HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Rhong Tiam - Great Thai in the Village

Went there the other night -- extremely impressed. Their tom yum (almost creamy in texture) may be the best on the island. If they are going for a more upscale vibe, though, they will need to expand the wine list.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i just got delivery from here and am very impressed as well. this is definitely the spiciest thai food i've had in manhattan!

    1. where is it?...and what is vibe like?...staff is all Thai?

      also, can you clarify the "creamy in texture" on the tom yum (koong/kai)?...i've had quite tasty versions where the broth is thick and rich because of the saturated fish stock (Food Loft in Bangkok serves it that way)...but if they are adding some random lipid i prob wouldn't like it...

      6 Replies
      1. re: Simon

        Yes, please clarify. Usually when I want creamy I go for Tom Kha instead of Tom Yum.

        Also, where is the place and do they have a website?

        1. re: seal

          after posting a found another thread below on the same restaurant describing the soup there: it sounds like they are combining their Tom Kha and Tom Yum recipes, which frankly sounds like something that i would hate.

          1. re: Simon


            they are in the west village

            1. re: emma

              When I checked the website out I see they have a location in East Village as well on 5th Street. Has anyone been to that location?

              1. re: MsAlyp

                i cannot say for sure, but i was told that was just a takeout location

                1. re: thew

                  See D...DF's post below in this same thread.

      2. I am a big fan of this place -- currently my favourite Thai place in Manhattan. They are one of the few that do the "Crispy Basil" dish right (with minced pork and diced Thai chiles). With regards to the soup, their Tom Kha is not spicy -- purely a coconut milk and galangal soup. The Tom Yum is creamy as stated by a previous poster, and much closer to the spicy Tom Khas I've had at other Thai restaurants than the more broth-like Tom Yums.

        1. I am finally converted. Their food beats other Thai in the area by a mile. The pad prik khing is great, the pad thai was a revelation, little browned bits of peanuts & egg, the shrimp not over-cooked. I tried the steamed shumai made of chicken and shrimp and they dwarf the same dish at similar ouposts such as Spice. I can tell the AC will be cranking this summer, so it's my new haunt. The people working here are very informed about what they're serving and respect it if you say, as I did, that you can take authentic spicing. I was never a fan of Penang, to which I note they're related. I wonder why this food is so much better than Penang Soho was...

          1 Reply
          1. re: sing me a bar

            ok...Sing, you know your stuff, so i'll give it a shot...*smiles*...(but i'll avoid the Tom Yum)...

          2. Looks like they have an East Village outpost now - found their menus under my door. Is the food as good in the new location?

            11 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              what is the address on the east side?

              1. re: emma

                I think it's delivery and take out only.

                Rhong-Tiam Express
                239 E 5th St
                (212) 477-5700

                1. re: kathryn

                  I'm confused. I live across the street from that address. There is no signage and no signs of life there (it's an incredibly narrow lot between Fish Bar and Jewel Bako/Degustation with a garage door type metal shutter over it). But it exists, according to Menu Pages, and I've noticed a Rhong Tiam van on the block in recent weeks.

                  My guess is that it's "Plywood" stages. I get SeamlessWeb from the RT in Greenich Village, so I certainly consider this a welcome addition to the block!

                  1. re: D...DF

                    Express = no storefront, just a kitchen?

                  2. re: kathryn

                    I called and apparently they only have one location... the other number is a fax

                    1. re: LRS

                      Their web site specifies otherwise:


                      Click on East Village, and up comes the address.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        I checked that out myself. I believe the East Village location is take out only.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          but has someone actually ordered from the east village location? i c

                          1. re: LRS

                            You know, I just realized that the new Thai place Kurve is around the corner...and Kurve has the same owner at Rhong Tiam. The plot thickens.

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Walked past last night -- Kurve was nearly empty, there were wait staff just hanging around, BUT I saw that the kitchen for Kurve is in the basement level, and the residential entrance said "239" on top. So Rhong Tiam East Village is using the Kurve address, and possibly the Kurve kitchen.

                              1. re: kathryn

                                This just in from Eater:

                                In two weeks, a large part of the kitchen downstairs will be dedicated solely to making takeout orders for Rhong-Tiam, which will be delivered (at nighttime only, and in a pink car) all the way up to 96th Street.

              2. Ate there Saturday night with sis and her kids - roti canai (a really excellent rendition), green curry, several other apps, sis said it was just a bit too hot for her, but do-able, and she ate some of everything. The spicing was just right for me, raising just enough of a sweat, so that may mean they've got it just right! Can't wait to get back.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bob192

                  Just got back from an early dinner by myself this evening - couldn't agree more with bob192 regarding the spicing/heat of the dishes, they have it down pat. service was excellent, and though it's on the pricey side ($10 for drunken beef noodles, $12 gang pa gai, etc), the few dollars is but little extra to pay for a clean restaurant, the west village location and a very accommodating staff. I'll be back again for sure.


