Lotus of Siam
A little over a year ago I watched the Top Chef Masters dine at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas and ever since then this hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant has been on my Yelp bookmark list, just waiting for my next trip to Vegas. Lucky me that trip came this year and I knew that Lotus of Siam was the ONE place that was a must-do for me.
Located in a nondescript strip mall about a $15-$20 cab drive away from the main strip, Lotus of Siam is unassuming from the outside but has been praised as one of the best Thai restaurants in America.
I know, right?! Trust me, looks are deceiving! We gave the doorman at the hotel the address and as the cab pulled up all he said was “Lotus of Siam”…no address needed.
Lotus of Siam is open for lunch and dinner and while we had initially planned a lunch visit, we got distracted and pushed it back to dinner. We didn’t have a reservation and they were booked for the night so we arrived early right before they opened to secure a seat. If you plan in advance I would definitely make a reservation if you want to eat at a more “peak” time, but they do have a bar where you can try a glass from their lengthy wine menu while you wait.
I had done my fair amount of research ahead of time (because I’m a nerd like that) so I knew exactly what I planned on ordering. Lotus of Siam is a bit unique because they offer quite a few Northern Thai dishes, which you don’t see on the menus of most Thai restaurants. Our first dish was the very popular Tom Kah Kai soup. Chicken, coconut milk, mushrooms, lemongrass, and lime…this was quite possibly one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten. We chose a spice level of medium for all of our dishes and found it to be perfect for our taste-a good amount of heat but nothing that was searing away our taste buds.
After the soup came the Garlic Prawns. This is one of their most popular dishes and it’s no wonder why…deep fried prawns with shells that crisp up like potato chips, sautéed in a tasty garlic sauce and cooked to perfection. Delicious!!
Next up…Braised Short Rib with Panang. The short rib wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but the sauce-a red cream curry with cognac-was fantastic and absolutely made the dish. It definitely took some restraint to stop from licking the bowl!
Our last dish before dessert was one of my go-to Thai carry-out choices….good ‘ol Pad Thai. But this was no ordinary Pad Thai-this was the best Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten, and I have eaten A LOT of Pad Thai. The flavors, the spice level, the crispy vegetables, and of course the noodles….I wanted this whole dish to myself!
Last but not least was dessert. We were on the brink of stuffed but I couldn’t leave without a few sweet bites. This was actually my first time trying sticky rice and I really enjoyed it. The warm rice with the beautiful, fresh, sweet mango was a great combo and add in a cold bite of the coconut ice cream…the perfect ending to a great meal!
From start to finish, from wine to dessert and everything in between, Lotus of Siam lived up to all of my expectations and then some. If you’re in Vegas I highly recommend venturing off the strip to give Lotus of Siam a try for yourself, I know this has now made it onto my must-do list for all future trips to LV!