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.
L’Thai Organic Cuisine & Wine Bar's menu lists organic Thai dishes including curries made with vegetarian-friendly sauces and noodles and fried rice prepared on special high-heat jet stoves that can be found on the streets of Bangkok. Appetizers, such as the vegetarian-style spring rolls ($4.95), and soups, such as the coconut-based tom kha ($4.95), lull appetites into a false sense of security before entrees, such as the garlic pepper beef ($12.95) or tippling drunken noodle tofu ($12.95), sneak in to deliver the culinary coup de grâce. Diners can supplement their smorgasbord with L'Thai Organic Cuisine & Wine Bar’s extensive beer and wine list, which overflows with fine fruit bloods such as Night Harvest chardonnay ($7/glass, $23/bottle) and Silver Ridge cabernet sauvignon ($7/glass, $24/bottle).
Curry Curry Thai wraps snouts in an aromatic spread of handpicked spices and pleases bellies with market-fresh vegetables and proteins served in traditional Thai style. Both the Smyrna and Marietta menus kick-start meals with appetizers including satay chicken, skewers of grilled, marinated chicken buttressed by peanut sauce and cucumber salad ($5.95 for five), and fresh-basil rolls, rice paper wrappers filled with shrimp and veggies ($3.95 for two). Curries, noodles, and fried rice dishes make filling entree options for vacant stomachs or empty fanny packs. Scoop up a bundle of pineapple fried rice—a vibrant potpourri of pineapple, onion, beans, carrots, black pepper, and curry powder ($7.95 for lunch, $9.95 for dinner)—or lap up a bowl of red curry—a mixture of coconut milk, bamboo shoots, and red and green bell peppers ($6.95 for lunch, $8.95 for dinner)—in an effort to prove dominance over utensils.
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.
Layering flavors is a delicate enterprise that requires patience and practice, both of which the kitchen staff at Spice Market has in spades. Chef-Owner Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Chef De Cuisine Shean Suter use the streets of Southeast Asia as the inspiration for their menu, which celebrates experimental combinations such as the ginger, scallion, and tarragon that come together to flavor steamed halibut, and the kumquat-lemongrass dressing that tops char-grilled chicken. They also use these original twists to elevate Asian traditions, such as salmon sashimi topped with a chipotle emulsion and edamame flavored with yuzu butter and mace salt. Like its cuisine, Spice Market’s dining room comprises eclectic elements that fuse together, creating something sophisticated within the W Atlanta Midtown. Gilded ropes, slatted woodwork, and oversized paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, and pots of bamboo and tall vases filled with colorful flowers line the walls. Whether seated at private booths or snoring upon padded banquettes in the bar area, diners sip one of seven signature cocktails including a passion fruit whiskey fizz and a lychee-raspberry bellini.