I love the complexity of Thai food. The focus on spicy, sweet, sour, salty and bitterness temps your tastebuds and keeps your palette guessing. Pad Thai was my introduction to Thai cuisine. I’m most familiar with its texture and flavors therefore it’s my go-to dish when trying a new Thai restaurant.
I discovered Archi’s Thai Kitchen a few years ago. Located on Flamingo Road just west of Jones Boulevard, I drove by it daily. Finally one day, I stopped inside and placed a carryout order for chicken pad Thai. I like a balance of heat and sweet, I requested a # 5 on the heat scale that runs 1-10. I was thrilled when I took my first bite, Archi’s wasn’t afraid to use heat. This was hot, but not overly so it was the wonderful blend of flavors I had been seeking. Before Archi’s, I tried half a dozen other highly rated Thai restaurants only to be left disappointed. At last, I had found pad Thai that satisfied my cravings.
Over the years, Archi’s has remained a favorite. They have a number of delicious dishes and soups. Not only have I recognized their merits, but they’ve also earned numerous awards. Most notably the Michelin in 2009 and they’ve repeatedly received yearly excellence ratings by Zagat. The small restaurant with seating for 40 remains, but it has since spawned two new locations. Archi’s Thai Bistro (Rainbow Boulevard near 215) and Archi’s Thai Café (Sahara Avenue at Ft Apache Road). All three serve up well prepared dishes with bold flavors. Each location is open 11:00am-10:00pm daily. I particularly enjoy dining in for lunch. They offer ten weekday lunch specials from 11:00am-3:00pm. Prices start at $6.95, all items are served with soup, egg roll, and fried wonton.
Every so often I hear buzz about a new Thai restaurant, and I give it a try. Most recently it’s been Krung Siam Thai located at Spring Mountain Road and Valley View Boulevard. It has received recognition for having authentic eats, late night happy hour (15% off entire check 10pm-6am) and unbeatable lunch deals from $4.99. I stopped in last week to see how it stacks up to Archi’s Thai Kitchen.
This brought about the battle of the pad Thai lunch specials. Let’s break it down…
Archi’s Thai Kitchen is quaint, comfortable and homey.
Krung Siam Thai is modern and spacious with a large bar and karaoke stage.
Winner: Krung Siam the contemporary décor is up to date, pleasing to the eye and clean.
Archi’s daily soups vary, on my recent visit, the soup was coconut chicken. Tender pieces of chicken, mushrooms, and cabbage float in a silky coconut milk broth.
Krung Siam served a traditional vegetable broth with tofu, green onions and cabbage.
Winner: Archi’s coconut chicken soup. Layers of flavor set it apart from the simplistic soup at Krung Siam.
Chicken Pad Thai
Archi’s features broad rice noodles stir fried with egg, green onion, and chicken. It’s served with a side of ground peanuts and fresh bean sprouts. Heat level 4, moderately spicy with a hint of sweetness.
Krung Siam boasts thin pan fried rice noodles with tofu, chicken, red and green onion, egg, crushed peanuts and bean sprouts. Heat level 4, I didn’t recognize any heat. In fact it bordered on being overly sweet.
Winner: Archi’s flavors are more complex, with better texure because of the broad noodles, the crunch from the fresh bean sprouts and more intense nuttiness from the ground peanuts.
You can expect to be welcomed with a smile at Archi’s Thai Kitchen.
My server at Krung Siam was fast and efficient.
Tie. Service at both restaurants is attentive.
Archi’s Thai Kitchen $6.95
Krung Siam Thai $4.99
Winner: Krung Siam, sure it lacked the wonton and egg roll, but otherwise the portion sizes were similar. You can’t beat a sit down restaurant meal for less than 10 bucks including tip.
Archi’s Thai Kitchen earns the nod for better texture and bold flavor. Taste overrules price and atmosphere in my book. Therefore, Archi’s pad Thai lunch special is a clear winner. However, Krung Siam Thai served up enough of a good thing to warrant a return visit. I’d like to see what else they have to offer, other dishes might be more to my liking.
Give them a try to see how they measure up. Both offer quality Thai cuisine at reasonable prices.