                  1. re: kathyyl

                    i dined in the restaurant last weekend and was disappointed. i asked for my curry to be spicy and the waitress said she could only bring chili flakes out. ok... they also brought me the wrong curry but i couldn't be bothered to send it back. neither my or my dining companion's dishes were spicy at all.

                    1. re: emma

                      I too had a prob recently with a penang. I basically told them to burn my face off, that I ate curries as hot as native Thais, and still it was barely hot at all. It seems to very with who is on that day or something. Still, the flavour was much better than any penang in the area. It was sufficiently cooked down, whereas Spice and Cafetasia seem to barely heat the ingredients, let alone reduce them enough.

                2. Reviewed today in the $25 and Under section of the NYT Dining section. I will check it out.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: guttergourmet

                    Ordered the chorizo which was very good but small, the peking duck buns which were clones of David Chang's pork buns but not particularly Thai and a seafood red curry that was mediocre. Will have to try again. More recs please. The pork on fire didn't sound that good.

                    1. re: guttergourmet

                      For next time: roti canai, kao soi, drunken noodles, larb gai, young coconut juice, sticky rice dessert.

                      My penang curry was merely decent. I'm no expert, but we might be looking at a Thai restaurant whose soul, and/or chefs, are from the northern Isaan region. I do believe kao soi (which is freakin awesome at RT) is a northern dish, and they feature an "E-san BBQ" plate.

                      I initially wrote off Zabb City for its mediocre curries, until someone on this board emphasized the Northern dishes on their menu. Maybe try that strategy at Rhong Tiam if you return?

                  2. Went last night; it was packed (day after the NYT rave). I wish I'd made a reservation.

                    In short: I don't need to go to Queens anymore! What I ate was as good as Sripraphai, maybe better. I was really delighted.

                    We had the pork on fire which the NYT raved about; I found it less exciting and less spicy than the reviewer did, although tasty. But we ordered 3 of our favourite Bangkok standbys and they were very spicy and authentic--pak boong fai deng (called I think "spinach on fire" on the menu), pork laab, and yam pak boong grob (called something like "watercress tempura seafood salad"), which was fancied up yummily by having scallops instead of squid. The dessert roti was good too.
                    Definitely to be recommended--but bring a sweater, it is really over-air-conditioned!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowbeth

                      Over AC'd is good if you're eating spicy food, though, right? :)

                      Sounds great. I wonder if any Hound is willing to do a direct A/B comparison of Sripraphai and Rhong Tiam.

                    2. Wow. Mango stick rice was to die for.

                      1. I am hearing all good reports on the food so I went with my wife last night at 6pm and with at least 10 empty tables I was told it was going to be a 30 minute wait to be seated w/o a reservation. We walked over to Raouls and had a great dinner. Walking back we passed Rhong Tiam and some of the same tables that were empty at 6pm were still empty at 8pm. What is there problem, reading to many of their clippings?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mpatrissy

                          We tried to order (to pick up) from the East Village branch last night. They are definitely NOT open...nowhere to be seen, and didn't make that clear on website or phone when we ordered. After looking for it for quite a while, we gave up and called...they delivered from the West Village pretty quickly. Pork on Fire was interesting, a dry spicy pork with various fried herbs...the serving wasn't huge. Papaya salad was a disappointment, not great and shrimp were soggy—definitely not as good as the Zabb City version. Could have been affected by the lag in delivery time since we spent awhile searching for the East Village branch...

                          1. re: maggiej

                            no ive eaten there, their papaya salad isn't even close to zabb city's (zabb is the best version ive had in manhattan by a long shot)

                            their kao soi is a great dish though

                        2. This place has turned into a nightmare. They have one chef trying to put out too many dinners. The wait at tables and for (picked up) take out have grown to an hour. They were prepared for their early following: a few diners here and there, but now that they've been written up, the kitchen can't keep up. The other night there were easily 5 empty tables and still, a pick up take out order (not for delivery) took an hour & 10 minutes to come out of the kitchen. People at tables were also experiencing huge waits. I also noticed shrinkage of portions compared to their earliest days of being open. I think I'm staying away for a while until they're more together.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sing me a bar

                            Contrary to several posts, I had a truly wonderful experience at the laguardia place rhong tiam two evenings ago. Despite arriving with 5 extra guests to the packed restaurant(I had called for a reservation for 8), the poor servers were wonderfully hospitable and seated us with the last remaining chairs at a long table outside.

                            The food was universally satisfying and the servers were prompt. While the papaya salad was on the bland side, the thai chorizo, roti canai and mythical tom yum soup left us all giggling with pleasure. Similarly, the whole red snapper, pork on fire and pumpkin custard were all impeccably executed and displayed beautifully.

                          2. i ate here last night and i was blown away - this was some of the best thai food i have ever had, adn that includes in thailand, where i have spent more than a few months.

                            i was told that posting the same review here and another site is a no-no, so here is the link to a full review at that other site that CHers love to hate