As soon as you walk in Char's, you can smell the sweet, spicy aroma that differentiates Thai cooking from Chinese. Char's unpretentious, modest dining room is OK, but the real tip is the kitchen, where they blend subtle Siamese ingredients as fast and skillfully as a three-card monte table. Many of the dishes can be prepared either vegetarian or with your choice of beef, pork or chicken. Befitting traditional Thai cuisine, shrimp dishes abound. There's also a smattering of Chinese dishes for the less adventurous. Be sure to check out any of the panang curry dishes (coconut milk, basil and chili) available in a variety of incarnations. Restauranting runs in the family: The owner is the nephew of the founder of the Phoenix Char restaurants, among the best ethnic eateries to be found in the capital city.
2. Karuna's, 1917 E. Grant Road
3. Thai China Palace, 4853 E. Speedway Blvd., 2744 N. Campbell Ave.