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The Number One BEST Thai Restaurant in NYC

Dian Rosi May 21, 2003 12:41 PM

Where is THE BEST - 4 Star - Thai Restaurant in NYC?

Price does not matter. I want to experience the ultimate in Thai cuisine.

Can anyone help me??????

  1. d
    Damian May 24, 2003 03:51 PM

    Im not very fond of the thai restuarants in the city but I belive that the best thai restuarant I've eaten out of brooklyn queens and manhattan is Joya in Brooklyn on Court st. and Warren st. the food is the best in town.

    1. d
      del May 29, 2003 10:11 AM

      it's not fancy, but the best IMO is Wondee Siam on
      9th ave between 53rd and 54th street.

      1. j
        JaneLouise Oct 5, 2006 01:59 AM

        This was my same question. My husband and I loved Tuk Tuk on Smith Street, and were dismayed to see it closed down. We have tried other local cobble hill/carroll gardens thai spots, lemongrass, joya, and a couple of others. but none were as good--in our estimation, it goes without saying. any others people love?

        1 Reply
        1. re: JaneLouise
          jthefoodie Dec 4, 2006 08:47 PM

          Tuk Tuk is still turning out yummy food in LIC - take 7 to Vernon/Jackson

        2. m
          Mike V Oct 5, 2006 02:51 PM

          It's Sripraphai in Woodside. Do a search on chowhound and google. Most discussed Restaurant in Queens.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mike V
            Carniv0re Aug 13, 2009 01:13 PM

            This is definitely the best. I first found it through Chowhound back when Jim Leff was running the site (about 10 years ago, I think).

          2. f
            franprix Oct 6, 2006 05:11 AM

            in manhattan, Holy Basil pops up quite a lot. Delicately balanced flavors, nice place to bring a date or go with a bunch of friends. I'm hooked on their Duck spring rolls. Yum! Great wine list too, might I add.

            1. f
              frankbooth Nov 30, 2006 12:43 AM

              sripaphai for sure!

              1. s
                skeetereats Dec 1, 2006 04:46 PM

                A hidden gem (that's not talked about enough) is this little little place called Amarin Cafe in on Manhattan Ave. (btn Nassau/Driggs) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

                Reliable, fresh, super-delicious Thai food in a very welcoming, no-frills environment. And sooo consistent! They have the best pad thai I've ever ever eaten, and believe me, I am a lover of pad thai! And when you ask for spicy, beware!

                Other satisfying dishes there:
                - BBQ Chicken
                - Masaman Curry
                - Green Curry
                - Spicy Noodles
                - Shrimp & Mango Salad
                - Beef Sate

                The menu is small, but it's all you ever need. I eat there at least 2xs a week because it's an addiction of sorts. And I know I'm not the only one...

                My brother went to Sripaphai recently for dinner and said that Amarin comes in a close 2nd. But, since I've never been, Amarin's #1 on my list!

                2 Replies
                1. re: skeetereats
                  Silverjay Dec 1, 2006 05:13 PM

                  Sripaphai is better and has a much bigger menu- including many fish, squid and other seafood dishes. You simply can't be in the top of any Thai place list without an extensive, fresh seafood menu. Besides, Amarin's specials lean toward the western palate with salmon, mashed potatos, asparagus, etc. Amarin is good on a neighborhood level. Sri is a city-wide gem.

                  1. re: Silverjay
                    Asumnuthin Jul 3, 2008 04:47 AM

                    Ive also head Sripraphai is supposed to be the best, but they are closed on wendesdays, whats that about? Personally I did not like amarin at all. I prefer Sea over Planet Thai anyday, its not the best thai obviously but its super cheap, so you can try many things, and it has a large menu with decent varity, nice atmosphere

                2. f
                  FAL Dec 11, 2006 07:32 PM

                  I tell you who shoud be be at the bottom of the list Planet Thai on North 7 st.

