Having lived in Bangkok for two years as a boy, being married to a Thai woman who works in Thai restaurants and having been back to Thailand several times, I consider myself to be highly knowledgeable about Thai food and Thai culture.
This past Sunday my wife and I were in the area with Thai visitors so we stopped at Panya for lunch. This was only my second time to the restaurant as we live over 100 miles away.
The Thai culture in this restaurant is very authentic with Thai waitresses in traditional Thai dresses serving the meals. Thailand is known as the "Land of Smiles" because of the happy smiles on the faces of the people. The wait staff here is no exception. Service was prompt, very friendly and food was served piping hot. Our waitress saw me snapping pictures and happily asked me if I would like her to take a picture of the group. Very nice. Decorations include the usual Buddha statues as well as a golden model of a Thai Royal Barge. Nice decorations that make one feel as if they are in a Thai place in Bangkok.
In America, we become very blase when restaurants claim to be authentic because of the usual bland so-called Mexican food and others that are cooked to American tastes and lose their traditional flavors. Panya is the exception to that rule. I had Seafood Pad Thai and it was amazing; pieces of crab, squid, etc on top of the sweetest/freshest Pad Thai I have ever had. People at our table ordered items I have never seen in a Thai restaurant in the USA; fried oysters that are actually cooked flat (not like in our traditional Po-Boy sandwiches) with a nice sweet sauce for dipping comes immediately to mind.
Do not let the outside of this restaurant fool you. Panya sits in a small non-descript strip mall just a couple of miles off of I-95. There is nothing about the exterior to garner your attention anymore than any other non-descript place in the area.
This is an amazing restaurant for those looking for traditional Thai cuisine in a small restaurant with a Thai atmosphere.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!!!
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