Sweet and spicy aromas dance around the interior of Monora Thai Cuisine accompanied by soothing music. Tables fill with noodle soups, fried-rice dishes, and numerous styles of curries, including duck curry with infusions of pineapple and coconut. House specials, such as salmon with panang sauce and BBQ spare ribs, come with two egg rolls, two wontons, soup or salad, rice, and an extra stomach to fit everything.
Aromas of curries, sautéed vegetables, and spicy sauces permeate Krung Thep Thai Cuisine’s sunny space. Meat-packed entrees of beef curry, spicy thai fried rice, and lime-infused rib-eye steak fill tables alongside hearty vegetarian platefuls, such as stir-fried tofu and sautéed bean sprouts. Authentic Thai soups simmer with spicy herbs or succulent ground pork, and classic noodle dishes entangle chinese broccoli, baby corn, and your choice of protein, such as chicken, pork, or tofu. To wash down meals or water its epicurean bonsai tree, the eatery conjures Thai iced teas and coffees, and fresh juices made from lemongrass, coconut, and palm.
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 Restaurant, 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 Restaurant. 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.