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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Austin
Food
Feel
Price
7.4
7.5
$20
Thai
Casual restaurant

Hours
Mon–Fri 11:00am–3:00pm
Mon–Fri 5:00pm–10:00pm
Sat–Sun noon–10:00pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Website

Allandale/Crestview
5501 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 458-1792
Titaya’s Thai Cuisine
A warm, pretty, and low-key place with a few more authentic touches

Probe past the lunch menu of beside-the-point Chinese-American dishes, and dispense with the idea that pad Thai is the best that Thai cuisine has to offer (if it were, it would be a lot more common in Thailand), and you’ll find the best of Titaya’s work—which is to say, the best of Austin’s notoriously impoverished Thai scene.

With few exceptions, the flavors here stand out in layers as vibrant as the colorful walls. The staff is exceedingly benevolent—almost as much as the kitchen’s use of vegetables: where other places feature one or two of the usual suspects (green beans, bell peppers, onions, carrot), and often only bamboo shoots and potatoes, here there’s also Thai eggplant, baby corns, broccoli, ripe red tomatoes, snow peas, mushrooms, zucchini, and more.

Branch out to the more authentically Thai dishes and you won’t be sorry. (Just avoid fishy, rubbery squid, which isn’t scored and so doesn’t absorb any of its sauce.) “Amazing papaya salad” is a hokey moniker for som tam, that excellent staple of Isan, the northern region renowned for its culinary treasures. It’s a touch sweeter and less dried-shrimp-funky than is ideal, but it’s a move in the right direction. Larb, a spicy mix of ground pork and lightly toasted rice kernels, is a heavenly blend of fish-sauce sweet and limey sourness. It’s addictive—moreso, you may find, than even pad Thai.

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