Authentic Thai In The Heart Of Thai Town

Tucked away in the middle of a 7-eleven parking lot on an unremarkable portion of Hollywood Boulevard, away from all the glitz and glamour frequented by tourists, is this hidden gem of Thai cuisine in Los Angeles. It's a cash-only, hole-in-the-wall kind of place that serves up excellent (and spicy) renditions of traditional Thai dishes, as well as Laotian and Chinese-inspired Thai cuisine.

Don't miss the gai sapp nok, ground chicken stir-fried with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and fiery red curry. Also make sure to try the trout nam tok, a deep fried whole trout dressed in lime juice and fish sauce, and garnished with plenty of Thai chilies, cilantro, red onion, and toasted rice powder. Shrimp nam prik pow, sautéed with sweetened chili paste and onions, is also worth a try. These items are all on the specials whiteboard, but the regular menu has some noteworthy items as well, including crab fried rice (with real crab), gai lan with anchovy, and the beef salad. The only item I would hesitate to recommend is the pad thai, which may strike some readers as odd, but if you're there for an authentic experience, you won't miss it.

While the ambience is spartan, service is friendly and prompt at this family-run business. The only downside to this place is price: if you're expecting a frugal night out, you'll be in for a rude awakening when the bill comes – prices have been on the rise each time I've visited, and you should expect to spend at least $20 per person. As far as lunch counter type places go in LA, that's considered steep. But if you're visiting from out of town, and you only have time for one Thai restaurant, this place is a bargain and shouldn't be missed.