14 South San Francisco Street
check out the lunch menu (as of February 5, 2010) at the bottom of this story
Dara Thai is a popular Flagstaff Asian eatery. It has a pleasant atmosphere with colorfully painted walls, some adorned with murals and old photos.
On street parking can be difficult to find in front of the building on busy San Francisco but you can park around the corner. Though walking on the snow and ice covered sidewalks on the side streets can be a challenge.
While many people have recommended trying Dara I only recently went their for lunch, where you seat yourself and wait for service. We waited at least five minutes for our waitress to come bring us menus and it wasn't busy at all.
Their lunch specials are fairly priced and in line with other Thai food in town and come with soup or salad.
The cucumber chicken soup is quite different. It's chicken broth infused with cucumber plus big chunks of chicken and cucumbers. It's a little salty but pretty good tasting. I'd opt for it over the salad, which is a nice size but the dressing is really peanuty.
I came to Dara with a Thai food virgin. He's been hesitant to try Thai food as he only recently began to enjoy Chinese food. (What can I say he's from the Midwest.) He went with simple on this visit - sweet and sour pork. He compared his experience with the Chinese food cousin of sweet and sour - they practically tasted the same he said only this was a touch more rich in flavor and the breading was light and crispy. I found the sauce very sweet with an exotic touch compared to Chinese sweet and sour pork. Though I am not a big fan of sweet and sour, Chinese or Thai. There's many other better things to be found in both food varieties.
I ordered my standard for trying a new Thai restaurant: Chicken Pad Thai. It was full of rich flavors. The chicken moist, tender and was imbued with the spices not just tossed in with the noodles. I got the medium spiciness and my lips felt warm for quite a bit afterward. But there wasn't any burn while eating it. Just a nice amount of flavor. It was quite tasty and I was full and satisfied until dinner time.
All in all, I found Dara Thai much better than Pato Thai, which is just down the street. But I still think Swaddee Thai is the best Thai in town.