In New York, Thai restaurants aren’t as ubiquitous as sleek sushi temples or greasy Chinese takeout joints. But over the past few years several eateries have cropped up that offer the cuisine’s signature spice and peanut sauce while advancing their games beyond staples like pad thai. And while many of the most authentic options are still found in Thai immigrant enclaves in Queens, quality Thai eats are no longer missing from more stylish downtown precincts.
Kittichai made a big splash when it opened in 2004 at boutique hotel 60 Thompson with chef Ian Chalermkittichai and helped pioneer the idea of haute Thai in New York. The namesake original chef has moved on, but Australian import Ty Bellingham has continued a tradition of refined curry pastes and coconut creams in a sleek room bedecked with reflecting pools, floating candles and orchids.
2 Kin Shop
Kin Shop is Top Chef season 1 winner Harold Dieterle's follow-up to his acclaimed Perilla. It offers an extensive cocktail and wine list alongside its food menu, which Dieterle drew up after several trips to Thailand. Kin is Thai for "too eat," and true to its name in two languages, Kin Shop encourages diners to share their meals family style.
SriPraPhai is off the beaten path, but discerning diners are happy to make the trek to what is often billed the best Thai eatery in the five boroughs. Whatever this gem lacks in haute it makes up for with perilously hot dishes like crispy dried catfish and beef panang that might as well be teleported in from Bangkok.
4 Peep SoHo
5 Spice Market
Globe-trotting chef and Haute 100 lister Jean-Georges Vongerichten's sprawling Meatpacking District scene isn't so much Thai as a crash course in Pan-Asian street food. But offerings inspired by Bangkok's famous food stalls are arguably the best on the exhaustive menu.