In downtown Myrtle Beach, there is a plethora of great restaurants to choose from, old and new.
Along a particular strip of restaurants, there is The Library, popular for its fine dining experience, and two Thai restaurants. Thai Lao, a cheerful green with a simple sign, does not stand out as much as its neighbor, Thai Cuisine, but this place serves up great food with a lot of variety.
Where Thai Cuisine is a bit more upscale, Thai Lao is down to earth and casual. Thai Lao is great for families or a quick lunch with friends, and the owners are known in the area for their friendliness. They stand apart from other Thai restaurants because they serve a few dishes from Laos as well, hence “Lao” in the name.
All their wonderful southeast Asian dishes are available for take-out, so you can either call in your order ahead of time, or head straight for the counter when you arrive instead of sitting down to be served. But with all the available items on the menu, it may take time for new guests to decide what they want, especially if they are unfamiliar with Thai dishes.
Thai Lao has a fantastic lunch menu with a nice array of their most popular dishes starting at a very reasonable $6.50. This of course includes some Thai noodle dishes, like the favorite Pad Thai, plus their curry dishes. The full menu is available all day, but there are some great deals during their lunch hours.
All of the portion sizes are gratuitous, even from the Lunch menu, so be prepared to enjoy a lot of great food. Even the Thai drinks are impressive, especially in the tall glasses they are served in. And just like the meals, the drinks are made from scratch and put together when ordered.
The entrees, including the noodle and rice dishes, can be customized, so making a vegetarian meal is easy. This does mean, however, that the same meal can have varying prices, depending on what protein you choose (seafood being the most expensive). Vegetables are plenty in the meals no matter what you decide, so it’s easy to believe you’re eating something healthy.
Another great thing about Thai meals is even the spicy dishes aren’t overwhelmingly spicy, and instead have that signature Thai sweetness that is a little unexpected in savory meals. The red curry, for instance, was a great mixture of spicy and what can probably be best described as umami.
Thai Lao has a friendly atmosphere, from the helpful servers down to the decorations that make the restaurant feel like a home instead of another impersona environment. They manage this ambiance, casual and familial-like, while also making sure the business remains clean. Thai Lao may not be as showy as its neighbor, but it has fantastic food at great prices in a comfortable atmosphere. Drop by and become part of the family.
If you eat
What | Thai Lao
Where | 1210 N. Kings Highway
Hours | 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri-Sat, Noon-10 p.m. Sun.
Contact | 843-839-9377, thai-lao-restaurant.com