Who doesn't love Jitlada? Jitlada is packed. It's a small, family-run, hole-in-the-wall place, but with all the fabulous press its been getting, from Jonathan Gold to Gourmet magazine, everyone and their uncle wants to come here. Be prepared for subpar service, and long waits. It'll be worth it.
Here's my first warning: Southern Thai food is not for everyone! It is super spicy, I recommend a 3 on a 10 spicy scale. Trust me. Try 3 first, then move up, not vice versa. It is very flavorful, a lot of curries and dry spice dishes. There's a lot of seafood. Don't expect dishes like Pad See Ewe.
Here's my beginner menu for the first-time Jitlada visitor. I pick these items because they're universally liked.
Steam Mussels - Trust me. I hate mussels, but these are delish. Bad stuff can be delish if cooked properly. The broth is so good. After finishing the mussels, ladle the broth into a bowl and drink like a soup. It's perfect as an appetizer.
Crispy Morning Glory Salad - The morning glories taste a lot like watercress, it's fried in a delish batter, then topped with a spicy/sour/sweet sauce. It is great, my favorite dish. The morning glories are served with shrimp and other vegetables.
kaeng khew-wan khài "Mang-kon" : green curry with egg-yolk-stuffed fish balls - This curry isn't as spicy as the dry curries. The stuffed fish balls are interesting. I've never seen this dish before, it's unique.
Mango Sticky Rice - I've never had better mango sticky rice anywhere. It's the sauce, it's special. Simply not to be missed.
Pictured below are the Morning Glory Salad and Mango with Sticky Rice. Pics are from Chris Pinoy at Local Thai Food
I recommend getting a Singha, Thai iced coffee or Thai iced tea to wash down the spiciness. It feels so good.
You can read my advanced Jitlada guide here.