Pad Thai

Pad thai – the classic order when you first try Thai food or first order from a new Thai restaurant. The perfect pairing for Thai iced tea (if you’ve not had Thai iced tea, it’s a must next time you order – sweetened condensed milk added to orange-dyed tea, the sweetness and creaminess pairs amazingly with spicy Thai food). We don’t have a lot of Thai restaurants around us, but we do have two that we thoroughly enjoy. We put them head-to-head to see who had the best Pad Thai:

The takeout from each restaurant that we put head-to-head in this taste-test. Royal Orchid is on the left in the bowl and Thai Smile is on the right in the takeout container, with their respective drinks next to them.

Royal Orchid

Royal Orchid is in Montpelier, VT in a converted house (like most places in Montpelier) and was our go-to Thai place for years until we moved to Waterbury. They are friendly and offer both takeout and dine-in with a nice, quiet interior.

Thai Smile

Thai Smile is located in Waterbury, VT in a shopping plaza. When we first moved to Waterbury, they were under different management and took the name of Ocha Thai Smile. The new owners changed the name, but the food remained just as delicious!


#71 Dinner portion – Medium rice noodles, chicken and shrimp, egg, red onion, scallions, ground peanuts and bean sprouts.
#12 Lunch portion – Medium sized rice noodles with chicken and shrimp or vegetarian, egg, bean sprouts, scallions, and ground peanuts.

#21 Rice noodle stir fried with egg, bean sprout, scallion, topped with ground peanut


#71 Dinner portion – $12.50
#12 Lunch portion – $10.50

Thai Iced Tea – $2.00

#21 Tofu or Vegetables $11.95
Chicken, Pork, or Beef $11.95
Shrimp $13.95
Seafood (scallop, squid, mussels, shrimp) $15.95

Thai Iced Tea – $2.50


Very deep, classic Pad Thai taste. More homogenous flavor.

Fresher, more light Pad Thai taste. Can individually taste each ingredient.

The Verdict

While both places offer a unique experience, it ultimately comes down to what you prefer. They are both great value for the money and delicious. Kayla prefers the Pad Thai from Thai Smile whereas Erik prefers Royal Orchid. Because we live closer to Thai Smile, we order from them more often, but don’t hesitate to pick up some Royal Orchid if we are in the Montpelier area. The Thai iced teas are almost indistinguishable. Their sweetness levels were almost the exact same and the tea flavor was exactly the same.

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