One weekend, my friend Austin of The Hungry Dogg blog asked if I wanted to eat Thai nearby his home. I thought “why not”, it was a beautiful evening and dining in Laguna Beach sounds absolutely perfect.
Royal Thai is in a little house with the cutest little patio ever which is ideal for the summer weather, although lately, it is still too chilly to sit outside for that long a time so I opted to sit inside.
We selected a little nook and then immediately wondered if that would be too small a table to accommodate our grumbling stomachs. Austin asked our server if she could pace the dishes coming out so we don’t have an over-cluttered table.
Tom Kah ($4.95 small/$9.95 large) is a spicy coconut soup with chicken, mushrooms, galangal and lemongrass. I make this at home and found the version here pretty good but not as strong in the lemongrass or galangal area as I’d like. I also didn’t detect any bamboo shoots in there although the use of straw mushrooms is pretty customary.
I love Tod-Mun ($7.95), spicy fish cakes which are eaten with a cucumber chutney topped with crushed peanuts. These are rather lovely with the correct firmness and the use of chopped long beans mixed into the fish paste. For some reason, I just love the texture of the Tod Mun and can’t quite achieve it at home.
Pad Thai ($$9.95) chantaboon rice noodles with chicken, ground peanuts, bean sprouts, green onions and egg is not something I order but Austin wanted it so I’m easy. I often find this dish too sweet and too clumped up, but it was passable — at least it wasn’t clumped up.
I’m all for spicy food so Paht Ka Pow ($13.95) with shrimp, Thai basil, onion, chili and garlic was my choice.
Of course, it wasn’t AS spicy as I’d like because I didn’t want Austin to keel over from the over-heated dishes and requested everything to be served medium heat. I then ask for the usual — nam pla prik — Thai birds eye chilis in fish sauce to add to my food. This way, everyone is happy.
The server naturally obliged and I had to ask for more since she brought me a very small dish of it at first, but upon seeing how I went through it, brought me a bigger plate the second time around.
Service was really good even though the restaurant started to fill up and was at maximum capacity by the time we were leaving. I would say, although it isn’t the best Thai cuisine I’ve had, it sufficed and satiated my palate. Obviously, I don’t expect them to be of Thai-town caliber, but for South County, I’d have to give them props and say, it’s pretty good.
Royal Thai Cuisine
1750 N Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651