Olieng Makes a Pad Thai Worth Stepping Out of Bounds For

Olieng Thai

I love Pad Thai and I’m always on the hunt for a tasty and filling version of the classic noodle dish. Hells Kitchen has no shortage of Thai restaurants, but only one of them got the two thumbs up from veteran Midtown Luncher, Talida of Talida Bakes. Talida’s parents are both from Thailand and I’ve seen her in action ordering dinner for a dozen food bloggers at Sriprapai, so when she told me that Olieng was her go to place for real Thai style Pad Thai, I had to give it a try.

Located on 10th ave between 45th and 46th Olieng is most definitely out of bounds and as much as I love Pad Thai, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s taken me months to follow up on Talida’s tip because it’s by no means a convenient lunch spot. A couple of weeks ago, however, I found myself a stone’s throw from Olieng after bailing on the seemingly endless free food line at Energy Kitchen for Tax Day. Pad Thai time!

Olieng Thai

Right now Olieng is doing a complimentary salad with lunch special purchase for dine in. According to the sign outside, the salad is on request, but they brought it to us without asking (we didn’t even notice the sign with the salad deal until we left the restaurant). The salad itself is fine–the peanut dressing is slightly sweet, but not overly so.

Olieng Thai

As for the Shrimp Pad Thai ($8), it was definitely more on the “savory” side than sweet. It had a good amount of peanuts and a nice sauce to noodle ratio–not too wet and not too dry.

Olieng Thai

My husband has spent some time in Thailand and is extremely picky about Pad Thai and he gave it his seal of approval and even preferred it to their Pork Pad Kee Mao ($7) that he ordered which while it had a really nice mix of fresh veggies came with a pretty bland and oily sauce. I wouldn’t go back for the Kee Mao, but I’d definitely make a return visit for the Pad Thai.

Olieng, 644 10th Avenue (Between 45th & 46th Street), (212)307-9388


  • I’ve been here a few times for dinner. Very good food and friendly service. I also think it’s byob, a rarity in NYC.

  • The noodles look decent. Good to hear that the pad thai is not too sweet. I wonder if their curry is good!

    Great rec, Talida! =)

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    The Olieng pad thai is good, but Wondee Siam (I) pad thai is better.

    That said, Olieng is known for their excellent, excellent seafood curries. Try the green curry salmon. They don’t deep fry all the fish dishes like some Thai places (and if it deep fried, you can usually order it pan fried). The curry is more saucy (rich) than soupy (watery), and generally the spices are more complex than other Thai places. I would also say the vegetable accoutrements in the curry dishes are noticeably better (avocado, long bean, etc.) and well done (correctly cooked, not overcooked).

    I think some of the cooks/owners formerly worked at Sea or Planethailand or some other well known Thai place in Williamsburg.

    And yes, they are very, very friendly.

  • Was it spicy?

    I can’t help but wonder if they make it different for Talida because she’s Thai! :-)

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      If you don’t order it spicy, no it won’t be. I think the key to getting spicy pad thai in Midtown is ordering it spicy or even extra spicy.

      That said, when I have pad thai at a place for the time or two, I like to order it regular and ask for hot sauce on the side, so I can taste the flavoring without the spice to really judge it.

    • I was fine with a non-spicy Pad Thai–I don’t know that I’ve actually ever had Pad Thai spicy. The Kee Mao was disappointing on the spice front. My husband realized right after her ordered the Kee Mao that the chili pepper on the menu only meant “can be spicy” so he rushed to the counter and asked them to make it spicy–maybe she didn’t end up writing it down or just figured that a white dude can’t take the heat. We’ve been going to Wondee Siam for a long time now and have only recently be able to convince them that when we ask for spicy we want Thai spicy!

  • This place has really good food. i’m suprised it got picked up my this blog. Olieng won’t catch your eye if you’re walkin past. Pad Thai at Olieng is definitely better thand Wondee Siam, Pam Real, Chili Thai, Room Service, and YUM Yum. Staff is very Friendly at Olieng. I’ve only tried one other dish at Olieng – some fried radish dish, which was really good as well and much better tasting than it sounds.

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      You’re talking about daikon cake which is really, really delicious when done well. It’s difficult to find (because it is such an intricate, time-consuming process to make), so whenever I see it on a menu, I order it. That said, I agree that Olieng’s version is not great. It’s a bit bland.

      The best daikon cake I have found so far is at Thai Market on Amsterdam & 108th St., but theirs is just an appetizer. OBao on 53rd has daikon cake too, a little less flavorful than Thai Market and without the egg, but still yummy and much better than Olieng’s.

  • Thanks for the shout-out, Brownie! It’s been a long time since I’ve been back there.. again, with the out of bounds.. but I really liked everything I’ve had there.

    And here’s a tip for everyone who wants Thai more authentically – Ask for the condiments. It’ll look something like this: http://importfood.com/media/condiment_caddy.jpg and certain condiments pair with certain foods. To spice up pad thai, use the dried chili flakes! For pad see eau, use the chili/vinegar one.

    Now I’ve got to go back!

    • Thanks for the tip, Talida! I’ve occasionally seen that condiment dispenser at Song in Brooklyn and always wondered what dish it went with. I’ll definitely make the return trip. What’s good for doctoring Kee Mao?

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