sauce to drench the rice too.

          4. MANGOS with STICKY RICE. Honestly, I was disappointed. It's just a fresh sliced mango with a much much too small of a portion of rice pudding. The rice is delicious but I could have done without the sesame seeds on top. They added a textural crunch that the dish really didn't warrant.

          Overall, the meal was very flavorful, but not a terribly good value. That being said, we'll still go back to try those dishes unique to LOS.


          1. re: shamu613

            Your review is really the way I felt about the place when I went in Dec. I really wanted to be knocked out instead I left disappointed. I found much of the food you listed also dry. We ordered from the special (northern?) menu and I really didn't find anything that good. Probably won't return.

            1. re: shamu613

              I agree that in the nam kao tod the sausage is barely visible and that the sticky rice is dissapointing...more like rice pudding with some coconut flakes. It completely missed the mark.

          2. re: drewb123

            Hi drewb123!

            I love this place (it's in my bio as one of my top meals). More details later on my favorite dishes, though I have to say, David Feldman is the resident expert as he's been going since the beginning when the Chutimas left highly-regarded Renu Nakorn in CA for Las Vegas.

            Lunch or dinner is equally great as the Northern Thai (Issan) menu is always available. As I'm sure you already know, if you go for lunch, skip the buffet and order from the menu. I just searched and found my first report - for lunch - but YIKES seven years ago? I feel like an old CH! . Anyways, these dishes are still among my favorites:


          3. Mr. Gohan,

            Glad you like Lotus. It's my favorite place to eat in Las Vegas, or anywhere else, for that matter. I'm sure you've tried other dishes that weren't mentioned on the blog entry, but some obvious areas you need to hit:

            1. Have you tried any of the soups?

            2. I can't believe you had the fried banana for dessert when the sticky rice with mango and/or coconut ice cream is available. This is a great dessert.

            3. There are no mentions of anything from the northern menu. Have you had the khao soi? The pork stew? The green chili dip?

            10 Replies
            1. re: Dave Feldman

              you know i've only tried the larb and sausage from the northern menu. i would love to hear more recommendations from the northern menu. i'm personally not a big fan of any type of soups, but willing to try anything.

              1. re: Mr. Gohan

                The khao soi is somewhere in between a noodle dish and a soup. A Chowhound has a charming blog devoted exclusively to his quest for the best khao soi: It's the first dish on the northern menu.

                I'd also recommend the pork stew. And if you like spicy side dishes, the green chili dip.

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  i'll be there next month, so I'll definitely give those a try. thanks for recommendations!

              2. re: Dave Feldman

                We had the banana and the mango sticky rice and the banana was preferred. I'd say get both though. The mango sticky rice was very simple with good mango but the banana was also very good and banana-y.

                The issan sausage we got was dry and a bit disappointing. I liked the tom kha kai and the satay was good, the noodles in the drunken noodles were very good and the crispy mussel omelet was interesting but really needs the (somewhat spicy) sauce on it to be interesting.

                I dunno if I'd really call it the absolute best in the country. It's certainly the most extensive and interesting Thai menu I've seen but I've had better execution of dishes with very high consistency from Jasmine Thai in Dallas.

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  Thanks to one of your previous recs, Dave, we requested the Hoh Mok Sea Bass on our second visit in March and were very, very pleased. Looking on their online menu, it's a variant of #95 which is described as "Steamed combination seafood, egg, sliced cabbage, coconut milk and curry sauce cooked in its own juice." I remember it being so luscious and fragrant...Have you tried this prep with another fish like catfish?

                  We also really liked the Northern Red Curry (we chose pork). Its lack of coconut milk in the base made for a lighter and cleaner flavor compared to the hoh mok dish. I personally liked that the pork was cut small and that there were plenty of fresh, vibrant veggies swimming in the broth.

                  We also tried the sticky rice w/ mango and coconut ice cream and thought they were both wonderful! The sticky rice had the perfect creamy texture, and I really liked the fried mung beans (I think that's what the waiter told me they were) sprinkled on top which gave a little crunch and nuttiness. The ice cream was a little on the icy side, but it was light and refreshing.

