Los Angeles has a flourishing Thai Town and the largest Thai population outside of Thailand, so it’s no surprise that it's slinging some of the best Thai food in the country. LA is home to decades-old family establishments with dedicated followings, forward-thinking restaurants that are critically acclaimed for outside-the-box creations (looking at you, Night + Market fried chicken sandwich), and everything in between. To navigate the vast landscape of incredible Thai food, we’ve rounded up the best of the best — the Thai restaurants we can’t stop talking about and that our diners continue to order from again and again. Whether you’re looking for a good lunch deal or to satisfy a particular craving for dinner, you can find some of our diners' favorite spots below.
With three locations in Highland Park, Echo Park, and Downtown LA, this street-food-inspired spot churns out classic dishes that hit all the right notes: funky, sweet, and intensely savory. Carb out with the glossy pad thai, pad see ew, and fried rice, or dip your spoon into the excellent beef panang curry. Get the khao soi — the spicy curry noodle soup is a bowl of pure comfort.
Chef and owner Kris Yenbamroong is known for unapologetic, delicious “LA Thai” food at his Weho and Venice restaurants. (He earned James Beard Award nominations and was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2016, natch.) Taste what has made Night + Market an institution: the shatteringly crisp chicken sandwich that ranks among the city’s best, punchy nam khao tod with crackly rice and soured pork, and crave-inducing larb gai (with chicken).
Chef Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee was a legend in the LA culinary world, and his Little Armenia restaurant focuses on southern Thai specialties. Think crispy catfish with a mango slaw, jungle curry with pork or tiger prawns, and creamy taepo chicken (or duck) curry. There is no wrong way to order here.
This Silver Lake spot was built for big group orders. Let your belly lead as you scroll the menu, but don’t miss the full-bodied khao soi, meaty and sweet; the pad kee mao with the right balance of salt and heat; and bright, fiery somtum thai.
Don’t let the cheeky name fool you: This Hollywood hotspot is southern Thai food royalty. You’ll understand once you dig into the Phuket-style blue crab curry, delightfully charred moo ping pork skewers, and jade noodles with “3BBQ” (barbecued pork, crispy pork, and roasted duck).
Unlike many hyper-regional or hyper-specialized Thai joints, this Thai Town spot’s strength lies in general excellence. So regardless of your familiarity with Thai food, you’ll find exactly what you want, from comforting pad see ew to textbook Thai iced tea. An order (or three) of the salty turnip omelet is a must — even the pickiest diner will thank you.
At the crossroads of touristy Hollywood and Thai Town, Hoy-Ka asserts itself through its uncompromising (read: spicy!) approach to Thai cuisine. The staples don’t disappoint, but the noodle soups, like the Hoy Ka brimming with fish and meatballs and offal-loaded boat noodles, are even better.
The thing that sets this West Hollywood restaurant apart is that it serves Thai-style breakfast all day long. Enjoy the rice porridge, rich with shiitake mushrooms and a poached egg, or kai-kata: a skillet full of runny eggs and sweet sausage. And we should mention that the khao kai jiew, a Thai-style omelet with ground chicken, is not only deep-fried but an excellent hangover cure.
In this city, the stakes are high for any vegan restaurant, and this Los Feliz spot goes above and beyond. Shiitake mushrooms are transformed into a meaty coconut curry, while tofu and glass noodles fill out plump spring rolls with a crystalline fried skin. You’ll also find non-Thai dishes — like a soy fried chicken sandwich, pancakes, and breakfast burritos — for any deviant diners in your group order.
Lattes aren’t the reason why diners flock to this cult favorite in Thai Town (though it does have Thai-style coffee). Bangkok-inspired fare, in all of its glory, is the draw. Imagine verdant green noodles that are light, brothless, and incredibly balanced; coconutty tom kha gai, and crab-paste-forward fried rice. You’ll join the cult of Sapp Coffee Shop after one meal.
