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Best Thai in New Haven?

I have eaten at most and am wondering how they stack up at the moment?
One exception (and I have a caveat) is I'm not sure if I have eaten at The Rice Pot on State Street. (I think) I ate at this location some two-three years ago and it was called something else or, there is/was another restaurant very nearby The Rice Pot. It had a funny name (like, "Pan Asian International") which sounded more like an Asian importer than a Thai restaurant. We had one good meal there and one very poor, disappointing one. Did The Rice Bowl take over that operation a while back?

Is The Rice Bowl owned by the same people that own Thai Taste, on Chapel Street? Is The Rice Bowl better?
I hear there are two or more in Hamden. I think we ate at one (a long time ago) that was on Whitney Avenue, in Hamden. Upscale place.
Anything within five or so miles of New Haven that's better than average?

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  1. I have eaten at the Rice Bowl once and thought it was very good, I need to go back. There is one in Hamden that the Times really liked I think it is The Terrace on Dixwell. My current favorite in Thai Pan asian on Chapel.

    6 Replies
    1. re: mmalmad

      Is that the one that has a buffet?

      1. re: Scargod

        The New Haven area is blessed with several good Thai restaurants. Lately, the one that has generated the most buzz is definitely The Terrace in Hamden (with its Cordon Bleu chef). That being stated, I still tend to look at Thai food as a reasonably priced alternative to several other ethnic choices, and people who have eaten there tell me while they enjoyed the food, it was VERY costly (compared to most of the other Thais), with lunch for two easily over $40 without drinks and dinner in the $100 range.
        Our current favorite - without any doubt - is the Rice Pot on State St. Unfailingly delicious food, reasonable prices, and a very warm and friendly atmosphere. On our last visit, we had Macadamia Beef for the first time (along with the usual Pad Thai and apps) and it was absolutely delicious!

        1. re: lsnhc

          I looked up both The Rice Pot and Thai Taste and they share the same website, http://www.thaitastenewhaven.com/inde..., and it says, "Welcome to the Thai Taste New Haven Restaurants. Seems like most people here prefer The Rice Pot?
          I want to have "pla pad prik". It looks like the menus are very similar with a lot of overlap. The Rice Pot offers "Pla Sam Rod". which I have never heard of and Thai Taste offers "pla lard prik". Both sound similar to "pla pad prik". Anyone know the difference?
          Is The Rice Pot still the preferred of the two??

          1. re: Scargod

            Scargod,l
            PLA PAD PHRIK (fish fried with peppers) is usually bite-sized pieces of fish that are lightly breaded before cooking and it arrives at the table all mixed up. PLA LARD PHRIK (fish covered with peppers) is usually a whole fish or at least large fillets and the sauce and vegetables are layered on top). PLA SAM ROT (3 flavored fish) is flavored with a sauce designed to bring out sourness, saltiness and sweetness.

            1. re: ThaiNut

              How does Pla Rad Prik differ from Pla Lard Prik? Incidentally, when I Google "Phrik" it asks me if I want "Prik" which gives me many more hits.
              I used to eat at a Thai restaurant in Denton, TX where they served the whole snapper with chili sauce and I thought they called it "Pad Prik Pla". Is there a correct way to list the words?
              Can you direct me to any website where I could sort this out?
              If they say "Pla Rad Prik Pla Krapong", are they saying with tamarind or is the "Krapong" an area or special style?
              I need a Thai interpreter! I have two Thai cookbooks and they tend to avoid Thai wording. The internet is confusing and not that helpful from my brief looking.
              I have made the whole, fried, spicy fish a number of times. Done well, it is one of my favorites.

              1. re: Scargod

                Scargod,
                There is an official way to transliterate Thai writing into Roman letters that was developed by the Royal Institute, a Thai Government agency, back in the 50's. Unfortunately, most Thais, and even some Thai Government elements, are unaware of it or otherwise do not use it. So the result is that when some Thai opens a Thai restaurant here and goes to develop his menu, he just makes up the transliteration as he goes along. That's why you get spelling varieties like PRIK and PHRIK, PAD and PHAD, and LARD and RAD.

                As for the word order thing you mentioned (PAD PRIK PLA) as opposed to PLA PAD PRIK. That's just kinda like we'd use 'fish fried with chile' or 'chile fried fish.' Same thing, just different word order.

                I do not think there is any web site that you could use to sort this out. There are several on-line Thai to English/English to Thai dictionaries that you can use but they all depend on Thai script, not the Romanized Thai script that you see in the menus.

                PLA KRAPONG is the Thai name for the fish we call red snapper.

