Three in Thai Town: Pa Ord 3, Sapp, Pailin (Los Angeles, July/August 2014)

jadenoodlesThis was a highly unusual trip to Los Angeles for us in the sense that we did not eat at Jitlada. However, we did eat a number of Thai meals, three to be exact: at Pailin Thai, Sapp Coffee Shop and Pa Ord 3. As with almost all of the better Thai restaurants in Los Angeles these are just a few blocks away from each other on Hollywood Blvd. in Thai Town. We’d enjoyed our meal at Pailin Thai so much last year that we knew we were going to go back and try more of their Northern Thai specialties. Sapp Coffee Shop and Pa Ord 3 we picked mostly in order to diversify our Thai Town holdings.

Let’s take the meals in chronological order.

Pailin Thai (5621 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles).

They were far busier for lunch on the Friday we were there than they were at our meal last year. We were first seated at one of their tables for two but after we placed our order we were moved to a larger table so that the food could fit on it. This is what we got:

So, another great meal at Pailin Thai and once again it just barely came to $50 with tax and generous tip (and we again took lots of leftovers home of the three meats). We’ll be back next year as well.

Our next Thai Town outing was a few days later, and we were joined for this meal by Michael Kravitz. After the requisite drug-dealer-style whisky geek exchange of boxes/bags of samples and muled bottles we had a great time talking about all kinds of things, whisky and non-whisky; and we also ate. I will only review the meal here.

Sapp Coffee Shop (5183 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles)

Not quite as hole in the wall’ish as Yai but also cash-only, Sapp Coffee Shop is known for their boat noodles, but of course that’s not all we got. They’ve been in Thai Town forever but have relatively recently become a destination for non-Thai people, showing up on Jonathan Gold’s annual lists of essential L.A. restaurants (#80 in the 2014 edition). I have my doubts as to whether there’s any good reason why they should be on the list and not Pailin Thai or Yai or others (except that these kinds of lists have to have enough churn each year to remain interesting; see also The Whisky Bible). Anyway, it was a good meal (even though they dialed the heat down despite our asking for it not to be):

Not the best meal we’ve ever had in Thai Town but a bit better than our best Twin Cities options. Once again, we struggled to clear $50 on the check.

Pa Ord 3 (5269 Hollywood Blvd)

Pa Ord 3 occupies the erstwhile location of Ganda in the strip that also features Red Corner Asia, Ruen Pair, Crispy Pork Gang & Grill and Thai Patio. As the name indicates, this is the third branch of Pa Ord, a relatively recent and quite celebrated arrival in the Thai Town food scene (and Pa Ord 3 only opened a few months ago). We set out going to the mothership but as this was a bit closer and we were very hungry we just went here. (And no, I have no idea if there are any significant differences between Pa Ord 3, 2 and I but I’m going to keep referring specifically to Pa Ord 3 in this write-up). This visit was towards the end of our trip and we needed to finish the leftovers that had already piled up in my mother-in-law’s fridge, and so we were rather restrained with the ordering.

Another very good meal—and this time we didn’t make it past $40.

Three very good meals then in Thai Town, with Pailin Thai clearly the best and Pa Ord 3 slightly ahead of Sapp. Next year we’ll probably return to Jitlada and also to Ruen Pair (it’s been ages since I last ate there and I’m curious to see how they’re doing); and if the boys allow we might try to make it to Night + Market for dinner as well.


5 thoughts on “Three in Thai Town: Pa Ord 3, Sapp, Pailin (Los Angeles, July/August 2014)

  1. I liked everything we had at Sapp, but the Jade noodles were definitely my favorite. I’m going to start searching for that (or something similar) on Thai menus going forward. And the boat noodles were better than I had anticipated. As you noted, I think the dishes could have taken more heat though. Thanks for the invite!


  2. “but after we placed our order we were moved to a larger table so that the food could fit on it. ”
    That is such a great line from your post.

    Wonderful Thai food reviews. Those Jade noodles look delish. We must have very similar tastes in food. Your LA food posts are reminding me that I need to get up there to explore some more. I have always wanted to go to Jitlada.


  3. If you’ve never been to Jitlada and, like us, you’re food obsessed, I would say it is totally worth the drive to just go eat there. Make sure to order only from the Southern Thai section at the end of the menu though.


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