Chiang Mai cuisine is the North Star of this Hollywood haunt, which means brothier curries and a penchant for beef, pork, and chicken, as is common in northern Thailand. Order the chicken-y khao soi, northern sausage, and fiery shrimp ball, which is deep fried and glazed in a fragrant chili sauce.
You already know this Pasadena stop has some of the best Thai food in the area — pad see ew charred in all the right places, plus vibrant summer rolls — but dig deeper for the menu’s hidden gems that lean more Korean and Asian American. There’s the steak salad crowned with shallots and a spicy lime dressing and the black-bean-sauced eggplant with fresh basil, which is particularly plush in the mouth.
You can’t say you’ve had the full Wat Dong Moon Lek experience without ordering one of the namesake noodles. Brimming with braised beef (or pork), meatballs, bean sprouts, and scallions and swimming in a rich broth, the house noodle has a reputation for a reason. Round out your meal from this Los Feliz spot with glass-noodle-based pad thai, another rare but worthwhile find.
Isaan Station does its namesake right with its dialed-in renditions of northeastern Thai favorites. There’s no better appetizer than the papaya salad, especially when topped with pickled blue crab. Follow it with fermented pork Isaan sausage, spicy larb moo (pork!), or turmeric-marinated, charcoal-grilled chicken, and you’re set for any meal.
Chef Vandu Asapahu has taken over her parents’ beloved Westchester spot, and it continues to shine. Don’t sleep on the savory kai jeaw omelet or homey khao soi, and of course, the plump, buttery, elephant-shaped toast.
Smoky, delicately charred meats (and equally delicious veg alternatives) are the stars of this aptly named restaurant in East Hollywood. Fill up on the protein, especially the barbecue pork, and be sure to add the spicy jackfruit salad and pork larb.
If you’re a late-night diner, then consider yourself a member of the Crispy Pork Gang. This Thai Town restaurant makes all the staples at all hours of the night: pad see ew, curries of all hues, fried rice, and the gang noodle threaded with shrimp, crackled pork, and a soft egg. Whether you’re eating at 1 p.m. or 1 a.m., you’ll be satisfied.
Three words: larb chicken wings. Picture, for a moment, deep-fried wings seasoned like the Thai salad, with toasted rice powder, lime, and herbs galore. This is just one of the reasons we love this Fairfax restaurant. It cranks out fantastic Thai (think: pad thai, khao soi, and, yes, larb) and Thai American dishes (like the aforementioned one) that keep us coming back.
This Encino restaurant’s menu is big, but we scroll to the same two sections each time: Specialty Northern Cuisine and Specialty Southern Cuisine. The must-order dishes are the kang ho, an aromatic yellow curry from the North, and the South’s spicy turmeric papaya and shrimp soup. But you can’t go wrong with the ever-popular panang coconut curry or satay chicken skewers.
Treat this Pasadena spot like you would a row of street food stalls in Bangkok: Go with your gut. Sink your teeth into the spicy basil chicken; pork nam tok, grilled pork with all the aromatics (scallions, cilantro, toasted rice powder); and, yes, a second chicken dish — the crispy chicken with bright gai zapp. It’s a must.
All the classics are top-notch at this Thai restaurant in Pasadena: chewy pad thai, tom yum soup, and obligatory yet textbook curries. But real ones know that the lunch specials are where it’s at. Try the curry with chicken dumplings or egg rolls, stir-fried chicken and basil, or fried catfish in a chili herb sauce, which is so good that you’ll want to order extra rice to soak it up (and you should).
If you’re in the mood for comforting Thai food, this Pasadena cornerstone has your back. Luxuriate in tangy tom yum soup, red panang curry, and snow crab fried rice. And do not skip the Sexy Sea Bass Basil (it lives up to the name!).