                Yeah, a nicely fried snapper or flounder topped with a nice spicy sauce is superb! Another great fish dish, but which usually needs to be ordered off-menu, is a fried fish topped with a layer of fried garlic and black pepper and served with a spicy lime/fish sauce/pulverized hot pepper sauce on the side. Big time Yum!

    2. I am not big on Thai for some reason. However, Dusitra in North Haven (between exits 12 and 13 off 91) was pretty good last time I went.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jdzlaw

        Disagree on Dusitra...it is NOT good representation of Thai food. You are probably not a big fan of Thai because you have not had real Thai food. I encourage you to visit Rice Pot on State Street. Great food and closest to Thai I've had in CT. Not stellar but extremely decent and palatable. Once you go Thai, you'll never go back :-)

        1. re: jdzlaw

          I nominate Dusitra as the worst Thai food I've had in CT (it was edible but it just wasn't very good thai)...go figure

          1. re: jdzlaw

            We went to Dusitra last night. We've not been before.
            Firstly, it has a pretty nice ambiance from some decent interior design. There was nice jazz playing, It is clean and upscale. We were going to the Steely Dan concert and had eaten a sizable, late lunch so we ate appetizers and had a bottle of wine.
            We had a bottle of '06 Wild Horse Coastal... Pinot Noir, for $32, which was delicious and reasonably priced. We ordered fresh spring rolls and stuffed, fried, puffy pastry. We got fried spring rolls instead, which they quickly replaced. We received a sweet, onion-cucumber-jalapeno condiment for the potato and ? pastry and a too strong (fishy taste) dark brown-peanutty sauce (sorry, I can't remember the Thai name), for the rolls. Though the spring rolls were good, nothing did anything for me. We had Tom Kai Gai and Larb Gai. Though average in flavor, the soup's chicken was somewhat tough and most pieces were too big to eat in one bite. It had a few straw mushrooms, one thin slice of jalapeno and two little inedible bits of lemongrass. I'd call it a little below average and certainly plain. The larb was better, but also plain or "spare". The chicken was quite spicy from red pepper flakes and was flavorful from toasted sesame seeds and toasted rice, with just the correct hint of fish sauce and lime. It had very little onion and no other raw veggies, save a chunk of iceberg lettuce and a few tired mint leaves. I did not care for the toasted rice, which is an option for some larb recipes. Some chunks of rice were large and hard. An irritation was that, though we ordered all appetizers or salad, all of it arrived at once. We tried to do triage but some of it got cooler. I did not ask for it to be in different courses but it would have made sense for them to do that.
            All in all, a very average representation of Thai food and below what I have experienced at most that I have tried in the area, though, in fairness, we did not try a main entree. The service was spotty. At 7PM they were serving about seven tables, or about 1/3 occupied.
            I cook Thai and I have been fortunate to eat at some really good places. I had a couple of Thai employees in a former life. I would not return to this place though I think it does and could have some bright spots and shouldn't be summarily dismissed.

          2. Within the city limits anyway, The Rice Pot on State St wins hands down.

            1. Rice Pot is the closest to authentic Thai food in CT. It's owned by the people who own Thai Taste but this branch makes more tradition Thai dishes and also has a Thai menu.

              Have heard good and bad about Thai Terrace. Am not one for 'fusion' Asian cuisine. Thai Awesome, just a block south of Thai Terriace is not bad for cheap eats but it's not Rice Pot. The best Thai cart in NH is Jasmine on Church St. just next to Willoughby's, across from People's Bank. So inexpensive, run by a really nice couple.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LCM

                Thanks, so much. This was more of (the information) what I was looking for. I may try Thai Terrace... and I like fusion. One of my favorite places, back in Texas, was Thai Tango, in Flower Mound, a 'burb of Dallas.

              2. I have never had a Thai meal in New Haven that has blown me away. There are several places that are on the good side of average, of these The Rice Pot is my favorite.

                2 Replies
                1. re: EastRocker

                  EastRocker~ If you want to be blown away by authentic, delectable Thai food and have the opportunity to go to L.A. visit Sanam Luang Cafe (Google for locations). It's JUST like being in Thailand and packed with Thai people all the time.

                  1. re: EastRocker

                    You might get blown away at "The Terrace". Had lunch there again, but by myself. This time I had company; there were other customers!
                    I had 6 steamed green-lipped clams @ about $1 each They came with a fish sauce and cilantro shooter. Yummy.
                    I was going to order from the regular menu when the waiter mentioned their fish special: a fillet of White Sea Trout in tamarind sauce, This large fillet came with carrot and a few other finely cut veggies in a spicy-sweet tamarind sauce. It was accompanied with a good semi-sticky rice. I ate every last bit of it, save for four pieces of hot pepper. I had a glass of house sauv. blanc that was meh...
                    My total bill was $33.82 for a really fine, fresh and delicious meal and wine. This is very fusion kind of stuff IMHO, but it was very, very good. I'd try it if I were you!

