Spicy Sugar Thai somtum tad
Photograph: Jesse Hsu for Time Out Spicy Sugar Thai Mid-City

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
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When it comes to Thai food in Los Angeles, we honestly have it pretty good. While Hollywood’s Thai Town is an essential dining destination for spice-hunters, greater L.A. has no shortage of eateries serving some of the best seafood, curries and sinus-clearing stir-fries around. From Long Beach to the Valley, we've scouted the best Thai restaurants in the city so you can bypass the usual greasy pad thai joints and dine on amazing Northern-style khao soi and sour Isaan sausage, subtler Central dishes like krapow and, of course, Jitlada's fiery Southern-style cuisine. 

RECOMMENDED: Best restaurants in Los Angeles

L.A.'s best Thai restaurants

  • Thai
  • East Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

What would a Thai restaurant list for Los Angeles be without Jitlada? With endless celebrity photos and “best of” lists on the walls, chef Jazz Singsanong’s strip mall joint in Thai Town 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 Southern Thai specialties. Pro-tip: Arrive on the earlier side of the evening to avoid a long wait.

  • Thai
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

This funky East Hollywood restaurant run by two Thai American immigrant women serves classics and dishes made from the recipes of a nonagenarian 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 Southern 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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  • 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. A second Atwater Village outpost with limited seating offers an expanded menu full of chef-driven dishes like grandma's fish and rice, shrimp aguachile and nam tok-style beef tataki.

  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 2 of 4

Angelenos rhapsodize about this Thai Town staple with a fervor that borders on obsession. While no longer around the clock (Ruen Pair now closes at a modest 11pm), the enticing central Thai 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 fried egg with salted turnip. On our visit, the simple omelette shined when paired with a side of white rice and a glass of frosty beer.

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  • 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 popular Southeast Asian curry noodle dish, and at only $10.99 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. If you’re at a loss, feel free to ask for recommendations from the always-friendly chef-owner, “Nancy” Amphai Dunne, who’s happy to find dishes within your spice level tolerance.

  • 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 L.A. 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. In truth, however, you won’t find a single miss on the menu, so order whatever catches your fancy—you won’t be disappointed.

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  • Thai
  • Sherman Oaks
  • price 2 of 4

Fame has changed this second-generation Thai restaurant in Sherman Oaks, where James Beard award-winning chef Justin Pichetrungsi holds court over Anajak’s infamously busy Thai Taco Tuesdays (where, on a good day, you’ll wait only a hour to be seated—unless you’re a celebrity, of course), plus an à la carte dinner service full of seasonality and nuanced flavor. Lately, it’s become easier to snag seats at Pichetrungsi’s occasional omakase nights (next scheduled for the end of June). We found the food here generally delicious and refined, from the must-order hat yai fried chicken to the enormous river prawns with nam jim sauce. The customer service and consistency of the kitchen has also improved in recent months. Would we show up at 4pm for it, though, or resort to booking a table through Dorsia for a $95 per head minimum? Probably not, but if you do manage to get a table, you’ll have an excellent meal.

  • Japanese
  • Virgil Village
  • price 4 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
This tiny, upscale brick-and-mortar Virgil Village restaurant isn’t your average Thai restaurant when it comes to price point, ambience or heat level. Instead of garden-variety pad thai and curries,chef-owner Nan Yimcharoen serves a unique seafood-centric tasting menu with Thai and Japanese influences. Currently, Kinkan offers a travel-inspired experience known as “where are we going,” where she cooks up a range of dishes inspired by her world travels. You’ll also find a more casual tapas menu Tuesdays through Thursdays and weekend-only lunchtime bento boxes—immaculate, jewel box-like arrangements that first put Yimcharoen on the map during 2020's lockdown era. In our humble opinion, first-timers shouldn’t skip the prix fixe experience. To keep up with Kinkan's menus and hours of operation, follow along on Instagram.
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  • Thai
  • Fairfax District

One of the oldest Thai restaurants in town, Chao Krung has provided delicious, everyday fare since 1976. Now in the care of second-generation chef Amanda Kuntee, a tighter menu has placed small plates and curries front and center, including a tasty hai todd (crispy mussel pancake) and a deeply aromatic jungle curry thick with vegetables and holy basil. The Mid-City staple’s revamped digs have also made it a great option for a casual weekday date or cozy weekend in, and the newer line-up of seasonal specials, like a Northern Thai isaan sausage, is wooing a whole new generation of L.A. diners.

