About 1 year ago, Chowhound Brandon Nelson recommended Thep Lela Thai Restaurant in Mill Valley (Strawberry Village Shopping Center). What a standout in the Thai restaurant saturated bay area! Almost everything was perfect. Thanks Brandon!
I ordered a lunch special, pork with eggplant and basil. The pork was tender and flavorful without any tough tendons or fatty pieces hanging onto the meat. The eggplant was consistently soft without being mushy. The sauce was delectable. The flavors of basil and other ingredients made it distinctly Thai and memorable. A molded mound of rice and fresh green salad with complementing dressing filled the rest of the well composed plate. $8.50 and worth every baht!
Decor reflects thought and care, from the warm wood wall structures, to the cushions and table settings. Half the restaurant is in faux sit on floor cushion style. Actually, they cut a hole in the floor so your legs dangle down just as at a regular table. The difference is that you remove your shoes in this section, probably to preserve the pretty wood floor finish. There is a feeling of cozyness, as the restaurant is relatively small, yet comfortable.
The waitresses wear elegant Thai outfits - the hues seem to come right out of a color wheel - edged with gold filagree detail. A welcome contrast to the black / beige somber clothes worn by many of us customers!
As Thep Lela is in the Strawberry Village mall, parking is plentiful and easy! May be faster coming here than waiting for your parking karma to kick in in SF.
The only "needs improvement" aspect was the service. Our water glasses were empty several times for too long. I would have welcomed a waitress with a friendlier and more personal demeanor.
411 Strawberry Village
Lunch daily except Sunday
415 383 3444
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