Best of Boston

1999 Best Thai Restaurant

Bangkok City; House of Siam

No doubt about it—the Tie Restaurant makes for a very bad pun. So sue us. The fact is we’re torn between two establishments that offer grace, charm, goodwill, and friendliness in abundance—and good food. Take Bangkok City, back phoenixlike from the ashes after its 1998 fire, with new decor. We recommend the shrimp with three chilis, but the more adventurous among you might for the secret, superspicy Thai menu the restaurant offers to real Thais—and the rare Yank who has an asbestos-coated palate. (When you try it, you’ll understand all too well why the place went up in flames.) | But House of Siam is equally enticing. Everything’s fresh at this friendly South End fave, with its stylish decor: the tom ka gai (chicken coconut soup), spicy garlic shrimp, fabulous dumplings, spring rolls, and duck panang. Wonderfully attentive to detail, both in preparation and presentation (note the origami carrots), House of Siam also has a wine list that, while short, is well thought out and boasts fine values under $20, including a Guigal Cotes de Rhone at $19.25.

167 Massachusetts Avenue; 542 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-266-8884;617-267-1755,