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« Episode three-week one/Niban | Main | Episode five:week One-Vine Ripe Market and Cuisine »

Wednesday, 04 October 2006



Very interesting. Is this the quality Thai restaurant that everyone has been looking for in SD but no one can find it? How does it compare to the Thai restaurants in LA?

Good to hear though. I want to try it now!


P.S. I wonder how their papaya salad is?


is it always so that Thai restaurants keep some sort of a statue insides? We have a Thai restaurant in Waikiki that had two of it's statue about a foot outside the premises and as things would happen one night someone stole one of the statues. Now they chain up the outside statues. It was probably worth the free publicity though.


I actually know where this place is! The reason being is that I live near there. I just did a post recently on a restaurant that is located in the same vicinity. Although I've never gotten a chance to try out the place myself, but I have passed by it many times.


Hello Ted. We think the quality of the food is excellent. You feel like you are a guest in someone's home and they are going all out for you. I haven't been to any Thai hole-in-the-walls in LA...always there for a short time and seem to find someplace interesting and just stop. Will look for Thai next time. The papaya salad is loved by everyone who comes into La Basil. On a Wednesday night, three older Thai ladies came in for dinner and two of them ordered it.

Oh Ron, I think all of the asian places have some kind of god to bless the building as well as the business...the people at La Basil have a sense of humor about her though...

Hi Nguyen- The Mister and I go to Anh Hong when I *need* Bun with the shrimp stuffed fried tofu skin (Number 123 c I think). Stop in and try La Basil..and for some *excellent* pho, that little restaurant right next door...its my absolute favorite. You'll hear about it soon.


The divine images in the Asian restaurants - that even goes for Filipino restaurants, but of course, the Sto. Nino is a "saint" (ahem...).


Hi Ed- That whole Saint/Baby Jesus thing is just part of the whole rote memorization thing we Catholics are so good at....

Captain Jack

Hi Cathy,
Too funny, we both covered Thai this week. If you do eat at Thai Village this weekend after the game, let me know how it compares with La Basil.


I've actually been to the one next door once. I believe their specialty is bun rieu and bun bo hue or am I thinking of another place near there?


Thanks for the post, Cathy. I burned out on Thai a couple of years ago but this makes me want to pick it up again.


Hey CJ- Will do. I like your style of descriptions.

Nguyen- Yes, the best Bun Bo Hue that I have encountered.

Hello Birdie! Glad I might have sparked something.


I've been wondering about this place for months. Thanks for the review. Perhaps I can convince my husband to try it when he is in the mood for thai food(a rare occasion).


Hi Lynnea- Do what we day he gets to choose where to go out, one day you get to choose where...Let him go works out better for you that way ;)


Hey Cathy - You did Thai Basil!!! Great. I managed to sneak away for some internet time. Thanks for everything!


Get back to your vacation!
('re welcome...)(its fun)

ed (from yuma)

Looks good. Asia Cafe also has beef larb, I believe. La Basil sounds like the same type of family operation. Maybe there is hope for Thaing one on in SD after all.



Ah hahahaha....good one Ed...

Joseph E

My wife and I tried La Basil on Thursday night. If you've read this post on Chowhound (
then you know that I've been looking for good Thai for a while. La Basil and Thai Village were the two places most recently recommended.

We started with the #1 fried spring rolls ($5) and the coconut-milk based soup (#9 on the list). The spring rolls were good but not as good as those at Thien Thanh. The soup was great; the coconut was not overpowering but added a delicious creamyness to the rich broth. The mushrooms and tofu went well with the vegetables and seasonings; we had the vegetarian option. It was the best dish of the night.

Next, my wife overruled my idea of beef larb, and picked the Som Tam (green papaya) salad. The flavors were rather muted; the spice level was low as she had requested, but I would have liked more fish sauce and shrimp paste. It was good, but I've made better at home.

Our main courses were, in two words, too sweet. Pad thai had tender shrimp, cooked just right, and al dente noodles, but any flavors in the mix were overpowered by sugar.

Our server had recommended the fried fish and I had picked #43 deep fried fish with chili sauce. Tamarind, garlic, chile, basil and lemon grass sounded good, but they didn't mention "tons of sugar." The fish may have been good, but the unbalanced sweetness of the sauce did not work for me. I would prefer too sour or too salty or too much MSG; those seem to dilute out with plenty of rice. But rice won't cut through sugar.

Perhaps it was a bad night. We had the coconut ice cream for desert, as ripe mangos were not available for the sticky rice dish. It was quite good and I happily ate it all.

We may come back for the lovely decor (including a fish tank with real coral, anemones and clown fish), good service and good soups, but I hope there are better dishes on the menu. I may need to ask for "hot" rather than "medium"; the blond hair always gives me away.

Cathy, do you have other recommendations, beyond the larb?


Hi Joseph. Sorry, but it does sound like a bad night. I do like the "Cry Tiger" steak and the Chicken with spaghetti and green curry,(under specialties)... although they have the panang curry, which has a bit of spice that I sometimes prefer. The soups are always excellent, and you are right about the pad thai sweetness...the Pla Panang, (deep fried fish with curry) was good the one time I got it, but that was in March or so. The description of the fried fish you got, especially with the chili sauce tasting sweet is odd...the only "sweet" in that mix is the tamarind...I do think its odd.
Both The Mister and I are blonde, so we have to emphasize "medium-almost hot, good!" when we order...anywhere actually. I have never had a craving for the papaya salad and never tried it, but that seems like a basic they would also have down.
Do try it again, maybe asking 'is that sweet?' and saying something like 'not too sweet'...we can also play up that blondeness...:)


I just called La Basil on Mesa College to order some takeout; I spoke to a woman who said that the Mesa College location was closed, and was in the process of moving to La Mesa (the new one should be open in a few months). Oh well, time to find another good local Thai place!


EEEK! Thanks for the heads up, Jamie! I just went to the website and there is no mention. Oddly, I am posting about a restaurant within walking distance of La Basil tonight...I will get more info and update his post.

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