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“A once in a life time!!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Opal Thai - MOVED

Opal Thai
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$30
Cuisines: Thai
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Cheap Eats, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Child-friendly, Kids
Dining options: Lunch, After-hours, Dinner, Cash Only, Free Off-Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: Full service BYOB
Niagara Falls, Canada
Level Contributor
54 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“A once in a life time!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2014 via mobile

We had seen opal Thai advertised on television on the food network. We spent three weeks in Hawaii and one of those weeks was in Oahu. Even with the vast variety of restaurants available, we visited opal Thai three times. The food was outstanding. Probably some of the best food that I have ever. The garlic chicken wings are something of another universe!!!

The dining experience can be perceived as a little bit odd. As we had heard from other travelers, Opal the chef owner, comes to greet you and ask you if you have ever eaten Thai food before. We responded that we have tried Thai food, traditional pad Thai etc. and he proceeded to tell us that we had not truly experienced Thai food. I think some patrons may have been taken back by his approach, however my husband and I had been aware that this is the way he conducts his business and we were ready to experience it.
Opal asked us what we like and what we dislike, he went to a long list of yes or no questions for example do you like cilantro (we chose yes),and do you like lime, etc. etc.
I was nervous at first, partially because we didn't know what we were ordering, what we were going to receive, if we were going to like it, or if the price is going to be reasonable.

I can honestly say, Opal had given us the best meal I have ever had.
It is truly an experience. If you go into the restaurant with the specific dish in mind, be prepared not to be allowed to order it. If you don't like that , I suggest you do not visit.

My best suggestion for any traveler is to go with an open mind and empty stomach...and be prepared to be wowed.
All I can say is this restaurant is excellent, and we cannot wait to return.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Peanutsmom742
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

499 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    397
    59
    15
    6
    22
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Little Rock, AR
Level Contributor
112 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“Good food & interesting owner”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2014

The food here is great--be prepared to wait to get in. It's tiny & popular. The owner is super friendly & comes by to "interview" you about your likes & dislikes. He then sends dishes out for you that he thinks you'll like. He was right for all 3 of us in my family.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Lee4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
USA
Level Contributor
27 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Eye of the Thai-Grr”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2014

After reading the reviews of Opal Thai before visiting O'ahu, I was psyched to be able to try it out. What sounds more unique than an owner who just 'orders for you' and provides you your own unique culinary experience?

First, the experience: We showed up right when the doors opened because we heard it gets busy quickly. This turned out to be true, so we were glad to not have to wait any longer! After sitting down and getting our menus, my wife and I began to take a look at them: standard Thai fare for most American restaurants. Maybe I should have expected as much, but I was hoping the menus would've at least shown a little more variety considering Opal is a Bangkok native. Nevertheless, we were looking forward to hearing what Opal recommended, or rather...brought us out, because that was what we were really looking forward to.

As soon as he came over he took our menus, introduced himself, asked where we were from, and asked us to each name a few Thai dishes. We complied, and then answered a few follow-up questions regarding what flavors we liked and didn't like as well as our tolerance for spice. He promised to whip something up and bring it out for us.

The food: The chicken wings he brought out were pretty good, but didn't seem very special when we noticed half of the restaurant had the exact same appetizer. The main dishes he gave us were a yellow curry and pad kee mao (drunken noodles). My curry was good, but didn't have much chicken in it, and wasn't nearly as spicy as I told him I liked (oh well). My wife's noodles were spiced a little better, but still not where we requested. Neither dish, including the appetizer, was particularly unique despite what we hoped for, nor did they come close to exceeding any other Thai food we've ever had. I admit that I may be judging the food harder here than I would elsewhere, but the lack of variety, lack of chicken, and the hit-and-miss spice levels unfortunately do not make this a 4 or 5 star restaurant to me. At least the flavors were good, though.

The reflection: My wife and I left the restaurant pretty disappointed considering what we were expecting going in. We had hoped for a more unique dining experience with the outstanding food that others have talked about, but were met with pretty standard Americanized Thai food. I'm sure I'll catch flak for this, but I'm thinking that handful of the highly rated reviews are from people who haven't eaten authentic Thai food.

I think the most disappointing part of the experience is what I would consider the whole "gimmick" of Opal ordering for you. By ordering for you, the chef can essentially keep making the same foods over and over, and only slightly change spices and seasonings for individual dishes. The menu isn't very large to begin with, and considering the number of similar dishes I saw coming out of the back, I'm not quite convinced they're even making half of them.

What I will say is that this kind of restaurant is perfect for people who haven't had Thai food, or are not comfortable going to a more authentic restaurant. Opal's food is not going to offend even the most inexperienced palate, so this might be the right place to come if you fall into this category (and there's nothing to be ashamed of if you do!).

If you've had more authentic Thai before, I would recommend looking elsewhere, because your mouth or heart will not be won over here. The right restaurant for one is not always the right restaurant for another-- like all food, good Thai is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Theo P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florence, South Carolina
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Get a new face to greet people!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014 via mobile

Could anyone be ruder than the lady taking orders at the register? This reminded me of the "no soup for you" episode of Seinfeld. Food was okay, place was indeed a nasty dive. Disappointing, but she basically ruined it from the get go. Saw her rudeness with everyone else--no smiling to anyone...NO customer service skills.

Helpful?
4 Thank Deb H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ohio
Level Contributor
183 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 218 helpful votes
“The Most Uncomforable Meal on Our Trip”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2014

The food was good. Just the right amount of garlic was added to my noodles and my husband's curry, while a little runny, was tasty. The server became rude after a misunderstanding on his part. I suggest speaking loudly in an already loud, small space. Honestly, I couldn't wait to leave. The food is good, but there are other places in town.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank NPS_Tumbleweeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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