We recently paid a visit to the newly opened Lanna Thai in Pacific Beach. We wrote down the directions, drove over there and were slightly disconcerted to find the restaurant bang in the middle of a strip mall nestled in close next to a 7-eleven, neon signs intact. Although not the classiest of locations I was slightly hopeful - the best Thai food I have ever had came from a strip mall location north of Seattle.
We stepped inside the location and it was as though a miracle had taken place- in utter contrast from the garish run down surroundings outside, the inside was calm, attractive and extremely inviting. The waiters looked slightly surprised to have customers- (there was certainly no need to make a reservation), but rallied themselves immediately and courteously seated us.
We started the meal by ordering drinks. Choosing drinks is often a slightly disappointing part of a Thai meal- the only options on offer generally being Singha beer, Thai iced tea and some distinctly average house wines. At Lanna Thai however we were presently with an array of wonderful sounding cocktails- I chose the Lannatini, whilst my wife went with the spiced thai, my sister in law having never had it before we encouraged to try Thai Iced tea.
The drinks arrived and were absolutely heavenly. My Lannatini was made of a lychee liquor and filled with some real lychees. It was like no cocktail I have ever quite had before and completely perfect in every way, not too strong not to weak. I immediately resolved to back to Lanna Thai, even if it was only for this drink.
For food we chose some more usual dishes- a vegetable delight, some Pro Ram, and a thick noodle dish. It arrived after just the right amount of waiting time- long enough for it not to feel like fast food, but not so long that we had to contend with roaring stomachs. When it did arrive the food was great, not the best Thai food, and probably not better than the Hillcrest restaurants- Amarin, Lotus etc. However it was very good, and very good value we realized once the check arrived.
I wish Lanna Thai the best luck for the future- I hope their unattractive location will not put too many people off. I encourage everyone to visit there at least once, we will certainly going back.