When you think of New York City, you might think of some famous NYC foods: pizza, bagels, cheesecake, and Dominique Ansel’s cronut. The city even has a nickname for food – the Big Apple! But did you know New York City is also home to some of the best Thai food outside of Thailand?
Whether you’re strolling along 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen or wandering farther afield in the Queens neighborhood known as “Little Thailand” or “Thai Town,” you can find incredible authentic Thai dishes. From classics like Pad Thai to homespun favorites like Tom Yum Soup, New York City’s Thai restaurants deliver flavor and spice that won’t disappoint. I’ve rounded up the top 19 Thai food places in the city. You can browse by neighborhood or just skim through to find the vibe that’s right for you. You can find good Thai in almost every corner of New York, so check out my list of the best Thai food in NYC below!
7708 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373
Ayada Thai is one of the most authentic New York City Thai restaurants. In NYC, Manhattan’s Chinatown is famous – but locals know that the real Chinatown is out in Flushing, Queens. Similarly, while you can get incredible Thai food in the touristy streets of downtown Manhattan, the real deal is in Queens in the small but bustling immigrant neighborhood of Elmhurst. Ayada Thai is comfortable and casual, almost unassuming. But don’t let this laid-back vibe fool you. They serve some of the best Thai dishes you’ll ever taste. I recommend going with a group and eating family-style so you can sample as much of the menu as possible. My two favorite dishes are the Drunken Noodles and the Panang Curry with duck.
Pure Thai Cookhouse
766 9th Ave #2, New York, NY 10019
If you don’t have time to schlep out to Elmhurst, Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan is your next best bet for Thai. Hell’s Kitchen sits next to the Broadway Theater District and is just a few blocks from Times Square. The neighborhood is famous for its vast offering of delicious cuisines – especially 9th Avenue between 42nd and 57th street. Pure Thai Cookhouse is a gem of Hell’s Kitchen. The small dining room is chic and simple, and the dishes are anything but. Handmade noodles are the highlight here, made from a secret family recipe. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but I particularly recommend the Crab and Pork Dry Noodles – I couldn’t have enough!
64-13 39th Ave, Woodside, NY 11377
SriPraPhai is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. The restaurant has been a longtime staple in Woodside, Queens, part of New York’s “Little Thailand.” While it’s not in the main tourist drag, SriPraPhai is only a few blocks from the subway’s 7, M, and R lines. It’s right on the way if you plan to visit a Mets Game at Citi Field or stop by Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. SriPraPhai is a comfortable spot without any pretension. You can get authentic Thai spice here or ask for milder combinations. I was recommended the chef’s Green Curry, and it is a standout, with a choice of authentic Thai noodles or bamboo shoots and coconut.
100 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002
Wayla is tucked down a short stairway in the hip and trendy neighborhood of the Lower East Side. You’ll mingle with celebrities, musicians, models, and locals in this neighborhood packed with bars, concert venues, five-star restaurants, and speakeasies. Wayla’s chef, Tom Naumsuwan, grew up in Bangkok, and the city’s famous street markets inspire his fresh, authentic dishes. Wayla is posh but comfortable, with a BoHo vibe, back patio, and creative cocktails to accompany the fantastic food. I was craving deep-fried pork meatballs wrapped in Thai noodles and was not disappointed with my meal. You can also snag a quick lunch or groceries at Little Wayla upstairs.
407 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Ugly Baby is a quirky, colorful, trendy spot in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. A quintessential Brooklyn district, Carroll Gardens is home to many great restaurants, bars, boutiques, parks, and of course, rows of historic brownstones. It’s also a favorite with locals and a great spot to grab lunch or dinner while you explore New York’s trendiest borough. While the restaurant is small, it’s a buzzy and bright place to eat with Thai flavors from many regions. For an experience like no other, try the Khoong Muk Kai Kem with squid, shrimp, and egg yolk. If you’re feeling daring like I was, try the “brutally spicy” Kua Kling. My mouth still burns so good!
Somtum Der New York
85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood is famous for its NYU crowd and cuisines from all over the world. Somtum Der sits right at the eastern edge of the East Village, alongside Alphabet City. The restaurant is just a few blocks away from Tompkins Square Park, as well as some of the city’s most famous speakeasies. Somtum Der features cuisine from the Thai area known as Isan in the northeastern part of the country. The food is served as “Isan-style tapas,” with the intent of being shared family-style so you can sample a wide range of flavors. The highlight of their menu is the Somtum, a classic Thai dish of papaya salad.
