When the routine of eating becomes mundane, Los Angelenos know exactly how to spice things up: Thai food. Influenced by traditional Chinese and Indian cooking, Thai food incorporates the five fundamental tastes – sweet, sour, spicy, bitter and salty – into dishes, creating a unique cuisine in itself. While most of us will never actually go to Thailand, we can still indulge in its exotic deliciousness whenever we want. Whether you’re looking for fusion, vegan or traditional, these five Los Angeles Thai restaurants will not disappoint.
4384 Lankershim Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91602
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sun – 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
You wouldn’t know it by the name, but the Rustic Spoon serves some of the best Thai food in the valley. Located at Moorpark Street and Lankershim Boulevard, this eatery offers fine Asian-fusion cuisine in a casual atmosphere. From Shrimp Fresh Rolls to Green Jungle Curry and Drunken Noodles to Banana Fritters, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Even the specially blended beverages like the Bloody Lychee, Rose Mojito and Peach Pomegranate Iced Tea are delicious accompaniments to whatever you order. What’s more enticing is its free Wi-Fi and free delivery if you live in the surrounding area.
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Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen
7168 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Hours: Daily – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Closed Mon to Fri – 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
While Thai food may be incredibly delicious, it isn’t always the healthiest cuisine. However, Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen has successfully kept all the flavorful components of traditional Thai food while adding a healthy spin. Bulan (which means “moon” in Thai) is owned and run by three women who believe food can be exotic and exciting as well as animal friendly and healthy. Carnivore or not, one taste of the Grilled Dumplings, Garlic Broccoli Pepper Steak or addicting ”chicken” wings will make you a believer. As an added incentive to check out Bulan, 5% of your bill is removed if paid in cash.
Spicy BBQ Restaurant
5101 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Hours: Mon to Tues – 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Thurs to Sun – 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Wed – Closed
Tucked away in a strip mall on Santa Monica Boulevard, Spicy BBQ Restaurant is yet another fabulous hole-in-the-wall cafés you’ve got to try. Family-owned and run, Spicy BBQ offers authentic Northern Thai dishes, incorporating Lanna, Chinese and Burmese influence with an equally authentic presentation. Its signature BBQ Beef dish, Shrimp Pad See Ew and Spicy Jack Fruit are great items for dining in or carrying out. While the café is clean and uncluttered, it’s also incredibly small. The maximum occupancy is only 15 people, so choose your dining hours wisely. Also, this is a cash-only establishment.
Galanga Thai Fusion
7440 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., Sun – Closed
Galanga Thai Fusion is another small space with big flavors. The Seafood Soup with coconut milk, Som Tum (a bowl of noodle-like shredded papaya with garlic, tamarind juice, lime, palm sugar and a liberal dose of chili) and peanut-y Panang Curry are at the top of the must-have list. If you don’t mind bright green paint, the café is clean and pleasant, although a $15 minimum will have whatever you want delivered to your door.
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5038 Vineland Ave
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Hours: Sun to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri and Sat – 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Vegan has never tasted so good, which is probably why Lotus Vegan, located one block over from the NoHo Arts District, is a staple for North Hollywood residents. Whether you sit down to dine or pop in for pick up, the servers are friendly and attentive, the food is always served on time and breakfast is available all day. So if you love Thai food but aren’t sure about vegan, you can’t go wrong with the Pad Thai or Spring Rolls brimming with cabbage, carrots, mushrooms and other vegetables. However, the sweet and tangy Orange Chicken will cause some vegetarians to take pause. Lotus Vegan also delivers, and don’t be surprised if the sweet delivery guy turns out to be the owner.
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.