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Vientiane Palace Restaurant - 10 Reviews - 151 W Gorham St, Madison, WI - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (608) 255-2848

Vientiane Palace Restaurant

151 W Gorham St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-2848
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Vientiane Palace Restaurant - Madison, WI


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The flavors are great; the ingredients are fresh; and if you like spicy food, order it Thai hot. But get plenty of water with it. Portions are great, especially for the price.


First of all, the spiciness of the food really suits my palate. The pad thai is excellent, the curry squash leaves my mouth watering and the shrimp-paste fried rice (if you are no...

New Waitstaff Adds to Already Amazing Establishment 5/3/2008

I tended to agree with some of these other reviews, in saying that the food is phenomenal, though the waitstaff (the managers) had poor people skills (due mostly to their lack of English), but now they have hired quite good waitresses that are very friendly and courteous. As for the atmosphere, yes it is somewhat 'dingy', and quite corny, but satisfying and comfortable. I have been many places and have eated a lot of food. Let me assure you: Vientiane will continue to rank in my top 5 restaurants in the world. If you are debating, definitely go! more

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My favorite. 4/8/2006

Every time I'm back in Madison I make sure to stop at Vientiane Palace. The food is just great and totally reasonably priced for the serving size. I almost always opt for the Pad Thai because they know how to make it just right and just the right amount of spice. They do like to get spicy so make sure you know what you're in for and if you're not a spice freak, err on the side of less rather than more. I usually get take out here because they don't have the best service and I usually need a lot of water and they're not always on top of that. The food is worth the bad service, though. more

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Some of the Best Asian Food in Madison 3/23/2006

Vientiane Palace does not do fancy. They don't do sycophantic. They just make some of the most delicious Asian food in Madison with little or no fanfare...and very affordable prices to match. I eat one meal out nearly every day and I find myself enjoying Vientiane Palace weekly. I think of it as Lao-Thai comfort food. It's centrally located just off State Street and can accommodate everything from the wimpy to the daring palate. Each entrée can be ordered with between one and four stars which denote spiciness/heat. Now pay attention to the following because it is crucial: one star is mild, two stars is pretty spicy by Wisconsin standards, three stars is very spicy and four stars is HOT, very, very hot. If you're trying to impress your date, get up and go to the bathroom prior to ordering and tell your waitress that when you say, "Four stars, please," that you really mean two. Vientiane Palace is no place for heroics. I have brought many friends visiting from out of town and I spend several months each year in California and none of us have found anywhere with a similar cuisine. I have one friend who, like me, grew up in town and ended up on the West Coast and one of the first meals he has upon returning to visit his folks is always at Vientiane Palace. The combination of cooking oils and seasonings seem unique, somehow. My personal Vientiane Palace favorites include the Curried Squash (choose a meat or tofu ingredient), Vientiane Fried Rice (I order it with two stars and with extra chicken), the Spring Rolls (the dipping sauce is sweet and spicy and peanuty and delicious), and Noddles with Soy Sauce and broccoli (and, for me, with extra beef.) On the beverage side, I can recommend their Thai Iced Tea or Coffee and your personal choice from their nice collection of bottled Asian, European and local beers. The only dish I have not enjoyed at Vientiane Palace was the Pad Thai. It wasn't terrible, but what with Thai-only restaurants being a dime-a-dozen, there are bound to be better examples of it somewhere else in town. Now, let's address the service. As a regular who has taken the time to get to know the proprietors and employees, many of whom are from Laos, I am not a totally impartial or objective source. However, based on my observations, I think many people used to the saccharin Minnesota-nice instant familiarity of today's retail and hospitality industries might go to a place like Vientiane Palace and mistaken the businesslike demeanor of hard-working former refugees for gruffness. I guess that's a fair impression, but I recommend people don't let that get in the way of their enjoyment of the very unique, delicious food, at good prices and be open to getting to know the staff better...over repeat visits. I can also recommend carry-out. Vientiane Palace's food seems to travel better than most Asian food, but make sure to ask for a plastic bag to guard against leakage. One note: if you're into more rarefied, possibly lighter Lao-Thai fare, you can try Lao Laan-Xang on Williamson or Atwood. I prefer Vientiane Palace-style Lao-Thai. I like food that meets me more than halfway. more

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Cheap and Tasty 8/21/2005

Looking for tasty vietnamese cuisine? Vientiane Palace Restaurant has got what you need. The food is always excellent; however, the service is not. Best suited for take-out, if you dine in the restaurant, occasionally the wait will be long, and your food will be cold. Despite the service, the food is most definitely worth it. more

Spicy food 8/13/2005

This is a Laotian/Thai restaurant nearby State Street. The food are pretty OK, their "very spicy" menus are pretty blazing hot. However, the ladies who serve us are pretty ignorant and not so customer friendly. Bad customer service is all I can say. That spoiled my night out with my friends from Illinois. The ladies seem to be the managers/owners, but the way the put the dishes onto our tables was unacceptable. Can't they treat their customers better? Food wise, it's a good choice if you like spicy foods. more

Thai-Laotian cuisine 8/12/2005

First of all, the spiciness of the food really suits my palate. The pad thai is excellent, the curry squash leaves my mouth watering and the shrimp-paste fried rice (if you are not allergic to shrimp and don't mind the exotic smell) is so scrumptious! Despite all that good food, the place is somewhat of a let-down. It's dark and dingy inside, and the ladies (who seem to be management) who often wait on tables on days when they don't have waiters, are grumpy looking. Most vexing of all, one of them likes to impose service fee (tip) quietly just in case her customers are bad tippers. I often double-tipped because of this. When I questioned the most obvious woman to do this about the service charge (sometimes you can include the tip automatically when you are a party of 6, not when you are a party of 2, unless stated in the menu), she put the blame on the other woman who happened to be in the kitchen. I still go to this place because I think the food is great, but just be wary. more
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