Tired of the same old Lakeview Thai places like Asian Avenue, Joy's Noodles and Rice, Duck Walk and Kitchenette? Head west and you'll find the renowned Thai Room and its neighborly competitor, Sticky Rice. It's a tough decision, but we suggest going with the Thai Room. This spot has been in business since 1979, and the decor lets visitors know. The handsome dark-wood paneling, the soft red carpet that reminds us of a '70s hotel lobby and the dim—but not too dim—lighting make this the perfect place for after-work eats or a low-key date. Either way, the low prices won't disappoint.
Gaze at the oil painting of two plump goldfish in the front room and imagine eating well, not those fish—then look to the menu for some Thai inspiration. Appetizers like pot stickers—plump homemade pouches stuffed with spinach and chicken served with sweet black soy sauce—are only $4.50. If you're unfamiliar with the main entrees, play it safe with everyone's favorite, pad thai. It'll only put you back $5.95; add pork, beef, chicken, veggies or tofu for an extra 75 cents, while shrimp and squid cost a teensy bit more. Those ready for something new might try the bamee janron ($7.95–$10.95): stir-fried egg noodles, peapods, mushrooms, onions, broccoli and sesame seeds served on a hot plate.
Service is friendly and welcoming, but to-go orders are no problem. In fact, delivery starts at 5 p.m. sharp; call for delivery areas.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler