A Thai grocery in Elmhurst has ventured into the restaurant business at month-old Ayada. Good move, hounds say. “Not just an ‘authentic’ place, but skilled cooking as well,” Jeffsayyes reports. “Lots of layers and different feelings brought out in a plate.”

bigjeff says Ayada’s Kang Som sour curry, distinguished by fresh, tender shrimp and unusually tasty vegetables, is the equal of the version at Chowhound mecca Sripraphai in Woodside. This dish can also be had with cha-om omelet, rectangles of cooked egg with an herbal note from acacia shoots that are delicious and well balanced, says ow77. Papaya salad with seafood is also very nice, bigjeff adds: simple, fiery, and funky, with beautiful pieces of raw marinated crab (all this dish needed, he adds, was a tad more pungency). Other early winners include beef with basil; bean thread salad with ground chicken, shrimp, and squid; and Gai-Kua noodles, sautéed with chicken and squid.

“This could be the next IT,” declares Jeffsayyes, who ranks Ayada ahead of Sripraphai and other nearby favorites Chao Thai and Zabb. PAL sees the Queens Thai landscape a bit differently: “for me there is no overall area-wide best but rather an increasing selection of great Thai restaurants with different food vibes and standout dishes.”

bigjeff adds a cold-weather tip: The long bench on the right side of Ayada’s cozy dining room is heated—“really great seats!”

Ayada [Elmhurst]
77-08 Woodside Avenue (between 77th and 78th streets), Elmhurst, Queens

Board Link: Ayada in Elmhurst–My new Favorite Thai

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