Jitlada: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

We know a woman who has made it her life's project to work through the typewritten addendum at the back of Jitlada's menu, 208 Southern Thai dishes almost mythical in their obscurity and their fierce chile heat. We wish her well: We can think of nothing more pleasant than revisiting Suthiporn Sungkamee's delicious, foul-smelling yellow curries of fermented bamboo shoots; delicate lemon curries; wild tea leaves cooked down like creamed spinach with bits of gluey-skinned catfish; and beef simmered with pickled buds of Asian cinnamon, even if the curried fish kidneys, which we love, aren't necessarily something you want to eat every day. Jitlada is that rare thing, a Thai restaurant frequented mostly by non-Thais who come not in spite of but specifically because of the difficult, thorny regional dishes. Sungkamee — call him Tui — and his sister Jazz Singsanong introduced Hollywood to the Songkhia-style rice salad; the fried sea bass with homegrown turmeric; and the infamous endorphin bomb khua kling phat tha lung, a beef curry that in its purest form is spicy enough to melt the bark off a log. 5233 1⁄2 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd. (323) 663-3104, jitlada.com. Mon., 5-10:30 p.m.; Tues.-Thurs., Sun., 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Beer and wine. Difficult lot parking. AE, MC, V. Thai.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

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