Food

Our 10 Best: Thai Restaurants

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No doubt it has a beguiling name, but did Thai Pot make our top 10?

It wasn’t too long ago that New Yorkers had to hang their heads in shame when we compared our collection of Southeast Asian restaurants with those in Los Angeles. And our experience of the cooking of Thailand’s northeastern Isaan region was limited to a papaya salad or two on the city’s Siamese menus–which mainly presented an invented 19th-century cuisine sometimes known as Royal Thai.

The excellence of its pig leg over rice is a bellwether of whether a Thai place will be good or not.

But now all that is behind us. Sripraphai has almost become a household word, and further immigration has led to a slew of small Thai cafes, introducing us to the cuisines of farflung regions. Finally, new arrivants from Bangkok have taught us to love the diverse and modern food of the capital, which increasingly flaunts its Japanese and other international influences.

Here are Our Top 10 Thais, which turn out food from all parts of the country, including colorful curries, pungent and austere salads, and Chinese-influenced noodles. No more need New Yorkers be ashamed of our Thai restaurants, and we’ll put our collection up against East Hollywood’s any day of the week. As usual, if you don’t see your favorite Thai among our choices, please tell us!

Turn the page to see the Runners-up to Our Top 10.

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This is Thai food? Shrimp are treated as a sort of Japanese ceviche in some Bangkok-style restaurants, like Ayada.

Runners-Up to Our 10 Best Thai Restaurants

Rhong-Tiam, 541 LaGuardia Place, 212-477-0600; Joya, 215 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-222-3484; Myrtle Thai, 412 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-422-1142; Rumphool, 57-17 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, 718-429-8899; Arunee Thai, 37-68 79th Street, Queens, 718-205-5559; Nusara Thai, 82-80 Broadway, Queens, 718-898-7996; Mai Thai, 4618 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-438-3413; Thai Market, 960 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-280-4575; I Am Thai, 49-08 43rd Avenue, Queens, 718-457-7700; Wondee Siam, 792 Ninth Avenue, 917-582-0355; Siam Orchid, 378 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-302-4203

Next up, numbers 6 through 10

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Chao Thai’s jungle curry gives you a spicy kick in the pants.

6. Bennie’s Thai Cafe, 88 Fulton Street, 212-587-8930
7. Am-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen, 359 McDonald Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-871-9115
8. Ayada, 77-08 Woodside Avenue, Queens, 718-424-0844
9. Zabb, 71-28 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, 718-426-7992
10. Kittichai, 60 Thompson Street, 212-219-2000

[drum roll] Next: our top 5 Thai restaurants

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The fish custard steamed in a banana leaf at Poodam is certainly one of the most remarkable Thai dishes in town.

1. Chao Thai, 85-03 Whitney Avenue, Queens, 718-424-4999
2. Sripraphai, 6413 39th Avenue, Queens, 718-899-9599
3. Thailand’s Center Point, 63-19 39th Avenue, Queens, 718-651-6888
4. Pam Real Thai Food, 404 West 49th Street, 212-333-7500
5. Poodam, 44-19 Broadway, Queens, 718-278-3010

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