Royal Orchid

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Image for conde.kedar

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I give Royal Orchid a 4-star rating, though with a tiny bit of hesitation.

Having grown disgusted by the "we want to be a chic bistro"-style Thai restaurants in Minneapolis, I decided to venture out into the suburbs to see what was available. I thought to myself, maybe outside of the city center one can find honest, simple Thai food that isn't dumbed-down or industrialized for co-ed taste buds in Uptown.

Royal Orchid, cozily tucked away in the corner of a strip mall in Roseville, offers an effective antidote to the mediocre, standardized Thai food in Minneapolis.

My green curry was hearty and had a good, strong flavor that suggested a personalized touch---this was home-cooked Thai food, carefully prepared, by someone with a welcoming idiosyncratic preparation sytle. That's the way Thai food should be.

The restaurant, most importantly, accommodates vegans and doesn't screw around with furtive fish/oyster sauce or other unsavory ingredients. The statement on the menu about "strict vegetarians" was reassuring. This restaurant, like most in Thailand, respects vegan and vegetarian diets and doesn't make it a guessing game for patrons.

My only reasons for hesitation on the 4-star rating: the curry, however tasty, had corn and carrots in it, which is strange and completely irregular; oddly enough, the curry DID NOT contain eggplant, which is the one staple of green curries. While the food tasted good I have to disagree with some of their ingredient choices. On the other hand, it does show the sign of an independent cook willing to do his/her own thing. Also, the service was fairly friendly, but a little bit inattentive. I could have used some more water fill-ups, for example.

Now I just wish that Royal Orchid were actually in Minneapolis. But at least whenever I have to go the big-box stores at Rosedale Center I'll have a great restaurant to eat at.

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Gah! Why have I never been here before?! It was great. The first thing I said to the server was "we're vegan" and his response was a reassuring confident "OK". I love it when you don't have to explain what vegan means.

They don't eff around with the spice either. Probably the best Thai I've had in the cities. Definitely going back and can't wait to explore the rest of the menu.

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I eat here very often, and it's sad that whenever I stop in they're somewhat empty, especially because Nita (who's always serving and at the counter) is so nice. I always get the Laab (Northeastern salad) with tofu, which has an extremely unique and tangy flavor. I've also had the Pahd Thai with tofu, no egg or fish sauce, and it was still really good without being bland like other restaurants. All of their entrees can be made with your choice of protein, of these options the tofu and mock duck are vegan. You also get a lot of food for an average of $9 plate.

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I have enjoyed eating here in the past, but today's lunch was terrible. They have lunch specials and none of them are vegan, so I ordered off the regular menu. I ordered the Pad Thai with tofu and with out egg. After eating part of my meal, I noticed that I was chewing on small piece of chicken. Looking through my plate more, I noticed that there were a lot of small chicken pieces buried in the noodles. I suspect that they just took the premade lunch item, removed the large pieces of chicken and egg and added the tofu.

Ish!!! to say the least.

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I ate here once a long time ago - but I remember wondering what all the fuss was about. Lots of my friends has said it was fantastic, but I wasn't impressed. I don't remember what I ordered, but I do remember seeing a guy at a table near ours get something served to him in a pineapple 'shell/skin' bowl and thinking "I'll have to get that next time".

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Mmmm yummy! Good curries- especially the Masmon Curry. They will also make the fried rice dishes & Padh Thai without egg if you ask.

Image for Dave Rolsky

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In my original review, I said that this was the best Thai in the Twin Cities, but I think that designation now belongs to True Thai. Most Thai food in the area seems to be too oily and too sweet. Royal Orchid has neither problem, and instead the food is rich without being overpowering, and full of flavors and spices. However, the quality of the food is not always consistent, and some visits have been better than others.

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Great food and service. They are very accomodating to vegans!

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