2. Ayada Thai


Opened in 2008, Ayada has been a staple of Elmhurst’s Little Thailand with a large menu highly praised by The New York Times and ABC News. The restaurant’s decor is simple yet captivating, with wooden tables, wooden walls adorned with paintings of Thai country life and the Dalai Lama, and green leather cushioned chairs. Ayada’s success in Elmhurst led the restaurant to expand to Chelsea Market in 2019.

Ayada Thai

Popular appetizers include shrimp in a blanket, fish cake in a curry sauce with peanut relish, BBQ pork tender, and bean thread soup. The menu features 17 salads including Som Tum Talay, a shredded green papaya salad with shrimp, squid, mussels, and long beans, as well as raw shrimp salad and sour pork sausage salad. The Times recommends the fish basil, a fried whole or filleted red snapper with basil sauce, long hot chili, and mushroom, in addition to their rib-eye steak with drunk noodles and crispy duck panang curry. Also worth trying is the restaurant’s Pad Khee Mao with spicy chili sauce, frog legs with basil, and Kang Som sour curry with tamarind paste.

3. Khao Nom

Khao Nom is a small eatery and dessert bar on 77th Street with a rather small menu. The space is bright and rather spacious, with wooden tables and chairs, a table with all sorts of freshly packaged food, and creative light fixtures. Among the packaged desserts and foods at the counter include pandan rolls, sweet yams, coconut pudding, and banana cupcakes.

Among Khao Nom’s appetizers, most priced in the $7 to $10 range, include crispy pork belly with spicy tamarind sauce, curry puffs with chicken and potato, crispy crab spring rolls, and mussel pancake with sriracha sauce. Rice dishes, served with fried egg and soup, include Khao Man Gai, steamed chicken served with ginger rice, and garlic pork, as well as Emperor Rice with shrimp and sweet sausage in a clay pot. In addition to various types of barbecue, the restaurant also offers a selection of noodles including five-spice chicken stew noodle soup and “Chan” noodles with grilled jumbo prawns.