BY STEVE BUTTERFIELD
Full disclosure: I’ve never been to Thailand. I have, however, been to a great many Thai restaurants, so while I can’t claim to truly be an expert in authentic Thai cuisine (unless the stuff at the restaurants back home is truly authentic), I am an expert in tasty. Having eaten there three different times now, I can tell you that the food at Arun Thai in Nampo-dong is very, very tasty indeed.
The first thing you notice is the space. This is a very pretty place to eat. Unlike many restaurants (Korean and non-Korean) that I’ve been to in Busan, Arun leaves some floor space where others might pack an extra dozen tables. Since you aren’t sitting in your neighbor’s lap while you eat, it manages to feel much bigger than it is. The décor is classy and even somewhat understated. Thai restaurants back home in New England can sometimes feel like an Epcot exhibit of Thailand, drowned in gaudy silks and elephant motifs and gold-leaf imperial portraits. Arun avoids that in favor of muted earth tones, a small and somewhat abstract triptych of elephant paintings in the side room, and some jewel-tone highlights. It’s just a nice place to be.