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Exotic Thai - Simi Valley

Based on the Search results I've come up with, the various locations in the Valley and Thousand Oaks get hammered very hard, but I think the one at the Simi Town Center is pretty good.
Can you get Thai that's just as good or better, for much less, at various strip malls across So. Ca.? Yes, you most certainly can.
But if you want to go out to a nice place and you're in the mood for Thai I think Exotic Thai does a good job of providing that experience. I appreciate that they don't tone down the spice levels for the masses because blandness is one of the main components that I think separates good Thai from not-so-good Thai.
I've heard it called the P.F. Chang's of Thai but I think it's better than that.

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  1. I would love to see their menu and prices. The link I Googled is "for sale" which is a negative sign to me. I miss good Thai food in this area. The best I have found out here so far is SAWASDEE at 1960 Sequoia at LA Ave. (805) 581-5526. I miss Anajak, and all the places on Sherman Way in North Hollywood which are so wonderful.

    22 Replies
    1. re: SIMIHOUND

      I agree about the Thai restaurant at Sequoia and L.A.
      I think most of the restaurants at the Town Center are having a tough time of it these days.

      1. re: tofuburrito

        We found 3 good Thai restaurants in Simi:

        Thai Kitchen 995 E Los Angeles Ave Ste 6, Simi Valley, (805) 581-8049

        This is a small but cute place that serves decent Thai food at decent prices. It's not 'knock your socks off' food, but always tasty and enjoyable. The staff is quite friendly and accomodating.

        Simi Thai Cuisine 2355 Tapo St Ste 15, Simi Valley, (805) 522-4226

        There is nothing fancy or cute about this place, but it serves the most authentic (non-americanized) Thai food in the area. When you ask it for hot, ( say Thai-Hot), it does come hot. The dishes are a little more expensive than Thai Kitchen but I love the food. Staff is a little standoffish, but the service is okay.

        Herb & Spice Thai Cuisine 1407 E Los Angeles Ave Ste U, Simi Valley,
        (805) 522-5000

        Next to the Theaters this the largest and has the nicest decor. We had 4 dishes and they were all good to excellent. The highest priced of the three, but the food is worth the price. I love thier brown rice, it's the purple kind, yum!! Staff is attentive and friendly.

        All of these places are cheaper and better than Exotic Thai. If you go to any of these places please report back your impressions.

        1. re: LesThePress

          Thanks Les, My experience a very long time ago was that both Simi Thai and Herb and Spice were awful so I never went back. I have never tried Thai Kitchen but I know about it. I will try all of these in the future based on the review you gave..I appreciate the opinion.

          1. re: SIMIHOUND

            We found Thai Kitchen and that is where we always went for our Thai fix since we live in TO and there isn't anything as good near us.

            We had lunch there a few weeks ago then walked to the theatre to see a movie and saw Herb and Spice, so we just tried it last Saturday. I found the dishes to be fresh with lots of flavor (spice, no pun intended). I liked it so much I ordered two dishes to take home to have for lunch during the week.

            I don't know if they changed ownership or sometimes just changing a cook will make a big difference. Do try it again and let me know what you think.

            1. re: LesThePress

              Have you tried Rich & Richer at the corner of Stearns & Cochran?
              Kind of an obscure little place but I think the food is very good and they deliver.

              1. re: tofuburrito

                Nope, never heard of it, but will surely try it on our next trek to Simi! ( I don't think they'll deliver to Thousand Oaks, though).

                1. re: LesThePress

                  I think I've tried all of the thai places mentioned so far, except perhaps Sawasdee (I used to go to that thai restaurant when it had a different name, and presumably different management).

                  Rich & Richer used to be my favorite place for thai food, but after experiencing a couple other places, I haven't gone back (maybe I should!). Another reason for this is probably because their service seemed to be getting slower as well as having unpredictable hours, and many days where they were inexplicably closed.

                  I've only eaten at Simi Thai house once, and was a little disappointed by the yellow curry I had. It was watery, lacked flavor, and had pineapple in it instead of potatoes even though I had ordered it without. It was pretty inexpensive though, maybe I should go back and ask for Thai-hot curry!

