St. Helens’ Hidden Gem: Authentic Thai with a Modern Twist

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Taste of the Town: Lotus of Bangkok
Written by Dennis McNabb, Staff Writer | Photos by Hayley Starkey

Authentic Thai dishes

Rare is the restaurant which takes you on a true culinary excursion to a foreign land; serving perfectly-balanced, authentic, centuries-old family recipes with contemporary sensibilities. Even rarer still is the restaurant which offers such delights within the context of a smaller suburban Columbia River town like St. Helens. That is why we are so fortunate to have a hidden gem like Lotus of Bangkok existing right here in our own backyards.

Owner, Paul Wattanathorn, has been in and around the restaurant industry his entire life. His father owned and operated his own restaurant in Thailand for many years, so Paul grew up in that environment, absorbing everything down to the smallest of details and cultivating his own passion for the business. When Paul’s father moved the family to the United States, they continued the tradition until Paul and his brother were of age and decided to strike out on their own. For 6 years, the two of them (along with a 3rd partner) owned and ran Roy Thai, but like so many other businesses they were forced to close due to the pandemic.

Authentic Thai dishes

Devastated but ever determined, Paul regrouped. With 2 new partners, a fresh concept, remodel and rebranding, Lotus of Bangkok was born in March of 2021. This is a more fully-realized vision of what came before; from the new Thai-inspired decor to the updated menu, it’s a considerably more authentic experience. Paul hired new chefs who have 30+ years of experience, and they’ve brought a whole new level of sophistication to these dishes. They are the perfect fusion of traditional and modern; time-tested family recipes given the most mindful of flourishes to appeal to a modern palate.

If you haven’t had a chance, you owe it to yourself to stop on by as soon as possible! With a beautiful view of the Columbia River, it’s the perfect spot for a nice family outing or even a date night. And of course, the food is incredible! Everything is prepared and cooked fresh every day with herbs and other ingredients coming straight from Thailand. Favorite local dishes include: Khao Soi Chicken (soft egg noodles and chicken in a creamy Northern-Style coconut curry sauce, topped with crispy egg noodles), and Crispy Basil Chicken (marinated crispy chicken coated with our special sweet & sour sauce, topped with crispy basil, and served on crispy noodles).

Authentic Thai soup

Two local favorites not on the menu include: Gulf of Siam—a stir-fried dish with mixed seafood, special sauce, basil, bell peppers, onions, and served over rice; and their Three-flavored Shrimp—crispy, golden-brown fried shrimp served with mixed vegetables and topped with chili sauce. Favorite desserts include their Mango with Sweet Sticky Rice (seasonal); and their new unique offering of Fried Bananas with Ice Cream—a fried banana wrapped with an eggroll skin and served with honey and chocolate sauce. But of course everything on the menu is fantastic and there is something for everyone here.

Delicious. Authentic. Inspired. Locally-owned and -operated. Lotus of Bangkok offers elevated cuisine prepared with passion and care, and served with a smile. Proof that you don’t have to drive all the way into Portland to find this level of excellence.

Lotus of Bangkok is located at 295 Strand St. in St. Helens. Visit their website at, or give them a call at (503) 410-5155.