Krungthep Thai Papaya Salad

Krungthep Thai in Minneapolis

Krungthep Thai in Minneapolis
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Krungthep Thai is already beloved. As the new Minneapolis outpost of the discreet and tiny Bangkok Thai Deli in St. Paul, it was born under the banner of some pretty high standards and a passionate following.

The restaurant’s name seems sneaky and unrelated to Bangkok Deli The First. But Krung Thep is actually just another name for Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. The new (and much larger) location occupies the late Seafood Palace on Nicollet, and while the lobby window remains emblazoned with Seafood Palace insignia, the quiet customer commentary will tell you it’s anything but. On a Tuesday afternoon the most commonly overheard sigh and sentiment from the lunchtime crowd was, “We’re so glad you guys came to Minneapolis!”

The menu at Krungthep mirrors that of the original, but has more daily seafood specials, including lobster, scallops, and numerous fish. Both the Nam Tok and Tom Yum at Bangkok Deli are famous on Yelp, and Krungthep’s versions prove the rumors true. This food delivers flavor like a sock in the face.

The Nam Tok ($8) is a salad of marinated, sliced beef that practically oozes fresh, green flavor. A confetti of mint, green onion, cilantro, and rice powder (toasted and coarsely ground white rice) coat every bite, and the overwhelming spunk of lemongrass and lime will keep you smacking and marveling. Not a moment of this dish is bland.

Krungthep’s Tom Yum ($10) soup has a similar welcome pungency. Straw mushrooms, whole chilies, and shrimp (if you choose) accent the hot and citrusy broth. The only mildly uncomfortable part is the large slices of bitter galangal and sharp stalks of lemongrass that swim onto your spoon. Nevertheless, their presence gives the soup its undeniable flair.

Krungthep Thai Green Curry
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The Green Curry ($8) is delicious and huge. Like every other entrée on the menu, one serving could easily feed three. Generous ribbons of basil, fresh jalapeno, and smooth, snappy chunks of eggplant and green and red peppers make up a chewy bowl of warmth.

The Spring Rolls ($3) are good and fresh, and the Papaya Salad ($7) is also a winner. The gentle pine of the green papaya and the grassiness of fresh green beans ride a bass line of toasty chopped peanuts and tangy tomatoes. It’s a dark and chewy coleslaw for winter.

Of course the Thai newbie’s favorite, Pad Thai ($8), is good enough, piled with peanuts and thick hunks of green onions that give the dish a spark of freshness. However, the noodles were pretty greasy on our visit, and overall the plate lacks the spunk and citrusy verve of the other dishes we tried.

Krungthep Thai Papaya Salad
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Regardless, Krungthep Thai is the place to bring your friends who already have it all — the hard-to-please ones who made Pad Thai at home when they were, like, 12. Just make sure to specify the mildest level of spice when ordering. Even the most well-adjusted palate might recoil after a few bites of a medium spice dish. That’s right. Krungthep’s for real.

Krungthep Thai
Thai Food on Eat Street
2523 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Glen Yam Phong Ngam
Sun-Thu 10:30am-9:30pm
Fri-Sat 10:30am-10:30pm
BAR: Liquor license in the works
Yes / No
AVERAGE ENTREE: $5-12, including soups and salads


  1. Stephanie

    Just out of curiosity, since I often see this on Heavy Table’s restaurant reviews…

    When the “VEGETARIAN / VEGAN” section is marked “Yes / No” respectively, especially in a review for a type of restaurant that’s usually vegan-friendly, does that mean that you’re considering dishes that include fish to be vegetarian, that there is always egg or dairy in the food, or that you simply didn’t ask if it was specifically vegan?
    Most Asian restaurants have a number of dishes that are automatically vegan once you make them vegetarian, if that makes sense — if you remove the fish sauce from a dish, or replace the meat with tofu, there isn’t egg or dairy that makes it vegetarian but not vegan.

    I’m just curious because I’m vegan and I read a lot of HT reviews for restaurants I’d like to visit, many of which are stated to be vegetarian-friendly but specifically NOT vegan-friendly. Thanks for any info you might have!

  2. James Norton

    Stephanie, good question. Honestly, it’s a minefield for us, too, since restaurants’ labeling practices vary, and everyone’s eating definitions vary, too. Generally speaking: If there are more than one substantial meat-free entrees (also fish-free, preferably egg-free), than we’re happy to grant a place “vegetarian” status. For “vegan,” we like to see more than one dish where we know all the ingredients that go into it, and none of them are animal-derived. Now: Lots of places have less-than-ideal separation of cooking surfaces, vegans differ over whether honey is vegan, and many places we don’t give a “vegan” rating to can, if asked, happily prepare meals that’ll make vegans happy – or have vegan-friendly things on the menu that we just weren’t sure about. Etc. etc. etc. – it’s far from a science. Use our quick summary as just a starting point for asking questions that address your own dietary needs, not a conclusive answer. I’m sorry that we can’t be more exacting about it, but there’s nothing exacting about the question. We’d rather run rough approximations than not think about the question at all.

  3. Rachel

    This is the best Thai restaurant in the Twin Cities. The green curry rivals the dishes I had when I lived in Thailand. For my palate, it may actually be the best I’ve ever had. Go check it out.

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