Thai Food At Arunee Restaurant And Chao Thai Kitchen Restaurant And Sripraphai Restaurant And Zabb Zabb Restaurant In Queens

Thai food often suffers from delivery-menu ennui; once lively dishes become deadened in Styrofoam to-go boxes.

Fortunately, thanks to a few restaurants that are restoring our favorite dishes to their original glory, Queens serves as our Thai food savior.

Here's where to go on your next Thai tour:

Arunee At this Jackson Heights eatery, stick with the seafood: Sweet shrimp and chunks of avocado bob like toy boats in a tub of tangy Massaman curry ($10), and the whole fish ($12), fried and dressed simply in a chile-garlic sauce, is a sensory awakening. Cap your meal off with ice cream featuring stinky, sweet durian fruit ($4). 37-68 79th St. (near Roosevelt Ave.); 718-205-5559

Chao Thai It's common for Thai restaurants to tone down the spice level for certain (read: English-speaking) clientele. Not so at this Elmhurst spot, where even a papaya and long bean salad ($8) packs heavy heat. Common dishes like tom ka gai (coconut chicken soup; $9) and pad cee eiw (stir-fried noodles; $7.50) also get fresh, elevated makeovers here. Note that Chao Thai is BYOB, so pick up some cold beer on the way. 85-03 Whitney Ave. (at Broadway); 718-424-4999

Sripraphai Even after expanding from seven to 70 seats, this boisterous Woodside restaurant (pictured) remains perpetually packed. The massive binder-bound menu takes some time to get through, so curb your appetite by ordering the crispy watercress salad with shrimp, chicken and squid ($9.50) while you look it over. 64-13 39th Ave. (between 64th and 65th sts.); 718-899-9599 or

Zabb Zabb Intense flavors and the absence of coconut milk are the calling cards of dishes from Isaan, Thailand's northeast province. They're on the menu at this late-night rarity in Jackson Heights, where the Thai sausage ($7) and curry puffs ($5) are best enjoyed during a post-bar pit stop. 71-28 Roosevelt Ave. (at 72nd St.); 718-426-7992 or