As many times as we have frequented the char-ming Larchmont Boulevard in mid-city Los Angeles, we’ve never stopped in at Chan Dara restaurant. It’s sits modestly on the north side of the boulevard, and expels a modest ivy-covered exterior, cleverly blending into the quaintness of the entire area. We were introduced to Chan Dara by a friend who suggested we meet him for their daily Happy Hour, as he had been several times before and was extremely pleased with what he discovered. (Thanks for the recommendation, Gene!) We did just that and soon realized what he had been raving about. We also couldn’t figure out how we ever missed this great eatery!
Chan Dara’s Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday from 5-7PM, while on Saturdays and Sundays it lasts from 5-6 PM, specifically in the bar area. You can elect to take a seat at the bar, or one of several cozy corner seating areas or seats along the windows with colorful cushions. Simple and unobtrusive, the bar conveys elements of ease and a very casual ambiance.
Just outside large windows, you’ll see the Chan Dara patio complete with flowing fountains, umbrellas shielding their tables and visitors from the sun, and in the evenings when darkness prevails, romantic lighting for an intimate dinner. Concealed from the sidewalk by an ivy-cloaked sur-rounding wall, the patio is a great place for non-Happy Hour dining.
Chan Dara’s Happy Hour menu offers outrageous bargains on their already low-priced appetizers and cocktails. Try 50% off everything on their Happy Hour menu…drinks AND appetizers! Though not a full bar like it’s sister restaurant on West Pico Boulevard, the Larchmont Boulevard Chan Dara offers…wait for it….TWENTY-THREE COCKTAILS utilizing the popular Soju substitute. In addition to those concoctions, there are TWENTY-TWO beer selections, five wine choices and sake.
A few of those Soju-laden martinis include the following: (Clockwise from top left) the Lychee Martini, the Raspberry Martini, the Mango Martini and the Raspberry Lemondrop Martini.
But the cocktails at Chan Dara are only half of the fun at this quaint neighborhood venue. A list of delightful freshly-prepared appetizers will delight your senses and amaze your visual perception with the presentation alone! Below are some of the incredibly delicious items at 50% off the already low Happy Hour menu that we have tried:
The Saigon Spring Rolls (above) wrapped in delicate chilled rice sheets are filled with glass noodles, bean sprouts, scallions and fresh large shrimp. Served with Chan Dara’s sweet and sour tamarind sauce, it was the perfect starter. Below, the Mixed Green Salad is a great simple salad bursting with flavor. A peanut dressing, pictured here, or an option of a sesame vinaigrette can be ordered with this dish. We favor the peanut dressing!
The Beef Tenderloin Satay (sold in four or six skewers) are amazing. Marinated and grilled on wooden skewers, the tender flavorful beef is complimented with peanut sauce and a sweet cucumber salsa (above). Below, thinly sliced calamari is sauteed in a garlic wine sauce and masako is a unique treat. If the sauce alone was offered as a broth selection on the menu, I would order it every time we visit it’s so savory!
The Chicken Satay is also marinated on wooden skewers (above), and is served with peanut sauce and a cucumber salsa like the Beef Tenderloin Satay. Tender and mouthwatering, the Chicken Satay is another wonderful offering on the menu. Below, the Nam, lean ground pork seasoned with chili, lime juice, cilantro, onion, ginger and cashew nuts is a conglo-meration of deliciousness in one dish! I loved how the fresh cilantro and fresh lime on top enhanced the essence of the entire dish.
INSIDER’S TIP: The Nam is prepared “spicy”, however, you may request it to be cooked “mild” or “non-spicy”. We chose “mild”, and it was still too spicy for us both! (However, I did take the rest of it home with me, and finished it later in the evening despite the heat!)
Chan Dara on Larchmont is a new favorite of ours for great Thai cuisine. The establishment is simple, cozy and casual, while the portions are large and presentations of their cuisine are a sight to behold.
ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Casual-cozy with a patio that is ideal for the romantic evening dinner or a memorable lunch on the weekends.
FOOD / DRINK: Eye-catching presentation, savory flavors, unique options and superb quality.
LOCATION: Chan Dara is located at 310 Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA 90004.
HOURS: Chan Dara Larchmont is open Monday – Thursday from 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM, Fridays from 11:30 AM – 11:00 PM, Saturdays from 12:30 AM – 11:00 PM, and Sundays from 12:30 AM – 10:00 PM. Happy Hour is available Monday through Friday from 5 PM to 7 PM, and from 5 PM to 6 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Both food and beverage must be purchased in order to receive the 50% off Happy Hour discount in the bar.
SERVICE / STAFF: The staff is attentive and friendly, while the service is quick and reliable.
PRICE / VALUE: Well worth the price for such a value. We were amazed by the overly-reduced prices of the 50% off Happy Hour menu…on TOP of the already-low appetizer items!
CORKAGE FEE: $15 per bottle
CONTACT INFO: Phone: (323) 467-1052, Website: www.chandararestaurants.com
PARKING: Valet parking is available at the front of the restaurant, but we usually just park along Larchmont’s many metered street parking spaces under one of the shady trees.
TOTAL BILL: One visit to Chan Dara, we ordered the Saigon Spring Rolls (normally $8.50), the 6-piece Beef Tenderloin Satay (normally $13.50), a Mixed Green Salad (on the regular menu for $4.95), and we lost track of the martinis and wine we all had because we were entertaining. That bill totaled right under $60, which would have normally been a $120 bill, but everything was 50% off! HOWEVER…recently, my husband and I went back during Happy Hour and had the 4-piece Chicken Satay, the Calamari Chardonnay, the Nam and three cocktails bringing that total to $28.22 (including tax)! For the value of what we got, the filling portions and the rock-bottom pricing during Happy Hour for the quality of the items offered, Chan Dara Larchmont lands as one of SavorHour.com’s top recommendations for Happy Hour!
* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.