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.
Recommended for Thai because: Thai restaurants come and go, but Chan Dara remains one of L.A.'s perennial best.
Local Expert tip: Happy Hour Specials all week long!
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.
Local Expert tip: Beach side!
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.
Local Expert tip: $1.99 beers all day!
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!
Local Expert tip: Complimentary valet parking!
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.
Local Expert tip: Check out the dine-in only specials!
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.
Local Expert tip: Cash only!
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.
Local Expert tip: A hot breakfast spot!
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.
Local Expert tip: Great shrimp fried rice!
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.
Local Expert tip: Love spicy? Try the kua kling.