Have you ever found a restaurant by fluke, and then that restaurant turned out to be one of your new favorite places to eat? Well, that exact thing is what connected me to my favorite Thai restaurant, Lattitude Thai, which is located at 2906 Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. It is a small, family-owned restaurant and its food is definitely full of flavor and fresh ingredients.

As you walk through the front door, you see a giant chalkboard with all of the daily specials filling it from top to bottom. Some of the restaurant’s décor includes traditional Thai sculptures, paintings, pots and other accessories. By the front window they have ceremonial Thai offerings, which are decorative pots filled with water and floating lilies, which you would see outside of restaurants, stores and homes in Thailand.

Once you are seated by one of their warm and courteous staff members, you will have time to look at their unique woven menu. Their menu is overflowing with delicious options for appetizers, entrees and let’s definitely not forget about dessert. All of the dishes are presented beautifully and almost all of the dishes are decorated with carrots carved as flowers. My favorite appetizers are: chicken sate, which is chicken with a light curry glaze served on a stick that comes with a mouth-watering peanut sauce and a sweet and sour crunchy cucumber salad; the coconut milk soup (Tom Yum or Tom Kha), which is a blend of delicious mushrooms, vegetables and your choice of meats, shrimp or tofu spiced to perfection (if you like things hot); the summer rolls, which are nonfried wonton noodles stuffed with a boatload of tofu, mixed vegetables, glass noodles and Thai seasonings served with that same delicious peanut sauce; and the wonton soup, which is full-sized shrimp and scrumptious pieces of pork in a salty chicken broth.

I think Lattitude Thai should be known for its rice dishes, such as the pineapple fried rice. When my family and I go there it is all my sister, Hannah, eats. It is a blend of juicy sweet pineapples, seasoned prawns and chicken, onions, cashew nuts and plump raisins, but of course what makes this dish so outrageous is their skilled way of blending delicious spices. It is sweet, crunchy, tender and savory all in one bite. The spicy fried rice, which has a real kick to it, is made with onions, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, Thai basil and your choice of chicken, beef, prawns, tofu, or pork.

My favorite entrees include the red curry. I love this dish because with each bite the flavors of the curry and coconut milk blend with the onions, bamboo shoots, carrots and the huge hunks of basil. I usually get it with chicken but you can choose what you want. The yellow curry adds a unique flavor and texture to a mix of pumpkin, curry, coconut milk, onions and other veggies. It is a little bit milder than the red curry and can also be made with your choice of meat or shrimp. The flavors mix really well with the brown rice. The pompano with ginger sauce is a specialty fish dish that they fillet and quick fry. Then they add a delicious ginger sauce that is made with chopped ginger, scallions, onions, garlic, as well as other herbs and spices. This fish is served whole on a platter but is easy to serve and eat because it is already prepared in delicious bite sized pieces.

What I love about Latitude Thai is that each dish has its own distinct flavor. When you order lots of dishes for your table it is like a symphony of flavors mixing on your taste buds.

And then, at last, it’s time for dessert. At Lattitude Thai they have fried ice cream, which is creamy ice cream with a crispy breading (that kind of reminds me of a crunchy donut) served in a cherry syrup. Their traditional Thai specialty mango with sticky rice adds something sweet to the evening. This is a seasonal dish composed of juicy, ripe mangos served with a pile of sweet soft sticky rice that has been prepared with condensed milk and then sprinkled with mung beans on top. Another of my favorites is the fried banana served with either honey or vanilla ice cream. It is so good, people in Thailand are begging for it!

I definitely feel like Lattitude Thai would be a great place for anybody who doesn’t know where to go on a date, a family that doesn’t know where to eat, or just if you want to go out and have a fun evening alone or with friends. And even if you have a gluten allergy or are lactose intolerant, you can still find something good there that you can eat. This restaurant really does work wonders.

Brandon Cohen has lived Santa Monica his whole life. He resides in Sunset Park with his family. He loves food, restaurants and writing. Brandon is 11 years old.

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