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The best Thai in town

r
Richie May 3, 2001 12:55 PM

Ok,if 31st street is a dead area..my friends I am staying with really enjoy Thai food. What's the best Thai place in town then? Thanks,Richie

  1. d
    david sprague May 3, 2001 01:56 PM

    the best thai in town can be found at sripraphai (64-13 39th ave in woodside queens)...it's a three minute (if that) walk from the 61st street stop on the #7 train, and offers the best thai food i've had in any town. don't miss the catfish preps, the rad na, and a truly awe-inspiring array of salads.

    arunee thai on 79th street, just off roosevelt ave (E/F/R/7 trains to 74th/roosevelt) is a solid second, and makes for a more relaxed dining experience overall, thanks to an atmosphere that's a little more restaurant-like, a little less coffee-shop. great duck dishes too.

    i don't think you'll find anyplace in manhattan that even comes remotely close to serving food of the quality dished up at these two places. believe me, the few minutes of extra trip time will be well worth it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: david sprague
      i
      igj May 3, 2001 03:14 PM

      I am not advocating a specific restaurant and maybe this post better belongs on a different board, but...

      my girlfriend, an american, speaks fluent Thai. This, I believe, makes eating at Thai places with her a different experience than the average american gets. Not that every meal turns out better, but often middling places (when I eat there on my own) turn out fantastic dishes. Spices, usually in the form of Phik Kee Noo (thai mouse turd peppers), get cranked up when appropriate and the balance of peppers, fish sauce, lemon/lime and sugar comes out better. Consequently, I have had fantastic thai food at Kai Kai on 1st Street with her and lame food on my own; ditto for Yum Yum on 9th Avenue; ditto for several places in Brooklyn.

      Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of dragging a Thai speaker along with them for dinner. I guess my point is that as long as the place uses good ingredients (and not all do) many of the places that have poor renditions of dishes are capable of turning out jewels when properly motivated. Quite a shame really.

    2. j
      Jayask May 3, 2001 01:45 PM

      I wouldn't call that area dead. You ahve all thsoe Korean places on 30th, a great West Indian dive on w31st between 5th and Broadway(Scotch Bonnet), and a good pizzaria on madison between 30th and 31st (Bella Napoli.) I didn't mention any of this since it didn't seem to be what you were lookng for. If you like dumplings try a Korean restaurant on 30th between 5th and Broadway called Mandoo Bar. You can watch them make the dumplings (mandoo) in the front window.

      If it interests you, you might want to ask for a good Korean restaurant in the area, as there is bound to be one or several.

      If you like French food (meat especially) Les Halles is walking distance (28th and Park)although it does get crowded and noisy. They have the best frites I have had, and very good steaks.

      As far as Thai, many Chowhounders (myself included) would tell you to take the subway to Queens (7 train to 61st Street) for (what is often called) NYC's best and most authentic Thai restaurant. Do a search on the main page for Sripraphai, since it has been discussed in depth.

      Maybe somebody else can recommend some good Thai food in Manhattan.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Jayask
        r
        Richie May 3, 2001 02:15 PM

        thanks all....I am not that much into Thai..altough I like it but I have a feling I will be over ruled by my buddies and end up at a thai place in manhattan somewhere.

        1. re: Richie
          s
          Steven Stern May 3, 2001 02:54 PM

          Given your location and needs, I just want to second the suggestion of Mandoo Bar, the Korean dumpling place. Not only does it have a sort of hipster-y vibe, there are some Thai dishes on the menu--noodles and soups and things. I haven't tried any of them, so can't vouch for quality, but I think you'd get a more interesting meal here than at a randomly-chosen midtown Thai restaurant.

          (One correction, though: it's on 32nd, not 30th, just west of 5th Ave.)

          1. re: Steven Stern
            j
            Jayask May 3, 2001 03:06 PM

            Oops, yup Steven, the Korean restaurants are on w32. Sorry about that.

            1. re: Steven Stern
              d
              david sprague May 3, 2001 06:38 PM

              mandoo would be a really good choice, IMO...he dumplings are amazing, very light and when fried, at once crispy and fluffy. the bi bim bap preparations are also top notch. service is good, prices fair....can't go wrong here...

          2. re: Jayask
            g
            growler May 4, 2001 01:39 PM

            I walked into Scotch Bonnett today. Huge crowd huddled up in front of the place, and no staff in sight except for two waiters, who were half-heartedly serving tables and totally ignoring the wondering-what-to-do folks up front. All I wanted was some takeout! Instead, I walked out after about 10 minutes waiting.

            Is the food there worth putting up with the lackluster service?

            Anyways, I tried Mandoo instead. First time there, and I went with a non-dumpling dish, which is good but I think I should've gotten dumplings.

            I have to half agree that this area is dead, though. I don't know Korean food, and today's trip to Mandoo is just dipping my toe in the water. But other than those, there's not much. Haven't yet tried Bella Napoli, though. Tony's Burger is great. Minar is way overrated; disappointing rice and not-so-great food.

            1. re: growler
              j
              Jayask May 4, 2001 03:45 PM

              Hey Growler,

              A crowd in Scotch bonnet? Really? Wow.

              Anyway, my only complaint about the place is that when I order takeout I have to wait 20 minutes minimum. You can actually call ahead and they will have the order ready. I really do recommend giving the place another shot since you didn't actually try the food. I like their curry beef (which isn't spicy), and their cha-cha chicken (which has bones.) Try their fruit drinks.

              Tony's Burger? Where is that?

              Bella Napoli is the best pizza in the immediate area (that i have found). They have a variety of already prepared (topped) slices to choose from. They are very busy, so the pizza is always fresh. They also have a large variety of pasta dishes. There is plenty of seating.

              I have had some good food at Minar, although I haven't eaten there lately. If you like vegetarian Indian, there is a buffet place on 30th between 5th and Broadway called Dimple. The food is fresh, and I like it, but keep in mind that I am not an authority on Indian food. I believe it is $7 a person for lunch. They have a smaller location in Jackson Heights, which I have passed by, but not actually tried it.

              Have you tried Patoug (Persian in the area)? How is it?

              1. re: Jayask
                g
                growler May 4, 2001 04:52 PM

                Scotch Bonnett probably had a crowd 'cause they were in New York mag's best-of issue.

                Tony's Burger is on 32nd street, east of Madison.

                It's easy to miss/dismiss. I walked by it I don't know how many times without giving it a thought. The Voice cheap eats rounduup made me give it a try. It's not the best burger I've ever had, but it's the best burger I've ever had in this neighborhood. I am thrilled not to have to go to McDonald's or a generic diner anymore when I get a burger craving at lunch.

                I'll have to give Bella a try. If you're willing to go a little further, La Pizzeria on Third around 30th or 31st is pretty good.

                Don't even know where Patoug is.

                Oh, and if you like the Eastern European-type diner but don't want to travel to the East Village, the Baltic Coffee Shop on 31st b/w 5th and Madison makes a mean potato pancake and a pretty good pierogi.

                Hm. All this talk is making me think maybe this nabe isn't that dead after all.

              2. re: growler
                i
                ironmom May 4, 2001 08:28 PM

                When you are in a restaurant named Mandoo, you should order mandoo.

                Read the advice of an expert from the link below.

                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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