Pillbox

5 in 5: Thai restaurants

In this series, we give food and drink recommendations for one type of place in five different neighborhoods. This week we’re looking at Thai food, a popular cuisine in Pittsburgh with many options around the city.

Senyai Thai Kitchen — Shadyside
With several menu choices from noodles, curry, and stir-fried dishes, Senyai is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Pittsburgh. Located on the first floor of a converted house on Ellsworth Avenue, it’s cute with a fun vibe and relaxed feel. I recommend anything from the Chef’s Special — I loved the Pad Medmamuang: crispy chicken, cashews, and mixed vegetables tossed in chili sauce.

Tip: go on a nice day and sit on the back patio. As the night gets dark, the colorful lights around the patio will light up your table.

Thai Noodle Outlet — Squirrel Hill
A small place next to the Carnegie Library at the Forbes and Murray intersection, Thai Noodle Outlet is a great option if you’re craving Thai takeout or something casual to sit in with friends. The Pad Thai, which I regularly order from different Thai places, was great, with the right dash of peanut flavor.

Tip: check out the lunch special.

Spice Island Tea House — Oakland
One of the classic staples of my college years, Spice Island doesn’t just offer Thai but a mix of Malaysian, Burmese, Indonesian, and Singaporean dishes. The first thing I ever tried there was the Burmese BBQ chicken thighs in yogurt-curry marinade, which is always a great choice, but I also recommend the Singapore Char Kway Teow: wide rice noodles with shrimp, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, and spicy sweet soy sauce.

Tip: try the extensive selection of teas.

Thai Me Up — South Side
Shopping at South Side Works and hungry for Thai food? Try Thai Me Up, a romantic restaurant a couple blocks off E. Carson St. With a wooden rustic aesthetic with fun art design and bright light streaming from the tall windows, enjoy lots of classic and modern choices on the menu. With many entrees, pho, and curry, you could have a party of ten and everyone could order something different.

Tip: spice up your usual Pad Thai order with Pad Thai Mung Bean noodles, which have the classic taste of Pad Thai paired with the stringy glass noodles.

Nicky’s Thai Kitchen — Downtown
A busy place in the middle of Downtown, Nicky’s Thai Kitchen can get pretty crowded during the dinner rush with people getting off of work, but the wait is worth it. With traditional and colorful décor, relax with a large pot of chicken curry.

Tip: try the second location on the North Shore.