Jitlada | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Jitlada

photo by Anne Fishbein

We’ll be the first to admit it: A meal at Jitlada isn’t without its hiccups. On a given day, the spicy kidneys poached in coconut curry might take the better part of an hour to land on your table, or the jungle curry with “dragon egg” fish balls you’d finally mustered the courage to order might be inexplicably unavailable. But when a restaurant serves a roster filled with hundreds of rare Southern Thai specialties, each radiating exotic brightness and vibrancy, you tend to grant a little leeway. At least, many of Jitlada’s high-powered Hollywood clientele do, as they hit the East Hollywood hangout for larb and tom kha the way previous generations frequented La Scala for the chopped salad. If anyone wants to point out the mundanity of celebrity palates, retort with a photo of Ryan Gosling next to co-owner Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong, beaming the way someone does when he’s just finished a herb-flecked toasted rice salad spicy enough to make the most well-groomed hair stand on end. —Garrett Snyder