Behold the stuffed chicken wings, a perfect snack filled with a chicken-glass-noodle-and-water-chestnut sausage. And that’s what makes this Pasadena restaurant a neighborhood favorite. Since 1993, Saladang has been slinging creative and traditional takes on Thai food, so you can still get fried rice and pad thai along with crab pot and those wings.
You can count on this Thai spot in Pasadena for faithful renditions of your most loved Thai dishes. But if you’re ready to try something beyond your usual noodle order, may we suggest the luxurious roasted duck curry or succulent barbecue beef that’s marinated, mouthwateringly charbroiled, and served with a fragrant cilantro dressing.
To best enjoy the full range of this Thai mini chain in Culver City and Beverly Hills, go with the Natalee Delight, a generous array of beef or chicken satay, spring rolls, shrimp cakes, and wontons. Continue to up the ante with the endlessly snackable pork belly bites and the Heavenly Combo, which elevates fried rice into a main with shrimp, chicken, and beef.
At this plant-based Santa Monica spot, you won’t miss the fish sauce. Instead, iconic fish-sauce-laced dishes like pad Thai get their signature savoriness by other creative means; in this case, from a mixture of soy sauce and tomato paste. So go all out with a full vegan spread of green papaya salad; curries of all kinds, especially the green veg-loaded green tofu one; and satisfying vegan pad thai.
Consider this Culver City spot your go-to for lunch and dinner. The lunch rush specials, with mains ranging from curries to chicken satay to herbed salmon and all served with a crisp egg roll, are a great deal at just $13 a pop. But for dinner, slow down with the elegant soft-shell crab curry or classic chicken curry, plus a banana crepe to finish.
The West Side doesn’t have as many Thai food options as other areas of the city, which is why this West LA restaurant is prized. The menu is decidedly Thai Chinese, with hot and sour soup alongside coconut-enriched tom kha kai and kung pao chicken in addition to marinated and grilled sa-tae chicken skewers. Our go-tos are curries (roast duck! Pineapple!) and the spicy salmon panang.
Here’s another late-night rec (you’re welcome): this consistently delicious spot in Pico-Robinson. Go beyond the usual rice and noodle dishes and try some of its biggest hits: the aromatic tom yum soup, basil-laden pad kra pao with stir-fried chicken, and a brothy yellow curry.
This La Brea spot is a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient, and it shows in the fresh ingredients and creativity driving the dishes. Take the “Up to Us” section on the menu. There’s green curry with nests of garlicky vermicelli, Thai beef stew, and ka prao gai krob, which is spicy fried chicken atop jasmine rice.
This family-owned restaurant has been crafting unpretentious Thai food for nearly two decades in Westwood, and it remains a neighborhood favorite. You can’t go wrong with your order, but the pineapple shrimp curry, chicken larb, and spicy seafood soup are all great. Just make sure you add mango sticky rice to complete your meal.
This curry is distinctively California, totally vegan, and all Araya’s Place. We mean the silky avocado curry, brightened with bell peppers and basil. It’s got a cult following and has brought hungry diners to Beverly Grove for decades, but it’s no one-trick pony. You’ll see when you bite into the drunken mushrooms and red-curry-powered pumpkin curry.
Named after Bangkok’s airport code, this Culver City spot focuses on the street food you’d find in Thailand’s capital. That means jade curry punched up with basil and jalapeno and hearty potato-and-carrot-loaded amber curry. Do not miss the meaty duck noodle soup or the soft shell curry, adorned with two luscious fried crabs.
This family-run diner-like spot in Hollywood checks all our boxes: consistency, big portions, open late. The classics, like pineapple fried rice and pad thai, are well executed, but the sleeper hits are the ultra-crunchy shrimp cakes and fiery seafood combo: scallops, shrimp, squid, white fish, green clams, and imitation crab sauteed with lemongrass, ginger, and onion.