                  Exotic Thai was good; nothing special, but definitely not as P.F. Changs as I had heard it was like. A little expensive though, and again the curry was a little less spicy than I like it.

                  Thai Kitchen used to have a buffet which was small but kind of neat for a place with decent thai food. Also less expensive that way for a larger meal. I don't know if it still does that.

                  My favorite by far is Herb & Spice. I have been going there for years and have yet to have a bad experience with their food. While I mainly order green, yellow, or red/panang curry there (I just can't get enough of it), friends and family I've taken there always love whatever other dishes they have. Their spicy mint leaves are awesome as well. Also, if you ask for it to be extra spicy they will really make it spicy. They'll even bring out extra cups of spicy things for you to add to it!

                  The comment about it being more expensive took me by surprise, because I've always thought for dinner their prices were pretty average, whereas for lunch you can get their special for even cheaper than lower quality restaurant prices. I love going in for their lunch special - you get the whole meal - with just the right portions of food - for less than $7 ( i forget the exact price because they changed it a bit ago) - small bit of soup or salad, egg roll, and your entree with rice (yay to purple rice!). Service is also attentive and friendly.

                  1. re: chewybakbak

                    I tried R&R a long time ago also and was disappointed. Maybe I just dont know good Thai food....Oh well.....Off to try them all once again. What's a CH to do......? Thank fior the reviews and opinions everyone.

                    1. re: SIMIHOUND

                      best thai in simi is hands down sawasdee, herb and spice is good for the more exotic dishes, great duck curry.
                      118 cafe is also awesome; yosemite and L.A. owner is Taiwanese and has some cool food, and BOBA and great tea's and blended drinks.

                      1. re: stmsomers

                        I stand by Herb and Spice as being very good Thai in Simi. Their curries are wonderful, but they really shine with spicy mint leaves, pepper garlic beef, and possibly the best spicy fried rice I've had. The duck curry is also very good, and I adore that they use the sticky dark grain brown rice.

                        I will admit that I haven't eaten at any other Thai restaurants in Simi, though.

                        1. re: Shortsord

                          Inspired by this discussion, a couple of friends and I are planning to hit every Thai restaurant in Simi and compare. We went to Thai Kitchen for lunch today. On a 1-10 scale the three scores were: 6.5 / 8 / 9 .
                          Mine was the low 6.5 score. I had Red Curry with Tofu and enjoyed it and would have given it a little higher score but I didn't feel that much attention was paid to the rice.
                          Last week, on my own, I picked up some takeout at R & R. I had the Duck Curry, which I thought was excellent.

                          1. re: tofuburrito

                            The second in our undercover best of Thai-Simi Valley took place today at Herb & Spice. The three scores were 9/8/8 for a total of 25.
                            I scored the 9 and had tofu/cashew with veg & steamed rice.

                            1. re: tofuburrito

                              Round three of Best of Thai - Simi Valley
                              Sawasdee
                              The scores were: 8/7.5/5 = 20.5
                              My score was the 8 and I was surprised by the 5 when it was announced.

                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                Try: Simi Thai Cuisine
                                2355 Tapo St Ste 15, Simi Valley, CA
                                (805) 522-4226

                                It'll get no points for decor but if you like it authentic and spicy it'll get high numbers (I think) (I hope).

                                1. re: LesThePress

                                  We're working west to east. The two on Tapo Street are up next.

                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                    Today's journey was to Simi Thai Cuisine.
                                    Sorry LesThePress but our rating was on the low side. My personal feeling was that the food didn't pop as much as I''d like and lacked flavor. It wasn't bad, I would go there again, it just was a bit bland in my opinion.
                                    The scoring:
                                    6.5 - 7 - 6.5 = 20
                                    By the way; in today's Acorn there is an article on the Thai House revamping as Thai Cottage. That will be our December stop.

                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                      Tofuburrito, That was exactly my experience about two weeks ago.
                                      I haven't found that article online yet. Very precise review.