                  1. g
                    gaiadi Dec 20, 2006 07:22 PM

                    Tuk Tuk in Cobble Hill was replaced by Ghang. Ate there Friday night and found it enjoyable. I don't quite understand the hype of Joya. It's cheap and decent, but loud, and the wait staff is pushy (high table turnover allows the cheap prices).

                    1. b
                      BrooklynKing Jul 2, 2008 02:13 PM

                      Lemon grass grill on 7ave in Brooklyn Love the Basil Chicken and the fried rice

                      1. a
                        aimee5 Jul 7, 2008 01:46 PM

                        I would have to say Spice or Sea ( in Williamsburg-they have multiple locations) has some of the best thai food I have ever had and its cheap eats (for the city that is)

                        1. c
                          cbs2528 Jul 14, 2008 03:25 PM

                          I'll vote for cafe tasia

                          1. d
                            davidm1108 Jul 14, 2008 08:40 PM

                            Sripraphai-- i'm all for healthy debate and differing opinions, but in this case it's moot. Best by far. Zabb in the east village will do in a pinch, as will Rhong in the village, but they're still miles away from Sripraphai.

                            1. t
                              thefoodbully Jul 16, 2008 07:10 PM

                              Not even a question. Sripraphai! One taste of the Crispy Watercress Salad with Seafood- is worth the trip!


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: thefoodbully
                                NYJewboy Jul 11, 2009 04:35 PM

                                No doubt. Sri is king.

                              2. a
                                agentj9 Jul 19, 2008 05:54 AM

                                Sripraphai in Woodside. So, so, so good. Salads are a highlight, fish dishes are excellent.

                                1. thew Jul 19, 2008 06:16 AM

                                  i ate last night at Rhong Tiem, and it was SO good - some of the best thai food i've had anywhere - including thailand

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: thew
                                    CobblerNYC Aug 19, 2008 10:11 AM

                                    Rhong is the best I've had in Manhattan so far, but watch out for those lightly-cooked Thai eggplants--serious stomachache if you're not used to them (even though they taste amazing)

                                  2. bigjeff Jul 25, 2008 11:31 PM

                                    anyone eaten at dee thai? I read a review of their pork leg dish; sounds amazing!

                                    1. Travels4Food Jul 26, 2008 09:16 AM

                                      Are you looking for something with ambiance? The best place - Sripraphai - has none, but the food is outstanding. It's also very cheap, so you'll only impress someone who loves authentic holes-in-the-wall (personally, that would be my kind of evening), but it's a fun adventure and the food is truly unparalleled. If you want fancy Thai, you can go to Spice Market, though they're more Pan-Asian, I think, and honestly the food isn't as good.

                                      If price really doesn't matter and you've got some time on your hands, get on a plane to Bangkok, then transfer to a plane to Phuket, and go to Patong Seafood. They'll let you pick out your own squid and crabs and cook them in the most flavorful curry you've ever imagined.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Travels4Food
                                        bigjeff Jul 26, 2008 10:08 AM

                                        sri has worked pretty hard the past few years to up their ambience quotient but I only wish for the bad old days.

                                        1. re: Travels4Food
                                          chefstu Jul 27, 2008 06:52 AM

                                          I finally got to Sri last week and as the majority say the food was outstanding.
                                          I am looking forward to mounting a trip back with the Never Miss a Meal Club.

                                          1. re: chefstu
                                            thew Jul 27, 2008 11:04 AM

                                            never ben to sri, but as i said am in love w/ rhong tiam - how would you say sri is better?

                                            (and please do not use the word "authentic" in your answer)

                                        2. s
                                          silencespeak Jul 27, 2008 04:04 PM

                                          Sri without a doubt. Though if you were looking in manhattan, i'd recommend the holy basil.