The drunken noodles, crab fried rice, and curries may come out of a Sawtelle ghost kitchen, but the food is as traditional as it gets. Slurp up the yellow, green, red, panang, and massaman curries along with the requisite carbs (pad thai, Thai fried rice), and keep an eye out for not-so-traditional gems like the ginger-scented Hainanese chicken.
With multiple locations in East Hollywood, Koreatown, and Glendale and three decades of business, this mini Thai barbecue chain clearly knows what it’s doing. You can taste it in the meat. The pork spare ribs and gai yang chicken are perfectly smoky and come with shrimp fried rice, while the satay, skewers of beef or chicken, just need a dunk into the house peanut sauce.
This longtime Hollywood restaurant has been slinging pad thai and chicken curry to tourists and locals for over 30 years, and it’s still going strong. The lamb massaman curry and deep-fried coconut shrimp continue to satisfy.
Here’s how to build a meal that hits the spot with this Culver City restaurant’s wide range of Thai staples. First, consider the appetizers (eyeing the flower-shaped crab and cream cheese wonton), choose your soup player (punchy tom yum is our favorite), and round it out with a rich green curry.
You’ll really get the “garden” part of this veg-forward Thai spot in Culver City as you dig into the Thai sukiyaki and spicy basil fried rice with lots of long beans and red bell pepper. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the meaty dishes. Try the crispy gai tod (chicken wings topped with fried shallots), fantastic soft-shell crab salad, and comforting clear-broth noodle soups.
One of the first Thai restaurants in Culver City, Swanya still has its galangal-and-Thai-chile-powered swagger. You can see it in the delightfully named dishes: the Freshy Rolls, leafy greens and steamed shrimp swaddled in rice paper and dipped into a peanut sauce, and the BBQ Crying Tiger Pork, fiery with a Thai-chile-based sauce. The showstopper here is the deep-fried rainbow trout offset with a vibrant mango slaw.
The calling card of this longtime favorite in Long Beach is the boat noodle soup: a super-savory and fiery broth bobbing with bean sprouts, onion, Chinese broccoli, and more than enough meat (sliced beef, stewed beef, beef ball, intestine, and tripe). Other soup-y highlights include the tender roasted duck noodle and the fuchsia-colored yen ta fo with red tofu sauce and, naturally, lots of seafood options (shrimp, squid, and fish or shrimp ball and tofu).
Even in Thai Town, it can be hard to find garlic noodles: egg noodles tossed in garlic, butter, and Parm and paired with your protein of choice. This cozy spot not only serves this dish but does so with aplomb (read: steak on the side!). We also love the warming tom yum with egg noodles and Coca Cola-marinated ribs.
A tough day — or really any day — calls for khao soi. And this Culver City restaurant’s rendition feels like a warm hug, as does the crab omelet and orange chicken. The latter isn’t exactly Thai, but it's executed so well that we’ll let it slide.
Crab fried rice, each grain fluffy and surrounded by the right amount of crab meat; chicken potstickers; rich panang curry — this South Bay spot consistently over-delivers. The only thing that can improve your order is by adding the Angel Wings, loaded chicken wings, and the sizzling beef with crisp veg (snow peas, bell peppers, and onions).
Some come for the neon lights, local DJs, and flowing drinks at this hip Koreatown bar; we come for the expertly executed Thai dishes. Classics reign supreme on the menu: pad thai, pad see ew, and any iteration of fried rice you want. Throw on the deeply charred chicken satay to your order, and you’re set for a big night in.
This Monterey Park restaurant is a Thai food oasis in Southern California’s storied Chinese food haven. Try the crisp pork jerky, beef and chicken satay, and the signature Thai Paradise beef.
You can expect textbook crab fried rice with egg, spicy drunken noodles, and yellow curry from this Beverly Grove restaurant. But the real fun is in Hot Thai’s clever spins on Thai favorites. Case in point: the bright and innovative mango pad thai, which is a must-order.
Holy Basil by Johnathan Chu
My Vegan Eagle Rock by @the.foodie.bites