                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                        No problem, TB. Everyone has their individual tastes and I just happened to like the flavors at Simi Thai. It's one of the very few places that when I order the food 'Pet Mak' (thai spicy, very hot), I don't have to add Pik Nam Som (chilies in white vinegar) or Pik Nam Plah (thai chilis in fish sauce) to heat up the food!

                                        Keep going, I like hearing your reports even if our tastes are different.

                                        1. re: LesThePress

                                          All the talk made me go to R&R tonight. I had chicken green curry, pad thai, fried rice. It was simply bland. Simi Thai was much better. Again, none of these places measure up in any way to the North Hollywood restaurants on Sherman Way and also to Anajak in Sherman Oaks. For Simi I plan to stick to SAWASDEE. I welcome other reviews but I am done. trying and tossing my bucks to the wind.

                                        2. re: tofuburrito

                                          I think I am very good at judging what is good Thai food and Thai Cottage on Tapo street is definatey good. My number one complaint is the blandness of Thai food and you wont find that at Thai Cottage. The staff was real friendly, talking about how the restaurant is under new ownership and they were excited about introducing the new chef's version of the food (although they did keep some of the same dishes due to their popularity). What i also love about this place is they are testing new items and are open to suggestions. If you are looking for a cozy, semi casual enviroment, for great Thai food i would definately recommend Thai Cottage.

                                          1. re: Dalynp

                                            I can't find any place by the name Thai Cottage in Simi Valley. Where is this place?

                                            Simihound, I have a new place for you to try. Pronpiya Thai BBQ
                                            345 W Los Angeles Ave, in the spot Fit2BeThai (UGH!) was located. We've been a couple of times and really like it. Of course, based on our previous observations that might not mean you'll like it.

                                            Also, of course none of these places compare to NoHo or Thai Town places, but they're a hell of a lot closer.

                                            1. re: LesThePress

                                              Maybe you didn't find the name because they recently changed the name from Thai House to Thai Cottage. Here is the addy 2311-B Tapo Street, Simi Valley, CA 93063. They also have a website. thaicottagesimi.com

                                              Thanks for the recommendation! I will try that place. NoHo does have great Thai food too and the dishes are cheap.

        2. I just had dinner at the Thai Cottage (Simi Valley) the other night, I received a flyer on my doorstep and I thought I would go check it out. They told me that they just took ownership and changed the name of the restaurant along with dishes they server. They had a wide variety of beer and what looked to be a good menu. I shared a couple of dishes with some of my friends and overall would give them an 8 out of 10. I would say that the Thai ice tea was a little sweet though, I guess that is my only complaint, the service was great and the lighting in the restaurant made the atmosphere feel like home. The pricing was decent to top it off. I would go again.

          18 Replies
          1. re: 03Cobra

            Thai Cottage is on Tapo St. right by Simi Thai Cuisine. As Dalynp pointed out it recently went through a name change. It's next on our list.
            I hadn't heard of Pronpiya Tahi BBQ, I guess we another to add to the list.
            I understand that Noho and Thai Town have a more significant Thai population but why is it assumed that based on location, other Thai restaurants can't compare? If a chef/team is good, it doesn't matter where they are assuming they can get the ingredients they want.

            1. re: tofuburrito

              I had these kinds of conversations with many people including Thai chefs. Altering the ingredients is necessary depending on who your customers are. Since NOHO customers are predominately Thai it's not as needed to switch the ingredients. I wish all Thai restaurants didn’t change anything. But that’s my personal taste.

              1. re: Dalynp

                Ok guys, Thanks. I heard that Thai Cottage was under new ownership and was waiting until they were settled in before trying them. Thanks for the review 03Cobra. When I get an opportunity I will try Pronpiya Thai BBQ. It sounds like it's in Moorpark from the address but either way. It's not too far for a Chowhound!
                Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy.

                1. re: SIMIHOUND

                  I mapped the address and it looks like it's out by the Ice Rink. Strange location for a restaurant.

                  1. re: tofuburrito

                    Thanks, CH'rs. I know now where Thai Cottage is and we went there to try Thai House but it was closed (remodeling?).