                                          1. b
                                            brooklyn76 Jul 28, 2008 08:35 AM

                                            Sripraphai beats joya and song in brooklyn by far. For the breadth of the menu and quality... It's great. Well-worth the trip and universally loved as evident by the numerous mentions on the boards.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: brooklyn76
                                              thew Jul 28, 2008 09:12 AM

                                              but what does sri do that rhong tiam does not? how much better is it, and what makes it better....?

                                            2. t
                                              Taylor.Watson Jul 28, 2008 01:51 PM

                                              I'm on the Sripaphai bandwagon too, although I like Nusara a lot too. The one problem with Nusara is for whatever reason, their noodle dishes aren't great.

                                              1. f
                                                fiammetta Aug 1, 2008 10:27 PM

                                                Sripraphai wins for me, with Chao Thai at a close second.

                                                1. BTaylor Aug 27, 2008 05:13 AM

                                                  The best Thai food I've found is PAM's REAL THAI FOOD on 49th and 9th. (Not to be confused with Pam's Encore a few blocks away.) Just this side of a "hole in the wall," it is my first choice among the veritable parade of Thai restaurants on 9th Ave. (Second choice would be WONDEE SIAM II up a few blocks.)

                                                  1. n
                                                    nyfrizzyhair Dec 17, 2008 12:34 PM

                                                    How could no one mention Pam Real Thai in the upper 40s off of 9th Ave. in Manhattan? All of the food is spectacular, spicy, comes quickly, and is affordable to boot. I'm never disappointed when I go. And despite the fact that it's a small NYC chain, I agree that Lemongrass Grill (the original location on 7th Ave. in Brooklyn) is terrific, cozy, and tremendously fast with their service.

                                                    1. thew Dec 17, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                      besides my rhong tiam recommendation, i've been grooving on land northeast thai lately

                                                      1. h
                                                        hs70 Dec 20, 2008 01:25 PM

                                                        Zabb City, on E13 St in the East Village. I do wish they could get some of the overflow from the Saam Bar on the corner.

                                                        1. NYJewboy Dec 22, 2008 11:29 AM

                                                          How could it not be Sri?

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: NYJewboy
                                                            Pan Dec 23, 2008 10:51 PM

                                                            It is. I think Pam Real Thai may be best in Manhattan, though I haven't tried Rhong Tiam.

                                                            thew, I hope you've visited Sripraphai by now and can tell US how it compares with Rhong Tiam (which is where exactly?).

                                                            1. re: Pan
                                                              thew Dec 24, 2008 04:22 AM

                                                              i haven't - it's hard to get me off the small island off the coast of america i inhabit.

                                                              rhnag tiam in on laguardia between bleeker and 3rd (i think) 2 -3 blocks south of washington Sq park

                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                Pan Dec 24, 2008 03:15 PM

                                                                That's easy walking distance for me. So next question: What do you particularly recommend at Rhong Tiam?

                                                                1. re: Pan
                                                                  thew Dec 24, 2008 04:00 PM

                                                                  a few things that stood out:
                                                                  Crispy Catfish With Green Mango Salad: grated fried catfish with spicy green mango lime sauce

                                                                  the tom yum was not like any i've had anyplace else - perhaps not "authentic" but delicious trumps authentic for me every time - and who knows maybe it is a lesser known variant

                                                                  B.B.Q. Chicken: marinate lemongrass chicken bbq grilled to perfection served with "jeaw" and sweet plum sauce

                                                                  Pork On Fire Moo -na - Rok: another impossible to get dish from the northern part of thailand, pork tips wok sauteed with fine chop lemongrass, fresh garlic and bird eyes chili, crispy kaffir lime leaves, and basil

                                                                  i've had other great stuff there too, but i'm kinda sick and don't feel like cutting and pasting off the menu anymore - but those all stood out, and i was happy with everything else i've had there as well

                                                                  1. re: thew
                                                                    Pan Dec 24, 2008 07:11 PM

                                                                    Much appreciated. Sorry you're sick; get well soon!

                                                                    That catfish sounds lovely!

