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Good Thai Food in Providence, RI

I moved from Boston- which had a wealth of great thai places. I've tried a couple here in Providence and none of them have been worth mentioning but I'm dying for some great pad thai and red curry!

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  1. It would help if you told us where you had been. My favorite is Sawaddee on Hope Street. Smaller portions, but the flavors are fantastic. I also like Thai Star on Chalkstone in Smith Hill. Co-workers from Thailand tend to prefer ordering off of Thai Star's "authentic" menu.

    For Pad Thai in particular, Mekong on Smith Street in Smith Hill has great crispy pad thai and Siam Square in Riverside, RI probably has the best regular pad thai in the area.

    There's a new place that just opened up between Brook and Hope (I think) on Waterman Street that I have not yet been tried.

    - Garris
    Providence, RI

    1 Reply
    1. re: Garris

      The best Thai in Providence is a hidden jew. It is called Asain bakery it is on Broad St across from Dunkin Donuts and JD Byrider. next door to a Asian fish market. this place has only 3 tables but you will go back

    2. It is just over the city line by a couple of miles, but try Rim Nahm on Broad Street in Pawtuxet Village. The food is carefully prepared and I've found it to be more satisfying and fresh tasting than Sawaddee and Thai Star. I've yet to try the pad thai or red curry, but the mango curry was excellent and the tom yum soup had a depth of flavor and spice(hotness) that is missing at most other places I've tried.

      3 Replies
      1. re: pork_chop

        I've wondered for a while about Rim Nahm. Now I'll have to try it. Thanks!

        - Garris
        Providence, RI

        1. re: Garris

          Rim Nahm is located at 2212 Broad St in Cranston.

          1. re: Frankie811

            I've tried Sawadee and liked it, but it was missing something...maybe a little more spice? I am definitely going to try Rim Nahm especially because you mentioned the tom yum- one of my favorites.

      2. Apsara on Elmwood Ave in South Providence is truly awesome. It's what I think of when I think of Thai food in Providence. The curries are addictive. The soups are the greatest. I don't think I've ever had the Pad Thai, but I can only assume they have the staples covered.
        Plus they have Cambodian favorites, like Nim Chow.

        Apsara on Elmwood Ave is not to be confused with the Apsara on Hope Street on the East Side, which I've never been to and to my knowledge is in no way connected.

        1. Hey Tomatosoup, I am curious what else you tried in Providence that you were not happy with because if you think there's a better restaurant than Apsara (Public St just east of Elmwood Ave) in Boston I want to know about it!
          BTW, Apsara on Hope St is OK but not worth going out of your way for...

          2 Replies
          1. re: atheorist

            Brown Sugar in Boston is some of the best thai food I've ever had (the one in the Fenway) it's just great, great food. I've tried Aspara on Hope St. and liked it. I had the pineapple fried rice and found it really different- a cambodian flair i guess that I took to. not the greatest but still decent for a quick fix. i also tried the thai place on wickenden (and im sure there is more than one but i can't remember the name) that was up a block and across the street from fellini and was NOT impressed at all!

            1. re: tomatosoup

              the Thai place on Wickenden is O-Cha and I second the emotion about not being impressed!
              Another place to try is Pakarang, on S. Main Street. I've only been there a couple of times, but I have liked their dishes as compared with Sawadee, the pad thai esp.--it has less of an overwhelming fish sauce taste. It's also pretty spacious and not BYOB.
              I would also second the recommendation for the Apsara on Public Street (also one of the few places to get Vietnamese food around here). The local legend I heard about Apsara on Hope was that the daughter of the family who runs the original Apsara broke away to start her own, and the family was pretty mad about it. A couple of years ago they actually had little signs up all over the restaurant saying, "Apsara II is in NO WAY related to us."

          2. Intrigued by rim nahm. As far as my two cents go (my wife grew up in thailand)...the best thai food in the area is at siam square in riverside.

            Also, a lot of people like thai orchid for its mom and pop feel (it is all take out except 3-4 tables), but i never found it outstanding.

