A wildly popular favorite on the south shore, Orchids Thai Food has an established reputation as the go-to for locals looking to satisfy their Southeast Asian craving without indulging in any manner of fusion. Most of the staff at Orchids are Thai, and they’re extremely knowledgeable about the subtleties of their native cuisine. Located at 2180 Lake Tahoe Blvd. near the Y, this restaurant speaks for itself as one of Tahoe basin’s best, whether on the north or south side of the lake!
Upon stepping through the threshold of Orchids on a Saturday's night, you instantly know this is a hotspot. The tables are full; many nationalities are present, and the line to get a table may or may not be out the door. Even under these circumstances, I advise you to wait--the bustle exists for a reason, and it would be a mistake to walk away and find another, less busy venue for your meal. If crowded isn’t your thing, try a weeknight or perhaps a visit midday for their killer lunch special!
In its current three-year-old incarnation, Chef Pi Pai-Rot has instilled a standard of excellence that means no MSG, foods made from scratch (except for fish sauce/oils), and an honest devotion to delivering the most authentic Thai cuisine possible. Having travelled in Thailand myself, I can attest that the food is certainly of the same caliber of that found in Asia. In fact, the most inauthentic thing about Orchids is that their portions are American sized—meaning huge; in Thailand, the meals are much smaller. By all accounts, being served big portions is a great problem to have!
Calling out favorites for such an establishment is difficult because everything on Orchids’ menu is awesome! Keeping it simple, I love the Vegetable Soup with chicken and extra spice added in; I also have a hard time not ordering the Spicy Fried Rice, as it might be the best fried rice of anywhere I’ve ever been—including Thailand, China, etc… My favorite server at Orchids—Beth—also had a hard time deciding what her favorite dish is, but when pressed she confessed her utter devotion to the Pumpkin Curry.
Simply put, Orchids is fantastic—miss at your own peril…