Last night I went to a local Thai restaurant with my parents for dinner. During the meal, I had gotten a phone call from my boyfriend, and I told him we were having Thai food.
“Where at?” he asked.
“Thai Villa, that place over on Aloma near Goldenrod.”
“Oh.” There’s a quick pause. “You should’ve gone to Thai Basil.”
Thai Basil is a restaurant in Winter Springs that I personally haven’t been to, but apparently is a favourite for Hao. When I shared his opinion with my father sitting across from me, my pa gives a shrug and shakes his head.
“Yeah, I’ve eaten there a couple of times, but I dunno… this place just seems to serve more traditional food.”
Which brings me to the observation of how, like favourite pizzerias, people can be really staunch supporters–or rabid demagogues–when it comes to their favourite Thai restaurant. I remember grumbling about my ex-boyfriend’s choice of Thai food at Thai Place over on 17-92 and Lee Road at the K-Mart shopping center. The service was nice, but I didn’t like the food that much. To me, Napasorn was the best in serving the Bangkok-style Thai cuisine I was so used to, with Thai House on Colonial near Bumby a close, respectable second.
Thai Villa, which doesn’t have a website but does have a fun roof covered with lights, is an acceptable choice, with massive proportions and excellent Thai tea, but their noodle dishes don’t do it for me. The red curry I got last night was wonderful, though, and made an excellent lunch at my work today. Normally, the phad thai is the make-it-or-break-it dish for me. If they do the pad thai the way I like it, which apparently is “Bangkok-style,” though I can’t really confirm this with anyone else aside from the proprietress of Napasorn, then it’s a contender for my favourites. Don’t ask me what it is that comprises “Bangkok-style,” but the woman at Napasorn told me she procures special spices to get the taste just right, and I believe her because she seems nice enough and she told me she liked a hat I wore once. Also because I would eat phad thai damn near weekly for a spate of time back when I wasn’t bringing lunch to work, which was an expensive habit.
If I don’t care for the noodles at a Thai establishment, but I like the curry, then it’s on the list of “okay” Thai places. In addition to Thai Villa, I would add Tasty Thai (yes, that place over by the Dairy Queen on Curry Ford) and Royal Thai as places where I can get some okay curry, although I actually haven’t been to Royal Thai in quite a while. I don’t care to go to Thai Place or to nearby Siam Garden ever again, as there are other great and good Thai restaurants to go to, so why bugger with the others?
Admittedly, I haven’t been able to scratch much of the surface of Thai places in Orlando and its surrounding areas. The Orlando Weekly lists 23 Thai restaurants, although I don’t think Emeril’s Tchoup Chop or Jade Bistro should count–or Viet Garden, for that matter. I didn’t like Viet Garden’s selections from their Thai menu, but their Vietnamese food is good enough.
By the way, if anyone is reading this and thinks, hey, I want to open up a Thai restaurant somewhere, Oviedo is an open market for the moment as far as I know. My father would appreciate it, provided it’s as good as Thai Villa.
Mom’s Siam, Richmond, VA.
(No, I don’t have any photos of Thai places around Orlando yet!)