Thai food aficionados in Los Angeles need not search any further for delicious authentic cuisine, unless they're planning a trip to Bangkok. Start in Thai Town, a stretch of neighborhood on Hollywood Boulevard in between Normandie and Western Avenue in East Hollywood. Jitlada and Ruen Pair Restaurant, both situated in the heart of Thai Town, are fantastic choices for those fond of traditionally prepared southern Thai cuisine. Be forewarned, Ruen Pair only takes cash. Spent a long, relaxing sun-filled day at the beach? Drive along the PCH to Malibu's own Cholada Thai Restaurant and sit outdoors on the patio to listen to the ocean waves lap against the shore. Eager to imbibe in some alcoholic specialties? Pop on over to Chan Dara's upscale casual bar to celebrate Happy Hour before ordering some scrumptious pad thai. Joom Bangkok Cafe offers unbeatable $1.99 Thai beers all day, along with no corkage BYOB. In town for Valentine's Day? Chef Kevin Sukcharoen at Nakkara on Beverly has prepared a fabulous menu all in the name of love with complimentary champagne. Sometimes the search for Thai food takes you off the beaten path, all the way out to Garden Grove. Hop in your car and venture out to Thai Nakorn Restaurant for heavenly barbeque and delectable custard desserts. Never heard of Thai for breakfast? Locals flock to Saladong Song for its great top of the morning breakfast picks. North Hollywood has no shortage of great Thai joints. Sidle on over the hill to The Rustic Spoon for some lavender tea and classic pad see ew.
Thai cuisine meets Californian atmosphere at Chan Dara, and it's a well-suited match. Thanks to a casual, cool attitude and great, spicy Thai dishes, the place is constantly hopping. Trendy crowds are kept happy by clay pot shrimp and scallops, seared onaga with lemon grass-ginger cream sauce, Thai barbecued pork, roasted duck, and catfish cha cha, which gets a kick from red curry cream sauce. Plenty of noodle, rice, and stir-fry dishes can also be had. In fact, unique, inexpensive dishes come flying out of the kitchen at a fast pace, and there's enough variety to satisfy everyone. Check out Happy Hour Specials Monday-Friday 4-7pm and Saturday-Sunday 4-6pm. (310-479-4461)
This tiny spot just off the PCH attracts folks looking for a change from Malibu's usual seafood joints. Offering seating inside and on a pleasant deck, diners choose which ambience they prefer, although both are eminently casual. Cholada's claim to fame is a menu of solid Thai favorites. Their traditional favorites are full of flavor and value. Prepare to wait for a table due to the small, cozy nature inside. Friendly service and immediate help with menu makes this establishment a hit with beachy locals and visiting tourists. Variations on pad thai, curries, and soups form the bulk of the entrees, while sweet coconut rice is a tempting dessert option. (310-317-0025)
Joom Bangkok Cafe
Locals love this restaurant for its cozy, intimate setting and professional service along with great traditional Thai cuisine. Yes, it's located in a dinghy strip mall, but the delicious food belies its humble surroundings. Feel free to customize dishes in accordance with your personal level of spice management. Fresh food and quality service make for an excellent night out. Don't leave without ordering the delectable pad thai, pra ram. and savory shrimp panang. Although most of its business stems from the popular take out/delivery service, pop into the dining room for an extra special experience. Take advantage of no corkage BYOB service and $1.99 Thai beers all day long. ((323) 938-9650)
President Thai Restaurant
Decorated with ornate Thai art forms, the atmosphere in President Thai sets a traditional and scrumptious precedent for the food to come. Locals swarm this place for its uber-friendly service and great pad thai. Favorite dishes include the combination fried rice with shrimp, chicken and beef, pad see ew, and mouth watering beef panang. Feel free to ask for a dish extra-spicy for a jolt to your system, if you're in the mood for a "true" Thai taste. Order the sweet mango sticky rice for dessert with ice cream for a delightful end to a fantastic meal. While lot and street parking are available, the new complimentary valet parking service has made this a go to spot for families and trendy folks alike! (626-578-9814)
The Rustic Spoon
The Rustic Spoon offers authentic Thai cuisine in a casual café, close to Universal Studios. A popular take out/delivery service caters to the nearby entertainment community while dine-in customers are treated to great service and monthly/daily specials like the tangy Crab Meat Salad appetizer with avocado and mango. You can't go wrong with the Crispy Fried Chicken main dish, the tasty crunch accompanied by caramelized shallots, rice and cucumber salad. Sip on a pot of refreshing lavender flowers tea while letting your Thai taste buds run free. The restaurant offers free wi-fi for diners and outdoor patio seating on the sidewalk. ((818) 754-8998)
