The chefs at Chadaka Thai shower traditional spices over a bevy of fresh seafood, spicy curries, and refreshing vegetarian dishes. Tender steak and succulent lamb chops don flavors of lemongrass and hot peppers as egg and rice noodles take on a range of shapes beneath savory sauces. In the dining room, towering windows and pillar-like pendant lights illuminate dark-wood décor as stark geometric furnishings find a rustic complement with burl accents and a patchwork-quilt ceiling. Candlelit tables for two fan the flames of a romantic evening or passionate fire-eating contest, whereas an outdoor patio framed by pinewood-hued beams grants diners a glimpse of the bustling shoppers just beyond their savory sanctuary.
The menu at A Good Thai & Peruvian Restaurant recreates dishes first conceived oceans away. From Thailand, you'll find rice noodles sprinkled with ground peanuts and coconut-milk curries rich with bamboo shoots and chicken. Classic Peruvian dishes include beef simmered in cilantro sauce and seafood tucked under a layer of walnut gravy. And out of the more than 180 items on the menu, chefs craft nine specialties, from mint- and green chili-infused squid to boneless duck marinated in honey. The restaurant itself subscribes to the aesthetic of Thailand and Peru, bedecked with crystal chandeliers, ornately framed mirrors,and bright fuschia tablecloths.
Outside of Arunee House, two giant signs and a dark-green awning bear the eatery’s MO: to serve up a mix of more than 100 Thai and Chinese dishes. The kitchen staff tosses chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp into six different types of thai curry and mixes chantaboon noodles with chili powder and sprouts to create generous portions of pad thai. Servings of spicy squid prelude the house-special vegetable plate, a cornucopia of snow peas, chinese cabbage, bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, and freshly weaned baby corn. Eaters can augment their meals with glasses of thai iced tea or finish things off with a dessert of sweet sticky rice with mango.
For the casual observer passing Tuk Tuk, it might seem as though there has been an accident. The front of a tuk tuk—the Thai term for rickshaw—juts from the front of the building above the awning, as though its wheel has just burst through the wall. But if that observer ventured inside, they would find neither debris nor an apologetic teleporter proclaiming that his calculations were off. Instead they would see diners seated beneath colorful wall art and hanging lamps whose shades resemble curving Möbius strips, or, according to one review from Gayot, snail shells. Then, once the adrenaline faded and reality set in, the investigating observer would be smacked by what was so obvious to everyone else: the aroma of mingling spices.
A compendium of noodle dishes, wok stir-fries, curries, and house specialties, the menu prioritizes the power of complementary ingredients. According to the same Gayot review, chef Aoi Rattanamanee has a particular knack for seasoning grilled dishes: "Chicken is marinated overnight in garlic, cilantro and black pepper, fostering deep flavor." The spicy basil fried rice mixes chili and thai basil within a vegetable medley, and the Crying Tiger beef derives its zest from garlic, galangal root, and soybean sauce. Those in search of proven staples can indulge in pad thai or one of three curry variants, whose ingredients have all simmered in a creamy coconut milk.
Today, the Los Angeles foodscape is saturated with the culinary styles of countries from the other side of the Pacific. But nearly 40 years ago, that was hardly the case. In 1976, Supa Kuntee and her family opened Chao Krung, one of L.A.'s very first Thai restaurants (the second ever, as far as they know). Early on, they attracted hordes of curious diners who had never sampled the Kuntees' native foods. Years later, the family still follows those traditional recipes when crafting their wide selection of noodle, rice, curry, grill-based, and wok-prepared entrees. The pad thai is quite popular, as is papaya salad and tom yum, a soup that can be made with spicy lemongrass chicken or tofu and mushrooms.
As they did with the menu, the Kuntees looked to authentic Thai traditions when designing Chao Krung. They pride themselves on recreating the elaborate decor found in many Bangkok restaurants, hinted at by the intricately carved welcome sign that greets guests in two languages. From tables set with linen napkins folded into lotus flowers, people can admire the ornate mural of the Chao Praya riverbank, or gaze through one the painted window boxes set into teak-wood walls. An illuminated sala roof, meanwhile, covers one end of the bar, protecting patrons from the intrusive gaze of any secret agent spies hiding in the rafters.
Nariya Thai?s menu not only packs in the flavor of traditional Thai cuisine; many entrees are also seasoned with healthy ingredients such as garlic, ginger, and kaffir lime to aid in digestion, weight loss, and warding off vampires. The menu includes red, yellow, and green curries and honors the grill with barbecue chicken and pork options. Chefs whip up aromatic dishes of pra ram by combining beef, chicken, or pork with steamed vegetables and peanut sauce. A happy-hour menu allows friends and coworkers to gather for discounted cocktails and beers and small bites of golden tofu, Thai-style buffalo wings, and spring rolls offered from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Nariya Thai offers patio seating and hookah, and are open to 2 a.m. with live music after 10 p.m on Tuesday through Sunday.