Eim Khao Mun Kai
8132 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Another staple of Queen’s “Little Thailand,” Eim Khao Mun Kai sits just steps off the M and R train and a few blocks from the 7. It looks like a hole in the wall from the outside, but it’s cozy inside, and the dishes will warm you to the bone. I love the open kitchen because you can see the chefs preparing your food. The restaurant is famous for its poached chicken, which comes with a variety of flavor-forward sides. It might be the best chicken in the city – incredibly crispy on the outside and juicy inside. The service is fast, and the flavor is fantastic.
55 Bond St, New York, NY 10012
Fish Cheeks fits right in with its trendy NoHo surroundings. NoHo, named by locals, is the district “North of Houston Street” – the sister district of the world-famous SoHo neighborhood. NoHo shares the high-end shopping and world-class cuisine as its sister SoHo but is quieter with broader, prettier streets. Fish Cheeks is a bright, cozy spot perfect for friends or a date night. On the menu, the oysters shine, with a unique fried shallot and Nam Jim seafood sauce. Other dishes arrive on quirky plates shaped like fish or with creative garnishes. Don’t forget to check out the cocktail menu, as well! The variety was astounding, and the drinks were terrific.
Lan Larb has multiple locations in the city, but the best one is in the Kips Bay neighborhood of midtown Manhattan. The area is an eclectic mix of hotels, office buildings, bars with young after-work crowds, and even the United Nations building. This neighborhood is bustling during happy hour, and Lan Larb is a perfect after-work pitstop or date spot. The restaurant has a cozy, sophisticated vibe, ideal perfect for both lunch and dinner. The chef at Lan Larb hails from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and serves up excellent Thai and Asian fusion dishes. Anything off the Chef Signature Menu is extraordinary, although I particularly had a soft spot for the Khao Soi Chiang Mai and the Red Curry.
LOOK Thai by Plant Love House
622 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
LOOK Thai is an absolute neighborhood gem. The cozy, eclectic atmosphere fits the Brooklyn vibe perfectly, and it’s only a few blocks from must-see staples like the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The restaurant matches its homemade cooking with a cozy, colorful vibe and a charming back patio – always a local favorite in the city.LOOK Thai is recommended by nearly every New York City publication, and the food won’t disappoint. Their specialty is handmade noodle soups, with intensely flavorful broths stewed for days. Try the Guay Tiao Num Tok, their take on classic Thai boat noodles. With some scrumptious options on their desert menu, I couldn’t forget to pick some up, and you shouldn’t either!
Soothr Thai Noodle Bar
204 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
Soothr is another Thai spot located in the young, trendy East Village. The restaurant sits only a block from the 3rd Avenue stop on the L train amidst eclectic and bustling bars and cafes. Soothr is an award-winning restaurant, rated by the Michelin Guide and listed among Conde Nast’s Best New Restaurants in the World in 2021. Pronounced “Sood” in Thai, Soothr was founded by a group of Thai friends, each from a distinctive region, bringing in regional flavors. The architecture and design make you feel like you’ve stepped into Thailand itself, with natural woods and beautiful decor. Everything on the menu is delicious, but I particularly enjoyed the Khao Soi and fried duck or chicken. You can also choose from their menu of eclectic cocktails or extensive wine list.
186 Mott St, New York, NY 10012
Thai Diner on Mott Street mixes diner kitsch with classic Thai design for a one-of-a-kind experience. Located a block north of Little Italy in the ultra-trendy neighborhood of Nolita (which stands for “North of Little Italy”), Thai Diner is a popular spot for locals, celebs, and tourists alike. The food is fantastic, and the vibe is all about fun. The menu delivers delicious Thai classics like the excellent Prawn Phat Thai and Khao Soi. They also offer creative brunch and fusion dishes like the Coconut Beignets and Chicken Burger. Cocktails and desserts round out the menu –I left feeling like I had a truly unique experience, and I know it’ll be the same for you.
