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“Nice place, attentive staff, good food.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vila Thai Cuisine

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Vila Thai Cuisine
9 East Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701
520-882-8143
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Ranked #1,089 of 1,682 Restaurants in Tucson
Price range: $6 - $14
Cuisines: Thai
Restaurant details
Seattle
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Nice place, attentive staff, good food.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2010

I dined at "Vila" solo on a Friday evening in January. Arrivwed about 5:00. Restaurant is difficult to find. Not great signage from the street. It is upstairs and around the corner from university blvd. Went there based upon proximity to where I was and reviews found here. Looked like they had plenty of indoor or outdoor seating depending on the weather. I was greeted upon entering the door and offered my choice of seating, place was 3/4 empty. Chose a seat where I could watch people, Tried to order a "singh ha", no luck they were out. Apparently they had a big private affair the night before and were out of many things(beer choices and food selections...didn't have all day to go out and replenish, I guess). I started with the Chicken Satay. I usually judge a Thai place by the quality of their peanut sauce. This place hit the nail right on the head with theirs. It had all the personality a person would want. bit o' kick, plenty of interesting spice, and of course a bit of texture. It wasn't your garden variety "jif with some coconut milk". The chicken portions were plump moint and cooked to perfection, with the obligatory slight grill marks. 10 out of 10 in my opinion. Soooo, I decided to stay and eat a meal. I ordered the Paht Thai with chicken. Ordered it at a 4* spiciness level. Ity arrived looking like no paht thai noodle dish I had eaten. I am not sure this dish had ever seen any fish sauce. It tasted different than any other noodle dish I had ever eaten. I wouldn't have eaten much of it, as it was. Peanut sauce to the rescue!! I ordered a side of Peanut sauce, for which, I wasn't charged. and gave the noodles a little pick me up. It was delightful with the blend of the original flovor of the noodles and the addition of the peanut sauce. Completely enjoyed it! I looked up half way through my meal to see that the place was PACKED and people were now waiting in line to sit and eat. GOOD SIGN... I heard a few mumblings about being out of some offerings, but my experience was quite good. Servers were very attentive, didn't matter to which server I belonged to, they all worked to make me feel welcome and well taken care of. I think that I would definitely give this place another opportunity to feed me. Music that was complained about in past reviews was not an issue, it was background level, and upbeat contemporary. Not a distraction, diversion, or overbearing. Beer was cold, food was hot and staff was friendly. Price was a bit higher than I am used to paying in Seattle, didn't mind.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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34 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    16
    5
    3
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Tucson
2 reviews
“Beware if you are sensitive to spiciness and to mandatory 20% gratuities”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2009

Their 0-5 spiciness rating system is a joke; order the pad thai if you want only a mild dish. I ordered a curry that was much hotter than what I asked for. Being pressed for time, I decided against sending it back to the kitchen, and forced myself to eat enough of it to satisfy my hunger. After the burning subsided a bit, I could taste more of what it was supposed to taste like, and it was OK. Still, I notified the waiter about the mistake, and he apologized in a smarmy manner something about curry being a bit "tricky," whatever that means. He also seemed more interested in pushing the wine at $5 a glass than in answering questions about the food; he seemed less knowledgeable about the latter. Another sore point was that they added a 20% gratuity to the bill in advance of showing it to us. Our party was not large enough to justify this. Classy restaurants leave it up to the customer to add an amount of their own choosing after inspecting the bill.
On the plus side, they have comfortable seating and some good appetizers; the coconut prawns were delicious.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Tucson, AZ
1 review
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Amazing Thai Restaurant - Best in Tucson”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2009

I have eaten at nearly every Thai restaurant in Tucson (if there are any that I haven't, I am unaware of their existence) and Vila is far and away the best. The vegetables are amazingly fresh, the brown rice is always a delight, and summer rolls are downright addictive. The service can be a little inexperienced and slow but never rude or obnoxious. The owner herself is wonderful to deal with. I have been with friends, large groups and by myself, for lunch and dinner. My only complaint is that the coconut sticky rice could be a little sweeter but I probably don't need the calories either. This is a great restaurant and a real gem on our culinary scene. I am getting a hankering for their summer rolls just writing this. Enjoy!

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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capecod122
1 review
“Bunch of Crap”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2009

Im sorry, but whoever this person was that went to this supposed, "best thai food restaurant," had to been on [--], or just caught this place on a good day. I have eaten here at least three times, I always try to give a place three times, so I can be sure of the food, and service. Each time I went everything was horrible. First, the service staff has changed so many different times, it's no wonder why the owner is serving. Her staff just doesn't really seem to know the food, whats in the different dishes, or somethings as simple as knowing what vegetables are in the dishes. Maybe someone needs to go in and manage this place, and hire staff that really want to learn about the food and culture. Can she even keep a decent person on her team? Or is it just the place that these kids don't like working at? Who knows? But I'll tell you, as a restaurant owner, I would be asking myself this. Second, the food really is not that great, never had I had good pad thai the three time I've been. It's always been to dry and sometimes too watery. The chicken in all the food is just plain out tastles and dry. As far as being healthy, the only thing I can think of being healthy are the vegetables. I know for a fact that they use a lot of sugar in all of their dishes. This fact I know, because one of the servers told me that they do use too much sugar. When your own staff says this about you, get a clue, you are not being healthy. Third, who are these people thinking that they know wine, really? It's a spit in peoples' faces when you have a person who does not know what they are talking about, and just plain out makes themselves look stupid, along with the restaurant. Get someone who know what they are talking about. (there's the key, hire staff that knows what they are doing, just some advice for the owner)
For people who go there and really enjoy the food, more power to you, but I would do your homework about the food, and how healthy it really is for you. I don't recommend this place to either the students or just regular people looking for a new place to eat. Go some where, that cares about why they are in this type of business...

    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Hamilton, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“You don't know Thai, They do.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2009

Not 30 minutes ago I had lunch at Vila Thai. I hadn't gone there before but a friend invited me to have lunch there, not knowing that my brother is married into a Thai family. His bride confessed to me that she did not know how to cook, they had servants, but her mother did know how to cook and while there in Thailand, I stood over the mother while she cooked for both our families.
The food at Vila Thai at today was perfect for lunch. (Our order was taken by Vila herself and knowing that the owner is there is of some comfort for me). I had fried tofu for starters, the Panang Curry with tofu lunch combination that included brown rice and Phad Thai Jay. I took number 3 on the heat scale from 1 to 5. I could have taken more heat.
All of the flavors were spot on from my experience, the rice was perfectly cooked and warm, the Phad Thai Jay could easily stand on it's self against anything I had to eat. The Panang Curry was as I remembered, everything in the bowl had a fresh taste that you can't fudge on. I know some here were put off with what they called, "red pepper flakes that are from Pizza Hut, but if they had done their research they might have discovered the Thai Chilies and while they may look like pizza flak chilies, they are nothing alike in flavor profile. I must mention the Thai iced tea, if you've never had it you must try it. It's a hard bird to describe but well worth taking a chance on. I'm going to go back again and next time take my husband. You should give it a try.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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