                  The riesling the waiter recommended went very well w/ the food. The Northern Larb was ok, but not nearly as good as the crispy rice and sour sausage salad that we had on our previous visit. My sis requested the pad thai, and I liked their version but didn't love it.

                  Some may find the portions on the small side, but I think they are just right and an excellent value for the quality ingredients and unique, multi-layered flavors. Plus more modest portions mean that I can sample more items! Service was warm and helpful and pacing was just right. I'm looking forward to my next visit...

                  Has anyone tried the dishes w/ jack fruit on the Northern menu?

                  A few dimly-lit photos:

                  Lotus of Siam
                  953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104

                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    Great pics as always Carblover! I wish we were heading to LOS soon, maybe this fall. It's interesting that their hoh mok is steamed in tinfoil - I've always had it steamed in banana leaves. Those preps have been more like a seafood custard, though, so this sounds slightly different . I'm definitely going to order it the next time we go. There's a very good Thai restaurant in Boston which serves a delicious haw mok using salmon.

                    1. re: Rubee

                      Thanks, Rubee. I've never seen or tasted hoh mok elsewhere but your comment about the banana leaves reminded me that I've had a Cambodian dish called amok that sounds exactly as you describe. It was more of a fish and egg mousse/patty, while LOS's version kept the fish filet intact. I don't remember the egg much so perhaps it just helps to thicken the sauce or bind the cabbage. I think banana leaf would be great w/ the hoh mok; plus it looks prettier!

                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        Sorry, I'm about to leave for the airport so don't have time to respond properly. But yes, LOS's hoh mok keeps the fish more intact than any other version I've tried. I love the catfish (hoh mok plar) but don't think it works as well with red snapper.

                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                          Thanks, Dave. Will have to try the catfish version sometime. I'm interested to hear more about your thoughts on this or other dishes (have you tried any jackfruit dishes?) when you have the time...

                          Few more pics:
                          1. the excellent wine we had w/ our meal (on the sweet side but it worked!)
                          2. Northern larb
                          3. the excellent coffee husband had at meal's end

                          1. re: Carb Lover

                            Thanks, C.L. Wow, I've never had coffee at LOS (had a Thai coffee once, but that isn't really my thing).

                            I've found the amount of sweetness of Rieslings is totally dependent upon the food it accompanies. Bank is really good at orchestrating this, as is Ai (not sure if this is the right spelling -- it' is pronounced like the first letter of our alphabet).

                            Not everyone likes the Northern larb as much as southern version, but with a side order of sticky rice, I find it to be great comfort food.

                            Going to be in LV soon to check it out myself!

                2. I've been disappointed every time I've been to Lotus of Siam, maybe part of it is due to the hype that this place generates. Whatever.

                  In any event, if you go there are two dishes I recommend simply because so few Northern Thai restaurants will offer it.

                  1. Kong Char Num Plar: raw prawns marinated with fish sauce and served tableside with garlic and chili paste

                  2. Koi Soy: Issan style steak tartare.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I've lived in Vegas for 9 years and go to LoS a few times a year. Maybe I've just been lucky but so far have never been disappointed.

                    1. re: Whisper

                      The only time I've been disappointed in LOS was when I ordered their Pud Thai. Then someone told me that noodles (other than the drunken noodles and the khao soi) are not their strong point..and I agree.

                      To the poster who didn't find the mango all that special: you didn't mention if you had coconut ice cream with it. It isn't the same without the coconut ice cream. That being said, I ALWAYS love the mango desert...but then I ALWAYS love mangos. There is no such thing as "just a mango." IMO, of course.

                      btw, LOS is a favorite place for us to take out-of-town visitors. And it was a favorite of ours when WE were out-of-towners. Its close enough to the strip that it can be combined with a cruise to see the lights, but definitely shows another side of the city. We always enjoy our meals there.