                  2. Went to the Rice Pot last week - -very good food, very good service. Our party had the crispy pork in spicy basil sauce (reminded me of peruvian chicharrones in a spicy sauce), crispy pork w/string beans, Homestyle duck - very good, Macadamia beef - delish, and we shared the app assortment.

                    They are the same owners as Thai Taste and per my brother who frequents both, Rice Pot makes certain dishes such as the crispy pork that Thai Taste does not.

                    we'll be back it was great - but yes the area about a block away is a bit dodgy. Park in their lot if you can.

                    debvil

                    1. We have driven by this place on Rt.5 so many times and finally we made a u-turn after passing it. That u-turn did not go to waste. It was called Dusitra and they serve Thai Cuisine. I have eaten Thai all over CT. The service here was fantastic. We started out with the Tom Kar soup which I absolutely loved (it is a Thai favorite of mine). The mushrooms were not reconstituted from dehydrate and the lemon grass made the taste so much fresher than what I have had. I had the Panang curry with chicken. It came with baby bok choy which was cooked perfectly and the curry sauce was so good I was tempted to lick my plate. My boyfriend had the Red Curry with duck. OMG it was rich and delicious. I will file this place in the front of my favs for Thai and will definately spread the news to others.

                      1. I miss Chapel Street. While the Jasmine cart on Church is pretty damn good, my number one Thai restaurant in the Have is Bangkok Gardens. Freshman year I usually switched off between that and Thai Taste (TT has better tom kha gai and fried bananas, but BG has better everything else), but I stopped going to Thai Taste after a dinner where a person across the room found the largest, grossest bug in her food. Ick.

                        The apps at BG are great--great satay, totally yummy spring rolls, awesome triangle tofu. The yum nua (citrusy beef salad) is awesome, the drunken chicken kicks ass, and the drunken noodle is amazing too. Other recs: rad na, pad see ew, pineapple rice. Also, the people are nice, and it's always nice to sit in their atrium. I really miss BG.

                        My BF liked Thai Pan Asian (esp. the lunch buffet), but I thought it was a little greasier than BG. Never tried Pad Thai or Indochine Pavilion, but heard good things about the latter.

                        1. Since I started this thread I thought I would post here rather than post to the other thread about The Terrace, in Hamden.
                          We had lunch at the Terrace on Monday and we were not disappointed. We were the only people there, thought it was well after the normal noon rush. We had wine, fresh spring rolls, fish cakes, pork larb and mixed seafood, jungle curry. The only problem was the fish cakes were pre-made rubbery affairs. I said we did not care for them and the waiter said they were the chefs fall-back substitute. I wished he had of told me beforehand... He suggested we ask for the shrimp cakes if there were no fresh fish cakes.
                          Otherwise we really enjoyed our meal. The food is quite spicy, so pay attention when they are asking about what level of heat you want! Hot is quite hot. Medium will prove quite hot enough for most people who want some heat.
                          The place was clean and simply decorated. Service was outstanding. The prices were fair, we thought. Everything but the fish cakes was prepared fresh. I heard lots of chopping!
                          The pork larb and the seafood dish was as good as I have had anywhere in Connecticut. We will definitely go back for dinner, soon.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Scargod

                            Elaborating on my seafood dish:
                            This was a squid and shrimp dish with vegetables. The Jungle Curry this chef makes is not the traditional variation of a green curry. It was a very flavorful clear broth with red pepper flakes and one ingredient unique to jungle curry, fingerroot, "Boesenbergia rotunda", a rhizome sometimes also referred to as “Chinese keys.” It adds an earthy flavor that is particular to jungle curry.
                            Closed Mondays. 203-230-2077, 1559 Dixwell Ave. http://theterracethai.com/Home.html
                            It is on the property where Joe Grate's BBQ used to be, where Planet Fitness is, and eight-tenths of a mile towards New Haven from I-15 overpass/exit 60.

                          2. rice pot and thai taste share the same menu, and the same food. the difference is in the location, ambiance, and general vibe, with the rice pot being a pleasant, sunny little restaurant, and thai taste being in the former basement space of the 'old heidelberg,' right on the yale campus. bangkok gardens, around the corner from thai taste, is also okay. but the terrace in hamden is in a different league from any of new haven's other thai restaurants. hands down the best spot in the area, and the only place that'll spice it up the way it's supposed to be.