                                                                    1. re: Pan
                                                                      thew Dec 25, 2008 04:26 AM

                                                                      the catfish is delicious- but notice the word "grated" - it is like tiny crumbled fish croutons -

                                                          2. t
                                                            Traditional Tradesman May 20, 2009 03:24 PM

                                                            Rhong Tiam is definitely good if you stay in Manhattan, but if you venture out to Queens, try Ayada Thai in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights. It's fairly new (opened in the fall) and is run by a woman who has had a Thai grocery store down the block for years. She was a restaurant owner back in Thailand and insists on using absolutely no cans in her kitchen, so that everything is made fresh on premises. She also keeps things interesting, adding unusual ingredients to standard dishes. In addition, she and the other waitstaff are extremely friendly and helpful with their recommendations. Sripraphai is definitely good, but it's not quite as good as it used to be when they first opened, while Ayada's owners still have that excitement that a restauranteur needs to keep things interesting. Highly recommended.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Traditional Tradesman
                                                              Pan May 20, 2009 04:22 PM

                                                              What's the address or cross-streets, and what dishes do you particularly like at Ayada?

                                                              1. re: Pan
                                                                bigjeff May 20, 2009 05:19 PM

                                                                ayada is great, they have a very nice som tam with raw marinated crab, their sour curry is very good, had a couple of other meals there and can't remember what we had but it was delicious. oh they have a great beef tendon stewed soup with dark soup (blood) that is excellent too; strong pungent flavors. apparently their lunch specials are good; there is a plate with 3 kinds of pork on it that I've yet to try. after eating at chao thai a lot (and I like that), I've shifted my allegiances to ayada.

                                                                more in this thread here:

                                                                1. re: Pan
                                                                  bigjeff May 20, 2009 05:20 PM

                                                                  basically you can walk there from either the Roosevelt Avenue EFRVG stop or from the Elmhurst Ave local stop; not too bad, right near the split between broadway and woodside avenue, about a block from elmhurst hospital.

                                                                  77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                                2. re: Traditional Tradesman
                                                                  food_man77 Apr 15, 2011 09:33 PM

                                                                  It's so true. I just went to Ayada based on the above review. It was bonkers. Everything was so delicious.

                                                                  In all seriousness, this is the best Thai food I've eaten – in NYC or out. I would recommend the dishes we ordered, but everything everybody else was eating looked so amazing too. I don't even know!

                                                                3. c
                                                                  cenparis98 Jul 2, 2009 05:01 PM

                                                                  There seems to be a general consensus that Sripraphai is the best Thai in NYC. I used to live in the neighborhood and I can confirm that it's one of the very best restaurants I've ever been to. But there is a downside, which is that eating really good Thai spoiled me for bad Thai. I can still eat mediocre Indian food even though I've had the best Jackson Heights has to offer, but there's something about good Thai that makes it hard to tolerate mediocre. One of the basic palates at Sripraphai is an intensely piquant sauce made up (I think) of lime juice, red pepper, sugar, fish sauce, peanuts, raw papaya and red onions (you'll find it in the beef salad, whole fried fish, several other places). Once I realized what that was supposed to taste like I found it hard to eat careless versions at inferior restaurants. Fair warning.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: cenparis98
                                                                    guanubian Jan 14, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                    I think that is the consensus, but it does an injustice to Ayada, which is every bit as good as Sripraphai, and arguably does Isaan-style better, but doesn't offer the same breadth of dishes.

                                                                  2. nicky911 Aug 8, 2009 10:31 PM

                                                                    " AYADA "

                                                                    77-08 Woodside Ave
                                                                    New York, NY 11373

                                                                    (718) 424-0844

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: nicky911
                                                                      nmprisons Apr 19, 2011 05:26 AM

                                                                      yep, this is it

                                                                    2. bigjeff Aug 13, 2009 10:28 AM

                                                                      some new finds from Sietsema:


                                                                      all sound purty intriguing and a change of pace.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bigjeff
                                                                        Jeffsayyes Aug 13, 2009 03:52 PM

                                                                        Thai Center Point has been dogging me for a while now. There just aren't enough meals in a day! I really have a hard time picking just one. I lean towards Ayada though because I've never been disappointed with the food - most of the time blown away, they are friendly, close to me, and the decor is a favorite. last time i went either i was hungover or the lights were too bright.
                                                                        there are lots of top-tier thai in woodside/elmhurst/astoria. im hungry.

