The 10 Best Thai Restaurants in NYC

Categories: Our 10 Best

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Ngam
A decade ago, the average New Yorker would be hard-pressed to name 10 destination-worthy Thai restaurants, but as the city's collective palate has expanded, so too have the options for regional cuisines from Southeast Asia; fiery, sour Northeastern Isaan flavors seem to be in particular abundance these days. The geography has also changed: no longer must the hungry masses venture to Woodside and Elmhurst for their fish sauce fixes, though the restaurants that have proliferated in the Queens neighborhoods are most certainly worth the trip. When the chili powder dust has settled, these are our 10 Best Thai restaurants in NYC.

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Sietsema
10. Thai Market, 960 Amsterdam Avenue

Manhattan Valley may be modest in size (spanning 16 or so city blocks), but the area--on the upper reaches of the Upper West Side--enjoys a wealth of great, affordable restaurants, and Thai Market is most assuredly one of these. Red umbrellas are meant to evoke Bangkok's night markets, and an ornate tin ceiling adds a certain atmosphere missing from many of its contemporaries. Stir fries are refreshingly light on oil, and the kitchen will crank up the spice upon request. We're smitten with the Thai Market Crepe, an ultra-thin pancake with crisp edges and a soft, swollen middle stuffed with pulverized toasted coconut, dried shrimp, and mung bean sprouts; more adventurous folk would do well to order a bowl of goong chae nam pla, a raw shrimp dish that packs plenty of chili heat.

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Zabb Elee
9. Zabb Elee, 75 Second Avenue

The Manhattan outpost of an Isaan-centric spot in Elmhurst, this whitewashed wonderland of heat and sourness has all the frills of a dainty French bistro. The muted setting allows the vibrant food to steal the show. Verdant morning glory, crunchy stems and all, sits in a puddle of burnished sauce that harmonizes notes of salt, sweetness, sourness, and intense chile heat. The cooks at Zabb Elee might even have a bit of an environmentalist streak, frying up that scourge of Central Park (and satanic hell spawn), the "walking", sharp-toothed snakehead fish. We're willing to bet the EPA never dreamed up a solution this delicious, which is the only word fitting to describe the combination of crispy, firm flesh, and powerful garlic, lime sauce brimming with chopped chilies.

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Flickr/cherrylet
8. SriPraPhai, 64-13 39th Avenue, Queens

Mekong matriarch Sripraphai Tipmanee set up shop in Woodside, Queens over 20 years ago, and the city's dining landscape was forever changed. The restaurant proved so popular that Tipmanee was forced to move to a larger location complete with a spacious courtyard. The place still commands hour-long waits. There's a near-legendary watercress salad, and curries spicy enough to moisten your brow, but it's the crisp fried catfish with green mango and cashew nuts that keeps us coming back; the golden brown nuggets sport crunch and sour sweetness.


Location Info

Thai Market

960 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Zabb Elee

75 Second Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Sripraphai

64-13 39th Ave., Flushing, NY

Category: Restaurant

Ayada Thai Restaurant

77-08 Woodside Ave., Flushing, NY

Category: Restaurant

Uncle Boons

7 Spring St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Somtum Der

85 Avenue A, New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Chao Thai

85-03 Whitney Ave., Flushing, NY

Category: Restaurant

Pok Pok NY

127 Columbia St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Ngam

99 3rd Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


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19 comments
moistworm40
moistworm40

Jump on a boat and come see us in Chaba Thai, Abingdon (8m south of Oxford) UK. yummy yummy

stevenpk
stevenpk

Pam Real Thai is about 70% of the way there. "There" is still Sri Praphai. 

stevenpk
stevenpk

Well, this article is not very accurate. I have been to many of these restaurants and none of them  - to suggest that something like Thai Market is in the same league as Sri Praphai is absurd. Only someone who doesn't really know Thai food could say this. Sri P. is wholly authentic and has a great chef. Many of the rest are not authentic at all. Two of these are owned and run by white americans. Others are extremely average versions of Thai flavours by people who are not really Thai and certainly not great cooks. 

mohonid1
mohonid1

I think the best is Up Thai nyc on upper east side, the best atmosphere.

Alfred J Bev III
Alfred J Bev III

NY was and is the best place in the world to eat all kinds of food !

neatjapanese
neatjapanese

I love larb ubol!! Also at upper west side I think Tum&Yum is better than Thai market

erdavis82
erdavis82

At first I thought I understood why Kin Shop wasn't included but after seeing Ngam and Pok Pok I am a bit perplexed as to why Kin Shop isn't on this list . . .

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