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Best Thai in the Boston Area (Not The Similians)

My sister has been dying to have some great Thai food for a while now, but we have yet to find it. We went to The Similians a while back, but she was far from impressed. She says that all of the Thai food she sees on TV looks better than what we had there and she did not like any of the flavors. Are there any other places that serve Thai food that people are more impressed with? She likes good appetizers, spicy things, pad Thai, seafood and most vegetables. BTW I found nothing wrong with the food at The Similians, but I can't say I was blown away either.

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  1. S&I and Thai North.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Matt H

      Do you recommend any particular dishes?

      1. re: Johnresa

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9051...

    2. I know S&I and Thai North are the big CH favs but I am hoping you get some other recs. We are not of the" Hot Spicy I Can Take It Give Me All Ya Got" persuasion, plus S&I is not a space I care for, but we would like to try more places for sure.
      (Is that baby a good 65 lb now? toooo much>i want to wake up to that face every day:)

      2 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        "Hot Spicy I Can Take It Give Me All Ya Got" persuasion...

        LOL.

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          Haha, sometimes I wonder if a portion of my love for S&I includes the fact that they seem to be the only place that can make it blazingly spicy, but then again, it's always balanced with the other flavors. That said it's one of my favorite "spicy" spots for those times I need a religious experience/am sick/ or just need to breath fire.

        2. pps. I saw your member pg. We drink Peach tea all summer at least; Upton Tea Co, in MA, has a stellar Peach tea w/ fruit pieces that we use ( in case you make your own.) We make at least one batch of concentrate to last us through a week of pitchers. And My Love has started combining it w/ Goya Peach Nectar ( which he gets at MB; it comes in a box ) and finds that combo v. refreshing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            I love S & I but agree that it isn't a prepossessing space (mostly do takeout there). For a gentler environment and acceptable thai food (not as good as S & I) I go to Dok Bua and, on occasion, Khao Sarn. Thai North is a little too opaque for me: if you don't know how to order and there isn't a server on who can explain, you end up with food cooked for "americans."

          2. Are you looking for authentic Thai or things more along the lines of pad thai? It's not clear what "Thai food she sees on TV" means. Also, what dishes didn't she love at The Similans?

            7 Replies
            1. re: Gabatta

              I would be looking for something that has good amount of both. I am more of an authentic lady myself, but she is a lot more tame and would get excited by a good pad thai. She watches things like Phantom Gourmet and Diners Drive-ins and Dives and she was disappointed that the food she ordered at The Similians did not look like that. She only ordered off the appetizer menu when we went there and she returned one of the items (spareribs) and didn't eat another (stuffed chicken wings). She says they were too bland and she is refusing to go there to try anything else.

              1. re: Johnresa

                Given your sister's preferences you describe, my suggestion is Brown Sugar.

              2. re: Gabatta

                That was my question too. I like the Similan's though not certainly as the my favorite Thai place, but I don't think they do anything egregiously wrong. A more experienced friend who spent time living in Thailand finds their menu to be relatively decent in flavors.

                I wonder if OPs friend may be looking for more Western-palate friendly flavors, if she enjoys pad thai. Some of the blander places I've tried are Pepper Sky in Central Sq, but I find them very meh. I personally like Chili Duck in Copley Square for having a good balance of both - catering to a more touristy set, but also having some good spices on the dishes I've ordered.

                1. re: kobuta

                  I also like Chili Duck and I think they can adapt their cooking to the taste of your group if you let them know what you want.

                  1. re: kobuta

                    Another vote for Chili Duck. Staff are super friendly and accommodating, plus it's a cheery little spot. I like their "authentic Thai menu".

                  2. re: Gabatta

                    Abasolutely nothing NOT authentic about pad thai - been to Thailand more than 10 times - always eat pad thai.

                    1. re: debidokun

                      10 visits...be careful they might make you the ambassador.

                      My point was more that in my experience people who like pad thai tend to stick with the more known or safe menu items (if not just the pad thai itself). Though pad thai is a common street food in Thailand, here it is more popular at Americanized, non authentic restaurants if that makes sense. I find these local restaurants tend to serve overly a sweet, peanut sauced and gloppy version, which is quite different from an authentic version.

                  3. If attractive plates are as important as the taste, she might like Pho Basil on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston.

                    http://www.phobasil.com/index.php

                    If more authentic Thai with deep spice is her goal you could try Pad Thai Cafe around the corner on Boylston Street.

                    http://www.padthaicafe.com/

                    They have both an American and a Thai menu and most customers order the level of spice they want. I hear a lot of "Extra Spicy" while I'm waiting for my orders there. The Laab can be really fiery.

                    Penny
                    http://www.bostonzest.com/

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: BostonZest

                      I've been pleasantly surprised by a couple of recent-ish dinners at Bangkok City, also on Mass. Ave in Boston - tasty, well-presented food in a very nice room, not nearly as Americanized as one might fear.

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        I haven't been to Bangkok City in about 15 years but if you say to give it a try, I will. Pho Basil will be back to lines out the door once the students returns so it may be a handy alternative.

                    2. Khao Sarn is reasonably traditional, does a few Northern dishes as well as the de rigueur Southern stuff, has nicer atmosphere and better service than most, and has a full bar with a pretty interesting wine list.

                      I still go there regularly, but prefer the more bare-bones places with more traditional food like S&I.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        I second this! I'd rather go to S & I or Thai North, but Khao Sarn has some great dishes. Two of my favorites are:

                        -Moo Pa Lo - delicious pork & eggs in a broth - not spicy

                        -Beef (or chicken) Gaprow - spicy, sort of like larb meets nam sod

                        1. re: eatanddestroy

                          I had pad kee-mao there the other day that packed a lovely punch.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            I recommended Khao Sarn and Dok Bua above as the two more attractive "sit-down" options that are good, though not, to me, as good as S & I. Khao Sarn used to have a Mee Krob(?) that I loved on their menu which has disappeared. Will have to try the pad kee-mao and beef gaprow.

                      2. Brown Sugar Cafe!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Joelleswhite

                          Brown Sugar is owned by the same people as The Similians.

                          You could try S & I.

                          I get take out meals from The Similians on a fairly regular basis and have enjoyed them, but I'm afraid I do not watch those cooking shows mentioned by the OP so can't comment on their appearances as they compare to the dishes seen on The Phantom Gourmet and Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.

                          1. re: mvi

                            those two shows are about as different as can be.

                            DDD is about finding good old family run places that still deliver good food though guy fieri is all about over-priced mediocre food at restaurants which i would avoid just after hearing their name - johnny garlic's or tex wasabi

                            while the phantom seems to be have no taste whatsoever.

                        2. Based on CH we ordered a big take out meal from Thai North a few weeks ago and were very underwhelmed....

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            ...and then what??

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              Did you order Northern items from the specials board or off the regular menu?

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/