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Ocha Thai Restaurant - Waterbury, VT

I got lunch yesterday at Ocha Thai restaurant on Main Street in Waterbury (across from the gas station at the corner of Stowe and Main streets).

I went around 1PM, and got take out. I hadn't ordered ahead because I didn't have a menu. There was one occupied table. The decor is lovely and comfortable, and there are different seating areas. I would have felt very comfortable there. Also, the way I paid was with all the the change that I've been scrounging and saving for a good ten months. So I had to pay with three rolls of pennies, about three dollars worth of dimes, two bucks in quarters and the rest in nickles. The woman who waited on me was very good-natured about the inconvenience. :)

I ordered their lunch special pad thai with shrimp. I'm not a Thai food expert AT ALL, and I've only had a few experiences with it, so I figured that was safe enough for me to give a go. It was packaged in a nice plastic container that held up well on the way back to the office and kept it warm for me, it is also reusable, which is a good thing.

It came with four medium shrimp (I'd guess 30 count size) that were perfectly grilled and lightly seasoned so that they flavour was enhanced, not overwhelmed. The serving of noodles was huge and I couldn't finish it (which is actually a good thing, it means I have leftovers for today). The sauce on the noodles wasn't overwhelmingly peanutty (which can happen sometimes), and lightly sweet. I liked it a lot. Fresh mung been sprouts, a lime wedge, and shredded carrots were included as well. Overall I enjoyed my lunch immensely and I fully plan on going back and trying maybe the soup.

The only downside was that it was pretty pricey for a lunch for me. I usually shoot for my lunches costing under $2 (I usually bring my lunch), so $8.72 (the price with tax) was a lot for me to spend, but it's saved a little by there being leftovers for today's lunch. I don't know if a person with a normal sized stomach would have leftovers, but they'd certainly have found it very filling.

I'm not clear from the menu if the appetizers, soups, or salads are available for lunch service. They have a menu they specify as their lunch menu, and it doesn't list those things, but on the other page they list soups et. al. If they do serve those during lunch, I'll be much more likely to go back for a lunch sooner, and order those, which are slightly less expensive. Soups run in the $4-5 range, apps run from $3-6, salads 8-10, mains run $9-19 (for the Honey Duck) with most of the mains less than $15.

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  1. Many thanks for the review Morganna! My folks have a place in Newtown and sometimes like to go out, and they really like Thai. I'll let them know that there is a place to try, and if they do get organized (She just got a new knee so travel is not on the plate right now) I'll get a review and post it.

    1. So this place is before you get to The Alchemist?

      I was passing through there yesterday on my way to Williston and thought about trying it, but really had my heart set on lunch at Sakura. I love Thai though, so I'll definitely have to try it. You're pad thai sounded excellent!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bri

        Well "before" is relative to which direction you're traveling through town, but I'm guessing you're coming from exit 10 on the interstate, in which case, yes, it's before the Alchemist. :)

        1. re: Morganna

          You're right, I'd be travelling 89 and taking Exit 10. Okay, now I have a visual. Thanks!

      2. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, this place was good! I even loved the building and the decor. Bruno and I had lunch there today and we tried the last two items on the lunch special menu, #16 and #17. I also had a hot ginger tea that was really good - just slightly sweet.

        #16's title escapes me but it was a combo noodle/soup, with coconut milk, chili paste, vegies (including pickled mustard green), chicken and some fried noodles on top for crunchy texture.

        #17 was a Tom Yum Noodle soup that was really excellent as well.

        A great new addition to the area, it seems. It was busy for lunch. The noise level was high, probably because there are no acoustics. But the food was so good.

        Thanks Morganna for helping me find it!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bri

          Oh I'm glad you liked it. I'm afraid they're going to be sucking down all the coins I manage to save for lunch money into the foreseeable future. :)

        2. Alright, finally I have been in a position to have another lunch from this place. I ordered the fried egg rolls, and pad thai with shrimp (hey, I like it).

          The egg rolls are FABULOUS. They come with a sweet and sour sauce I've never had before, which is very runny, and has pepper seeds floating in ti. I love it! The pad thai is just as good as ever.

          I'm going to get at least three lunches out of this, so the $11.99 I paid for the whole doesn't sting -quite- so much (I always bring my lunch to work, and I usually shoot for lunch to be under $2 total). :)

          If you're visiting the area, go here! Please! I couldn't stand it if we lost this lunch option in Waterbury. ;D

          1. We FINALLY made it here for dinner this past weekend and what a treat. I live in NYC and we have a place in Stowe, and we try to come up fairly often. We usually cook while we're up there as I'm finding the options in Stowe to be less and less enticing as time goes on....but this weekend we didin't have time to cook and this was at the top of my list to try...

