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Photograph: Courtesy Jonathan Chu

The best Thai restaurants in Los Angeles

Dine on sinus-clearing curries, new-school favorites and more from L.A.'s best Thai restaurants.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor
Erin Kuschner
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When it comes to Thai food in Los Angeles, we honestly have it pretty good. With Hollywood’s Thai Town as an essential dining destination for spice-hunters, L.A. has no shortage of eateries serving some of the best seafood, curries and sinus-clearing stir-fries around. When it comes to navigating the seemingly endless Thai options, bypass the usual greasy pad thai joints and check out LA's best Thai restaurants throughout the city.

RECOMMENDED: Best restaurants in Los Angeles

L.A.'s best Thai restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • East Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

What would a top L.A. Thai list be without Jitlada? With endless celebrity photos and "Best of" lists on the walls, chef Jazz Singsanong’s Thai Town strip mall spot is one of the city’s cult favorites. The crispy morning glory salad is an obligatory dish—a flavorful mix of crunchy, deep-fried Chinese watercress, plump shrimp, red onions, cilantro, red cabbage and bell peppers marinated in the spicy house dressing. If perusing the lengthy menu leaves you feeling dazed and confused, the crying tiger pork and green mussel curry are good places to start on the extensive list of fiery Northern and Southern Thai specialties. Pro-tip: Arrive on the earlier side of the evening to avoid a long wait.

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 1 of 4

The homestyle cooking of this Thai Town joint attracts traditionalists citywide. You won't find fusion or overly sweet noodles at Sanamluang Café—only some of the best Asian comfort food (and slightly intimidating waitresses). Start with the classic tom kha kai, a spicy coconut soup with plump chicken, mushrooms, lemongrass, lime juice and fresh chili for a refreshing starter. Then take a menu detour with the khao pad krapow gai, a satisfying and fiery chicken-basil-rice stir-fry topped with an optional egg, and khana moo grob: This crispy and juicy chunks of pork paired with broth-wilted Chinese broccoli is a must. Wear relaxed clothing and dig in.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 2 of 4

Angelenos rhapsodize about Thai Town’s Ruen Pair with a fervor that borders on obsession. At this round-the-clock favorite, the enticing Southeast Asian menu is full of beer-friendly, shareable plates like fish cake pad ka prow, spongy, light rounds sautéed in basil leaves and vibrant chilies, which justifies a visit on its own. Stir-fry with Chinese olive and ground pork is served with crispy bits of flavorful meat and fresh garlic paired alongside a bowl of steaming rice. Another must order: the sautéed morning glory. Ask for it with crispy pork belly for the ultimate late-night Thai combo.

  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

This funky, fun restaurant run by two Thai American immigrant women serves classics and dishes made from the recipes of a 90-year-old Thai grandmother. Enough said. If that hasn't already convinced you, here's a little more info: Though the setting is no-frills, we think it's just all the better to set the stage for some serious Thai heat. The Phuket-style crab curry Kanomjean is the move here, with whole claws and legs shooting up from a thick, spice-sludgy mix to be enjoyed with rice noodles and plenty of herbaceous accoutrements. For people with a lower tolerance for capsaicin, try their elegant jade noodles topped with fish balls, roast duck and red barbecue pork.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Downtown Fashion District
  • price 2 of 4

The Santee Passage food court probably isn’t where you’d expect to find some of the most delicious, unapologetically spicy Thai food in Los Angeles, but that’s exactly where you’ll find Downtown’s Holy Basil. Using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, chef Wedchayan “Deau” Arpapornnopparat and partner Tongkamal “Joy” Yuon regularly inspire revelations in Southeast Asian flavor and spice with their version of takeout favorites like pad kee mao and green curry. Available for takeout and delivery.

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Fairfax District

One of the oldest Thai restaurants in town, Chao Krung has provided delicious, everyday Thai takeout and delivery since 1969. A more recent overhaul of the menu has placed the curries front and center, from the red duck curry with pineapple to a deeply aromatic jungle curry, thick with vegetables and holy basil. The Mid-City restaurant's revamped digs have also made it a great option for a casual weekday date or cozy weekend in. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 2 of 4

Crammed with five different kinds of pork, the signature Hoy-Ka noodles are just one of many creative, delicious, and best of all, affordable dishes at this East Hollywood gem that stray from the usual pad see ew and massaman curry options of most Thai restaurants. The owners' warmth and eagerness to replicate a traditional Thai street food experience also set the place apart from others in the city, and the all-wood interiors give the Thai Town restaurant an appealingly tavern-like feel.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Virgil Village
  • price 4 of 4

This tiny, upscale brick-and-mortar Virgil Village restaurant isn't your average Thai joint in price point or ambience, but this Thai-Japanese fusion spot currently offers an unforgettable omakase dinner showcasing ingredients from all four major culinary regions of Thailand—an ode to owner Nan Yimcharoen's late father. Though the genre-bending chef's seasonal set menus change regularly, expect a predominance of seafood, including crab and langoustine, as well as a milder, but still flavorful take on Thai cuisine.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Fairfax District
  • price 2 of 4

Noree Pla and Fern Kaewtathip of Luv2Eat teamed up for yet another Thai venture, but this time, they headed west. Think of Noree as Luv2Eat's older, slightly more buttoned-up cousin: The traditional Thai fare is still there—with fun dishes such as pad see ew with beef tongue—but with more composed plates, and a more refined setting spitting distance from Erewhon and the Grove.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

When the original Night + Market arrived in West Hollywood, diners were immediately taken by chef Kris Yenbamroong's autheniticity, bold, salt-forward flavors and heat that could melt your tongue. Now with locations in Silver Lake, Marina del Rey and Las Vegas, Night + Market is a veritable neon pink and orange mini-empire perfect for a lively, natural wine-filled night out on the town. Pair sticky rice with hor ab (a catfish tamale), along with some fan favorites: the "hey-ha" party wings, the pork toro (fatty pig neck), the isaan sour sausage for those who aim to prove they can eat anything. The moo sadoong, aka "startled pig," comes out looking like it might light your mouth on fire, and it probably will.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Sawtelle
  • price 2 of 4

The sister restaurant of Mid-City’s Chao Krung has a stylish new home on Sawtelle, where second-generation family chef Amanda Kuntee has expanded the menu with vegan-friendly items and Thai street food-inspired small plates. Though you’ll find the usual Thai takeout mainstays here like pad see ew and panang curry, the newer dishes in the Street Noodle and Snack sections, like the kuay tiew hang (dried noodles with crab, barbecue pork, bok choy and wontons) and drinking-oriented barbecue squid provide more than enough justification to deviate from old favorites.


  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 1 of 4

No, this isn't just another coffee shop. Sapp Coffee Shop is a straight-up Thai food heaven, serving some of the best Thai boat noodles in LA. Funky, fragrant and piping hot, the offal-laced soup makes this tiny Thai Town spot destination-worthy in and of itself. The jade noodles are another coveted item, while the Thai iced coffee is, of course, a no-brainer. Track this hidden gem down to an unassuming plaza in Los Feliz—you won't be disappointed.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • East Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

Everything—truly everything—is sinus-clearing, flavor-filled and worth an order at Thai Town's Northern Thai Food Club, but the tiny five-table restaurant’s khao soi is the platonic ideal of this curry noodle dish, and at only $9.99 with all the bells and whistles, it happens to be one of the city's best under $15 deals. While you’re there, don’t neglect the spicy pork sausage and the spicy jackfruit salad, both brimming with fresh herbs.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • East Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This is strip mall dining at its finest. Pa Ord Noodle is a Hollywood staple, with two locations for maximum noodle-slurping pleasure. (We prefer the Hollywood Boulevard location, for what it's worth.) Serious Thai food lovers navigate their way through pork blood-infused bowls of boat noodles, Pa-Ord's signature dish, which centers around a dark, fragrant broth brimming with tripe, fish balls and a few leaves of bok choi. Less adventurous diners may opt for papaya salad with fermented crab, or the popular crispy pork and Chinese broccoli.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • LAX/Westchester
  • price 2 of 4

Westchester's favorite Thai spot is a tribute to Northern Thai dishes and other regional favorites, and it's multi-generational. The husband-and-wife team of Andy and Annda Asapahu draw from their family recipes, and now their daughter, Vanda, has taken the reins. Expect all the stalwarts as well as seasonal specials (we're looking at you, lobster pad Thai), plus a must-order kai jeaw omelet and Ayara's elephant-shaped shrimp toasts.

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Pasadena
  • price 2 of 4

This Pasadena Thai eatery offers traditional takes on standards such as papaya pok kok, a green papaya salad prepared with dried shrimp and a thick, piquant green curry rounded out with coconut milk, basil, eggplant and a choice of chicken, pork, beef or mixed vegetables. The industrial-looking eatery, not to be confused with Saladang Garden, its newer sister outpost next door, attracts a mix of local families and date-nighters. Start with delectable plates to share—such as pun klib, garlicky bombs of steamed chicken dumplings—while longingly eyeing your neighbor’s sizzling beef with peanut sauce as it arrives on a piping-hot skillet piled high with beef atop wilted spinach and sprinkled generously with crunchy cashews. End the meal with a little dining entertainment: The fried banana wrapped in coconut is dipped in rum honey and set ablaze for a dessert spectacular.

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