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Aug 16, 2009 06:03 PM

the absolute hands-down best Thai food I have found in Manhattan or the boroughs since 2006

Bangkok Tasty in Astoria, Queens. I had dinner last night with my daughter who has eaten there consistently for the past four years and is a devoted fan. We shared a green papaya salad, and it was outstanding. I would not let the waitress remove the plate until I had eaten every bit of the dressing. I entertained the idea of asking for a small take-out container so I could take the dressing home and try to emulate it. But it was so good I consumed every last drop.

My daughter got the Green curry (vegetable) and I got the Pad Kee Mao, which was the wide rice noodles with vegetables, tofu, and a wicked garlic and Thai basil sauce. Both were exceptional. I am a cook, and can tend to be a bit hyper-critical, but my only criticism is that the chef doesn't teach cooking classes? Why not? I would be the first person to sign up!

Anyway, if you are serious Thai restaurant hound, then you need to get out to Astoria. Here is a good strategy--eat there but make sure to get an entree to go so you can have dinner at home the next night. I did that with the Green Curry, and just had some tonight. There was so much sauce that I could add some of my own fresh vegetables to it as I reheated it and could then "stretch" the sauce. btw, our total bill, including the green papaya salad, three entrees (one of them was to go), was $35.

I haven't found any Thai restaurant anywhere that is better, and I have tried several. If anyone else goes there, will you please ask them to ask the chef to do some cooking classes? Maybe if enough people ask, he will say yes.

They are at 29-06 23rd Ave. in Astoria. If they only had an outdoor cafe, they would be mobbed. I was hesitant to write a review because I don't want it to get "discovered" but then I realized that is pretty ridiculous. Their website is I grabbed a menu on my way out so I can plan ahead next time and order to go.

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  1. sounds wonderful...will have to make the (short) trek from jackson hts!

    11 Replies
    1. re: david sprague

      It is soooooo worth the trip! In terms of spice and heat levels, the medium is a solid amount of heat, but if you like "Thai spicy" they are definitely up to the challenge. Another winner is the Spicy Fish Soup (Tom Yum). I haven't been to Thailand, but I am guessing this is exactly what it would taste like on the streets and in certain regions. Under the "Sauteed" section of their menu, my daughter is a big fan of the Thai Chile Basil Eggplant (#10), which is eggplant, string bean, onion, roasted chili pepper, carrot, and basil. We didn't get it last night, but it will be my next dish to try there. Portions are generous. I wish I had saved room for the mango sticky rice. The owners and chef are Thai, btw.

      1. re: alismith2


        Thanks for the review. I live nearby in Sunnyside Gardens, and have a few great Thai options in Woodside that I frequent. It's hard to tell from your review whether you've tried other Thai restaurants in Queens. Can you tell me how this place compares to other any other Thai in the borough?

        1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

          Marc--I am so much more impressed with Bangkok Tasty than with Sripraphai. When a bunch of us tried Sripraphai, it must have been an off night. Also, my expectations were huge and I thought it would be outstanding. I was disappointed with my entree and one of our party (a Bangkok Tasty fan) also was not happy with what he ordered, but everyone at my table did like the mango sticky rice. My daughter has tried many more Thai places in Queens than I have, and she says the Bangkok Tasty is her favorite. I have tried from high end to moderate in the city and would not rush back to any of them. I think it makes a huge difference if the kitchen is Thai or not. There are complexities of flavors in the sauces and the curries at B.T. that are inspiring to me, since I consider myself pretty good at nailing what is in a dish just by tasting it. That is why I want to learn from the chef at BT, because I want to learn his technique in layering flavors. Unlike Harlan, I did like the old mostly-takeout BT with just a few tables and with an open view of the kitchen. I find the new remodel place a little dark, and would love it if they had some tables on the sidewalk and went more for funk and less for decor. But who cares, I love the food and will go back every time I am in Astoria. Where do you recommend in Woodside?

          1. re: alismith2

            what was your entree at sri and why were you disappointed?

            i'm asking because the more details you give, the easier it is for other posters to figure out if your taste in thai food is the same as theirs.

            for instance, as someone who has spent a lot of time in thailand, i find sri very authenthic, and your mention of there being carrots in chile basil eggplant at BT sets off alarm bells (I hate extraneous vegetables in my thai food). So perhaps what you hated about your food at sri i would love. So more details would be great.

            1. re: missmasala

              I lived in Bangkok for over a year and spent another 7 months traveling the country, so I know authentic Thai food pretty well. Sripraphai is the only Thai restaurant I've eaten at in the States that gets Thai food right. Not to say that is what makes alismith2 happy, (apparently not) and BKT may indeed have tasty food, but I see no reason to stop eating at Sri (especially if it means getting carrot in my thai food!).

                1. re: Jeffsayyes

                  do you mean what other Thai restaurants in NYC? or is that a broader question?

                    1. re: Jeffsayyes

                      off the top of my head, here in NY: Pam Real, Kittichai, Khao Sarn, Joya, Jing Du, Klong, Elephant, Cafe Sage, SEA. Certainly there have been others over the years.

      2. re: david sprague

        im in JH aswell and will have to make to the transition from SriPAi PAi which I consider to be the best in woodside. However, the fact they close at 930 on Saturday is just arragant. So time to change to a new place will try and respond.....david if you have tried both any thoughts?

        1. re: mikeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

          if you are in JH, just head to Ayada. many posts and reviews; i love the place.

      3. Eh? I like Bangkok Tasty just fine. They've certainly improved since they expanded and remodeled. We order takeout from them or eat lunch there fairly often. But they're not as good as Thai Pavilion or Arnharn Thai (on a good day) in Astoria, and nowhere near as good as Sripraphai. I don't think of them as a destination restaurant at all.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Harlan

          OK, so one person thinks this is the best Thai restaurant in Queens, and another thinks that it is -worse- than Thai Pavilion.

          Anyone else care to chime in?

          1. re: Harlan

            UGH. I think I had the worst meal in Astoria since moving to the neighborhood last year. Checked out Arharn Thai on 36th Ave after having read some good things about them on various Astoria blogs. Wanted to get a quick take out meal. Perhaps should have known better as the place was completely empty. We ordered the yum pla muk (squid salad), tom yum koong soup, beef ka na, and a side of jasmine rice. The salad was covered in a gloppy, oily dressing, there were about two pieces of lettuce, a ton of onion, and a few pieces of very rubbery squid. The tom yum soup had a foul taste, with only two shrimp. Worst of all was the beef ka na. The beef tasted rancid, actually. And to add insult to injury, the "jasmine" rice was simply white rice. Total waste of money. Had we eaten there, we would have sent the food back, but was too late as we ate at home. Threw away their delivery menu as there was not one redeeming element to the experience. I'm pretty sad about the state of Thai food in Astoria, but knowing that Srip is nearby is a relief.

            1. re: queenseats

              Thanks for the report, queenseats! I haven't been there in quite a while, and it's good to know that it's gone (way) downhill.