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.
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.
L'Thai Organic Cuisine & Wine Bar's cooks arrange authentic Thai feasts using wholesome ingredients, more than 80% of which are USDA-certified organic. The sprawling menu is stuffed from binder to page edge with preservative-free seafood, curry, and veggie dishes. A number of the dishes are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free, creating the most accommodating culinary arrangement since adjustable fruit hats.
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.
Voted Best Thai restaurant in 2009 and Best Restaurant for a First Date in 2008 by Creative Loafing, Spoon boasts a menu that is simple yet playful. Chef Aim Suteeluxnaporn, who runs Spoon with her sister Sujaree, adds spicy twists to authentic Thai mainstays such as chicken satay ($8), pad thai ($8 lunch, $9 dinner), and red curry with eggplant and zucchini ($11 for dinner), serving them as works of edible art presented on inedible plate-frames. Like the new Butterfinger candy bar, noodles, curry dishes, stir-fries, and seafood can be prepared medium spicy, hot, or Thai hot. The eatery's specialty entrees include the golden red snapper ($17) topped with a light ginger sauce and toasted sesame seeds. All entrees can be specially prepared with either tofu or vegetables to accommodate vegetarians.
On Iron Chef America, Chef Tyson Wong Ophaso elevated curry to new culinary heights, incorporating the piquant spice into banana ice cream and braised sweetbreads. At King & I Restaurant, though, the lauded chef sticks to traditional Thai recipes and culinary techniques. Bamboo shoots and potatoes simmer in an antique steamer, and chefs grind spices with the same mortar and pestle that the original owner used 30 years ago. Additionally, Chef Ophaso enhances his menu of curries and seafood by plucking organic veggies from the restaurant’s own garden, nearby farmers' markets, or the fruit hats of passing conga lines.