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Cha Yen Thai Cookery
Photograph: Courtesy Cha Yen Thai Cookery

The best Thai restaurants in Boston

Crank up the heat and try some authentic, lesser-known dishes at these wonderful Thai restaurants around the Hub

By Gerrish Lopez and Boston Contributor

While there are plenty of straightforward options (pad thai, spring rolls), the best Thai restaurants in Boston feature authentic, regional dishes and fiery flavors. More than just noodles and fried rice, these Thai menus feature whole fried fish with basil and chili, minced pork omelets, and Bangkok street food favorites. From Downtown to Watertown, here’s where you’ll find the best Thai restaurants, whose friendly staff and skilled chefs will help expand your Thai horizons. After you’ve had your fill of Thai, keep the spice party going by seeking out the best Indian restaurants in Boston, or explore other Asian cuisines at the best Chinese restaurants in Boston or the best Japanese restaurants in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best Thai food in Boston

Cha Yen Thai Cookery
Photograph: Courtesy Cha Yen Thai Cookery

1. Cha Yen Thai Cookery

Restaurants Thai

Acclaimed chef Manita Bunnagitkam uses Thai techniques and the freshest ingredients to churn out new takes on Thai standards. To start, try quail eggs and a shrimp “donut” made from fried shrimp paste. Menu highlights include pineapple fried rice, khao soi brisket, and spicy panang curry. If you’re able to save room, finish with house-made ice cream: changing flavors include jasmine thai basil, spicy chocolate, strawberry basil sorbet, and thai iced coffee.

Sugar & Spice
Photograph: Courtesy Sugar & Spice

2. Sugar & Spice

Restaurants Thai Porter Sq

Sugar & Spice is notable for its modern, sophisticated interior, in addition to its authentic Thai fare. More than 100 dishes grace the pages of the menu, so take your time. Highlights include boat noodle soup, crispy pork belly gaprow, and guay jub (wide, cigar-shaped noodles with pork, tofu, boiled egg, and an exhilarating five-spice broth). In warmer weather, opt for seating on the flower-filled patio and try a fresh mango shake.

S & I To Go
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Giselle H.

3. S & I To Go

Restaurants Thai Allston/Brighton

Tiny and no-frills, this Allston eatery—primarily a takeout joint—satisfies those looking for a quick, authentic Thai option. Standard offerings like pad see ew and red curry won’t disappoint, but try something different such as pad prik khing moo krob (crispy pork with string beans in a spicy curry sauce), pad gra prow (thai basil beef), or kai look kaey (fried boiled eggs with tamarind sauce). Pay heed to the heat levels on the menu; try a five-chili item if you dare.

Dakzen Thai
Photograph: Courtesy Dakzen

4. Dakzen

Restaurants Thai Somerville

Somerville’s Dakzen is one of the more authentic Thai joints around. The focus is on street-style noodles prepared fresh and fast, just like in Thailand. Flavors are bold and often fiery, with funky ingredients you might otherwise overlook on other menus. The spicy tom yum noodle soup—packed with fish cake, fish ball, ground pork, dried shrimp, and more—is a highlight, as is a tasty version of the Northern Thai classi khao soi .

The Similans
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Alan C.

5. The Similans

Restaurants Thai East Cambridge

For tasty Thai in Inman Square, The Similans is your spot. Friendly staff add to the welcoming atmosphere. Alongside standards, lesser-seen options include brown sugar mango curry, Thai chili fish, and honey pork. Traditional dishes such as country-style pad Thai and pad kee mao are more flavorful than most, with a good level of spice. Finish up with a sweet serving of fried ice cream.

Kor Tor Mor
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Divya B.

6. Kor Tor Mor

Restaurants Thai Somerville

This tiny Somerville spot specializes in Bangkok street foods (great for takeout if the few available tables are taken). Rice plates like khao na kai (sauteed chicken with Chinese sausage and a fried egg), kapow moo grob (crispy pork belly, string bean, basil leaves, and pepper in chili sauce), and khao moo dang (roasted pork, crispy pork, boiled egg and Chinese sausage) are highlights. Soups, salads, and curries are available as well, but the selection of street foods is the most fun.

Kala Thai
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jessica N.

7. Kala Thai Cookery

Restaurants Thai Quincy Market

An offshoot of Watertown’s Cha Yen Thai Cookery, Kala Thai brings fresh Thai flavors to the high-traffic Haymarket area. Start with corn cakes—a Cha Yen favorite—then choose from a selection of noodle dishes (egg or rice noodles), fried rice, or curry. Spicy tom yum soup carries a kick, and chef specialty stir-fried dishes feature fresh ingredients and bold flavors. If the weather permits, get takeout and enjoy on the Greenway nearby.

Brown Sugar Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Prawitchaya S.

8. Brown Sugar Cafe

Restaurants Thai Allston/Brighton

A longtime favorite for both takeout and dine-in, Brown Sugar serves dishes from all regions of Thailand. Don’t miss the clay pot selections or lesser-known dishes like kai jeow moo sub (minced pork omelet). Standard, recognizable options like chive dumplings, pad thai, and fried rice are delicious, but don’t be shy—friendly waitstaff are happy to talk you through the more authentic dishes.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Montien

9. Montien

Restaurants Thai Chinatown

This family-run joint has been serving Thai specialties since 1986. The menu offers both authentic Thai cuisine and Americanized options for the less adventurous. Go beyond your average red curry or tom yum with plar goong (shrimp mixed with spicy lime juice, tomato, lemongrass), poo nim rad prik (crispy soft shell crabs with sweet basil chili sauce), or one of the deep-fried whole fish selections. The cocktails are also notable, but the draw here is the level of authenticity of the menu, offering a chance to broaden your Thai expertise.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Cathleen L.

10. Thaitation

Restaurants Thai Fenway/Kenmore

Thaitaion is a student favorite, with its extensive and affordable lunch menu of Thai favorites like mango curry, pad thai, and grapow chicken. The dinner menu offers more to explore, with dishes like lobster pad ped, “Seafood Volcano” (curry with scallops, shrimp and salmon) and the “Old Lady Spicy,” a chef’s specialty of spicy sauteed eggplant. This spot is cozy for dining in, but in warmer weather there is patio dining as well.   

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