Thip Samai Pad Thai (Pad Thai Pratoopee)
313 Mahachai Road, Phra Nakorn
Cuisines: Asian, Thai
As the name of the restaurant is written in Thai, it probably won't matter that this superb pad thai joint isn't commonly known by the name on the building: Thip Samai. Most locals will refer to it as Pad Thai Pratoopee which means "Door of the Ghost." Fortunately the street number is clearly on the red sign above the open storefront. With an opening date of 1966 you can figure the secret of success for this long running business is the quality. Call it Thip Samai or Pratoopee, the menu is the same: pad thai, the famous wok-fried rice noodle dish typically mixed with egg, dried shrimps, tofu, bean sprouts, garlic, palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind and lime juice and fresh prawns as well. Ground peanuts are also often added (so allergy sufferers take note of your order). The whole thing can be wrapped in a thin omelet. To keep up with the orders, three cooks, each with his or her own big wok, are whipping up oversize batches of pad thai and sharing two big burners and dividing them out on plates as quickly as possible. The odd man out takes a break to clean the wok until one of the burners opens up. It's worth standing by to watch them work their magic a bit before you go to your table (or after eating). The prawns are good sized and fresh. One of the more expensive dishes (still well under 200 baht) adds a nice pile of crab meat on top. Orders can be altered to taste though that might increase the wait. This place is always busy and cars will pull up to the curb for to-go orders.