This Elegant Asian Restaurant Elevates Thai Cuisine to New Heights of Flavor and Presentation
For those visiting Atlanta, Georgia who enjoy excellent Asian cuisine, Nan Thai Fine Dining should be a required destination. This elegant, attractive restaurant located in midtown Atlanta presents outstanding Thai food accented by beautiful surroundings and polished, attentive service. Nan Thai elevates the presentation of Thai food far beyond your expectations and is sure to become a restaurant you will want to visit again and again.
Nan Thai Fine Dining is located in the midtown area of Atlanta, within walking distance of the Arts Center MARTA station. It is near many great Atlanta attractions such as the Woodruff Arts Center, Center for Puppetry Arts and High Museum of Art, making it the perfect stop for a pre-show meal or after exploring the exhibits at the High. It is hard to miss the restaurant, which spots a two and a half-ton bronzed tamarind outside. Step inside and the visual impact continues. A large restaurant – almost 7,000 square feet – it is divided into several dining rooms and areas including a large open kitchen with a chef’s table, a patio with bamboo accents, a private dining room and a sunken bar. Cream, gold and mocha are the main colors throughout creating a soothing, inviting atmosphere.
Just as inviting are the the gracious and stunning hostesses, who will welcome you in traditional Thai style with bowed head and prayer hands. Hopefully you have a reservation before arriving at Nan Thai Fine Dining, as the restaurant is typically quite busy, especially on weekends. The pampering continues as you are led to your table, seated and brought menus by one of the helpful and friendly waitstaff.
A lengthy wine list presents many options by both the bottle and the glass, with bottles starting in the upper $20s and many options in the $30-50 range. Selections are international with a heavy emphasis on California, Australia and New Zealand. Specialty cocktails such as a Lychee Martini or Mango Mai Tai are also available. Food options present most of the familiar Thai dishes diners would know, such as curries, Pad Thai, and Tom Yum Soup, but soon you will discover the presentation and flavors are anything but ordinary. Owners Charlie and Nan Niyomkul (who is head chef) first brought their refined Thai cuisine to Atlanta with their restaurant Tamarind, a still-open yet less elegant affair.
A perfect way to begin a meal at Nan Thai Fine Dining is with ($20). This assortment of appetizers is perfect for sharing between two or more and will typically include their delicious crispy calamari, chicken satay, mixed steamed dumplings and crispy spring rolls. The assortment of textures and tastes, spicy and sweet, is an excellent way to wake up the palate.
For entrees, making a selection can be much more difficult. Beyond the traditional curries, which are excellent, there are a variety of Chef Selections and specialty curries from which to choose. The Gang Khlau Sapparod features a roasted Maple leaf duck breast in pineapple curry with basil and grape tomatoes ($26). Moo Choo Chee ($21) is a grilled pork tenderloin with a light roasted red curry sauce, served with Kaffir lime and green beans. Thai Style BBQ Lamb Chops ($28) are a great choice for lamb lovers. Four meaty chops are cooked perfectly to your temperature request, and served with a refreshing green papaya salad and sticky rice. One downside to their menu, however, is that few strictly vegetarian options are offered beyond several appetizers and rice dishes.
If available – and it usually is – a special fried whole red snapper (market price) is a must for the hungry and adventurous diner. Crispy yet tender and served with fried okra and eggplant, it’s a fish-lovers delight, provided you don’t mind meeting your dinner head-on.
Kung Pad Thai ($19) is beautiful, with large sauteed jumbo shrimp, rice stick noodles, eggs, peanuts and other accents presented in a somewhat “deconstructed” style, so you can taste each flavor as you go along your plate.
Although portions at Nan Thai Fine Dining are generous, especially if you have already enjoyed an appetizer, getting a side dish of one of their excellent fried rices is recommended. Both the Pineapple Fried Rice and Pumpkin Red Curry Rice are delicious and go well with many of the restaurant’s main courses. Desserts are tempting blends of Asian and Western favorites, such as Wild Lemongrass Caramel Custard, Thai Tea Creme Brulee and Lychee Nut Sorbet. I have enjoyed the Dark Chocolate Mouse with Ginger Ice Cream, a pleasing mix of flavors that works well after a rich meal of Thai food.
Dinner at Nan Thai Fine Dining is not an inexpensive prospect; with a bottle of wine, appetizers, entrees and dessert it is easy to run up a bill for two in the $120-150 range with tip. Even so, the elegance of the meal, the delightful flavors, and the wonderful pampering by the staff make the meal well worth the price. Nan Thai Fine Dining is a restaurant I make sure to visit every time I am in the Atlanta, Georgia area, and I’m sure it will become the same for you once you’ve had the chance to experience the restaurant yourself.
This review was originally posted at the Yahoo! Contributors Network on February 14, 2011.