Athens has a ton of options for Chinese food, but other cuisines from Asia are actually pretty hard to come by in the College town. Sure, a few places to sushi, and a few others have pad Thai but that’s about it. Thai Paradise has brought the change; opened in 2008 in Pickerington, east of Columbus, this destination staked out a spot in Athens in 2014 and since then has been the go-to place for Thai food in town. With a great selection of dishes to try, and a feel that is just a bit on the nicer side, this is one you will want to try.
A newer Asian Fusion restaurant opened off Wilmington Pike in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Sky Asian Cuisine focuses heavily on two things — sushi and noodles, both primarily Japanese specialties. But the restaurant’s menu spans a number of other East Asian cuisines from Chinese meat dishes to pad Thai. It’s designed to be a more formal sit-down kind of restaurant with its low-lit interior giving wide view to the sushi bar and good collection of drinks and cocktails bringing people out into the night. I like this place for its refined feel as a romantic go-to.
Asian Fusian concepts are a funny thing. They’re made for convenience, with a variety of the common popular dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese foods. But with them comes a charm, if the cook has mastered all of those cuisines. The Laksa Asian Fusion concept, set up east of Dayton, is an interesting example. Built in the former Linh’s Restaurant space, this spot aims to bring the most popular dishes in an approachable concept. I like the place for how easy it makes the many cuisines to understand.
Oakley has a lot of kinds of food to try, owing to the young and adventurous population of this vibrant northeast Cincinnati suburb. So you can find just about anything you like in this neighborhood, including the pan-Asian tastes you can enjoy at Yat Ka Mein. This spot has the noodles you’re crazing whether they’re Japanese, Thai, Singapore or elsewhere. Noodle shops like this are focusing on ways to provide dishes that are more healthy, and in light of that, a lot of kinds of noodles you might not otherwise be familiar with can be found here.
Completing the triumvirate of Chinese food shops serving the Beavercreek suburb of Dayton, Asian King is a spot that caters primarily as a delivery service to the nearby neighborhoods, competing against China King which serves as a buffet and New Great Wall Chinese across the street with its carry-out business. Asian King keeps it simple with a menu of classic Chinese food favorites, as well as some other popular Asian cuisine, like pad Thai and Vietnamese Pho noodle soups. The diversity of that menu is worth noting, but the dishes I tried have not impressed me.
Even if you spend a lot of time around downtown Dayton, you can still very easily miss the hardy little restaurant on East Third Street known as White Lotus, and the hardy little one-woman show that keeps the spot running. It’s a very funny thing this little spot, where you can order a number of great Thai dishes or a burger. You wouldn’t think those two things would both be good at the same restaurant, but they’re the two items that White Lotus does best.
Just opened on Brown Street, Ginger and Spice Asian Bistro is Dayton’s latest take on noodles. It’s the latest in a recent trend of pan-Asian noodle houses opening around college campuses in this part of the country, driven in part by convenience and in part by the higher popularity of fast-casual Asian dishes that are packed for convenience. Ginger serves up styles including Korean jam pong, Chinese lo mein, pad Thai and Vietnamese pho. Of course there may be some things here the average Midwesterner might not be accustomed to, but this spot has a lot to offer.
While there are a ton of good restaurant options in the Dayton area, especially with Chinese food, there are not a ton of places that focus on a quality dine-in experience. Most are priced for convenience or set up as a take-out or delivery business. This spot actually is one of the few Chef-owned Chinese spots in town, and Chef Stephen can often be found walking through the restaurant and making sure everyone’s food is perfect. This is one of the older spots in town too, having opened in 1995 and rolling along ever since, as the Centerville area has developed all around it.
The intersection of Union and Richland Ave. in Athens has long hosted a walk-up Asian food option, until very recently when O’Betty’s expanded here with a short lived second location. Now Fusion has opened up shop in the corner spot, a noodle house with Chinese and Thai styles. Fusion has some spectacular things to try, and really it’s a great use for the spot. As with some of the other newer spots, this isn’t the kind of food you can find in other parts of Athens very easily. And it’s good to go.
House of Thai is one of several restaurants in its genre putting out popular Thai dishes. However, compared to those other spots, this one is more of a casual restaurant theme and it’s also more spacious, giving it more of a subrurban allure to the niche spots closer into the city. This restaurant sports a lot of the same cuisine in a less expensive setting, but it’s also sacrificing a little bit of the flavor for that price. Thai is a tight market in Dayton, and so that little extra distinction can go a long way.