Gia Lai is located in Legacy Village off of Cedar Rd. It is one restaurant that has been on my radar since last summer, but this is the first time I had the time nor prior engagements to check it out.
As soon as I stepped inside I was amazed by how beautifully decorated it was. It has a very earthy feel with the walls painted in red, gold, and brown. Bamboo stood tall by the entrance and the water feature towards the back. A chandelier hung on one side and the other had inset lights that changed colors. Booths lined the far wall, tables in the center, and the bar sat to the left side, separated from the others by a strategically placed wall.
I was the only one in the place due to the time (3pm on a Tuesday), so I was seated promptly. The waitress was of Asian descent with a heavy accent. Some people would be turned off by the idea of having a hard time understanding their waitress, but I felt that it lent to the authenticity of the place. Other than having to pay attention a little harder, the service was great. She was very attentive and although she probably came back a little too often for my taste, it was good.
I got the Pink Pear Martini. It was perfect for a mid-afternoon drink, sweet and not too strong. It strongly tasted of pear. The waitress was really good about suggesting tasty items and this was one of them. She even told me the best of the best out of each section.
I ended up getting the crispy shrimp spring rolls for an appetizer. They were very flavorful and heavy on the shrimp taste. I believe they had carrots in there. The sauce was a bit pungent but mixed well with the spring rolls.
For my meal I got the one thing that I came for, Pho. I’ve always wanted to try it and this place did not let me down. I believe the waitress said they cook the broth for up to 24 hours and that it’s a traditional Vietnamese meal. The Pho is served in a large bowl filled with chicken broth, noodles, scallions, green onions, and large slices of chicken. On the side they provide you with basil, bean sprouts, jalapeños, spicy sauce, lime, and another sauce that I can’t remember the name of. Each item changes the flavor of the soup when you put it in.
The initial soup was light but with a full flavor. You can taste the scallions but the chicken was a little bland until it is eaten with the rest of the items. The bean sprouts cook in the hot soup. Yes, it’s that hot and the portion size is huge. I couldn’t finish it all there, so I had to take it to go and it was still good later that night. I probably wouldn’t save it for another day but for later that day it was really good.
Overall, I had a pleasant experience there and it isn’t very expensive. I had enough for 2 meals and alcohol for a total of $22. I call that a pretty good deal. If you’re in the area, then I’d suggest you check it out. They also have carry out.
25241 Cedar Road
Lyndhurst, OH 44124