It's no secret: I am a spicy-food addict. My Scoville tolerance ranks probably up to the 50k to 100k (I kid you not). And once in a while, I get an itching to devour some finger-lickin', mouth-airing, table-tapping-hot Thai food. A restaurant that never fails to scratch my itch for such food is The Villa Restaurant. It's been around for as long as I can remember. My brother, who is now 14 years old, had the reception of his "christening" at this restaurant, so I am betting that The Villa is around 15-20 years in existence. They primarily serve Thai, Chinese and Filipino dishes and they really do deliver your money's worth. And they're not even close to the prices you would usually encounter in some franchise restaurant! If you are a big rice eater and you miss the taste of a home-cooked Oriental-ish meal, I reckon that The Villa Restaurant is the next best thing to your momma's cooking!
Since it's very affordable, I prefer bringing my entire family here during special occasions. My uncles are big rice eaters and most of us share a love for spicy Thai food, so it's off to The Villa when I'm "it" for the treat.
Here are some of my favorite Villa meals:
This pretty much tastes like "kilawin". It's blanched squid, dressed in thai vinegar, chillis and coriander. A good start to make your mouth salivate. ;)
Poh Tak Soup (Thai Style) (18SR for the small order and 36SR for the bigger one).
This soup is made of mixed shrimp, squid, cuttle fish and crab. It is moderately sour and has a good kick. Not too spicy and quite tolerable. It's served hot for your pleasure. Tom Yang is also a popular favorite.
Nam Toke (18SR, good for two)
I am pretty sure this is Nam Toke, but just in case I'm wrong, print this picture out and tell the waiter that this is what you want. Ahaha. This is a mix of sliced roasted beef and squid with several hot spices and oyster sauce.
Thai Green Chicken Curry (18SR or 24SR)
This is a soup-y dish made of slices of chicken, string beans, peas, coconut milk and a couple of more vegetables which I can't determine. This is a spicy dish and great with tons of rice! I think there is some curry paste in it, ergo adding the term "curry". For us Pinoys, just think of this as a form of "ginataan".
Officially "Pad Thai Goong Sod".
(18SR, good for two, but for me, one serving is not enough for one person...or maybe that's just me :P)
This is my FAVORITE dish in this joint. I solemnly swear that I can eat at least two servings of this and I will not apologize for it! Hahaha. Why? Because it is SO GOOD! And mind you, this isn't that spicy at all. I just happen to sprinkle red chilli over mine for more flavor. But on it's own, the Pad Thai is delicious! It's stir fried noodles in a special sauce, with bits of shrimp and garnished with ground nuts and fried chicken skin. SUPER YUM-OH. This dish is my one-way to ticket to my 'happy-place'. La-la-la-la-la. :D
Sizzling Mixed Seafood (18SR or 24SR)
This is a tasty choice that's familiar to everyone. It's simply fish, squid and shrimp in oyster sauce with baby corn, sweet onions and peas. It's your typical Chinese order. If you are not too adventurous, this could be a safe bet to munch on.
Joke lang ha! :D It's really "Buttered" Fish, ganyan lang talaga i-pronounce in Kuya Waiter kasi eh.
I've had this dish a couple of times already, though I have to say that sometimes it tastes fresh and sometimes it tastes "malansa". I don't know if it's because of the cooking or they just didn't get the fish fresh from the market. But when it's good, it IS good. What makes the Buttered Fish more delectable is the shredded green mangoes that comes along with it. The price for it varies depending on the size of whole fish that you'd want, starting from 40SR.
A grand fiesta for nine people: all under 400SR, with drinks and dessert!
Apart from these dishes, other popular meals include the filling and delicious Mixed Fried Rice, Chicken Barbeque and tasty Chicharon/Kropek (among their extensive menu list) .
The Villa Restaurant is not a fancy place at all. Their economy-class looking tableware and seemingly crowded seating arrangement is not to be compared with the interiors of Tony Roma's or Duo's. But what their simple restaurant may lack in ambience, they make up for a warm, hearty meal and a loyal following among their customers, especially Westerners. You'd be surprised at how many of them flock to The Villa for some Thai/Chinese/Pinoy food. And really, do you think a restaurant business will survive more than a decade if they didn't have good food? My point exactly. Also, the restaurant is often jam-packed during the peak hours in the evening, so better come in early. It's first come, first serve over there. So as much as you'd wish they had reservations available, like I said, it's not a fancy place. Unfortunately, The Villa doesn't have a delivery service, but you can call in your orders ahead of time and drop in to pick it up. That way, you can also enjoy their meals in the comfort of your own home.
So, next time you need a decent Thai food fix (on a budget) and you happen to be in Riyadh, you know where to go. Ayt?
The Villa Restaurant
Across King Khaled Eye Hospital