Don't let the strip mall location prevent you from an authentic, phenomenal That food adventure. Sometimes you just have to have pad Thai at 3am, and Ruen Pair has you covered for those late night cravings. While patrons cherish the late night hours at this no-frills cafe, Ruen Pair has plenty more to offer besides after-party availability. Every dish is cheap, authentic and delicious, with raved-about renditions including garlicky sauteed morning glory, spicy papaya salad, coconut chicken soup and lusciously creamy Thai iced tea. The fried mussels appetizer comes highly recommended. Hit up an ATM before lunch or dinner because this establishment only takes cash. (323-466-0153)
Quick and friendly service, even on the busiest nights, makes Saladang Song a winner of Thai cuisine in LA. Boasting a more adventurous menu than the original Saladang next door, this gem serves marvelous Thai masterpieces that are both unique and unforgettably delicious. In a sunny industrial-chic setting complete with a lovely patio and warm, attentive service, patrons savor corn cakes drizzled with peanut sauce followed by rich salmon curry and a sweet finale of mango and sticky rice. Check out the spicy green curry with succulent eggplant for a boisterous kick to the senses. For breakfast, diners indulge in decadent rice porridge with pumpkin and sweet potato. (626-793-5200)
Thai Nakorn Restaurant
Venture out to Garden Grove to revel in good old-fashioned Thai food, served with spice and plenty of smiles. Home to some of the city's best authentic Thai fare, this restaurant's setting invites visitors to unwind in a casual atmosphere while expanding their culinary horizons. For the uninitiated, the friendly staff is happy to suggest palate pleasing picks from the menu even though scrumptious staples like pad Thai are also available. Order some Tom Yum Gai for hot and sour soup that's en pointe. Favorites include the nam sod, a ginger-infused ground pork appetizer, the juicy Thai barbecue and, for dessert, the heavenly custard-filled coconut. (714-583-8938)
Nakkara on Beverly
Chef Kevin Sukcharoen puts his own creative twist on fusion Thai food, never forgetting his traditional roots. Mouthwatering flavors meet magnificent presentation at this casually hip eatery where Thai staples are recreated with innovative modern twists. The strikingly artistic plates are perfectly complemented by the sleek decor, comprised of cool blue walls, industrial concrete floors and vibrant flowers. Of course, the gorgeous furnishings take a back seat once diners dive into a feast of succulent chicken satay, spooned shrimp with fantastic chili lime dressing and sensational spicy hot basil chicken. BYOB available for a nominal $15 corkage fee. (323-937-3100)
Head over to Thai Town in LA to experience authentic and spicy Thai dishes as concocted by the talented Chef Tui Sungkamee. Serving some of the best Thai in the city of Angels, Jitlada offers familiar favorites as well as rare southern Thai specialties bursting with bold flavors and serious spice. Thrill your taste buds with the deliciously complex Crying Tiger beef dish, featured on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate!" as well as the fresh steamed mussels in a bright basil lemongrass broth. An added bonus? These phenomenal flavors come at amazingly affordable prices. (323-667-9809)
About Sujata Day
Living in the land of perpetual sun, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous people has fueled Sujata Day’s creativity in myriad ways. Her short story “Forbidden Fate” won the WRITE STUFF competition sponsored by MTV and People magazine, birthing a prosperous writing career. The tale was published in a collection of short stories titled Pieces, edited by Stephen Chbosky. Reviews hail Pieces as “an exciting glimpse into the future of fiction” and “endearingly raw, undeniably bold, and engagingly inventive.”
Since moving to LA from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, Sujata has appeared in many TV shows, films, and internet productions. TV credits include Desperate Housewives, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Campus Ladies, Greek, and The Loop. She plays a supporting role in 2009’s Down For Life, alongside Danny Glover and Snoop Dogg. Sujata produced, wrote, and starred in the web pilot Raveena and the Vampire chosen to launch as a 2010 premiere vehicle on the popular internet channel, Somebody’s Basement. Currently, she stars as ‘CeCe’ in the hit web series, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Sujata can be seen next starring in the film, Big Breakin', to be released in early 2012.
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