I've eaten here quite a few times, having lived nearby, but I would often drive to one of the better Thai places in town when I wasn't feeling lazy. The food is always ok and yet leaves me wishing it were better. I used their delivery service quite a few times and had the odd messy leaking container or mistake, but I was always happy with it. If you're near one of their locations it's a convenient and tasty meal, but I think it's worth a bit of a drive for something better.
I should mention first that our experience was at the new Royal Oak location of Little Thai Place, not downtown. Apparently this chain (there are 4 now) is expanding rapidly and they have their sights set on the lucrative grocery store frozen food market in the future.
I was expecting the food to be fast and good like the Noodle Box downtown. Nothing could be further from the truth. We were ignored for about 10 minutes after being seated. I finally had to go ask if we were supposed to place our order at the front counter or if we have a server. When our server did finally come, she was very friendly and helpful. I would have rated her service a 5/5.
What happened next is my reason for giving the service a 1/5. The other server (not our server) walked by our table and happened to notice the picture of my 1 year old daughter on my cell phone home screen. Without asking or saying anything, she grabbed my phone off the table and held it up saying "Awwwwwwwwww cute". Now I've had many people comment on the picture, but never had someone grab my phone without asking. To me this seems rude. Then she proceeded to go on and on about her own 3 kids and how just today she had trained one of them to wipe it's own ass for the first time. I should also mention, this was after we had started eating. The entire time she was talking I looked away out the window and said nothing hoping that she would take the hint and go away. She didn't. Eventually she had no choice but to leave to attend to her own tables, but by this time she had already ruined the entire dining experience. I really just wanted to sit and catch up with my wife, not listen to some strangers' potty stories.
The food was also nothing to write home about - we had the Pad Thai with Chicken (#43) which was mediocre at best. It seemed like something you would get at a grocery store deli or in a frozen food package, not something from a little Thai place. We also had some Rice and beef dish (#31) which was just nasty. We eat at Siam (a Thai restaurant downtown on Fort St) regularly and maybe we have been spoiled by their top notch food, but this was just horrendous.
Finally, to end our dining experience I went to pay with my credit card. The server took my card to the till, only to return moments later with my card explaining that it has a "chip" so I have to come put in my PIN. She said just to come on up anytime I was ready. When I came to pay, the server had not yet brought my card to the till, so I couldn't pay. Then I sat back down, and she dropped the damn card back off at our table, which meant I had to get up and go to the front till again to pay. The whole experience was just a huge cluster f***. There is no way I would return.
Our bill came to just over $25 for two dishes. This isn't too expensive, but certainly isn't a bargain considering the poor quality of the food.
Never in my life have I not left a tip at a restaurant, because I have friends who are servers and understand that servers have to tip out the kitchen and can actually LOSE money if no tip is left. But in this case I left nothing. I was actually trying to decide if it would be more insulting to leave 1 cent or just nothing.
In any case, avoid this place like the plague. Maybe the other locations are better - I've heard Langford is decent - but I learned my lesson.
Having lived in Thailand, I would say I am a "Thai food connoisseur". So I was a bit dissapointed when I ordered pad see yew, and since they were out, I got the generic pad thai. The sauce was ketchup-like, and nothing like I could remember from Bangkok.
But I went back for a second visit, and a group of us shared some of the curries, soups, and fried vegetable and meat dishes. These were much better than the pad thai.
I recommend going to the Little Thai Place if it is in the area, and you don't want to pay for Baan Thai. The atmosphere obviousy isn't as nice with the take-out customers going in and out, and the service people do a good job managing the tables and take-out. It reminds me of a McDonald's of Thai food (in a good way). It's fast, affordable and reliable.
I used to order from here a lot on rainy or lazy days. The dish that has been keeping me going back is their Tom Ka Gai , a sweet and spicy soup with mushrooms, herbs, chicken and coconut milk. Normally the Pad Thai is ok, but this time they had new packaging that seemed bigger than what they used to use. They seemed to add more noodles to compensate but didn't add any more sauce so it was bland and disappointing.
I do not plan to order in from them again but I will still be stopping in for soup.
I never had Thai food in Thailand (because I am vegetarian and it was never easy to explain I didn't want shrimp sauce or any other non-veg stuff in my food), so I don't know if Little Thai is authentic. But I do know it's simply the *best* Thai food I ever had! The pad thai, red curry, penang curry were fantastic and I would usually take out.
The staff is usually courteous but brisk because they handle so many customers, and the many people coming in to take out makes it a little noisy and busy. The food, though, is consistently awesome.
Going out for dinner with your Grandmother is never an easy experience because things were never as good as they used to be, service isn't a quick as it used to be and prices are way too high now-a-day. So, when my Grandmother invited me out for dinner and we went hunting for a place it was almost like pulling teeth to choose a place. Finally, more out of desperation rather than actual preference for Thai food. My last Thai food was in California in a place that looked like we were in for some authentic Thai food. In the end, I hated it. So, to go to Thai food again, in a place like this? I mean, this place doesn't even try to look authentic. It's just white walls, a mix-match of random photography/paintings and cheep furnature.
We were seated immediately. Not sure if that was normal or if we just got lucky. I think it was the latter as the place filled up fast. We got our menu, looked it over and shortly we had food.
And what food! I was sick, with a cold, and my nose was so stuffed that I couldn't smell the stuff holding it up to my nose, but I could taste it loud and clear. It was amazing. I had a soup (no. 21) and my Grandmother couldn't decide because everything was so odd. However, our server was kind enough to point out that what my Grandmother had decided on wasn't that good and recommended a rice dish (no. 32) that she thought was impressive. I guess that the portions were meant to share because we found that neither of us could finish what we had ordered on our own. Usually when you have stuff left over you don't really want to bring it home, but we did.
The prices were good, considering that everything was within the same price range. It wasn't really possible to get something that was cheep, nor was it possible to get something expensive.
All in all, the food was outstanding; definatly surpassed my expectations. The service was quick, friendly and helpful. The value was perfect for the amount of food that we good. The ambiance was not that great, but, that was what made the food so impressive.
A couple of these are open in Victoria, one on Cook st. one on Shelbourne street. This review is for the Cook st. restaraunt, I haven't tried the other yet. I would expect the food to be the same, and I have heard good reviews of the Shelbourne location.
On to the review! A nice, clean, and new building greeted us on our visit, we were there right at opening on a Sunday (5pm) and a good thing that was. No problem getting a seat, but in short order the place was packed and the phone was ringing off the hook. Take out, delivery and dine in. Our server was decent, if a little timid, but she did a solid job and added a few suggestions when asked. The real star of this show was the food though. Wow! It was to die for. The smells coming out of the kitchen were tantilizing the whole evening, every dish that passed us looked fantastic, and our food was no exception.
You get a lot of food for the money here, 2 people could do well with 3 dishes and a side of rice for about $35 tops. Lots of flavour, good prices, and plenty of ways to enjoy this fine cuisine. (take out, dine in or delivery) I'm going back often!