All Smiles At Thai Elephant
August 29, 2016 by Audrey Johnson
The SoWal crew loves local restaurants. So when a new one opens, we’re on it. Thai Elephant is no exception. Owner Pok Lafargue recently moved her Miramar Beach restaurant into the heart of Santa Rosa Beach to the delight of loyal customers on Scenic 30A.
After noticing giant speakers, an amp and a mic stored in the corner under the flat screen TV, photographer Molly and I had to ask, “Do y’all do karaoke here?” Our server Kim smiled a gentle smile. “Thai only…after work,” she said.
Bummed as we were at the news, we couldn’t help but notice that Thai Elephant captures the unpretentious magic of the Land of Smiles. And smile is exactly what you’ll do after a meal in Pok’s homey restaurant.
Thai Elephant is all about family style dining; that’s why the portions are huge. Dining with friends and family is always more fun, especially when you get to taste everything on the table.
If you ever skip appetizers, don’t make that mistake at Thai Elephant. Crisp Fresh Rolls are light and perfect for a hot summer day at the beach. And Tea Rose Dumplings, ground pork marinated with water chestnut wrapped in wonton skin, disappear quickly.
During the winter, I practically have Tom Kha Gai running through my veins. The warm chicken coconut soup is a delicious cure for all that ails you. And Thai Beef Salad is a spicy go-to that cools as it burns. Vegetarian options, rice and noodle dishes, and traditional stir fry combinations round out the menu. But if you’re looking for a culinary adventure, you may want to try something a little out of the norm.
Thai Elephant has Chef’s Specials that give nods to influences near and far. For a taste of surf, Snapper Lad Prik comes on a bed of Thai style fried rice and is served with fried shrimp. A unique take on rich flavor comes in the form of Roasted Duck with red curry, peppers, bamboo and Thai basil.
Sweet rice and mango makes for a delightful after dinner treat. And Thai Elephant serves traditional beverages to complete your experience, like Singha beer and sweet and creamy Thai Iced Tea.
Elephant tapestries and old photographs and trinkets from Thailand ground you in the restaurant’s heritage, while the excellent service and laid back atmosphere make you feel right at home.
As we passed our fortune cookies around after our meal, I cracked mine open to reveal the advice of the universe inside. It read: “You are always welcome in any gathering.” Still dreaming of karaoke, I left it on the table.
Thai Elephant is located in Santa Rosa Beach in Plaza 98 near the Post Office. The restaurant is open daily and has one of the best lunch specials in SoWal ($8.95!), dinner and take-out. Enjoy old time home cooking in the dining room or call ahead for take-out at 850-660-6711. Follow Thai Elephant on Facebook for updates and reviews.