Lek and Rudolph Clayton established Pattaya Thai Restaurant, one of the oldest in Jacksonville, back in 1990. Currently in it’s locale in the Baymeadows section of Jacksonville, their son Russell, known as Chef Soh, has created a 60 item menu, infusing traditional Thai cuisine with contemporary touches. That means a slew of new vegetarian offerings, plus a lean towards seafood possibilities, including padt woon sen with squid and red pepper stir fry. Everything is cooked to order using fresh ingredients – including the popular soups – so the wait for food can sometimes be lengthy, but will always be worth it. A lunch menu acts as an abbreviated dinner look, and locals rave about the overall quality found with dishes as varied as his Mama’s pad Thai and a chocolate soufflé. Inside, the décor is simple and casual with wood accents, golden yellow colored linen tablecloths and friendly staff.
Simple Asian décor, wood-paneled walls and dark cherry tables pepper Thai Orchid Restaurant on Jacksonville’s south side. Overstuffed green leather booths and Asian-inspired wall art complete the vibe inside this casual eatery located next to a Publix in a one-story strip mall, where Thai favorites like papaya salad, pad Thai, and mango sticky rice emerge frequently from the diminutive kitchen. Thai Orchid Restaurant offers large portions of traditional Thai favorites, including a few unexpected twists, like a pineapple curry with chicken. Otherwise, laid-back eaters looking for an inexpensive Thai meal stick to the Panang or excelled Thai iced teas. There’s not much to make you want to linger once the meal is over, unless you count the unfalteringly nice waitstaff. If you live close enough, you may even just opt for takeout instead.
Green Papaya Restaurant is a Pan-Asian restaurant on the north side of Jacksonville, delivering a host of salads, soups and entrées that span a variety of cultures. Diners can cruise through a few different cuisines as they navigate from the appetizer menu to the more expansive list of main dishes, compiling entrées like drunken noodles, Bangkok stir-fry, basil lamb, Thai green papaya pork chop and Szechuan-style tiger shrimp. With glass-topped tables and tall, sleek chairs, the eclectic interior mixes wrought iron wall art with Japanese screens and a vibrant green tint throughout. Softly lit with overhead recessed lighting and a green tiled bar area, Green Papaya is inviting without being intrusive, fun without being too relaxed.
The sharp, citric aroma of Lemongrass’s namesake herb drifts around decor that Folio Weekly described as “wasabi-hued” in an article that also named the eatery the city’s Best Thai Cuisine. “The ginger-infused salad,” the writer continues, “is possibly the best bowl of leafy greens in Northeast Florida.” Another customer favorite, The Amazing, stews a choice of meat in peanut curry and coconut milk, ladled over a bed of steamed broccoli and spinach. Chefs forge coconut curries, working all the while to add modern accents to dishes to intrigue palates and keep crabby time travelers from becoming bored. The menu separates mild dishes from their hot and Thai hot counterparts.
Nestled within the brick-lined streets of the Tapestry Park shopping center, Lime Leaf Thai Restaurant lures diners in with tangerine walls, piquant framed artwork, and mocha-colored banquettes. Its menu sports classic Thai plates and house specialties helpfully arrayed alongside a barometer of spiciness, with portion sizes that prompted the Florida Times-Union to proclaim, “When they say ‘seafood,’ they mean it … you won't leave hungry.” The rich scents of curry and deep-fried duck waft off tabletops set with neatly folded linen napkins that can be used to demurely wave at passing sailors.
Poms Signature Restaurant in Tapestry Park is a Thai-infused eatery that spices up this side of Jacksonville. With its cocoa brown colored walls, gray cloth chairs and white linen tablecloths, and walnut wood floors give off an air of Asian elegance, while the menu combines French influences and Thailand mainstays. The infused menu is courtesy of Chef Pom Souvannosoth, formerly of Poms Bistro and Old Siam’s, and offers entrées such as the whole fried red snapper, done up with pineapple red curry, seasonal farm vegetables and jasmine rice, and a pan-roasted rock Cornish hen, complete with Shanghai bok choy and peanut curry sauce, served alongside organic medium-grain brown rice. Small plates like sautéed frog’s legs, crying tiger and rice cracker crusted ahi tuna are also mainstays, and each dish is plated elegantly and served by professional and well-trained staff.