  • Thai
  • Mid City
  • price 2 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

The word’s finally out about Spicy Sugar, the best Thai restaurant in L.A. you haven’t heard of yet. Located in a former Mid-City diner, the restaurant is far from the congested streets of Thai Town and offers a fiery Isaan-style menu worth going out of the way for. Service can be slow at times and the restaurant is quite small, but it’s worth the wait for delicacies like somtum tad, a family-style platter built around a phenomenal papaya salad. Intersperse bites of salad with crispy pork, boiled eggs, rice noodles, fried fish, shrimp and pork sausage, and you’ve got yourself a flavorful meal for two. While you could easily fill up on somtum tad alone, you’d be missing out on the exemplary larbs, including a crispy duck version and pork jowl namtok, and the seafood dishes. First-timers should order the miang pla pao, a whole grilled (or fried) tilapia served with rice noodles, lettuce, fresh herbs, various aromatics and not one, but two dipping sauces. For a warm, light meal, order the jim jum, or Thai hot pot, which uses a lemongrass-rich broth as a base for vegetables, meats and mixed seafood.

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  • Thai
  • San Fernando Valley
  • price 2 of 4

For nearly four decades, this North Hollywood strip mall joint has served an all-around excellent cross-regional fare that’s inspired scores of other, much younger L.A. Thai-Chinese restaurants. On our visit, we couldn’t stop eating the crispy rice salad, and one slurp of the fragrant khao soi made it clear that this is one of the best Thai restaurants in the Valley—if not all of L.A. If you’re in the mood for simpler delights like crab rangoon or wonton soup, Sri Siam does that too, but you’d miss out if you leave without ordering at least one or two of their signature dishes, particularly the deep-fried radish cakes. Served with sriracha and sweet chili, it’s one of our favorite bites in the 818.

  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 1 of 4

After starting off as a Thai Town weekend pop-up, Malai Data’s amazing boat noodle soup has found a permanent home just five minutes’ walk from its original location. Step into the bare-bones space for $9 bowls of the best boat noodle soup we’ve ever had. Bits of carefully prepared green onions, pork cracklings, bean sprouts, meatballs and your choice of mixed pork or beef offal arrive in each traditionally small bowl—so order two, or even three, if you’re feeling extra hungry. There’s also larger $15 bowls of tom yum noodle soup and an expanded menu that includes pad thai, krapow and housemade Isaan-style sour sausage. For dessert, order the kanom tuay; the delicate steamed pandan-coconut custards are the perfect way to cap off an affordable meal here.

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  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 1 of 4

This takeout-friendly Thai Town spot specializes in Thai-style Hainan chicken, which includes a warm, comforting bowl of clear broth on the side and flavorful garlic fried rice. Dipped into the homemade chili fish sauce and sprinkled with the chopped ginger available at each table, it's worth savoring each delicious bite. To jazz up your order, you can also order a mix of steamed and fried chicken. We also love the zabb crispy rice—a flavorful mix of rice powder, red onions and your choice of protein (fish, chicken, or pork). 

  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 1 of 4

The homestyle cooking of this late-night joint in Thai Town and North Hollywood 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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  • Ice cream parlors
  • Thai Town
  • price 2 of 4

Run by the couple behind Ruen Pair next door, this new fusion-style dessert shop in Thai Town serves creamy, not-too-sweet gelato in Asian flavors like candle-smoked salted egg yolk, butterfly pea coconut, tamarind and durian. While you can’t go wrong with a scoop of the Thai iced coffee or Thai tea, our favorite of the bunch is the pandan milk, which offers the lightly grassy, vanilla-like Southeast Asian flavor entombed in a sweet, creamy gelato. For a quirky, ultra-carby treat, order your ice cream wrapped in a Thai-style kanom pang—a hot dog bun topped with coconut jelly, sweet corn, sticky rice, grass jelly and palm seeds. If you manage to grab a table within the tiny, usually crowded shop, we recommend take advantage of the extra surface area by ordering one of the Korean bingsu-inspired shaved iced desserts or one of the custard toasts, both of which come topped with gelato.

  • Thai
  • East Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4
This tiny strip mall joint is a Thai Town staple. 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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  • Thai
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

There are restaurants for first dates, and there are restaurants for hundredth dates; Pailin is one of the latter. The colorful vinyl booths, ceiling fans overhead and assortment of kitschy ornaments give the overall space a cozy, lived-in feel, and if you’re looking to eat your way through Thai Town, you should definitely give this vegetarian-friendly restaurant a try. While they’re known for Northern-style cuisine (which isn’t particularly friendly for vegetarians and vegans), Pailin is equally deft at crafting a Southern-style red veggie curry or a cashew nut and dried chili tofu stir-fry.

