Best New Restaurants 2015: #9, Nana
Thai empires are at war. Two years ago, Monte Wan, who owns the line-up-for-hours Adelaide West phenomenon Khao San Road, parted ways with Nuit Regular, the chef behind the three Sukhothai restaurants. Early last summer, Regular opened Pai, a restaurant specializing in northern Thai street food, on Duncan. Wan in turn opened Nana, near Trinity Bellwoods. The city’s Thai food nuts tend to pick sides. I prefer Nana—partly because it’s more intimate than Regular’s chaotic warehouses, but mostly because it’s more fun. Wan, his long hair twisted into a topknot, meets you at the door and becomes friends with everyone in the room. You sit on red plastic stools at a communal table under a canopy of Thai flags, shout your order over the old-school hip hop and kick back with a lemongrass rum cocktail. I’m a big fan of his chicken laab which swaps out the usual fine-ground meat for deep-fried breaded chunks, like gourmet morsels of KFC. His khao soi, a curry with egg noodles, rates above Regular’s for the rich depth of the broth and the crispiness of its deep-fried chicken cutlet. The dish that sums the place up is an irreverent variation on pad Thai that he calls pad mama, a tangled heap of thin noodles and scored sections of hotdog that, in the heat of the pan, open into garish pink blossoms. It’s deliciously greasy, a little ridiculous and the winner of this round.
2 thoughts on “Best New Restaurants 2015: #9, Nana”
Keep countin’, man. It’s amazing no one thought to do this before now. The TL bias has driven me nuts for years. It even drove me to cancel my subscription, and that was YEARS ago! And is it just me, or has it been months now since any kind of investigative journalism appeared in the magazine or on its website?
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