for years, silly valley foodies have known krung thai (#1 and #2) to be the virtually uncrivaled king of thai food in the area. some eaters have tried to mention that one chain of thai restaurants (is it house of siam?) as a competitor, but i beg to differ. house of siam has rather mediocre food and high prices. krung thai? it had been the champ for years. however, blue mango is now taking home titles from the local magazines and newspapers' readers' choice awards.
however, now, some new restaurants are fighting hard by introudcing more fusionesque twists and modernizing thai cuisine to make themselves worthy opponents. one of those, i'd like to say is dusita on el camino real, although maybe they aren't as ready to join the battle royale as is blue mango. blue mango seems to have a youthful leadership that's ready to take it to great heights. like other asian restaurants in the area, they're totally demolishing outdated, outmoded stereotypes of what an asian restaurant should be. in the old days, in the old days, americans visited asian restaurants and that they were so adventurous and exotic, eating their mild pad thai. well, heck! it's a different world today. blue mango sometimes has live jazz music, in the manner that the late citronelle contemporary vietnamese restaurant on winchester boulevard did. i make that comparison only to clarify that this restaurant does not have the pretentiousness of a more "upscale" joint like tamarine over in stanfurd territory. an example of the modernization of the food would be the pattaya pad thai, which i describe as a paellaish pad thai. it has a great mix of seafood, similar to what i'd find in a paella. i recommend it. i also enjoyed the basil & chili lamb; although one must be a fan of lamb to enjoy this.
the restaurant now offers some cool desserts. i don't know exactly how desserts became the grand feature that they are today at southeast asian restaurants. the restaurant also serves soju cocktails, which have become quite chic in the local asian scene over the past decade or so. in case you're totally out of the loop and only drink pabst blue ribbon or something, soju is a korean potato/grain spirit, described as being like vodka. they use soju from han soju, which is a little unique as it's a company out of l.a., whereas pretty much all other soju company's i know are korean companies.
anyway, visit blue mango and have a good time. the service is pretty good, the atmosphere is modern, not super.fancy but nice.