Char's displays one of the finest pieces of hokey art found in a local restaurant: One wall features a traditional Thai temple melded with an effervescent red-rock Arizona landscape. Luckily, the menu at this establishment is just as lively as the glowing geographic fusion. More than 80 menu items exist, from tom yum gai and pad thai galore, to a slew of seafood offerings, including mussels, squid and shrimp. The kitchen is skilled in curry and garlic, so don't be a dork and pass on these dishes, whether those ingredients are mixed with pork, chicken, beef or a pile of veggies. The super creamy and nutty seafood Panang rivals any Thai dish in town. With jolly service and affordable meals, Char's tops the leaderboard.
2. Bangkok Café, 2511 E. Speedway Blvd., 323-6555, bangkokcafe.net
3. Vila Thai Cuisine, 972 E. University Blvd., 393-3489, vilathai.com