The delicious flavors of Thai food have been infectiously enchanting Americans for decades. Whether its a green or red curry, spicy shrimp soup, pad thai, or a spicy beef salad, there are many delectable palate-feels associated Thai cuisine.
Being a melting pot of all different cultures, New York is known for its display of various dishes throughout the five boroughs. Here, we will take a look at some of the Big Apple’s finest Thai offerings.
Up Thai (1411 2nd Ave, Manhattan)
Up Thai is renowned for its interior design, which is described as ambient, gorgeous, and inviting. With quick service and a busy dinner rush, this spot is here to deliver tasty food, attentive waitstaff, and to give you a place perfectly suited for date night. With two floors, this space can still keep you sitting close to others, as the tables are very near one another.
Despite the close quarters, the food gets five star ratings all over Yelp and TripAdvisor, and people herald the decor and music as something that makes you want to come back time and time again. Customers brag about the pad thai, dumplings, spicy beef salad, curry, and Thai drinks.
Kiin Thai (36 E 8th St, Manhattan)
Deep in the heart of NYU territory is Kiin Thai, an offshoot of the East Village’s Somtum Der. Where the latter is known for its papaya salad, this spot dabbles in more traditional Thai cuisine as well as other Southeastern Asian flavors. With its white-washed interior and minimalist design, the flavors are big and bold enough to negate the simple decor.
Kiin Thai doesn’t offer a choice of heat for their dishes, but it forcibly makes you try foods the way they were intended to be served. Make sure to try the ho mok, duck red curry, grilled summer shrimp, golden bags (fried vegetable pouches), and nham prik num.
Uncle Boons Sister (203 Mott St, Manhattan)
This spot is the sister to Uncle Boons in Nolita, and is well known for its affordably priced creative menu (with nothing priced over $15). It has been noted for its sai oua sausage served on a hot dog bun, banana leaf-wrapped fish curry, as well as a crab omelet filled with yellow curry sauce.
It is worth noting that they serve beer and wine, but do not exactly have a bar. In this fast-paced takeout spot, they house only twelve seats inside and pride themselves on the ability to provide affordable Thai food in a city otherwise overrun by overpriced cuisine.
Bennie Thai Cafe (88 Fulton St, Manhattan)
Located in a basement-level space, this straightforward eatery delivers a great, casual meal at an affordable price. Their tom yum soup is a highlight along with their pork larb; City Hall dwellers have a field day with their lunch specials.
Bennie Thai provides a fast-paced, consistent dining experience that sees the bill arrive with the meal, ensuring that they can turn over the underground dining room with ease. It is also said in many reviews to try the vegetarian dishes as there are many options for you veggies!
Pok Pok NY (117 Columbia St, Brooklyn)
Heralding all the way from Portland, Oregon, this west coast Thai spot has been wowing New Yorkers since 2012. Pok Pok Ny is known for its adventurous meals that mirror the styles of Northern Thailand, and Vietnamese-infused recipes.
Pok Pok Ny has been making a name for itself since it opened in 2012. This spot does not take reservations, so when they open at 5:30 PM, you better believe that they are going to be filling up fast.
Boasting a backyard seating area and cooking with a black-barrel smoker, vertical charcoal rotisserie, and clay-lined pot, Pok Pok Ny makes great use of grill-based flavors and less use of coconut milk dishes.
SriPraPhai (64-13 39th Ave, Queens)
This long-standing mainstay in Queens has existed for over two decades, starting off as a Thai bakery before evolving into three boisterous restaurants. With a large menu and beautiful outdoor seating, SriPraPhai is a low-key, yet elegant place to enjoy some Thai cuisine.
While it can get busy during peak hours, that should not deter visitors from experiencing this well-seasoned dining experience. Their prices range from $5-$17, and their signature dishes include the papaya salad, Thai spring rolls, beef laab, fried soft shelled crab, green curry, and a delicious green tea ice cream. Head over to Queens because this old beauty should not be missed.
Kitchen 79 (37-70 79th St, Queens)
Much like the northern delicacies of Pok Pok Ny, Kitchen 79 makes great use of Southern Thailand flavors that are very much unseen in New York. These southern-based cuisines focus a great deal on spicinesses, such as a fish curry accented with chiles and kua kling, a dish that uses dry curry paste with water instead of the traditional coconut milk.
These deviations from the Thai food that New York has come to expect, puts Kitchen 79 on the map as a spot that needs to be visited and enjoyed. The black-and-white interior also counterbalances the flavors that jump out at your face, providing a truly unique experience that will stick with you regardless of preference.