Phone: 02-274-4609, 02-274-4156
Jantana, 852-854 Pracha Uthit Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours:Tue-Sun 10am-10pm
Located in a shophouse, Jantana’s ambience isn’t much: you’ve got your plastic chairs, fluorescent lights and a TV playing lakorn. But for over 30 years, in-the-know Bangkokians have been coming here for their fix of homey, everyday food—something which may sound incredibly mundane, but is actually becoming increasingly rare (when done well). Jantana particularly impresses with its pad pak (stir-fried vegetables). The pad pak bung (stir-fried water morning glory, B90), for one, is fresh and crispy. The stir-fried asparagus with shrimps and mushrooms (B150) is equally delicious, with an impeccable texture. (And those big plump shrimps are a steal at this price.) The fast, precise cooking traps the vegetables’ aroma inside the greens, instead of frying them to death. But it’s also the sacred five-flavor balance that Jantana gets just right. The pla krapong rad prik (deep fried sea bass topped with dipping sauce, B150) is sour, salty and sweet in just the right amounts. The little slices of shallot, onion and chili are so good you’ll be very tempted to lick your plate clean. And finally, they use good produce. We mentioned the shrimps, but you should also try the nuea pad kee mao (stir-fried beef with basil and pepper, B150). It is a far cry from the typical kee mao dishes elsewhere. The beef is juicy, tender and not at all chewy while the flavor is full-on without being overly salty. There is the occasional misfire, of course. On our last visit, the crabmeat in the poo pad prik (stir-fried crabmeat with chili peppers, B180) was quite dry, chewy and flavorless even if the sauce was well executed. But overall, Jantana manages to create very fresh, tasty dishes without dumping a ton of spice or salt into its food. It’s not pretty but it’s cheap; and it’s definitely the kind of place you’ll want to revisit again and again.