If you’re ready to talk Thai restaurants, Orange County, then you’ve come to the right place. There has recently been an influx of Thai and Thai-fusion places springing up around Southern California, and here are a few of our favorites, submitted for your approval.
We begin with Supatras Thai Bistro, in Yorba Linda. The atmosphere is casual, the prices are reasonable, and the menu is extensive, as vegetarians and carnivores alike will find plenty from which to choose. The best appetizer is the angel wing, marinated ground chicken and glass noodles stuffed into an oversized chicken wing, coated with crunchy peanut bits. The cashew-nut-chicken stir-fry is an excellent choice for the main dish, with mushrooms, baby corn, celery, carrots, and onions.
Mint Leaf Thai Cuisine, in Newport Beach, is another worthy addition to the area. It has plenty of vegetarian options, which is always appreciated, but the spectacular meat dishes would be a shame to miss. The papaya salad and the summer rolls are good places to start, but moving on to the mains, it’s go-big-or-go-home with the Mongolian beef. It’s an enormous mound of hot and spicy sauteed beef, with bell peppers, onions, carrots, and mushrooms, plenty big enough to share.
Next up is Bamboo Bistro, in Corona del Mar. This one is a bit of a combination between Thai and Vietnamese, as dishes from both countries show up on the menu. The best appetizer is probably the “seafood crepe,” pan-seared rice flour stuffed full of mushrooms, sprouts, shrimp, squid, and crab meat. For the mains, any of the pho-style noodle soups are very flavorful, especially the pho-beef, with sliced filet mignon. The house-special grilled garlic-noodles and tiger prawns is a revelation as well.
Our last pick is Thai Brothers, in Laguna Beach. This is a smaller spot, a hidden gem that rarely gets too crowded, possibly because it is not as well known. It should be, though, with such dishes as the famous yellow Thai curry with chicken and potato chunks, a kind of mildly-spiced Thai stew. For the more adventurous, there’s the Fire Bird, a Cornish hen smothered in Thai spices, served with steamed vegetables in a sweet sauce.
There are plenty more spots in the O.C., but these are a good place to start. We’ll be back next time with more of our favorite Thai picks.