There’s nothing like a perfectly prepared green chicken curry dish. When a craving for noodles, dumplings and all things Thai hits us, we head to the best Thai restaurants in Austin, serving delicious fare in both traditional and modern settings. After all, although our hunger for the best tacos in Austin and the best burgers in Austin is limitless, the appetite that we work up after exploring the best things to do in Austin with kids can only be satisfied by some hearty pad thai.
Best Thai restaurants in Austin
Sway’s menu can be described as Thai with a twist. Inside, find a beautifully designed space boasting community seating and one of the most intriguing culinary selections in Austin. The emphasis is on shareable plates like XO mussels with bacon and lemongrass, blue crab fried rice and the tiger cry.
This food truck on Cesar Chavez is serving up some of the most unique Thai food in the city, focusing on northern street food from the heart of Thailand’s countryside. Crowd favorites are the Om Gai (rustic herbal chicken with sticky rice), Som Tom (fresh papaya salad) and the mango with sticky rice. The BYOB venue also offers plenty of outdoor seating.
It seems like food trucks are taking over the country… and we’re not mad about it. Originally debuting in San Marcos, Wat Zab is now firmly ensconced in the Burnet Road food trailer park, dishing up spicy curries and Pad Kee Maos. Given its funky graffiti, the truck may look like it belongs in Austin but trust us when we say that the food is straight out of Bangkok.
Titaya’s Thai was one of the first Thai restaurants in Austin to garner city-wide attention. Following a renovation a couple of years ago, this family-owned spot now boasts a bright, cheery feel that makes it a regular destination for both lunch and dinner. Adventurous eaters should order the grilled whole squid and the duck noodle soup.
Sandwiched between Max’s and Piranha Killer Sushi you’ll find an unassuming mom-and-pop Thai spot serving classics like Pla Lard Prik (deep fried whole fish) and Pad Ped along with a whole variety of green and red curries. Stop by for lunch to enjoy a $9 special or for happy hour from 3pm to 7pm for half-priced appetizers.
Not only does Jam Sanitchat and her team at Thai Fresh craft a menu of delicious Thai food (with plenty of gluten-free options), but they also make all their own vegan ice creams in-house. Each flavor is made with a coconut milk base sweetened with organic, fair trade evaporated cane juice and local seasonal fruits. Rotating flavors include ginger lemongrass, Thai basil, lavender, salty tamarind, Texas corn, Thai tea and mango lime. Also available are vegan, gluten-free waffle cones, gluten-free ice cream sandwiches and seasonal sundae specials.
You’ll likely always find a crowd at this North Austin Thai restaurant and for good reason. The food is good, the service is fast and the lunch deal is awesome. Spend $11 on the special and get full access to a free appetizer buffet that includes soup, salads, spring rolls and dumplings.
This south Austin newcomer serves up Pad See Ew, pineapple fried rice and Massaman curry in the Thicket Food Trailer Park. Although the eatery’s claim to fame is the gourmet Thai food, what truly sets it apart is the staff’s dedication to community activities. Hosting live music acts and movie nights on a regular basis, this BYOB spot is a must visit.
After closing briefly for a renovation after 21 years in Austin, Tuk Tuk reopened in its south Austin home to much fanfare. Though the atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired, the BYOB policy and the amount of available seats make this spot a local gem. We suggest ordering the pad thai, Tom Kha and, of course, the basil fried rice.
Upon entering Sap’s, the first thing you’ll notice are the bright and beautiful umbrellas covering the ceiling and the large size of the space. The atmosphere is casual and family-friendly (most orders are shareable), with a menu that will satisfy both vegetarians and meat lovers.