181 Brighton Ave. Allston; (617) 783-2434 Rama Thai is a lovely find amidst the rock-and-roll clubs and funky junk shops of Allston. Even more unlikely, it resides in a shopping center next to Dunkin’ Donuts, and Osco Drug. But once you step inside, the decor is light and clean and the atmosphere is peaceful. The extensive menu is cheaper than many comparable Thai restaurants in town.
Start with appetizers like Thai rolls ($3.50), a plateful of tiny fried rolls with ground chicken, carrots, and bean thread, served with a sweet dipping sauce. A good order for the table. There are also interesting soups, such as Tom Yum Goong ($2.25), shrimp in a sweet-and-sour broth with mushrooms, scallions, and the popular Thai spices coriander and lemon grass.
The house specialties and seafood dishes are the pricier items on the menu, though you’ll get plenty to eat with Thai Ocean ($9.35), a mixture of shrimp, scallops, squid, fish filet, broccoli, carrots, onions, and baby com. Duck Choo Chee ($8.30) is a good deal boneless roasted duck sauteed with vegetables in a curry sauce.
The Chef’s Specialties offer tofu ($5.40), pork ($5.65), chicken or beef ($5.95), or shrimp ($6.65), with your choice of preparations such as basil leaf, ginger, sweet and sour, spicy bamboo shoot, or one of four different curry sauces.
For the true bargains, however, Mine recommends the many rice and noodle dishes. There is Pad Thai, of course ($5.25); also a vegetarian version for the same price, or; add shrimp for a bit more ($5.95). Rad Nah ($5.25) consists of heavier panfried egg noodles with broccoli and your choice of meat (or tofu) in a black bean sauce.
Rama Thai offers a luncheon menu from 11:30 AM. to 2:30 PM. with many of these dishes at even lower prices. Most items are around $5, and may be ordered to take out. You’ll get plenty, and it’s well worth repeat visits to try the many unusual tastes. Open daily.