Hillcrest has more restaurants than any one person can keep track of, it seems. Even the ones right out in the middle of things sometimes struggle to get by. So, how can it be that a quiet little place like Amarin has been succeeding in their tucked-away spot for twenty years?
Easy. They only have to get people in the door that first time; they know visitors will come back.
Thai food is popular with a wide range of eaters, so seemingly all large cities have a variety of Thai options. Most are casual places, focused on sweet and tangy curries and noodles. Amarin changes a few of those elements up, to get a more sophisticated result.
There are still noodles and curries, don't worry. But there are also a wider-than-typical variety of soups, salads, and (seafood emphasized) specialties of the house. There is a more-than-common effort to represent the regions of Thailand, and the range of flavors that balance the perfect Thai meal.
The prices run a little higher than the typical store-front Thai place, but they also provide more artful and interesting food, served on lovely plates in individually varying settings instead of the usual chipped white mass-market ceramic. Similarly, the decor is tasteful, neat, and well maintained. It looks more like a resort eatery than a stucco conversion space, and it helps the meal experience.
Service is prompt, organized, and relentlessly positive. Even an unhappy diner would struggle not to enjoy the staff's ready smiles and friendly care.
In short, if one doesn't mind spending a few extra dollars, Amarin will definitely put the extra gloss on a Thai lunch or dinner. And, if it's a special lunch, or a date night dinner, be sure to check out the wine list, which is more extensive than one would anticipate, and has won a number of Wine Spectator awards.