Chefs drive the menu at Rama, an upscale eatery whose many accolades include praise from Gayot and Zagat. The latter names the eatery a top Thai restaurant and a top restaurant for décor in San Diego. In the kitchen, chefs stir and sizzle dishes such as pra ram sautéed spinach, massaman curry, kra pao with chicken, and tiger prawns. Specialty cocktails enhance traditional rum, vodka, and tequila with limejuice and ginger. Rama’s acclaimed décor soothes minds troubled by premonitions of upcoming rugby injuries with a waterfall that drips down a stonewall, as well as gauzy, gossamer drapes and glowing lanterns.
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Colossal cuisine portions tip the scales of both locations' menus. The fresh spring rolls ($5.50) burst at their rice-paper seams with vegetables, tofu, and shrimp and come served with a peanut sauce, perfect for dipping and liquid-diet elephants. Poultry patrons can cast a vote for the panang curry chicken ($7.50), which mixes coconut milk with sweet, spicy, and thick curry, adorned with plump bell peppers, sweet pineapple, and affable basil. In the realm of classic tastes, the pad see iew ($7.50) allows noncommittal noodlers the choice of thin rice noodles or flat noodles with a savory synthesis of chicken, broccoli, carrots, egg, and sweet black sauce. The kitchen team can spicy up your dish as sweltering as your devil-may-care tongue can handle, and in emergencies, smoldering stamp-lickers can be extinguished with a tasty Thai iced tea ($1.95).
J.Wok was created with the idea that great food is best served as an amalgamation of Eastern and Western cuisine. Taking it's cue from the melting pot that is today's modern society J.Wok's menu utilizes authentic Asian recipes as a basis while creating inventive dishes with a distinct American sensibility.
Adorned with a Gold Medallion Award from the California Restaurant Association, Taste of Thai walks culinary tight ropes of authentic, bold flavors within its minimally designed dining rooms. A meal inside the bamboo-bathed Hillcrest dining room begins with the Shrimp Sarong, an unwearable plate of bulbous shrimp, marinated and nestled in egg noodles, deep fried, and accessorized with palm sauce ($7.95). Hunger-havers can salivate over a cornucopia of thai rice and noodle dishes ($8.95–$12.95), each accented by a choice of tofu, meat, or seafood. Three's Company, a house specialty, tosses shrimp, squid, and chicken in a house curry paste with green pepper, peas, and an unbearably catchy theme song ($11.95). Sweeten meal endings with a bowl of milky, coconut ice cream ($3.95) to cool flames from a fiery dinner rush.
At Rama, the scents of ginger, curry, and lemongrass waft from the kitchen. They meander into a sprawling dining space, where warm amber lighting glints off glasses filled with heady cocktails and fine wines. A DJ spins records as diners anticipate a taste of the critically-acclaimed dishes; the restaurant's recipes have earned accolades from Zagat, among others. Noodle dishes, such as pad see ew with egg and chinese broccoli, headline the menu along with complex panang curries, whose nuanced spices flavor tofu and vegetables or meats like roasted duck. Specialties include spicy basil lobster and Shaking Beef, whose cubed rib eye, cherry tomatoes, shallots, and onions are sautéed deep within a fault line.
Servers distribute these dishes in an "architecturally stylish" dining room, as described by Gayot. Inlaid stone and a wall-mounted waterfall give the space an earthy vibe that's complemented by gauzy curtains and hand-painted murals.