Best New Restaurants 2023: Hanuman Thai Eatery Elevates Typical Thai Cuisine

Hanuman promises modernized Thai comfort food, while paying respect to authentic flavors.

Hanuman Thai Eatery

1835 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, 949-519-0775

Hanuman’s new location arrived like a warm embrace during winter. A spinoff of the original tucked in an obscure center 2 miles north, this site boasts easier access. Attention to culinary details and rigorous hospitality push Hanuman clicks above typical Thai joints. Also addictive—exclusive creations by chef Andrew Singh, say grilled lamb chops and ribbons of snow peas and lemongrass in sweet chile glaze. Try the gentrified street food dish inspired by owner Jenny Preechatiwong’s hometown of Hat Yai, Thailand. Gai Todd Hat Yai features sublime fried chicken, sticky rice, secret sauce, and fried shallots. Each curry is richly distinct, be it mild yellow karee, nutty red panang, herby sweet green, or savory-sweet Massaman. Spicy basil wok-fried chicken or pork packs a sufficient punch. For noodles that you’ll rave about to friends, order khao soi, a big bowl of rich broth, soft egg noodles, plus a drumstick that collapses off the bone, all garnished with a showy fan of crispy noodles. Creamy-tart tom yum koong has a tabletop heater to stay warm to the last drop. Cold Myanmar lager gets a chilled glass. Engaging servers are speedy and solicitous, with spot-on recommendations and help with packing your leftovers. Odds are, folks outside are waiting for your table.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

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