Star of Siam

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Particularly popular in this established Thai restaurant are the seating areas termed "tea room" in both the upstairs and downstairs dining rooms. These tables--eight upstairs, 10 downstairs, each section running the center of the room--are surrounded with raised, carpeted benches with seat cushions that mimic traditional Asian sit-on-the-floor-with-no-shoes seating. The lower-level, nonsmoking (smoking is restricted to five tables along a side wall upstairs) dining room actually is more charming than upstairs: a waterfall lies at the foot of the stairs, and the room is decorated with Thailand tapestries and masks once used in Thai plays. For some reason, jazz music plays in the background. Dress reaches to casual; lunches draw business crowd, nights are a blend of locals and visitors. Madonna came here when in town, and her picture is on the wall to prove it. "We are the first Thai restaurant in downtown. We are the original," said Dao, co-owner with her husband, Eddie, of Star of Siam's success since 1984.