321 Starr St, Brooklyn
New York, NY 11237
Tong is a trendy new spot on the border of Brooklyn and Queens in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Bushwick. Young people are flocking to Bushwick these days – artists, musicians, young professionals – and the ultra-trendy cafes, restaurants, and bars follow. Tong matches the crowd with its eclectic menu, cocktails, and industrial-chic vibe. Whether you dine inside or on the expansive patio, the experience at Tong is top-notch. Their menu specializes in “Klub Klaem,” which are small, tapas-like dishes. Order them family-style along with the creative drinks. I couldn’t miss the crunchy fried chicken thighs topped with shallots and sweet Thai chili sauce and can’t recommend them enough.
Pye Boat Noodle
35-13 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106
Pye Boat Noodle sits on one of the bustling main streets of Astoria, Queens. Astoria is known as a hub for Greek immigrants and food, but in recent years has become a melting pot of cuisines, cultures, immigrants, and young people. It’s a slightly more affordable but increasingly trendy neighborhood, and it’s only a couple of stops on the train from midtown Manhattan. You’ll find the people are friendly and the atmosphere is a little more laid back than Manhattan or Brooklyn. Only two blocks from the popular Museum of the Moving Image and studios where famous shows like Friends were filmed, Pye Boat Noodle is a perfect Astoria staple. The restaurant is cozy and colorful, with a back garden with a soothing pond at the center. The boat noodles are the highlight of the menu, and if you want to get an authentic taste of Bangkok, then there are few better options.
Noods n’ Chill
170 S 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Noods n’ Chill is another outpost from Plant Love House and is a tiny counter-serve spot in the heart of Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhood, Williamsburg. The area is overflowing with world-class restaurants, bars, music venues, boutiques, and street fairs. You’ll probably see a celebrity or two while you’re out. But Noods n’ Chill is worth the trek all by itself. The restaurant is tiny but packs a huge punch of flavor in every dish. Like at its sister restaurant, LOOK Thai, the Guay Tiao Num Tok is fantastic. I highly recommend the Khao Soy and Popcorn Chicken, and if you can handle your spice, then you should definitely go for it.
Khao Kang NYC
76-20 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373
In the Queens district of “Little Thailand,” Khao Kang is a build-your-own eatery with industrial-chic vibes and excellent flavor. The restaurant is close to the 7 and the M and R trains and nestled in the bustling Woodside neighborhood. If you want authentic New York, this is it. Choose from a hot bar serving up great noodles and stews, or opt for the a la carte menu. The chef’s hometown of Chanthaburi inspires the flavors, and you’ll enjoy some of the most authentic local flavors in this tiny, relaxed spot. And don’t forget to sample their range of Thai teas.
42-06 77th St, Queens, NY 11373
A few blocks away from Khao Kang, Khao Nom is a beautiful little cafe serving teas, baked goods, and incredible Thai cuisine. It’s easy to locate from the interstate or the 7 train and sits on bustling Woodside Avenue. The atmosphere is perfect for a cozy lunch with friends or a comfortable dinner date. Two of the best dishes are called the Wife and the Husband. The Wife is a spicy basil seafood rice cooked to perfection and very spicy, and the Husband is a milder glazed shrimp dish with chan noodles. I finished off my meal with one of the beautiful treats displayed at the counter and could not be more satisfied with what I got.
Kitchen 79 NYC
37-70 79th St, Queens, NY 11372
Kitchen 79 is yet another Thai staple in “Little Thailand” in Queens. The restaurant is located right under the above-ground 7 train and a perfect pitstop on the way to a Mets Game or concert out at Corona Park. Kitchen 79 has sleek, sophisticated vibes perfect for a dinner date. The decor includes black subway-tile walls, tiled floor, and quirky chandeliers. As for the food, Kitchen 79 delivers. The restaurant has been featured in many publications, including the Michelin Guide, the Wall Street Journal, and Eater NY. They focus on Southern Thai dishes, which gives them unique flavors you might not get in other restaurants. I recommend any of the available currys and particularly loved the Chicken Massaman.
85-03 Whitney Ave, Queens, NY 11373
My final recommendation is Chao Thai, one of the city’s most no-frills, authentic Thai restaurants. Located in an unassuming corner of Elmhurst, Queens, near “Little Thailand,” Chao Thai is a tiny spot with a few tables, a counter, and incredible flavors. If you’re the kind of person who loves to find a hole in the wall or a hidden gem with the best food you’ve ever had, this place is for you. It’s tough to go wrong with anything on the menu, but I loved the Cashew Nut and the Prik King Curry. If you love spice, you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to ask for only a little spice if you can’t handle the heat because Chao Thai will not hold back!