Surrounded by bamboo shoots and polished wood tables, diners at New Saigon Vietnamese Bistro Restaurant bow their heads over steaming bowls of pho, traditional vietnamese noodle soup. The eatery offers pho varieties to suit any palate, including rare and well-done beef, chicken tenders, and assorted seafood. Once the bowls are served and diners put on their slurp-guard suits, they can customize their dishes with traditional accoutrements such as thai basil, bean sprouts, sriracha, and fresh lime wedges. The menu also includes other authentic Vietnamese dishes, such as dumplings filled with shrimp, braised duck, and rare beef mixed with egg noodles and flavorful greens, as well as manager’s favorites such as singapore curry noodles and seafood lo mein.
Since opening more than 22 years ago, Taste of Thai Halal has celebrated the traditional flavors of Thailand with a halal menu of curries, noodle dishes, and seafood. In addition to classic dishes such as pad thai and fried rice, adventurous palates can sample squid tossed in tamarind-spiced curry, or duck flavored with fresh ginger root and hot peppers. Dessert takes the soothing shape of coconut ice cream or bites of rasmalai, an Indian delicacy made with cheese dumplings and sweet cream.
Upon walking into Prince Hookah Lounge, patrons are enveloped in hues of crimson that set off a sinuous forest of hookah pipes. Merlot-hued curtains draped across the ceiling and walls filter light from hanging globe lambs, casting shifting light across the lounge and through veils of scented smoke. Once visitors settle onto long benches or cushioned banquettes, they pop open BYOB beers or wine and pass around a hookah pipe's mouthpiece. The cool smoke from flavored tobacco rises past mounted TV screens, and hands snag bites from shareable plates of hummus or potatoes sautéed with roasted chili and lemon. In the kitchen, tzatziki sauce brims with cool yogurt and cucumbers near grape leaves stuffed with extra-virgin olive oil, mint, rice, and tomatoes like the backpack of a child who is not prepared for first grade.
Spicy traditional sauces and exotic ingredients such as yak meat accent the authentic dishes on the Tibetan menu at Shangrila Bistro. According to AccessAtlanta, Shangrila's owners fly the yak meat—which tastes "like beef but generally leaner"—directly from China, and they also use it for the yak's-milk butter needed to brew the Tibetan butter tea on their beverage menu. A separate Chinese menu stakes a competing claim on eaters' attention with inventive dishes such as hot and spicy tangerine beef and pineapple-seafood fried rice.
Siam Square is to Bangkok what Times Square is to New York—a place full of trendy shops, four-star hotels, and gourmet food. The folks at Siam Square Thai Cuisine want to bring the essence of that spot into their restaurant, but they don't rely on the chic decor or panoramic photographs of the square that hang around the dining room to do it. It's the menu's contemporary take on traditional Thai dishes that truly embodies Siam Square's hip, urban vibe. Chefs grill freshwater prawns to top with Pa-nang curry reduction and sprinkle with kaffir lime leaves, or they roast half-ducks, fry the skin to make it crispy, and apply a tamarind sauce galze. All their curries and stir-fries can be made with chicken, tofu, pork, beef, or shrimp, and there are vegetarian options upon request. Noodle dishes include traditional pad thai, spicy drunken noodles, pad-woon-sen (stir-fried clear noodles), and pad-see-eew (wide rice noodles served with broccoli and egg).
To handle the heat of a spicy curry, diners can order red and white wine and sake, or pick from a beer selection that includes SweetWater brews as well as Thai and Chinese imports. Diners can also sip thai iced tea or coffee as they linger in the modern dining room, which features red accents that pop against cream walls.