It can be hard to find traditional (read: non-Americanized Asian) food in the Triangle, but add Thai Palace of Chapel Hill to your list!
The outside of the building located off of NC-54 is unassuming. Do not be discouraged by the outside appearance, a Thai treasure waits for you. As you enter the restaurant, you can smell the aromatic flavors in the air; basil, lemon and curry. Our hostess, also one of the owners of the establishment, sat us in a quiet corner of the restaurant. There are two main dining rooms, one in the front and one in the back. The walls are white with green trim. There are beautiful carved wooden canvases everywhere and traditional Thai statues. The restaurant is immaculately clean.
The menu offers the usual Thai fare such as Massaman Curry and Pad Thai. They have delicious dumplings and amazing spring rolls. They also had less common, more traditional meals such as various duck dishes or Gai Yang, which is essentially Thai barbecue often served as a street food in Thailand. The prices were very reasonable considering the quality of food, the highest price on the menu was $17.95 and featured shrimp and scallops. I had the very tasty Gai Yang. You can always tell when chicken has been marinated properly and indeed this. My companion had the Tom Yum Gai, hot and sour chicken soup with mushrooms and lemongrass. It looked very simple, but the flavors were so complex and filling.
This restaurant does have a much more muted and adult feel. I would not recommend taking children under 12 here- or at least not for dinner. There are high chairs, but it is one of those places were people speak in hush tones. I would, however, bring a date. The lighting is perfect for a first date because it has that ‘near sunset’ type of mellow lighting that makes anyone’s flaws disappear.
Overall, the food is properly seasoned, traditional, and appetizing. The quality is high and the portions generous. A great and satisfying meal.