There's almost always a couple sitting in the window seat of this restaurant, and that's a sign of how solidly reliable and tasty it is. In a city where it's hard to not
find a Thai restaurant, Royal Thai has not only withstood the test of time, but has become a fixture in the neighborhood with a devoted local following, in part due to its extremely affordable menu, making this spot a great bargain.
Inside, the space is so small it's practically European. A huge fish tank dominates the rear area, and it's easy to become transfixed watching the exotic marine life swimming up and down the tall, narrow case. There's nothing little about the flavors or the food, however, and as your entree is set down in front of you on giant, square-shaped china, you already know you'll be asking for a take home box.
Royal Thai does tofu very well, and it isn't hard for vegetarians and carnivores alike to find a favorite dish here. Deep-fried tofu wedges ($5) are a great way to start, and chicken satay ($5) served with a peanut sauce is great as well. The pad Thai, that classic, ubiquitous Thai dish ($7), is tasty and amazingly fresh here. The real standout, however, is the panang curry ($7(, with spice, peanuts and potato in just the right proportions.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman