When it comes to Thai food, nobody has it better than Los Angeles. America’s only official Thai Town exists right here in East Hollywood and it’s packed with some of the best Thai restaurants in the country - but the party certainly doesn’t stop there.
From romantic, family-run spots in Beverly Hills to 30-year-old strip mall Valley joints, the bar for Thai food is set so high in this city, you have absolutely no excuse to be eating anywhere subpar. Get some cash (seriously, no one takes cards) and go experience the best this city has to offer. Here are the 25 Thai food spots you need to know about.
A kid takes over his parents’ family Thai restaurant on the Sunset Strip and turns it into the greatest Thai restaurant Los Angeles has. Tale as old as time, right? Hardly. What the people over at Night + Market (and its equally fantastic Silver Lake location) have been doing for the past few years is nothing short of incredible. The food is both traditional (grandma’s old recipes are still being used) and continuously pushing the envelope. And the atmosphere is one giant, beautiful party.
If Night + Market is the hot prince that everybody wants to f*ck, Jitlada is the old Queen that’s done taking your crap. The decades-old Thai Town spot in many ways is the true heart and soul of LA’s Thai food scene. Its kitschy dining room is a must-visit (and a good spot to catch a celebrity) and its massive Southern Thai menu has absolutely zero regard for your pretty little spice preferences. Plain and simple - Jitlada is for the big boys and girls. But those who stay will be rewarded with some of the best Thai food in this city.
In the world of restaurant names that don’t instill much confidence, Luv2Eat is a perennial powerhouse: this place has become an LA Thai staple. Located in the same Hollywood strip mall as that Pizza Hut you always go to by yourself and only tell your diary about, Luv2Eat’s menu covers a lot of ground and doesn’t really focus on any one region. You can come in and order pad thai, egg rolls, and Tom Yum soups and walk away thrilled. But your real best bet is to focus on the Phuket dishes, where spice levels are through the roof, but so is the flavor. The Phuket crab curry is a must.
Greetings from LA’s best (and most important) Thai restaurant you’ve never heard of before. Located up in the outer fringes of North Hollywood, Sri Siam has been around for over 30 years and is Thai royalty when it comes to its influence over this city. The crispy rice salad that blew your mind over at Night + Market? Sri Siam’s been doing it since the ’80s. Also, don’t be surprised if your server (i.e. the owner) pulls up a chair next to you and starts chatting - that’s just how things are done here. Best thing here? The off-the-menu radish cakes. Drop what you’re doing and go get them now.
In terms of the menu itself, Night + Market’s Silver Lake location is nearly identical to the original, meaning the food is still among the best you’ll find in LA. We’ve only ranked it a few notches below the original because, as a whole, the atmosphere is bit more chaotic and cramped than the West Hollywood location, they don’t serve beer towers, and there’s no outdoor patio for you and your big group of friends. But as soon as those wings, the khao soi, and every other dish starts hitting the table, you tend to forget about those very small shortcomings.
Amidst all the chaos of Grand Central Market, you might miss Sticky Rice at first. But inside this food stall in the center of the market is a fantastic secret. And that secret is the best beef panang curry in the city. The rest of the menu is pretty great too, but something in that curry speaks to us unlike anything else. It’s sweet, savory, and a little spicy, and the braised beef is so tender that chewing is optional.
A great Thai restaurant and also a sports bar? Count us in. Hoy-Ka has established itself as one of LA’s finest not only because of their excellent food, but also for having a space that’s different from everyone else’s. The wood-covered interior feels kind of like a tavern, and with plenty of TVs playing sports, you won’t have any trouble finding a reason to drink. The pad ka prao, with its fried egg-topped tower of white rice, is your order.
Sapp Coffee Shop is a legitimate coffee shop. But not the kind that sells you $6 drip-who-gives-a-sh*t, full of people talking about the Oregon coast. Walk in here at any point in the day and you’ll find old men sitting in the corner, drinking coffee by themselves, and simply reading the newspaper. And while we certainly condone joining them, you’re really here for the beef boat noodle soup. It’s fragrant, savory, and downright soul-curing. There isn’t a bowl of soup we want more on a sick day.
We appreciate a restaurant that calls it like it is, and at Spicy BBQ, expect to get Thai-style BBQ and expect to get it real spicy. But this six-table strip mall spot at Normandie and Santa Monica has much more than just a few excellent plates of BBQ pork. The spicy jackfruit salad, the pork patties, the chili dips, and a khao soi we think about late at night when the lights go out make this colorful, tiny spot great.
Pailin isn’t the most well-known name in Thai Town, and its dime-sized space (there are maybe eight tables total inside) isn’t going to jump out at you while driving down Hollywood Blvd. But it’s delicious. It’s all Northern Thai cuisine here, and that means one thing - khao soi. For anyone unfamiliar with the dish, it’s essentially a curry noodle soup and god’s greatest gift to mankind. Pailin has the best version in town. The tiny space is colorful and kitschy and a perfect quick lunch spot. The spicy shrimp balls are another must-order.
You might not have ever seriously considered which red wine you should be having with your bowl of green curry before, but Same Same is here to change that. Located in a dark Silver Lake strip mall, Same Same took the place of a well-run neighborhood Thai restaurant and converted it into a casual wine bar. Except one thing - they kept the old Thai menu and made it even better than it was before. Good wine, great food, and a welcoming atmosphere you never really want to leave? All aboard the Same Same train.
Lum Ka Naad in Northridge might be a bit of a hike, but it’s worth it. The modern restaurant has a big menu, but you’re narrowing it down to two sections: “Northern Cuisine” and “Southern Cuisine.” These are the dishes specifically from the owner’s home regions, and they are incredible. Start with the turmeric shrimp soup from the South and work your way up to the kang ho in the North (essentially drunken noodles with vegetables in a curry rub). Delicious food and a geography lesson. Everyone wins.
