No longer considered the bad neighborhood of Amsterdam, the Red Light District is filled with amazing treasures like Lana-Thai, on the Warmoesstraat. Located just a few minutes walk from Central Station, it's now a pleasure to stroll through the narrow twisting alleyways which have been recently redone with all-new brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets. The lampposts in the area are all fixed up and brightly lit, and the throngs of happy tourists wandering around sure make this an interesting area to explore, for tourists and old-timers alike.
To celebrate a special occasion my friend and I sought out some authentic Thai food, spicy enough to burn a lingering summer cold right out of me. I wasn't disappointed at all.
Entering Lana-Thai, you pass through a dining room with low tables and cushions, decorated in a rather decadent Oriental theme, and extravagantly comfortable-looking; although I prefer a chair with a back! In the restaurant’s mid-section there is a bar and service area, with several altars to Buddha, etc. Stairs lead below to a dining room, but the most-used room seems to be the dining area in the back, which opens up onto Amsterdam’s inner harbor, with a great view of the canal boats loading and unloading, and the Damrak, which leads from Central Station to the Dam Square.
The theme is again, opulent Oriental, with beautiful works of art, comfy chairs, and tables set with crystal and candles. My companion was bemused by the dozens of topless Thai beauties in the paintings on the wall. No doubt an immodest concession to the notorious activities of the Red Light District or perhaps Bangkok?
The menu is to say the least, quite extensive and filled with not just the usual Pad Thai and Red Curries. After going over the menu for what seemed like hours, we finally decided upon appetizers. I chose Kay Haw Baiteau (f 13.75), morsels of chicken cooked in bamboo leaves and presented on a plate of salad with vegetables cut into a delightfully decorative arrangement. After unwrapping the chicken, and dipping it into the spicy, sweet and salty sauce and popping it into my mouth I knew I was in Thai food heaven. We also ordered Yam Woon Sen (f 17.95), an amazing salad both warm and cold, with glass noodles, vegetables and Prawns. Absolutely delightful.
The soup was a difficult decision, with so many offerings, at what seemed to be high prices for small bowls of soup (ranging from f17 to f19 a bowl). We decided on the Potek (f 19.25), which was a great choice, being a mélange of seafood including Prawns, Scallops, and fish – in the best broth I’ve ever had – spicy to the max and flavored intensely with those traditional Thai offerings of galanga, lemon grass and fresh coriander leaves. When the top of my head starts sweating, I know it’s almost hot enough for a Thai person.
After these few tastes we were in awe, and wondering how they could top the appetizers and soup. I can’t remember how many times we’ve gone to a new place, had a great appetizer and mediocre soup followed by a dreadful main course! So imagine my surprise when the main course turned out to be even better than what we’d had so far!
I had ordered the Pla Saam Rod (f 37.75), and was amazed at the whole fried fish presented on a platter with decorative veggies, not quite swimming, but generously covered with another wonderful Thai sauce. My friend had the Gaeng Ped Koong (f 45.00), large Prawns in a Panang-style coconut-milk sauce curry with an assortment of Thai vegetables. A large bowl of freshly made jasmine rice filled the table with food. And what a feast it was!
The house red wine was a great accompaniment to the food (a carafe was f 17.50). However, charging f 3.50 apiece for glasses of tap water and putting it on the bill as Spa Rood is a disappointment. If you don’t smoke, be sure to tell the waitress to seat you in the section away from the smokers, or at one of the windows on the canal side for fresh air. A special toast to the Australian blokes who kindly put out their cigarettes after noticing our discomfort and dismay as well as inability to taste the delicious food! Would Dutch diners have favored us so?
Lana-Thai is a delightful restaurant, with good service and excellent food. A bit higher-priced than some others, but not unreasonable considering the quality of the food. And that’s the bottom line, excellent food and a wonderfully exotic ambiance.
Address: City: Amsterdam Postcode: Phone: Fax: Added: August 16th 2001 Reviewer: Martin Trip Score: Hits: 7005 Language:
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-01-06 17:10:45 My Score: Just got back from Amsterdam yesterday, while there, we went to Lana Thai (had not been there in two years). WTF happened to this place? It used to be wicked expensive, but was worth it as the food was incredible. Now it was worse than any off-the-street noodle place, and the prices actually went down. Pretty strange. In any case, AVOID THIS PLACE LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!!!! IT SUCKS
Posted by Anonymous on 2005-11-08 21:21:51 My Score: wonderfull place great romantic ambiance.
Posted by Anonymous on 2005-06-19 16:29:58 My Score: have tried a lot of the thai in amsterdam but think this might be the best overall
Posted by I'm from the hood homie on 2005-05-17 18:37:51 My Score: DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT GO THERE!!! IT REALLY STINKS AND YOU HAVE TO SIT NEXT TO PEOPLE WHO SMOKE. YOU MR. MANAGER DUDE, CLOSE THE PLACE DOWN. YOU MIGHT AS WELL TURN IT INTO A PILE OF RUBBLE. YOU HEAR ME HOMIE? YOU GOTTA DO IT. RIGHT NOW. COME ON, STOP STARRING AT THIS COMMENT AND GO ORDER A WRECKING BALL OR SOMETHING.
Posted by Anonymous on 2004-06-04 12:57:06 My Score: Ideal for any ocassion, really nice place.
Posted by vosvuur on 2003-07-25 10:09:09 My Score: Wonderful restaurant...great atmoshpere... hot hot hot food.
Im no expert on thai but the food was delicious and well presented. With spice and flavor to die for. Great relaxed ambiance ... went early in the evening though so that could have had something to do with it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2003-07-19 18:32:51 My Score:
Posted by Anonymous on 2003-07-19 16:56:30 My Score: DONT GO THERE! waste of money.
Posted by Anonymous on 2003-07-19 16:55:41 My Score: smokers/non smokers arent seprated, couple of time sat there enjoying food and some bastard next to u lighten up a sigaret.
staff expect a hefty tip/hefty order... they are kind of arrogant too.
food is pretty good, but quality differs from day to day....
Posted by Anonymous on 2003-06-02 11:16:43 My Score: EXPEnsive but food is yummy yummy..... mmm,
Posted by kooky on 2003-05-13 18:19:03 My Score: the larb kay dish is very tasty
Posted by master on 2003-05-13 09:24:09 My Score: i go there every month 2 times cse its so goood
Posted by Anita on 2003-05-13 07:10:26 My Score: salad is lekka lekka lekkaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Posted by Anonymous on 2002-10-29 05:14:57 My Score:
Posted by Anonymous on 2002-05-03 04:46:22 My Score: food's terrible. i will never go there anymore. the worst tom yum i ever eat. taste like soya sauce. i wonder that's tom yum or ketchup. sea food salad also terrible. no lemon grass in holland ?
i will never recommend that restaurant to anybody ! very expensive and food are not good.