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May 19, 2004 03:49 PM

Best Upscale Thai Food in L.A.?

  • d

Please weigh in on your favorites in terms of authenticity, freshness, cleanliness and ambiance. We used to like Siamese Garden in Venice, and Chao Praya in Hollywood. We quit eating Thai for a while, but would like to find an excellent one. Thanks.

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  1. I really like Tuk Tuk Thai on Pico Blvd, I posted about this awhile back so I'm sure if you do a search, you will be able to find it. They have good thai bbq chicken, good steak (medium rare slices) and a nice large thai iced tea. It's a nice atmosphere as well.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Alice

      The first place I ate Thai food was at a small storefront in Hollywood in the mid 70's. It was called Chan Dara and had one small room with just a few tables. It subsequently took over the store next door and more than doubled it's size. It has also grown to three locations Hollywood/Larchmont/Pico Blvd. w/LA). I don't know if the Hollywood location still exists, I haven't been there for a lot of years.

      I went often but was really never crazy about the prices or portions of the Pico Blvd. (nr. Bundy)location. However, lately they have improved the portion size and I think they must have a new chef because I've really enjoyed the last several dishes I've had there. The prices are still the same (upscale, like you asked for), but with the improvement in quality and quantity, I don't hesitate to go there.

      As a side note, the beauty of the Thai wait staff is a pleasure to behold!

      1. re: LesThePress

        The Hollywood store still exists on Cahuenga but it's split from the others and called Chan Darae now. Same menu as I recall.

        1. re: LesThePress

          I completely agree about the food, but find that the waitresses dress like prostitutes. Rather distracting.

          1. re: mayo
            Rich Gould-Saltman

            and the problem with this distraction is...?


            1. re: Rich Gould-Saltman

              Guess that depends on whether one is a man or a woman. As a woman, it would be annoying.

              1. re: di4cats

                Hmm. Have been to the old Chan Darette and the Chan Dara West L.A. locations - did not find the wait staff dressing 'like prostitutes' per se, but there is some kind of spare/sexy dress code. Never saw anyone acting/looking 'inappropriately' - nobody was 'a tart' so to speak. Some of the wait staff is beautiful but not in a way that made me feel uncomfortable at all as a female diner. (That said, I grew up in South Florida where spare clothing is somewhat more accepted than elsewhere - it doesn't phase me.) I do recall on one occasion making a mental note about style tips - kind of promised myself I'd keep my hair dark and on the long side. And maybe exercise a tad more.

        2. re: Alice

          I second the Tuk Tuk recommendation. It's not what you'd call a Campanille or Patina-type environment, but it's vastly superior to most Thai places. I was at Thai Dishes on Wilshire in Santa Monica and was pretty disappointed. Lousy pad thai.

          We went to Tuk Tuk (on Pico, just west of Robertson)for the bf's birthday last night, and wished we could eat more. I wish I could remember the names of what we had, but suffice it to say: great noodles, excellent stir-fries, tasty appetizers. Dinner for two, including two appetizers, one order of noodles, one stir fry with white rice for two, and a large beer to share came to $39 before tip.

          1. re: LAmonkeygirl

            Where on Pico is Tuk Tuk? Thanks for the help.

            1. re: LAmonkeygirl

              That is so odd. I live right near tuk tuk and have gone a couple of time. I have found the food to be bland. The reason to get thai food is for the spice. Tuk tuk just doesn't cut it.

          2. I would throw into the mix Saladang (363 S. Fair Oaks Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91105-2524 Phone: 626/793-8123) and Saladang Song (383 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena 626-793-5200) in Pasadena, which serve quite good and interesting thai food in an upscale-ish setting. I especially like the patio at Saladang Song -- architectually stunning.

            1. In my opinion, there's lots of excellent Thai, but not upscale. I disagree with many, Saladang Song in Pasadena is awful. You might try Cafe Talesai on Olympic near Doheny in a mini-mall. Nice atmosphere, lots of interesting choices (duck, soft shell crab, filet mignon). They make my favorite Tom khar gai (coconut/chicken soup)

              3 Replies
              1. re: Sandra W.

                You disagree with me, too. I've never had a bad meal at Saladang Song, and the gorgeous patio makes it a perfect date place, especially as the weather gets warmer.

                1. re: Charles

                  Ate there very recently with my Thai girlfriend and found it way over priced and way to Americanized. I guess if you dont know Thai food its ok. But my gf returned the papaya salad and the sticky rice was heated up form at least the day before. No excuse for that lapse!!! It has a romantic setting which is all it has going for it.

                  1. re: grego

                    I agree with you grego. I took my parents to Saladang Song and yes it is indeed very nice with a more upscale setting.. but the food is way overpriced. I rahter just go next door to Saladang ..a third of the price and better food selection.

              2. On the Westside, try Chao Krung on Fairfax south of Beverly. Nicely prepared food (particularly excellent beef dishes) graciously served in a surprisingly sedate setting.

                The Grubs also HIGHLY recommend Saladang Song: consistently delicious "street" food in a terrific space. In fact, Song is on the Grubber's Desert Island list -- one of the ten LA restaurants I'd want to be stranded on a desert island with. Song's only downside is a tendency to be very loud when busy. Not Natalee Thai loud, but uncomfortably loud nevertheless.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Mr Grub

                  Thanks, Grubs. Since we both like Buca, perhaps we'll share similar Thai tastes as well. Saladang is a bit far for us since we live in S. Bay, but don't mind Hollywood or WLA. Next time you go to Buca, try the linguine cartoccio. It's da bomb! I feel like used car salesman for BdB!

                  1. re: di4cats

                    I live in South Bay too. There is a place on Pier in Hermosa Beach that is good for take-out.
                    for upscale-I recommend Typhoon in Santa Monica (The airport runway actually)-not 100% Thai, more Indonesian I suppose. Excellent Pad Thai, Clams with Curry and Mint, some great chinese dishes and dim sum, even a few Vietnamese dishes -the rice paper rolls are great. Good atmosphere, full bar, they even have live Jazz on weekends.

                  2. re: Mr Grub

                    I agree Saladang Song is where I take guests. Not only is the food imcomparable but the atmosphere is otherwordly. It won the James Beard award for restaurant design. The original Saladang is across from it:same food but missing the ambiance!!! The green curry and sticky rice with mango are my favorites!! The maitre'd can be a pain!

                  3. In the "I like it, but don't love it" category -- and meeting my idea of upscale for Thai -- would be Bangkok West in Santa Monica. The food is good without being terribly inventive (or without using stunningly fresh ingredients) but the space and the service are both extremely pleasant. It is a pretty place for a dinner.

                    606 Santa Monica Blvd