Crying Tiger is a tiny take-out window a few feet off of Hollywood Blvd. and, at first glance, seems like another decent drunk food option for everyone stumbling out of the bars. But Crying Tiger is much, much more. First off, it’s operated by the Luv2Eat people, so expect flavors and spice to be intense. Secondly, their menu goes far beyond a solid bowl of pad thai. Think spinach-based jade noodles, shu mai dumplings, and crispy chicken skin. If you feel like sitting down, hop inside the bar next door at Black Magic Rose where the full Crying Tiger menu is also available.
Probably due to the fact it sounds like an all-girl group from Calabasas with a noon start time at Coachella, Summer Buffalo doesn’t really get the credit it deserves. But make no doubt about it, this place is great. And with locations in Burbank and on Melrose, it serves two areas largely in need of some quality Thai food. The feel inside is modern, and you could even pull off a casual date here. Must-orders include the salmon curry noodle, isaan sausage, and their pad kee mau. Also, there’s free delivery.
Thai brunch anyone? Otus is actually the second iteration of a once-popular Thai spot called Kinaree that burned down a few years back. But don’t cry too many tears - Otus is much better. The space is modern, and while the food across the board is great, the breakfast/brunch situation is what really sets it apart. The Kai-Kata (Thai-style eggs and sweet sausage served in a skillet) is fantastic and comes with a cup of Thai coffee. Hangover bonus: Breakfast is served all day.
This family-owned neighborhood spot at Pico-Robertson isn’t just on this list because the food is excellent. It’s on this list because it’s pretty romantic too. With white tablecloths and a glass-enclosed wine rack in the back, Si Laa has a more upscale feel than others on this list. Prices are still reasonable, the waitstaff is insanely friendly, and pat yourself on the back - you just nailed date night. The crispy duck and “hidden treasure” are must-orders.
Pa Ord has two locations, both within very close proximity of each other on Sunset Blvd. And to make matters more confusing, their menus are different. So we’ll make it easy on you - go to the #2 location at Sunset and La Brea. The menu is much bigger here, which means you can find their legendary Tom Yum soup, their boat noodles, and all the curries you could want. It’s also the only location with an online menu for take-out orders.
Thai Patio does not have the best food on this list. However, it has something that almost nobody else does - an atmosphere that’s essentially the afterparty from the one you just came from. Roll into Thai Patio at 3am on a Saturday night, and you’ll be greeted with 100 other late-night revelers. The order at Thai Patio is always noodles - their drunken noodles (coincidence?) are among our favorite in town. Then sit back, soak up that tequila, and listen to the teenage girl on stage singing an acoustic version of “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”.
The other late-night option when all the tables over at Thai Patio are full, Ruen Pair is ideal for that 2:30am run when you’ve got a friend who’s only ever had pad thai, and another friend who’s got a hankering for rabbit feet. The menu at this restaurant is expansive, and no matter how much experience you have eating Thai food, you’ll find something for yourself here. Just make sure to order multiple salty egg and turnip omelettes for the table - everyone will agree they are life-changing.
Isaan Classic is the newest spot on this list, but the Silver Lake joint’s Northern Thai menu is different and fantastic and you need to be eating there right now. Located on the ground floor of a Comfort Inn (right by the swiveling Foot Clinic sign), Isaan Classic is where you go to try something new. The papaya salad with dried shrimp and salty egg, the fermented pork sausage, and deep fried crab rolls are all must-orders, but you need the green curry noodles most.
Toluca Lake is best known as that place where thousands of sad adults walk around on their lunch hour wondering if they’ll ever make the leap out of the corporate studio world. But it should also be known for something else - The Rustic Spoon. One of the most criminally overlooked Thai spots in LA, Rustic Spoon seems like just another filler restaurant from the outside, but inside they are serving healthy, affordable, and truly tremendous Thai food. This isn’t the most authentic menu in town, but the cinnamon chicken curry with roti bread is so special, we’d drive here at any time of day for it.
Bhan Kanom isn’t a restaurant. It’s a market/bake shop in a Thai Town stripmall and home to the best collection of Thai desserts in the city. This is the place you stop at on the way home from work and pick up some mini crispy crepes or a bag of imported Thai candy to eat in your bed later. Or if you’re grabbing dinner at Thai Patio or Ruen Pair (all located in the same stripmall), skip the mango sticky rice at the end and come get it here instead. It’s way better.
Rodded is an all-around solid Thai restaurant, but if you aren’t here eating the duck noodle soup, you’re doing your life a disservice. This bowl of glory might not have the finest curb appeal of all time, but something about it hits every correct note possible. Rich, savory, and not in the least bit oily, this is one of the best single dishes in Thai Town. We also highly recommend getting the wontons for dipping. You also get to choose your own noodle to put into it, if freedom is something you get excited about.
You’ve no doubt passed Siam Sunset a hundred times and just assumed it was a closed down portion of the adjoining America’s Best Value Inn. But it’s very much open and home to the best traditional Thai breakfast in town. Open every day at 6am, this is where you go to eat some porridge and Thai donuts, sip on some instant coffee with angry old men, and feel like you are nowhere near Southern California.
LA has a number of vegan Thai restaurants, and for the most part, they’re terrible. Save for Araya’s Place. The Beverly Grove strip mall joint started in Seattle, and has been around for almost 30 years. And while we’ll always prefer our curry with meat, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t think about their avocado curry more than we probably should. The green curry itself is outstanding, but the avocado mixes so well with it, you wonder why more people don’t serve it. If you’re a vegan, you can’t get much better than this place. And if you’re not, the statement still stands.