            Everything was fantastic and better than a lot of Thai places down here in NYC. We had the Tom Yum soup, the green papaya salad, I had the Khee Mao noodles and my fiancé had the pad thai...we also shared a sticky rice/mango dessert. Everything was fresh, nice and spicy, and just well done. I will definitely be going back!

            1 Reply
            1. re: tkln

              Oh I'm so glad! I like it. Now you need to try Stebu Sushi. ;)

            2. I have enjoyed every meal here. The place is owned by the same folks who have run Royal Orchid in Montpelier for several years, which has comparatively good Thai food.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Dave S.

                Interesting - I had heard so much about Royal Orchid that I went there some time back and was underwhelmed. Part of it was that the prices were say $5 more for each dish than I would have expected (Boston standards), but it also seemed average Thai to me. I thought both the food and prices were better at Ocha when I went last June, while returning from Quebec on a bike tour and staying at the Inn.

                1. re: velotrain

                  I think the key word here is "comparatively". When you consider that you're eating Thai food in rural VT, instead of a very large population center (there are only around 36,000 people in the whole of the capital area, which includes maybe five towns, the city of Montpelier only has just over 8000 people), then the food at Ocha and Royal Orchid is something of a surprise. Would you really have expected good, fairly authentic Thai food in a rural area with such a small population to serve? Even "average" means something, because you don't usually -get- that in a rural area.

                  Usually you get very Americanized bastardizations of various dishes, like some lame "Greek gyros" in some place calling itself a pizza joint. Or a the five or six Chinese American restaurants in the area with menus you'd find in any strip mall in America. :)

                  No, perhaps Ocha and Royal Orchid aren't as good as some Thai place you'd find in Boston, but that's hardly a fair comparison. When you take into account the rural locale, the small population being served, the quality of the food, and the prices relative to the market, then both of these restaurants are surprising and very good, in a fair comparison. :)

                  1. re: Morganna

                    I think velotrain's comparison was more in reference to pricing than food quality. I never expect to find ethnic cuisine in rural Vermont to be at the level of any major city like Boston/NYC/Montreal etc. However, all too often I find the prices to be HIGHER here than in those areas. Granted there are exceptions (to both quality and price) but I am often shocked at the prices we pay for mediocre food in this area. There are gems here but think about how many places get away with charging 18.95 for chicken parmesan when a better plate fo the same dish can be found elsewhere for 9.95 (and I don't think it is because the chicken is local/free range/organic/ living in a feng shui friendly chicken coop). For what it's worth, I like Ocha but think the lunch deals at Drunken Noodle (Essex Jct.) and Tiny Thai (Winooski) are better. Not much help if you can't travel for lunch but possible stops on the weekend.

                    1. re: TonyO

                      I think that it's important to take into account the prices of what's available. The deals available in the Boston area for various ingredients are lower simply because it's more readily available, it's a hub, it's a big population center, and it is more possible to take advantage of economies of scale. You can't do that in Vermont. Costs more to get things here when you're buying out of the ordinary ingredients. That said, yes, I tend to expect my meals to be cheaper than what I'd find in Boston for -typical- things, but I never considered Thai typical, so maybe that's why I'm more forgiving. and THAT being said, I never found their lunch prices to be too awfully unreasonable for the portions but -that- could be because I have an abnormally small stomach these days. :)

                      1. re: Morganna

                        Just curious, what is the stomach references that seem to be a part of your posts ??

                        1. re: TonyO

                          I mention it because when I talk about "huge portions" somewhere, I want people to realize that what is huge to me probably isn't huge to a normal person. And as for the "not normal sized" my husband and I both had a surgical procedure to reverse our type 2 diabetes, and part of that process included reshaping our stomachs so that they're about the size and shape of two large black markers. (The procedure was a mini gastric bypass, usually for bariatric surgery, but we got it for the reversal of our diabetes, though we both have lost a huge amount of weight, too :)

                          1. re: Morganna

                            Gotcha. That makes it clearer ! Personally, I think huge portions are becoming a thing of the past and that probably is a good thing !

              2. Definitely very solid Thai restaurant. Enjoyed lunch their yesterday. Sampled the ginger chicken stir fry, pad see ew, and pad thai...all three dishes very good with the pad see ew especially tasty. Generous portions and helpful wait staff made this a very good experience.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RedSoxForevah

                  Oh I'm so glad to hear that. I wish we weren't planning to go abroad next week. Thai for lunch would be wonderful today. But I can't afford it. I wanna eat well over in the UK. ;)