                    The other Thai place is in Moorpark. Exit the 23 at New Los Angeles ave, go west and turn right at the light just after McDonalds and then turn right right away into the first driveway, can't miss it. Owner/waitress is super nice and will do your orders as requested. We'll probably go again this weekend, last time was so good. I had the Thai basil chicken (chicken mint) and it was full of flavor. Same for the Prik King (pork). Want to try other dishes to see if they hold up to the same standard.

                    Happy Thanksgiving all!!!

                    LTP

                    1. re: LesThePress

                      Went to Thai Cottage tonight. I really wanted to like this place. I ordered spring rolls, stuffed chicken wings, pad thai and happy chicken-a sort of curry dish. The rolls were fried properly but they were bland. Stuffed chicken wings were very small, very bland, and fried to a dull greyish brown-not crispy. Pad Thai was good not great. Happy chicken was horrible, had to toss it back in the container and toss it in the trash. The flavor was just so bad IMO and tell me please who puts zuchinni in thai food, let alone a curry dish? I am frustrated.

                      1. re: SIMIHOUND

                        Went to the Thai restaurant in Moorpark on Sunday and it was closed. There were no hours posted so I don't know if it was closed over the holiday weekend or just closed on Sunday's.

                        Anyway, I noticed I posted the wrong name and address earlier, my bad.
                        This place, is located behind McDonald's on New Lost Angeles Ave is:

                        Ratchada Thai Cuisine
                        525 New Los Angeles Ave Ste A, Moorpark, CA 93021 (805) 552-0249

                        I was really looking forward to trying some other dishes, but I guess it'll have to wait.

                        Hope someone out there will try it and report back.

                        1. re: LesThePress

                          I am going to try all the Thai restaurants in Simi just like most of you here. I never heard of this one but it will be on my list as well. Let me know if you try it out before I do.

                          1. re: LesThePress

                            Thanks Les, I will definitely give it a try. Being in Moorpark though we won't be able to include it in the "Best of Thai - Simi Valley" tour.

                            1. re: LesThePress

                              Rachada Thai Cuisine in Moorpark has terrific Thai food. The flavors are clear (they get the Thai food balance right). If you like the heat cranked up, just ask. They're happy to please.

                              LesThePress has the address right:

                              Rachada Thai Cuisine
                              525 New Los Angeles Ave #A
                              Moorpark, CA 93021
                              (right behind McDonalds at Spring and Los Angeles)

                              Try the "Shrimp with Spicy Salt" - stir fried shrimp (in the shell with a very light tempura like batter), jalapeno peppers, green onions, salt. Man-o-man, this one rocks.

                              All the curries hit the mark.

                              And try the Rachada Noodle Soup - big bowl of soup (sweet with sour tom yum style broth) with rice noodles, ground chicken, fish balls, shrimp, ground peanuts. Yes!

                              The dishes are authentic Thai. Pam, Terry and Ken are real friendly, always make you feel welcome. I think Pam used to have a Thai place in Simi, not sure?

                              Did a quick review at chow.com http://www.chow.com/places/51269

                              Rachada Thai Cuisine has a good web site ... see
                              http://rachadathaicuisines.com

                              Not sure about last year, but they're open 7 days a week now, hours posted on their web site.

                              Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

                              1. re: foodconnection

                                Thank you for the post. It persuaded me to give it a try soon. The site is very interesting i.e. the blessing of the restaurant by the monks in the morning.

                                I just had food from Herb and Spice. I was very much put off by my very greasy food from there a while back. It was the last Thai restaurant I was looking to frequent in Simi but this time is was quite good.

                                1. re: foodconnection

                                  I like this thread, turned up some ideas for Thai food in Simi Valley I wasn't aware of.

                                  It's been a while since I've visited some of the Thai restaurants in Simi. Time for a new tour. Last visit was Exotic Thai in the Town Center a while back. No strong pull to go back. Will give Herb and Spice a visit.

