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Racha in Olympia (Capital Mall)

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My partner and I ate at Racha in Olympia last night, and it will be the LAST time we eat there, unless they get new kitchen staff. I have long been a fan of Racha in Seattle. And when Racha first opened here in Olympia it was great! We went there often. However, quickly the food quality went down hill. It got worse each time, until each time we went we had to send at least one dish back to be fixed. The last time, the fried rice was tasteless and the onions in another dish were literally large raw inedible chunks. This time, the tofu in both dishes was still cold in the center - we sent them back, and they came back warmer but not by much and it looked like they had just microwaved it or something. The sauces were excellent, but the Rad Nah had barely any vegetables (all noodles) and the sauce of the Swimming Rama was not warm enough to really wilt the spinach. Both dishes were cold before we finished the meal... and we are fast eaters! Also, the rice was not very good - too much water.

There was almost nobody in the restaurant. I can't imagine they are doing at all well financially. I would strongly suggest that if they are going to keep that location that they do a grand re-opening, advertising that they have a new chef!

I hope they do choose to keep the Olympia location and to improve it, as when Racha is on it is smokin! (and there are very few good resturants in Oly) However, until I hear that they have new kitchen staff I will not be returning to the Olympia location. I sent them an email to this effect.

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  1. I went ot the Seattle one for the last time recently--the quality just is not there any more.

    1. Please let us know if you get a reply to your e-mail to Racha. I was there several times earlier this year and the food was very good, but it looks like things have changed. If you got on their e-mail list, the discount coupons were good.

      As an alternative, if you haven't been to the expanded and remodeled Lemon Grass in downtown Olympia, it is worth a trip. And up the street, Bamboo is always a safe backup.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Steve in Olympia

        No response at all from Racha! Very disappointing.

        Yes, I heart Lemon Grass, but they need variety! The menu has remained exactly the same for years. I do love the new look tho and there is talk they may use the new space as a night club/bar.

        On principle I will not go to Bamboo - I can't verify this, but I have heard from a very reliable source that it was started by a former employee of Lemon Grass that stole their recipes.

        My current favs are the recently reopened Thai Garden, near the Capital Mall, and Thai Pavilion downtown. Thai Garden is getting up and running and is a bit inconsistent, but mostly excellent (the service is hit or miss, tho). Thai Pavilion has too much of a tendency to not use fresh ingredients, but their sauces and soups are stellar.

        1. re: yurisagawa

          I used to really like Thai Garden when it was still in the Capital Mall. I was looking forward to a recent dinner in their new location but ended up terribly disappointed in the food. Seems like the cooks went wild with the sugar bowl. Many of the dishes were bland and worse, nearly inedible because of overwhelming sweetness. Missing was any hint of spice or fresh herbs like thai basil or galangal. I remember years ago they used more authentic ingredients and now it seems like they've turned into yet another dumbed-down, Americanized, generic Thai-ish restaurant. How sad.

      2. Well, there was a coupon for them in today's mail- guess where I filed that?!

        1. I just ate at Racha last night (February 28, 2009), and it was excellent. If there was a problem, it has been fixed now. All the food was hot, the Tom Kha soup was spicy with fresh lemongrass flavors, the Pud Si Eew noodles were salty and sweet, and the smoky chili sauce on the Prik Khing Prince absorbed into the green beans and tofu. Racha is still by far the best Thai restaurant in Olympia, no contest. It actually tastes like the Thai food in Thailand.