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Feb 28, 2009 11:58 AM

Thai food in Bethesda?

Looking for yummy Thai tonight in Bethesda. I've never been a big fan of Tara Thai. I know we could go to Sala Thai, but I've been there a bunch, too. Is there a hidden gem (or not so hidden gem) that I'm missing?

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    1. re: Lydia R

      Not Thai but Vietnamese- Rice Paddie's Grill across from the Women's Market (around the corner from the Starbuck's- is quite good.

    2. Nark Kara Thai ... excellent Thai. Very traditional

      1. I second Lydia's motion on Bankok Garden, Sesmoco. I've been going there for over 20 years. The food is always good and the prices are still very reasonable. Tara Thai is less authentic and far more expensive. Sala Thai is not bad.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Sean D

          I had takeout from Bangkok Garden once and I thought it was practically inedible.
          The meat was very fatty. I like fat- but it was yucky fat. Maybe I just hit the place on a bad night?

          1. re: chicken kabob

            I'm surprised to hear that about Bangkok Garden, you should let them know...I work right down the street so I go there often for takeaway lunch and dinner and I agree with Sean D, reasonable prices and the quantity of food will not disappoint you...

            1. re: chicken kabob

              I've eaten at Bangkok Garden many times and always had a good experience. It's not shiny like Tara Thai or Sala Thai, but the food has always been good. Maybe it was because you had takeout? I've always eaten in.

              1. re: chicken kabob

                Sorry to hear about your experience, Chicken K. I'd encourage you to give them a second try...eating in. The one thing about Bankok Gardens that they have very good quality control and consistency.

                You should also let the management know. Restaurants like this really care about your opinion.

                1. re: Sean D

                  Sounds like I will have to give Bangkok Garden another try (especially because it is just around the corner from where I live.) Thanks everyone....

            2. not in Bethesda but would highly recomend either Nava Thai in Wheaton or Benjarong in Rockville for Thai food

              5 Replies
              1. re: dining with doc

                I'll second Doc's motion about Benjarong in Rockville. It's a bit pricier than others, but the food is excellent.

                The Thai places in Wheaton seem to have declined a bit in recent years. Dusit was one of the best anywhere, but the last time I ate there (about 3 months ago), it was really bad. I've never been to Nava Thai. Where is it?

                1. re: Sean D

                  it is located where Sir Walter Raleigh was. go north on GA Ave and turn right on University, make your second right turn and restaurant is on your left. It is very good

                2. re: dining with doc

                  Doc, if you've tried Dusit and Ruan Thai in Wheaton, what are your opinions of those joints? Both were recommended by friends.

                  1. re: huesmann

                    We just finished the "tour" with three of the Thai places in Wheaton. We were recommended to Dusit by the grocery store owner where Nava Thai used to be (quite interesting... as we were looking for Nava Thai).
                    Dusit, I have to say it's the cleanest restaurant I have ever been to. The whole place looks and feels clean. Service is very friendly. The kitchen is slightly slow but still reasonable. The food is quite Asian...without all the sugary taste that you get from Nava. The portion is smaller than your typical supersized meal out there, but hey my health is worth more than the extra food. The food tasted excellent. My wife liked the food better than me the first try. But both of us loved the cabbage soup as they are EXACTLY like the ones we had in Thailand. We were pretty happy about Dusit.

                    Obviously it didn't long to find the new Nava Thai. We waited like 30 minutes for a table, waited another 30 for our food. The food was *very flavorful. I liked the fact that my duck soup tasted sweet, and my wife's boat soup was so very spicy. The couple next table waited an hour and still didn't get their food, even after repeated reminders (we felt sorry for them while sipping our soups.) Poor folks left politely, without the place even offering something for compensation. The worst part was that both of us drank a gallon of water, and couldn't think straight all night probably due to good ol' MSG that made everything taste oh, so good!

                    Next we went to Ruan. The place is packed like Nava, and we waited. It certainly didn't feel all that clean. The service was fair. The wait was reasonable. The food was not as tasty as Nava Thai. Price slightly on higher end. Unfortunately we got that MSG feeling again all night long.

                    We went to Dusit again tonight. The place is half empty. We liked that. We had a great meal, and enjoyed the flavors knowing that I would be able to concentrate tonight, and not have to empty three bottles of water and still feel drowsy. The soup is as good as the first time. The noodles, very tasty. I like their fried bananas the most. During the meal, the kitchen door swung open, and I saw people actually wiping down the outside of a big rice cooker...I don't even clean so thoroughly in my own kitchen.

                    In conclusion, both of us at this point value Thai food that is clean and wholesome more than other Thai food that may taste wonderful, but makes you feel sick and dizzy all night. Perhaps the rest of the crowd feel different, but that leaves us with peaceful quiet meals with no wait at Dusit. I guess there is still at least one more Thai to try out in Wheaton.