This excellent Thai spot has been around for a long time and makes a number of dishes that can be hard to find in Miami. This is one of the few places where you can get big bowls of boat noodle soup, which features rice noodles floating in a mahogany-colored, sweet and savory pork broth made with spices like cinnamon and star anise. Yen ta fo is another dish that rarely pops up on local Thai restaurant menus. This soup features a tart/sweet bright pink broth, wide rice noodles, fish balls, and veggies. And while you can also get your Thai donut fix here, make sure to try their more traditional sweets like pumpkin custard, which is a steamed pumpkin flan made with rich coconut cream prepared inside a hollowed-out pumpkin and served in wedges. The restaurant is casual and windowless—which just means there are fewer distractions between you and what just might be the best Thai food in Miami.
This should absolutely be on the table. The jumping squid is a great first course, because the spicy, acidic, tangy, herbaceous squid is like an alarm clock for your taste buds—and it sets the tone for the inevitability delicious meal you’re about to have.
Boat Noodle Soup
This is an excellent brothy soup with rice noodles, bean sprouts, pork, and other veggies that you won’t find at many Thai restaurants in Miami. The rich broth is made from pork bones, but the real flavor comes from two types of soy sauce (dark and light), along with star anise and cinnamon. It gets a little bit of sugar for sweetness and some galangal for its piney, warming flavor. It’s a perfect soup any day, but we particularly like this on one of Miami’s rare chilly evenings.
There aren’t a lot of Thai restaurants in Miami serving this dessert. It’s sort of in the same family as flan or creme brulee (but less fatty). The slightly sweet pumpkin combines with the silky custard to make a sort of coconutty pumpkin pie party in your mouth. It’s rich but also light and a perfect end to a meal at Panya Thai.