                              2. re: SIMIHOUND

                                Apparently someone doesn't know that some "authentic" Thai dishes do have zuchinni in it! Google it. Have you been to Thailand? I have been to a few of those places that you said were "awful" and some dishes were bad and some were not. We all have different taste. BTW those places on Sherman Way are known for putting a lot of MSG in their food. That might be why food out here in Simi doesn't taste as good for you! I love Thai food and I used to live in the valley and the best places to go for real authentic Thai food would be in Hollywood. What is "happy chicken"? I looked on the Thaicottagesimi.com menu and did not see anything of the sort?

                                1. re: cfalato

                                  OK, I dont know authentic Thai food. The dish tasted bad. All I can say is that I know what I like and I didn't like it. BTW it was hungry chicken I ate. To be fair I wll go back and try some different things. Please make some suggestions. I still stand by Sawasdee as the my favorite out here in Simi Valley.

                                  1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                    The next stop on the Best of Thai Simi Valley tour was at the Thai Cottage and the following scores were given: 7.5 – 8 – 7 = 22.5.
                                    I gave the 7.5 and thought it was very good but more heat/flavor would have improved the food significantly.
                                    I wish I had thought out the spiciness factor at the beginning of this experiment because the first place we went to didn’t offer different levels of spicy so I’ve felt obligated to go with medium spice since then for fair comparison. At Thai Cottage they offer spice levels of 1-5, so I went with 3. Typically I would go 5. Even so, even in Simi Valley, a medium (or 3) level spice should have some kick to it and this food didn’t.
                                    Blandness is a common complaint on this thread but at my go-to place there is a world of difference between medium spice and very spicey so if you aren’t already doing so you may want to ask about that if the waitress doesn’t mention it.
                                    Other than the lack of heat/flavor the food at Thai Cottage was good and I will go back and jack up the heat. None of us particularly care for the salads at any of these places as they seem totally pointless but here they didn’t use the usual peanut sauce dressing so that was a slight plus. The soup was the best part of the meal in my opinion, not spicy but full of flavor. They also make an excellent egg roll and do a good job on the rice.

                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                      Six down one to go.
                                      We went to Rich & Richer today. This is my go-to place but I tried to rate it objectively. Typically I go with very spicy versions but for fair comparison purposes I went with medium spice. Here are the scores:
                                      9 + 7.5 + 5 = 21.5
                                      Mine was the 9 and the main reason was spice/flavor levels. The medium heat here was far more flavorful than the level-3 at Thai Cottage and most of the other "mediums".
                                      The person who scored 7.5 also ordered medium heat and found his to be the spiciest yet. Oddly the 5-rater low balled due to blandness.
                                      While discussing it we realized that he hadn't asked for a specific spice level so apparently when you don't do that you get it mild. I can see why they do this as some people freak out over the slightest bit of heat.
                                      One thing I am learning is that often times, unless you want bland food, you have to let the waitress know you want the spiciness cranked up.
                                      Despite it's mid-pack score this is still my favorite, not only because of the food but I like the family that runs it too.
                                      On to Exotic Thai next month.

                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                        Back where it all began with this thread and the final in the Best of Thai-Simi Valley experiment. We visited Exotic Thai today, the final location, and the scores were high: 9, 7.5, 8 = 24.5 for a solid second place finish, a half point behind the winner: Herb & Spice.
                                        This venture would have been more appropriately themed: Best of Thai Lunch Specials as we learned that what the Thai restaurants offer for their lunch specials are usually very different in quality from the items on their regular menu. The lunch specials are often more bland and toned down so we all agreed that in most cases it's best to pay the extra couple of bucks and order off the menu.
                                        One of the exceptions to that rule was today at Exotic Thai. Their $5.99 lunch special had more heat/flavor than most of the other places, which is why it scored well. We didn't give much weight to decor but Exotic Thai easily wins that category. I was thinking they would be over priced and I would have a good reason to bury them under the mom & pops places but the food was very good, it's a nice environment and the service was good.
                                        Some people claim it's Thai fusion but I think if you make that claim against them you could make it against the whole crowd.
                                        So congratulations to Herb & Spice; the highest scoring Thai restaurant by three random guys in Simi Valley.