The Orchid
119 Broadway
Santa Monica, Ca. 90402
310 395 6037

Cuisine: Traditional Thai
The Scene: Storefront Chic
Must Try: Chaink Kai-Thai Mixed Drink
Star Rating: 3 of 4
Average Cost: $19-$27 Entrees

Sawadee Kap…Hello Santa Monica! One does not expect much from the restaurants surrounding the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica (except for, maybe, Jiraffe) but every now and then there’s a little gem. Michael was on the treadmill one day at the gym and met strikingly beautiful Toy from Thailand who told him that she had opened a chic new spot that offered the unusual combination of true Thai food and a pleasant ambience just off the hustle and bustle of the promenade. On our multiple visits, we had to agree and found the staff warm and charming, especially the good-looking host James and the handsome bartender Eric.

Toy worked for her brother in Bangkok creating a high-end restaurant, and imported the recipes and acumen to L.A. She had the wisdom to hire Eric--who also spent a few years working in the Bangkok bar scene--to designed the extensive exciting and extravagant bar menu; there is an active happy hour from 5 PM- 7 PM,, Monday-Friday, which is just perfect to “Thai one on”. Whether you sit at the bar or at a table in this simply lavender appointed storefront space, don’t miss out on our favorite drink, Chaing Kai-Thai, delivered flaming (unlike Eric but perhaps like some of the patrons), it is a perfect combination of Parrot Bay Mango & Pineapple, lime and 151 rum. The TKO was also yum as it packed a smart Muay Thai punch with Captain Morgan Spiced rum, shaved fresh ginger, lemon ginger, ginko-biloba, ginseng and royal jelly. All the drinks were served at a refreshing $10 each.

Don’t think that because the drinks excel, that the food is secondary. You will definitely notice Thai patrons (always a great sign) and everything we tasted was more mouth-watering than the next. The Tom Kah Gai, a Thai staple composed of spicy lemongrass-lime, galangal soup with coconut milk and plenty of chicken, is something we always order and at $7.00, we can’t say we have ever tasted one better prepared, exacting the correct amount of spices, chicken and coconut milk.

The Pineapple fried rice with a yellow curry flavor mixed with sweet Chinese sausage is surprisingly light and scrumptious and is available with Chicken at $12.00 or Shrimp at $16.00. A Thai meal wouldn’t be complete without noodles, and the Pad-Thai Noodles with rock shrimp offered up some of the best we’ve tasted. These pan-fried rice noodles are blended with tofu, bean sprouts, onions, egg and peanuts and is a Thai dish made to perfection. An unexpected surprise and one of the more expensive items on the menu is the seared Black Cod with sweet fresh mango at $22.00. James recommended it and we were thrilled he did. It isn’t something to order if you’re very hungry as the portions on this dish are conservative, but coupled with sautéed spinach it is one of the most healthy items on the menu and just wonderful to boot.

After dinner, walk around the corner and take a stroll on the 3rd street promenade; stop by our favorite jewelry store extraordinaire, Rafinity (where we purchased one of our wedding rings) and say hi to the muscle-shredded Rafi and his beautiful hottie Ann. Back outside and over the din of the undulating nightlife, if you close your eyes, you may just think you’re on Patpong Road in Bangkok where all you have to do is imagine the possibilities.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 3:03 PM | , , , , | 0 comments »

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