“Titaya’s, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” This is more or less a direct quote of Mr. Betty’s every day since we had dinner there a few weeks ago. I’ve never seen him obsess over a restaurant this way, although I totally get it. Titaya’s is unbelievable. So good, so low-key…so busy.
We stopped by on a Saturday night with the intention of leaving if the wait was longer than 30 minutes. There really isn’t anywhere to wait. A tiny service bar in the back and about six chairs up front. It was too hot to stand outside with the masses, so we huddled in a corner by the hostess with lots of others. Every few seconds another group would come in and put their name on the list. Are you getting the picture? It was busy. It’s always busy.
Sure, it’s not much to look at. And there’s nowhere to wait. And the location at 5501 North Lamar doesn’t put it in the coolest neighborhood. But all of this adds to the charm that is Titaya’s. They don’t need to worry about anything else because the food is so damn good.
Mr. Betty and I had worked out extra hard that Saturday and were really hungry. We over ordered a tad. No one complained about eating spicy Thai leftovers the next day though.
We started with Goong Kra-Bok. It was described as shrimp stuffed with cabbage and bean thread noodles with an egg roll wrapper. I was expecting some exotic looking stuffed shrimp, but it was more like an eggroll. With a big shrimp in it. Delicious, but it wouldn’t be my go-to app.
Next we ordered three dishes to share. My favorite Thai dish is Gang Kiew Warn. I love the rich and spicy green curry filled with succulent eggplant, bamboo shoots, peppers and basil. It’s just fine without any meat, but I opted for shrimp this time. Man, it was so delicious.
Given the option of white or brown rice, I’ll always pick brown. And Titaya’s does it right.
Our noodle dish of choice was Pad Kra Prao. The tender beef, was stir fried with onions, peppers, mushrooms, basil and chilis in a spicy brown sauce. This had a glorious afterburn.
Mr. Betty’s favorite dish was a nightly special. Pad Cha Moo Pork was stir fried with bamboo shoots, bell peppers, and young green peppercorns in a spicy herb garlic sauce. This was excellent.
We took our time, savoring small bites with our chopsticks, eating right from the serving plates. Our waitress was so friendly, stopping by to watch as I photographed the food. We discussed cameras, her newlywed status, her recent vacation to LA (and the amazing Thai restaurants she visited there.) Despite the restaurant being bonkers busy, we felt well cared for and like we were treasured guests. She was genuinely thrilled that we loved what we ordered and wanted it all very spicy. The food came out very fast and our beers were poured for us table side. I love that.
Despite all the delicious food we ordered, we managed to show some restraint so we could order dessert. I’d heard that the Banana Roll with Coconut Ice Cream was not to be missed. Coconut is in my top three ice cream flavors. (The other two are Coffee and Butternut Pecan.) The sweet, creamy ice cream was in perfect contrast with the warm, crunchy bananas. A perfect ending after a hot, spicy dinner.
I had been to Titaya’s before and loved it. But it was new for Mr. Betty and seeing the delight in his eyes made it all the more special. It really doesn’t get any better than eating from the same dish of spicy Thai food with the one you love.