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Mar 18, 2011 09:10 AM

The best Thai food in DC?

I want to take a friend out to dinner to celebrate her getting a new job! She loves Thai food and the last Thai restaurant we went to togeher was less than stellar (Thai Curry in Arlington). Any suggestions for a great Thai place near the Metro in DC? Preferably in the Capitol Hill area.

Also, while we're talking about Thai, I'd like to hear your favorite Thai places in the DMV if you're willing to share. I'll probably stick to the Hill for the celebratory dinner with my friend, but I'd like to know of places to try for another time.

Thanks in advance for your input. The last similar post I could find was a few years old.


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  1. Thai X-ing, on Florida at roughly 6th. You just have to be able to put up with some quirkiness, but the food is fantastic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: katecm

      Seconded on Thai X-ing within the district.

    2. If you go to Thai X-ing, ask for the red salmon curry. Must reserve, very casual, but only two tables. Not on Capitol Hill or even that close to a Metro stop.

      I have no idea where Thai Curry is, but I'm pretty sure the thai on Capitol Hill will be worse.

      Best in the area:

      Go to Ruan Thai in Wheaton and get:
      12*** yum ma keau, spicy grilled eggplant with pork and shrimp
      ***special, watercress with squid, dried shrimp and cashews
      64*** ped pad kha prao, stir fried boneless duck
      87*** tu-fu pad kha prao, stir-fried tofu with hot chili green pepper and basil

      Consider the Lao menu at Bangkok Golden in Falls Church, VA and get the kao piak sen (noodle soup with chicken), the rice paste wrap, and the nam kao (rice ball salad).

      Ruan Thai Restaurant
      11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

      5 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Thai X-ing is waaay more convenient to get to than Wheaton. If you take the U Street 10th street exit, it's just a few blocks east. But if you're looking for a road trip option, those are good ones.

        U Street Cafe
        1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

        1. re: katecm

          Taking the red line from Union Station to Wheaton would hardly qualify as a hike, let alone a road trip. Ruan Thai is totally worth the 15-20 minute travel investment.

          Ruan Thai Restaurant
          11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

        2. re: Steve

          Can you ask for specific things anymore at Thai X-ing? I thought they had gone to a prix fixe chef's choice model. Haven't been there in quite a while, so I don't know for sure, but checking now, that's also what their website claims.

          1. re: sweth

            I think you'd have to talk to them. It has become even more idiosyncratic than before. I am under the impression there are three formats, depending on the day of the week. Midweek: you tell them how many courses you want. Friday and Saturday prix fixe, and Sunday vegetarian only. Plus I think they still do takeout......

        3. "Thai X-ing is waaay more convenient to get to than Wheaton."

          I disagree with this. The walk from the Wheaton Metro stop to Ruan Thai is shorter than the walk from U St. to Thai Xing - and it's in a neighborhood I'm more comfortable walking in. The food at Ruan Thai is better than that at TX as well -- though I do agree that TX is the best Thai in the district. It's also a hassle to go to due to its tiny size.

          In short, I think Ruan Thai is very worth going to - the only disadvantage is that you spend more time on the Metro train. The duck salad is one of my perennial favorites there.

          Ruan Thai Restaurant
          11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

          1 Reply
          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            Guess I'm biased since I live in the neighborhood, so don't have any discomfort!

          2. Am I the only one who likes Royal Thai in Chinatown? That place is great!

            3 Replies
              1. re: Steve

                I usually get the peppery garlic, the young ginger, or the pad see ew. For each of those, you select your own protein (I always go with the chicken).

                I've tried most of their appetizers and have been very happy with all of them.

                1. re: Garlic Guy

                  I've only had Royal Thai once, and I don't think I would go back. We had the shrimp spring rolls, kee mow with chicken, and penang curry with chicken. It was our first time ordering and we wanted to like it as we just moved and need a new go-to takeout place. Perhaps it wasn't as good because we had takeout, but we typically do thai takeout as it usually holds up well.

                  Shrimp rolls - $7 for 3 small, pretty dull little rolls.
                  Penang curry: very bland, very much like a peanut butter sauce that I once made from a Rachael Ray cookbook. No veggies or even basil at all - just the sauce, and chicken.
                  Kee Mow: this was just bad - very stingy on the veggies. I had a bite where the noodle was folded over and had not been mixed - it tasted like vinegar. not like fish sauce, like plain white vinegar.

                  All and all really disappointing.

            1. I am a big fan of Crystal Thai in Arlington. My favorites: pad see ew with beef, tofu tod, spicy eggplant with shrimp, guay deow khua (not on menu--just ask for it), cinnamon beef, pad lard na talay, pad lard na, and honey-roasted duck.

              Crystal Thai Restaurant
              4819 1st St N, Arlington, VA 22203