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Urgent: Jitlada or Sanamluang?

My husband and I are currently visiting LA from NYC and are thinking about going for Thai food tonight (already done Korean, doing Sushi Mori tomorrow night, Mexican, etc) and we're trying to figure out where to go.

I've heard good things about both Jitlada and Sanamluang, but I don't know which one we should try. We've had Thai food in Thailand, but we are by no means experts. The best we've had outside Thailand would be Sripraphai in Queens, so that's kind of our basis for comparison.

Maybe we shouldn't do Thai at all and do something else (Vietnamese?) instead?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

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Jitlada
5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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  1. In order to get good Vietnamese, you'll need to go to Orange County. So I'd stick with Thai if you're visiting LA.

    Jitlada is better than Sanamluang. Reasons, among others are:

    1. It's a single restaurant as opposed to 2 Sanamluangs, which require extended management oversight. At Jitlada, you get the owner every time. If you ask the server, or better yet, Jazz the owner, they will steer you to something you will like. Tell them you want to try something uniquely Thai and delicious. They specialize in Northern Thai, and have a whole menu of this type of food.

    2. Jitlada's menu goes quite deep into dishes you won't find at Sanamluang.

    3. Sanamluang is good for noodles and noodle dishes, particularly good after a night of clubbing. Jitlada is more varied, and the quality is better. We particularly like the morning glory salad.

    One downside to Jitlada, though is that it's become quite popular. So the service has gone from okay to poor. Go there expecting a relaxed pace, and you'll be fine. They're actually quite friendly, just overwhelmed.

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    Jitlada
    5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

    3 Replies
    1. re: lil mikey

      Jitlada specializes in Southern, not Northern, Thai. They do have Northern Thai dishes, but the Southern dishes are where they truly shine.

      1. re: lil mikey

        The two Sanamluangs have been separately managed and owned for a long time. The partners parted ways. The owner of the Hollywood branch opened Krau Thai (under his wife's name) to compete against the N. Hollywood branch which he wasn't supposed to do.

      2. Jitlada by a mile. Sanamluang is pretty standard issue, generic Thai. Good for what it is but not great. Jitlada - if you stick to ordering entirely off the enormous menu of Southern Thai dishes - is something that you are very unlikely to find the equivalent of anywhere else in the world outside of Thailand itself. If you aren't familiar with the food, ask if Jazz is there. If she is, consult with her on your menu.

        Vietnamese is also a good choice, but it is far better down in Orange County than anything you will find up in L.A.proper. So unless you want to travel quite a bit further afield, Jitlada is an excellent idea.

        1 Reply
        1. re: estone888

          Sanamluang is great for a big steaming bowl of their soup and noodles obtained by takeout. Eating in, not so much.

        2. Thanks everyone for the quick response! Jitlada it is!

          1 Reply
          1. Jitlada.

            Also, I don't know what's with the SGV Vietnamese hate. You can find plenty of great Vietnamese in San Gabriel Valley, and I'd start with Golden Deli in San Gabriel.

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            Jitlada
            5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            Golden Deli
            815 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

            2 Replies
            1. re: andytseng

              Not hate, just different. You can find excellent Vietnamese noodles, pho or banh mi in the SGV and I often go there for that very thing. What you can't find is anything close to the kind of variety or higher end Vietnamese food that you can find in Orange County.

            2. Thanks again everyone for all the quick replies!

              We had a good, but not great meal at Jitlada. We ordered dishes that they're supposed to be known for--morning glory salad, Crying Tiger Beef, Whole Seabass with Turmeric.
              The morning glory salad was delicious. The Crying Tiger Beef tasted good (way spicy!), but the meat was a bit tough for my taste. The fish, which looked amazing, was nice and crispy on the outside, but I think it may have been fried too long or at too high temperature because the flesh was quite dry. Also, "market price" ended up being $35, which I find unbelievable.

              Overall, we're glad we tried it, but we're still partial to Sripraphai (or perhaps we just prefer Northern Thai to Southern Thai?).

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              Jitlada
              5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

              5 Replies
              1. re: empecot

                While I really like Jitlada for several Southern Thai items, the best whole fish in a Thai restaurant is on the Thai language whiteboard at Srisiam Cafe No 2. Ask for the Whole Trout with Chilis, Garlic and Herbs, ordered extra spicy if you don't read/speak Thai. It's 'market price' depending on the weight of the fish, usually $15-20 and at that price - a real bargain!

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                Jitlada
                5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                Srisiam Cafe No 2
                12847 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                1. re: empecot

                  That's too bad. I think Jitlada does some exceptional dishes, especially the regional stuff that you don't find on many other menus. Perhaps you should have tried some Issan food at some of the other eateries in Thai Town. By the way, Sripraphai doesn't specialize in northern Thai food, though there are some northern style dishes on their menu. Most of their dishes are typical of Bangkok food, which is more southern than northern Thai. Jitlada's food comes from further south, if my reading of the map is correct. I live within a stone's throw of Sripraphai in Queens and eat there often enough, but I still prefer the variety of Thai food I can get in LA.

                  1. re: empecot

                    I also found the whole fish at Jitlada to be a complete ripoff and their prices in general too expensive. FYI, it was "trout" when we went but still $35.

                    Their restaurant is poorly decorated, not in a good location and their service inattentive to be charging $35 dollars for a whole fish that's not cooked properly.

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                    Jitlada
                    5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                    1. re: empecot

                      It's hard to get a fantastic meal at Jitlada with just two people, because so much of the fun lies in swapping back and forth between different dishes. A spoonful of rich curry, a sip of clear soup, a bite of salad, a mouthful of dry curry, etc. My best meal there was with 10 other people, and they let me do all the ordering.

                      I agree that the whole fish is overpriced, but when I had it it was quite good.

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                      Jitlada
                      5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                      1. re: empecot

                        Now try Sanamluang and compare for yourself. I've never been to Jitlada and I've never had a bad meal at Sanamluang. Their deep fried pork belly and duck combo is fantastic.

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                        Jitlada
                        5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027