            2 Replies
            1. re: 02903

              Is the Siam Square in Riverside related to the Siam Square on Smithfield Ave. in Providence?

              1. re: Jenkins

                they are related. I have heard they closed the providence branch to open a new one in middletown.

            2. Tried rim nahm the other night.
              At first glance, there was no one in the place, but then we were directed to the back where there were approx 20 seats with decent river views (fairly filled).
              The food was cooked to order which was nice (vs say apsara). We had the tod mun pla for an appetizer which was fairly authentic if not spectactular.
              For dinner, my wife had the laab which was 100% authentic, though not spicy enough (we asked for 2 out of 3 stars and I am guessing they sized us up and went a little easy). We then had the tamarind duck which we found to have a nice rich tamarind flavor.
              The service was neither bad nor amazing.
              The only thing we noted was that some of the dishes were slightly pricey for the decor and surroundings of the restaraunt (noodle dishes were in the 7-8 range, and things went up to 12-14).

              Both my wife (who grew up in thailand) and I agreed that rim nahm is a close second to siam square and worth another trip.

              8 Replies
              1. re: 02903

                After four years of searching for a Thai restaurant near Providence that has even a whiff of the freshness and flavor I expect, I'm so happy to have found Rim Nahm. So far my experiences with Apsara, Thai Star, Sawadee, and others have ranged from disappointment to disgust - so many mild, syrupy dishes, odd American ingredient substitutions, and unbalanced flavors.

                We ate at Rim Nahm last night and everything was delicious. I had a very nice version of the Duck with Sweet Basil - crispy fried duck breast sliced with a spicy sauce and gently stir-fried vegetables . I'm hesititant to trumpet too much lest it get popular and impossible to get a table.

                1. re: xine117

                  My last experience there was merely OK... I'll have to go back, especially since I heard that another Thai restaurant opened in Pawtuxet village as well (amazing, huh?) allowing for back to back comparisons :-).

                  - Garris

                  1. re: Garris

                    let me know what you think of arunothai (the new place in pawtuxet village)- i tried it and reviewed it for motif magazine. i thought it was just okay. the curry was good, but i also had another chicken dish that was syrupy and not good at all.

                    1. re: tomatosoup

                      My wife I and have been twice. First time, we ordered the red curry which was outstanding, maybe best I've ever had anywthere. On the second go round we of course ordered the curry again. However, this time just ordinary.

                      The appetizers have been solid, but what makes this place a winner in my book is the pad thai - both of the crispy and regular varities. Aruno's Pad Thai is the equal to, if not better than, Siam Square's version which heretofore I had considered best in the area. Other than Mekong, Aruno is the only place I've found crispy pad thai. Arunothia's is far better.

                      In addition, the decor is very nice, service is attentive but not overbearing and its BYOB.

                      1. re: Frobisher

                        Is Mekong still open? I called once or twice recently and the call went unanswered...

                        - Garris

                        1. re: Garris

                          Mekong did close and a "for sale" was in the window. However, within the last two weeks, the "for sale sign" has been removed, a video rental store has opened in part of the building, and one of those LCD/ neon "open" signs has appeared in the window on the restaurant side. I have not called or been in, but based on the above I assumed they reopened.

                          1. re: Frobisher

                            Huh, so maybe they divided the space and are really just doing only takeout now? I never saw anyone actually eating *in* that space at all.

                            I loved their crispy pad thai. I'm glad they may still be in business...

                            - Garris

                            1. re: Garris

                              I dropped into Mekong for lunch today. They are indeed open. The new owner and operator (it's not the same group as before, which left) is actually the landlord, and he is redoing the space as well.

                              - Garris

              2. You should also try The Terrace. It's just open in Smithfield, just right I-295 exit 7B. They serve very good curry dishes, and of course fantastic Pad Thai. Check out their website http:///www.theterraceri.com

                Their red curry is fantastic but I think their Massaman curry is the best here. Yet, I also like a Drunken Noodle, a little of spice and soft of the noodle. Go try it, and let me know what you think.

                The Terrace Thai Restaurant
                5 Sanderson Rd, Greenville, RI 02917