Ayara Thai is one of L.A.’s best Thai food favorite that you might not know about. The restaurant is tucked away on a Westchester side street, not far from LAX. While the family is expanding next door, Vanda Asapahu, sister Cathy and brother Peter are testing dishes right on Sepulveda Boulevard. The siblings flipped a pizzeria into Ayara Lūk to end December.
The space includes an open kitchen, wood tables, with of potted herbs, elephant statuettes, and bow and truss ceiling. The Asapahus also inherited a wood-burning oven (hardly standard issue for Thai restaurants) that feasts on almond wood and helps fuel experimental dishes.
Lūk translates from Thai as “child,” which refers to the efforts of these first generation Thai-Americans to re-interpret parents’ recipes using modern influences and eco-friendly ingredients. Ayara Lūk rotates different dishes weekly on their focused menu.
Singing Branzino ($39) featured a whole roasted branzino with crispy skin and flaky white flesh stuffed with aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. The fish sported a shower of cracked peppercorns and came with herbs and limes to squeeze. Ayara Thai has a line of sauces and they served the fish with tangy, spicy dish of chile-lime sauce.