                                                                        1. re: bigjeff
                                                                          bigjeff Aug 26, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                                          probably checking our Rumphool tonight, for a change of pace. anyone have thoughts? comparisons? recs?

                                                                        2. q
                                                                          qzpzp Apr 17, 2011 04:06 PM

                                                                          the best thai restaurant that i ever had was at 36-50 main street flushing 11354

                                                                          Excellent Thai
                                                                          36-50 Main St, Queens, NY 11354

                                                                          1. h
                                                                            hs70 Apr 17, 2011 05:01 PM

                                                                            Zabb City is the best in Manhattan - Pork Larb, phad thai, musselman duck curry. Three stars (quite hot) for the larb and the curry, no stars ( or one if you must) for the noodles. Have it with Lao beer. Then go get a blueberry cream cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar. New york at its best!

                                                                            1. k
                                                                              kallisti Jun 15, 2011 11:59 AM

                                                                              Is there any consensus on this nowadays? Seemed to be Sripraphai, then possibly shifted to Ayada, but aside from a couple posts, haven't been any updates since....

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: kallisti
                                                                                BTaylor Jun 15, 2011 02:26 PM

                                                                                I suppose each has their loyal fans (and Chao Thai should be mentioned here as well).

                                                                                Personally, I am absolutely blown away, totally in love with Ayada. If there is a lack of mention of Ayada, it's possible those "in the know" don't want the secret to get out! It's a very small place, but unlike the more austere Chao Thai, Ayada has a lovely, warm atmosphere. The food is beyond stellar. It was mentioned in Time Out recently, but it would be a shame for it to be diluted by success, as I suspect happened to Sripraphai (?). There's just something about the care of the details, the layers of flavor. The wide noodles at Ayada have that nice wok char. The sauces and curries have overtones upon overtones.

                                                                                1. re: kallisti
                                                                                  bfg110 Sep 14, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                                  Topaz Thai on 56th bw 6th and 7th has really good food. My favorite drunken noodle in the city.

                                                                                2. guanubian Jan 14, 2012 12:10 PM

                                                                                  I've been on a diet for nearly a year, so my information is dated accordingly. Authentic and delicious Thai food in Brooklyn and Manhattan is a mug's game. Go to Queens, either to Sripraphai or Ayuda. Runners up are Chao Thai, Arunee and Zabb. All of these are in Jackson Heights or Elmhurst.

                                                                                  Personally I rock it Isaan style, so for me the best was Poodam in Long Island City/Steinway, but that's long gone. Ayuda does the best approximation today that I'm aware of. Has anyone tried Poodam's replacement?

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: guanubian
                                                                                    Pookipichu Feb 6, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                                                    BKNY Thai in Queens is excellent if you have a car. Their steamed fish stuffed with herbs is one of the top dishes I've had in any Thai restaurant.

                                                                                  2. t
                                                                                    TheGingerMan Feb 4, 2012 11:53 PM

                                                                                    Sorry to say but i agree ...there are no decent thai restaurants in the city. I've tried the "good" places and all the dishes are lacking. They have all been on the sweet side without a nice balance of flavors. I always wish I never left in Bangkok after I've gone to a thai restauant in the city that has recently been raved about.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: TheGingerMan
                                                                                      guanubian May 3, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                                                      Well I just read that Zabb Elee in downtown Manhattan is owned by Isaan folk and the ex-chef of Poodam is running the kitchen. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, Zabb Elee is now likely among the best, if not the best, Thai in NYC.

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