La Jolla offers some of the very best Chinese and Thai restaurants in San Diego. Whether you want to enjoy a relaxing meal out on the town, pick up food to go, or have fresh, exotic food delivered to your front door, check out the local Asian fare. You will not be disappointed.
The Mandarin House, on La Jolla Boulevard, has been a popular eating place for locals and visitors alike for over three decades. Whether you want a smaller lunch, a romantic dinner for two, or a large gathering, the Mandarin invites you beyond its red doors to settle into comfortable booths and enjoy friendly service and a delicious selection of Mandarin Szechuan food. The menu includes lunch specials and family-style dinners, as well as a full range of appetizers and entrees, including noodles and rice, vegetables, beef, poultry, and seafood. To add some spicy drama to your table, ask for a flaming po-po platter or one of the other sizzling platters. In addition to sharing generous portions of food, you can share a variety of tropical drinks, including one called The Volcano that comes with two straws. And, if you would prefer to eat at home, the Mandarin house has a to-go menu for lunch and dinner and delivers as well.
The China Chef, on Pearl Street, is very popular with La Jollans and is consistently voted the best Chinese and best take-out restaurant in local newspaper polls. This is a smaller place with a large menu. The friendly staff is likely to remember you if you’re a regular. China Chef is open daily, except Sundays, and serves lunch and dinner specials and family dinners. They also offer quick takeout or delivery service and a special catering menu if you’re planning a party. The menu includes many appetizers, soups, vegetable dishes, more than a dozen chicken dishes, 16 seafood platters, and several beef and pork dishes. China Chef also offers gluten free items, many rice and noodle selections, chop suey, egg foo young, and chef’s specialties, including Shanghai shrimp with chicken, orange chicken, honey walnut shrimp, crispy beef, double happiness (shrimp and scallops). If there is a dish you’re craving that’s not on the menu, the chef at China Chef will make it for you.
Thai food seldom disappoints the palate or the appetite. You can satisfy both at La Basil Thai in Bird Rock, which specializes in authentic, Thai recipes that are unique, healthy, and delicious, made with fresh herbs and fine jasmine rice. La Basil Thai is open for lunch and dinner and has a full menu of Thai food, including a generous lunch special of entrée, soup, salad, wonton, and spring rolls. For dinner, you can order larger portions of Thai food, including appetizers (such as crispy tofu in sweet and sour sauce), soups (vegetable, chicken, seafood, or tofu), salads (such as green papaya, spicy shrimp, or chicken larb), noodle and rice dishes (such as spicy pad thai), curries (red, green, yellow, and Panang), entrees (such as eggplant, cashew chicken, or spicy beef) and many specials (such as Thai chicken, spicy Tiger Cry Steak, pineapple fried rice, Panang curried duck, Panang salmon, scallops with chili sauce, or steamed fish with plum sauce). La Basil Thai offers indoor and outdoor seating and takeout and delivery service in case you’d prefer to satisfy your taste buds with Thai food at home.
Chedi Thai on Pearl also offers fresh, healthy and distinctive dishes from traditional Thai favorites to unique vegetarian creations. The interior of this restaurant is beautiful, quiet and relaxing and the menu full of outstanding selections and combinations. Lunch specials are served week days and include two first courses (spring rolls, green salad, tofu and veggies) and one second course (including curries, chicken cashew, pad thai with shrimp). All meals are served with Jasmine rice, but you can request brown, sticky or quinoa rice. Dinners include appetizers, salad (such as green papaya, yum seafood), soup (shrimp lemongrass, beef tamararind consomme, tofu and veggies) and entrees (such as grilled pork, fish, duck, shrimp garlic, wok dishes, curries and noodles). You can request that all dishes be prepared mild, medium or spicy. Chedi Thai also hosts a weekday happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., with special prices on tasty dishes such as crispy calamari, fried shrimp, larb chicken or steamed vegetables.
Another popular Thai restaurant in La Jolla is Spice and Rice Thai Kitchen on Girard. Enjoy the dining area inside or sit outside on the friendly patio and watch people walk by. Spice and Rice offers a popular, intriguing menu, with all dishes cooked to your preferred level of spiciness. Chose from salads, soups, specialties (Panang curry duck, pineapple fried rice), weekly specials (fried tofu squares with red curry sauce, crispy chicken with red curry), entrees (choice of meats, sauces such as hot basil, cashew nut, garlic pepper), noodles and rice (choice of vegetables, chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, squid, scallops), appetizers including sweet starters (mee krob, orange zest crispy noodles, fresh spring rolls), spicy starters (lime and herb chicken, steamed mussels). Spice and Rice also offers catering and takeout services.