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  • Writer's pictureSavanna Lim

UpThai better be UpThere on your list.

UpThai is the cool, modern, and delicious. The inside is beautifully decorated with colourful lanterns and rustic interiors. The food is just as appetizing, with unique Thai flavours incorporated into their creative and delightful dishes.

The centerpiece of the restaurant is adorned by colourful, hanging lanterns.

I've literally already been back again since taking these pictures. The place is very well-run and there is definitely a well thought out operational flow of the restaurant. The first time I went, it was a bustling Saturday night, which made the atmosphere all the more exciting. My friends Gabriella, Arielle, and I "got" in line via the virtual queue on their website. Definitely do that if you're going on a busy day.

Up Spring Rolls. $9. 10/10.

When I say these dishes are delightful, I really do mean it. Their spring rolls are stuffed with shrimp, shiitake mushroom, cabbage, carrots, glass noodles, celery, and REAL crab. Imitation crab, who? I do not know her. I loved every bite of my spring rolls. Plus, they served them with my favourite sauce, plum sauce. If you have not explored the wonders of plum sauce, please do yourself a favour and try it (best served with crispy duck).

Pad See Ew with Beef. $16. 10/10.

This was probably my favourite dish. I'm a big Pad See Ew fan in general, so when the dish is made exceptionally, I am very aware of the fact. The noodles were melt-in-your-mouth perfect and the flavours made me want to dance. Really cannot recommend this dish enough. Get it with beef! Or tofu, if that's your thing; I don't think they can make anything badly.

Duck Basil. $26. 9/10.

Another great dish. Crispy duck breast, Thai chili, mini bell pepper, and Thai basil leaves served with white rice. I really enjoyed this spice kick; only giving it less than 10/10 because $26 is a little steep compared to the rest of the dishes.

The rice!

I love the presentation of all the food in the restaurant; aesthetics are clearly important to the chef and restaurant owners. I didn't take a picture, but we also got Green Curry with chicken ($15). It came with string beans, eggplants, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, basil leaves, and coconut milk. Gluten-free, spicy, and very yummy. I enjoyed it a lot but probably would have enjoyed the duck version of this more, in hindsight.

Since this meal, I went back and tried three more things:

  • UpThai Fried Rice Claypot ($17)

  • Poh Tak (Thai-Style Bouillabaisse) ($19)

  • Thai Iced Tea ($3.50)

The waiter we had that night recommended the Fried Rice Claypot and anything duck on the menu! I'd agree. I also really liked my Thai Iced Tea. They also do cocktails etc but I do not drink so I cannot share any tips. We went on a Thursday night (around 8:30pm; walked-in and there was no line).

My "must-try" dish recommendations would be the UpThai Fried Rice Claypot, Pad See Ew with beef, and maybe another duck dish!

Definitely give it a visit. It's Thai owned and operated, and it seems like a lot of women run the show. Go, go, go!

UpThai is located at 1411 2nd Ave. (72nd St & 2nd Ave on the Upper East Side -- close to the Q)

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