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The Best Thai Restaurants In Seattle

All our favorite spots for curries, pad thai, tom kha, and more.
The Best Thai Restaurants In Seattle  image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Undeniably, Seattle has excellent Thai food—which becomes obvious whenever you google "Thai food near me.” There are so many options that committing to one spot can feel as daunting as choosing something to watch on Netflix with that friend who always thinks the book is better than the movie. We whittled things down to 12 must-try Thai restaurants around the area that include late-night snack shops, food worth a ferry ride, and counter spots where you can get up close and personal with a wok without losing an eyebrow.

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Vashon

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If you haven’t eaten on Vashon lately, this restaurant is a great excuse to pay the WSDOT fare. Hidden behind a red curtain at the entrance, the dark dining room is covered floor-to-ceiling in intricately carved wood, making a dinner here feel a bit like walking into another dimension. We urge you to try the hearty-but-refreshing yum phak boong, which is fried until airy and drizzled with coconut milk. And curry fans will like May's gaeng khiao waan, made with Thai eggplant, lemongrass, and a small stalk of young green peppercorns, giving the dish a gentle heat that gets along nicely with the sweet sauce.

photo credit: Brooke Fitts

You can find the best Thai curries and stir fry in Lake City at this cash-only truck that parks at the Shell station on Lake City Way. The panang curry has an ideal creamy thickness and plenty of brightness from lime leaf. If curry's not your thing, anything from the wok— like pad see ew or cashew chicken—has an excellent char. We’d also stop by just for a Thai iced tea and a handful of fried crab wontons dunked in sweet chili before filling up our tank. Expect to wait a little bit since the truck is operated by only one person, but it's worth it.

photo credit: Nate Watters

Much like water slides or a Now That’s What I Call Music! tracklist, E-Jae Pak Mor can do no wrong. This Chinatown-International District counter spot serves excellent Thai street food, including its tasty namesake dish—a steamed rice flour wrap swaddled around ground chicken. But the best thing is the khao mun gai which has delicate poached chicken cuddled up next to a scoop of gingery soul-restoring rice. And the unironically named “super tender beef stew,” braised in a sweet soy sauce, walks the walk too. All those snacks make E-Jae perfect for a casual weeknight dinner or a much better alternative to sad stadium tenders after watching the Mariners try to score runs at T-Mobile Park

If you, like us, have watched loops of those adorable TikTok videos where babies discover ice cream for the first time, then you’ve already witnessed the joy we feel about Noodle Boat Thai. This Issaquah spot packs so much flavor into each dish that it feels like you're eating in high definition. The yellow curry fried rice tastes like every single grain has been steeped in spice, while pops of sweetness from the raisins and pineapples complement the nutty flavor. Their tom kha soup bursts with so much lemongrass and ginger you will literally have to pick pieces out—but the effort is rewarding. While there’s nothing much to the dining room except some plants and a few very cute elephant statues, Noodle Boat works for a quick lunch or a nice dinnertime respite after spending three hours at the nearby Costco.

There’s always a line down the block around lunch time at this tiny U-District restaurant, they only take cash, and sometimes the staff will open 15 minutes late just because they feel like it. Normally, these things would be a turn-off, but not here. The noodles are always perfectly saucy with some added sear from the wok. In fact, you’re in good hands with anything on the menu—and while their pad thai is the most hyped, the pad see ew is way better.

This Central District restaurant is strictly takeout—a trip home means you're traveling with very saucy precious cargo, or you’ve already devoured half of it in the car. Either way, order stand-out dishes like the garlic fried rice packed with fried bits of fragrant garlic in every square inch, the lime-heavy panang curry, and the deep-fried crispy chicken in a sticky and gingery sauce with bright chunks of carrots and broccoli—because, balance.

photo credit: Nate Watters

We could scream from the rooftops about Buddha Ruksa’s phenomenal garlic fried chicken, only to be interrupted by a bunch of other people also screaming about it. All you need is one trip to this dark wood-filled West Seattle spot to know it’s special. While all the Thai classics like fragrant panang curry are great, turn your attention to the “Signature Dishes” on the menu. There you’ll find crab fried rice packed with a generous amount of buttery meat and prawns in a silky pumpkin curry. Come with a group for dinner knowing tensions may get high when it’s time to decide who takes the leftovers home.

Wallingford has an astounding number of Thai restaurants, but Sisi Kay stands out above the rest across 45th. Noodles have punchy flavors and crispy bits from the wok, curries are thick and vibrant, and their black pepper fried rice is our preferred carb to spoon sauce onto. But the best dish is their roasted duck curry—an instant mood-booster of duck breast with crackling-like skin submerged in a coconut curry made with apple, lychee, and pineapple.

Mark Thai Food Box is a great spot for khao mun gai that's only open until 7pm during the week—but never underestimate the power of slapping a “doctor’s appointment” block on your calendar (for legal reasons, that’s a joke). We love Mark’s gingery poached chicken over rice with a garlic dipping sauce, but they also excel at pork riblets simmered in red curry, and firm tofu tossed in panang. Just don’t forget a frosty pink rose milk tea on the side. It has just the right amount of floral flavor without tasting like a bottle of Chanel N°5.

Bangrak Market in Belltown is named after one of the most popular night markets in Bangkok, and half of the fun here is craning your neck around to look at the woven baskets, colorful beams, and little packages of spices and nuts hung up as decoration. The Thai street food options are practically endless, highlighted by the noodle-packed kao soi chiang mai, grill-marked crying tiger, and som tum thai salad with crisp ribbons of green papaya that’s more refreshing than being around someone in Seattle who doesn’t own a Carhartt beanie.

photo credit: Nate Watters

This Bellevue restaurant (with a second location in the University District) has a terrific fully vegan menu. Bright green plants hang from every available ceiling space and a bustling kitchen churns out classic Thai dishes with flavorful seitan, tofu, and jackfruit tweaks. The creamy avocado curry is comforting and the vegetable satay is deeply marinated in yellow curry with a tangy peanut sauce for dunking. And for all the mushroom lovers out there, the drunken mushroom dish has four different kinds of fungi swimming in a sticky basil sauce that we can't stop thinking about. (We are said mushroom lovers.)

You might be tempted to snack on mini mozzarella sticks and subpar nachos after bowling at Spin Alley in Shoreline—head across the street to Issaya instead. At this strip mall spot, there are exemplary fried snacks like spring rolls and coconut-crusted tofu, pad prik king with snappy green beans and chili paste depth, tender lamb massaman, and chicken and shrimp wontons submerged in rich red curry. Grab a little of everything and have a better-than-usual Sunday night dinner. 

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