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Lily Thai Cuisine

/ Updated on August 5, 2017

Chef and Owner Lily Thamibutra worked at her sister’s restaurant, Seaside Thai (long since closed), for 5 years before venturing out to create Lily Thai.  It’s located on First Street, right next to the original Nicola’s, where Dos Locos (and Plumb Loco before that) used to be many years ago. Lily has secured a good reputation for authentic Thai food served up in pleasing, if not austere surroundings. Recent visits for both lunch and dinner bear this out.

The signature dishes are the Pad Thai with chicken or shrimp and the Tom Yum soup with chicken or shrimp with lemon grass and cilantro. Famous for my ruts, I often end up with the same things at Lily’s. I love the crispy Papaya and Mango salad, though I do believe that the mango makes it a little sweet, and I’d just as soon have just the papaya. But the citrusy bite of the lime-chili sauce brings the tomatoes and crispy green beans into perfect harmony with the tropical fruit. I order it extra hot. If you’re into peppers, nothing at Lily’s is going to take your head off, but it will get your attention.

When I do vary on the entrees, I go between the Nam Pik Pow (choice of protein sauteed in a wonderful roasted chili sauce with crispy vegetables), and the Lily’s Roasted Peanut Sauce (chicken with sweet/spicy peanut sauce slathered atop not-soggy string beans and happily caramelized onion). Savory, crispy and…hot.

On earlier visits, others at the table chose the Spicy Basil Khao Pad (fried rice) blended with garlic, peppers, string beans and tomatoes. I”ve been getting that one over since. It’s some of the best fried rice I’ve ever had. Also ordered (and enjoyed) was the Lamb Yellow Coconut Curry, served up in a steaming crock. The name says it all. With the al dente potatoes and onions, it could have doubled as a chunky and hearty soup.

More recent visits have included the Tofu Shiitake Stir Fry, a vegetarian’s dream, but also a perfectly tasty dish for the carnivorously inclined.

Another veggie dish is the Veggie Coconut Soup. Again, a vegetarian’s choice, but I’d eat it in a second. Creamy and delightful, with the limey bite of kafir leaves, galanga (like ginger) and a mildly pleasant warmth of peppers.

I usually don’t make a big deal about specials, since they aren’t available all the time, but if the Golden Pillows are on the menu, get them. The Chinese have their wontons, the Italians have their ravioli, the Polish have their pirogies, and the Japanese have their dumplings. Lily’s Thai take on these universal little bites is wonderful. And they are pretty to look at, too!

Though I have heard mixed reviews in the past regarding service, our experience has always been friendly and accommodating. In fact, our most recent visit in early 2014 was delightful, though there was only one server and a surprising number of tables for a cold winter Wednesday. She was efficient and professional. Ratings have been increased to reflect Lily’s continued accent on quality.

Lily’s is on the east side of North First Street, right next to the original Nicola’s Pizza. Double-check their off-season hours at 302-227-3348. The only place I could find an online menu was Urban Spoon. Check it out by clicking here. (L. except Mondays, D., Bar) Price Range: Moderate -.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

10 N. First St.
(302) 227-3348

Lunch entree, salad and a spring roll for $8.95 from 11:30 'til 3

Call for dinner specials
Lunch entree, salad and a spring roll for $8.95 from 11:30 'til 3

Call for dinner specials
Lunch entree, salad and a spring roll for $8.95 from 11:30 'til 3

Call for dinner specials
Lunch entree, salad and a spring roll for $8.95 from 11:30 'til 3

Call for dinner specials
Lunch entree, salad and a spring roll for $8.95 from 11:30 'til 3

Call for dinner specials
Lunch entree, salad and a spring roll for $8.95 from 11:30 'til 3

Call for dinner specials
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Hosting says:

    The pad Thai was dope! Lunch special was affordable. Service was nice. There were Hella flies, though. The flies were pretty annoying.

  2. Jennifer Rubenstein says:

    We tried the softshells in yellow curry this weekend. It was outstanding. I’ve had some mediocre items here, but also some of the best!! We love it.

  3. kathy davison says:

    Lily Thai continues to be our “go to” restaurant before attending Clear Space performances and a favorite for our out-of-town guests.

  4. Richard Richard says:

    I split my time between Rehoboth Beach and Montgomery County Maryland and have dine in Thai restaurants at least once a week for years. Today I had a very, VERY unsatisfying first time lunch at Lily Thai. Although I only sampled one dish – Basil Beef – it was far off the mark taste wise. My impression is that this is an inferior restaurant and unworthy of your great food food review. The spring roll had virtually no filling and came without dipping sauce. The Basil Beef had no basil and the beef was tough with a slightly rancid off taste to it. Questions: When were you there last? Was it at lunch?

  5. Jennifer says:

    We are addicted to the Chili-Encrusted Eggplant with Shrimp and Chicken… it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. We are headed there this weekend!

  6. Victoria says:

    Catfish yellow curry and shrimp basil stir fry were both awesome. Will be moving to the area soon and am thrilled to find a superb Thai resta urant!

  7. Howard Cyr says:

    Have eaten here about a dozen times over the last year or so. Have never been disappointed. Food is excellent as is the service. The staff have fantastic memories and seem to know exactly what you liked from previous visits. We like our food hot (spicy) and the chef is more than willing to accommodate. One of our top three restaurants to visit. Try some of the curries. Really nice.

  8. Paul says:

    Have dined here three times, the only reason we didn’t dine there more was – no Thai beer! But now there is!
    The food is much fresher tasting than Seaside, though a side tray of extra spices would be a nice touch here. Don’t shoot me but I love the drunken noodles here and the service has always been above par.
    Wish we lived closer than 168 miles!!!!!!
    5 stars from us even without the beer.LOL

  9. Deb Griffin says:

    Tucked around the corner off the main drag, I think this little gem is often overlooked. The food here is excellent – and the pad thai is superb! Great lunch deal – entree, salad, spring roll just $8.95. The soups are amazing – don’t be afraid to try something you can’t pronounce – you won’t be disappointed.

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