Updated: Nov 21, 2018
A Look Inside Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft, Atlanta, GA
It’s date night with my hubby Dwayne. This weekend, we are looking forward to a dining experience that includes the warm ambiance of a faraway land, with an authentic cultural flare and some spectacular cuisine. I know just the place, Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft, located in the heart of Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood of Buckhead of course!
Fast becoming an Atlanta tradition, Tuk Tuk opened in 2010. The restaurant has been featured in countless magazines including the Atlantan, Atlanta Magazine, and Zagat. It was recently named one of the Top Thai Restaurants in the United States by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
Here you’ll find the latest flavors and creations of the best of Thai Cuisine. Deliciously light and healthy, Thai food is fragrantly packed with vegetables. Some considered it to be the best type of food cuisine.
I’ve eaten at several Thai restaurants around Atlanta. One thing is consistent, no two dishes taste the same. This is because chefs prepare them differently. If you are new to Thai food it would be good to try various places until you find one you like. Tuk Tuk encourages diners to create their own taste variation by offering different sauces to compliment the meal. Their selection of authentic Thai spice infused sauces and curries are among the best I've tried.
Our visit to this distant land in the middle of city begins. My breath is taken away by a large luxurious dining room that awaits. It is encircled by an outdoor patio that boasts amazing views of the midtown/downtown skylines.
Almost immediately, I am lulled by the intoxicating aroma of unique flavors and spices that seem to scream Thailand. I look in amazement at wait staffers rushing past carrying the most visually appealing dishes in tapas style, as well as larger entrees that showcase gourmet Thai Street Food.
Owner/Chef DeeDee Niyomkul, daughter of Charlie & Nan Niyomkul, (Creators of Nan’s Thai & Tamarind Seed) calls upon original recipes used by her mother and grandmother, an original street food vendor in Bangkok, to enchant local diners like me.
Chef DeeDee says the Ba-mee moo Dang is one of her favorite dishes. “As a kid going to Thailand, eating on the streets was the first thing we did when we would land there. The dish features marinated BBQ pork then laid over egg noodles seasoned with fried garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar topped with crushed peanuts, chilies, bean sprouts, scallions and cilantro. It’s a nice balance between spicy, sweet, sour and salty, and crispiness from the vegetables. It’s just a flavorful dish.”
Our server Thanh, who was amazing, offered a few suggestions such as their seasonal feature, seared scallops trailing alongside a bed of pumpkin fried rice swimming in a bed of warm pumpkin curry.
After we chatted about more of the features for the day, she considered my taste mood, sweet and sour, anything chicken. "You might consider the Kai Yang," she says. I see on the menu that this dish comes with grilled marinated chicken and it is served with papaya salad, sticky rice, and three dipping sauces: tamarind sweet chili, mushroom soy, and chili lime. "Oh that sounds good!" My hubby nods in agreement as he orders the Pla Tod, a whole fried red snapper that also comes with chili lime sauce and has its own green mango salad.
We wait patiently, while enjoying the Tom Kha Kai, coconut soup, my favorite Thai dish. This warm and cozy coconut galangal soup with zesty Asian mushrooms, cabbage, and tiny bits of fresh scallion pairs well with our appetizer, the Thai Samosa, crispy vegetable filled rice paper pockets with sweet chili sauce.
I ease back in my chair admiring the beauty of authentic Thailand inspired décor all around me. The openness of the elevated loft speaks modern style with an upscale appeal.
Thanh makes her way back over with our drinks for the evening. Again, she has suggested excellent choices for us. The Tuk Tuk Martini for Hubby, and a Mango Mai Tai for me. I can get lost in the fun fruitiness of this drink. The cool and refreshing swirl of mango rum, orange liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine combine in harmony to chase down the remainder of the creamy Tom Kha Kai. This stuff belongs in a bottle at my house. I don't normally mix drinks, but I simply could not resist taking a sip of my husband's martini. The raspberry and pomegranate vodkas with Tuk Tuk's special blend of homemade sour mix and cranberry was a sweet surprise to both of us. With all these flavors now dancing around in my mouth, I could only imagine the song the entrées will soon sing.
In no time, my husband was enjoying his red snapper while I dwelled happily in the subtleness of my poultry, taking my time to eat it slowly so I could fully enjoy every flavorful bite. The marinated chicken did not disappoint. Cooked to perfection, it was deliciously tender and extremely well seasoned. The manager, who had been floating around the room was reminiscent the perfect hostess at a dinner party. She takes a moment to visit with us. We enjoy her company as she tells us the story of the how "Took Took" got its name.
"Americans say Tuk Tuk, but it is actually pronounced Took Took, named after the motorbike taxis in Thailand." She then shares souvenir models of the cool little scooter with us, "just something to remember us by," she says.
Newcomers to Atlanta, visitors and locals alike rave about the food, hospitality and authenticity of this jewel in the middle of the city. The Tuk Tuk dining experience will definitely be a night to remember for the Winrows. We look forward to enjoying our next Thai experience at Tuk Tuk very soon.
A few things to note: reservations are encouraged, patio seating is available when weather permits, parking is complimentary and all major credit cards are accepted.
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