24-Year-Old Restaurant Entrepreneur Presents a Thai Experience Fit for a King

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“One of America’s HOTTEST New Restaurants”- USA TODAY, “Elegant, Sexy and Exotic”-FHM Magazine, “Rated Excellent”-Zagat, Fodor’s, Mobil Travel Guide. Rama Restaurant hits San Diego’s Booming Gaslamp Quarter with Rave Reviews

Alex Thao opened his first restaurant before he could legally raise a toast in celebration of his new found success. At 18-years old Thao dropped out of U.C. Berkley with no plans to return. Hoping to teach him a lesson about the hardships of the “real world,” Thao’s father sent him to re-launch the fizzling, family owned Celadon Restaurant in San Diego. Instead of failing, Alex found his passion and turned Celadon into one of the most successful Thai restaurants in the city.

Six years later at the age of 24, Thao has cooked up an impressive array of credentials and critically acclaimed reviews with his newest venture- Rama, located in San Diego’s thriving Gaslamp Quarter. Opened just over a year ago and named after King Rama V of Thailand, the extraordinary establishment has been warmly welcomed with enormous success and noted for its unique blend of ravishing ambiance, superb presentation and new inspiration Thai cuisine. Rama has become a favorite destination for celebrities such as Shakira, Halle Berry, Kobe Bryant, Elle Macpherson and Brandi who enjoy the establishment for its unparalleled privacy and exclusivity.

Positioned in a warehouse setting, the restaurant boasts “dreamlike décor,” innovative style and modern authenticity for the most intimate and romantic of dining experiences. Whisper thin, tapered draperies drop from impressively high ceilings, billowing from the rafters to surround plush booth seating below. A discerning Buddha overlooks the dining room, seated before a cascading wall of trickling water and towering rock.

The extensive menu consists of four pages of succulent entrees offered in generous portions, combining traditional Thai fare with authentic specialties rarely found. The kitchen is lead by chef Pannuwat Soukjai, who mastered his craft training at Thailand’s prestigious Royal Culinary Institute. Equipped with exciting adventures in flavor for the palette, the menu is an impressive fusion of spicy, cool, sweet, salty and refreshing sensations, with a “hot” scale ranging from 1-10, a challenge for the most seasoned of spice connoisseurs. Tastebuds will sizzle with rich entrées ranging from bold curries, seafood specialties, sensational stir-fry, and an endless selection of rice and noodle dishes cooked to perfection.

Within Rama, you will find 30-Two Bar & Lounge, where guests are invited to relax and enjoy a serene and tranquil, luxury lounge atmosphere. 30-Two is San Diego’s first and only private lounge, reserved exclusively for members or guests of Rama restaurant. 30-Two appeals to the sophisticated guest who craves first-rate service in a highly personalized environment. Membership is offered by individual or corporate accounts on an annual, monthly or Jet Set (weekly for travelers) membership. Members enjoy an array of high-end benefits including town car service, San Diego VIP Concierge offering priority tickets to concerts and events in San Diego and up to 50% off bottle prices.

In addition to bottle service, members can sip on popular specialty drinks including the “Thai Mojito” and the “Bangkok Beach Iced Tea.” 30-Two offers its guests access to the Thai Infused Sushi Bar-- an assorted selection of sashimi, spicy scallops and stuffed eggplant cuisine, incorporating traditional Thai elements such as fresh ginger, mint, shallots and soy.

Member’s are also invited to take advantage of the "Omikasa Chef's Table.” Omikasa means “chef’s choice” and for $500 the Executive Sushi Chef will prepare a special and intimate presentation for four guests. The extraordinary meal is complimented by a bottle of Sofia Champagne, by Francis Ford Coppola.

Rama is located at 327 4th Avenue in San Diego. For more information on Rama restaurant or membership details for 30-Two Bar and Lounge please visit celadonrestaurantgroup.com.

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Heidi Hageman
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