  • Thai
  • Long Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Down in Long Beach, there’s no better place for Northern Thai cuisine than Chiang Rai, a casual spot in the city's Eastside neighborhood that serves harder-to-find dishes like sai oua—a pungent housemade pork sausage—and khanom jean nam ngew, a lemongrass-rich noodle soup topped with cubed pork blood that’s similar to Vietnamese bun bo hue. Of course, Chiang Rai’s khao soi is top-notch as well; the now-ubiquitous Northern Thai dish comes in multiple versions, including dry-style, which we’d recommend over the others. Though delivery staples and street food dishes are done well here, we recommend sticking to the Chiang Rai Specials section of the menu; the dishes here are the strongest, and most surprising, of the bunch.

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  • Thai
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4

When the original Night + Market arrived in West Hollywood, diners were struck by chef Kris Yenbamroong’s bold, salt-forward flavors and heat levels 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 larbs may not come out looking like they might light your mouth on fire, but they will.

  • Thai
  • Studio City
  • price 2 of 4

Think of Studio City’s Talesai as the understated yin to Night + Market’s in-your-face yang; owned by another branch of the Yembamroong clan, this longtime Valley restaurant serves the same refined, quietly delicious Central Thai fare that first made the West Hollywood original—which is now Night + Market’s flagship location—famous back in the 1990s. These days, locals still gravitate here for the Hidden Treasures, a blend of shrimp and blue crab in chili coconut sauce that come served in escargot-like trays; a Thai-inspired take on Vietnamese shaking beef; and the fragrant, delicate rice noodles stir fried with bean sprouts and blue crab. If you’re closer to the city proper, head to Talesai’s Pico-Robertson sibling, Si Laa. Each restaurant serves a menu derived from grandmother Vilai’s subtler culinary playbook.

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  • Thai
  • East Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4
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For tasty Chinese doughnuts served with a side of condensed milk, gingery, ultra-silky tofu pudding and comforting bowls of Thai-style rice porridge, you can’t do much better than this longtime all-day restaurant in Thai Town. Arrive before noon and take a seat at one of the dusty pink resin-topped tables and you’ll be treated to a cozy Thai breakfast feast, the likes of which are hard to find almost anywhere else in the city. If you’re arriving later in the day (Siam Sunset opens at 6am, and doesn’t close until 10 at night), spring for the guay jub, a complex, offal-rich rice noodle soup that’s topped with slabs of crispy pork belly and the Thai-style Hainan chicken rice, which comes with an addicting spicy fish sauce. Just note that this no-frills spot is cash only.

  • Thai
  • Santa Monica
  • price 2 of 4

This casual strip mall gem in Santa Monica serves some of the most flavorful Thai cuisine on the Westside—and it just happens to be fully plant-based. You’ll find all the takeout staples here like massaman curry, green papaya salad and various stir-fries, but the more creative dishes like beet-dyed noodles and cashew-“tuna” endive cups are where chef Gunn Pankum really shines. Rather than cater to every diner, the former head of Silver Lake’s Bulan Thai—one of the city’s most popular vegan takeout spots—serves a more tightly curated menu of refined Southeast Asian specialties that will make you rethink your definition of what constitutes Thai cuisine.

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  • Thai
  • West Hollywood

On the far end of West Hollywood, June Intrachat's modern Thai restaurant quietly serves one of the only Thai breakfast offerings in town and an affordable, simple evening menu of traditional dishes and more creative riffs, like calamari dusted with matcha powder and served with a side of creamy sriracha sauce. Highlights of the all-day breakfast and lunch menu includes khao kai jiew (Thai ground chicken omelet) rice bowl and the "It's a Joke," Intrachat's signature rice porridge. For a Thai take on your average breakfast skillet, order the kai-kata—a delicious savory blend of fried eggs, lap cheong sausage and ground chicken topped with green onions and served with a side of sliced baguette.

  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 2 of 4

Right next to Jumbo’s Clown Room, this late-night restaurant in Thai Town serves a satisfying meal whether you’re pregaming your night out with some khao mok gai (turmeric chicken rice) or stumbling out of the infamous L.A. strip club early for a bowl of warm khao soi. For a nighthawk joint, the flavor and quality of the food is amazing, including the tom yum soup and spicy stir-fried morning glory salad. A full list of wine, beer and cocktails makes for a party atmosphere most evenings, as does the nightly line-up of live music acts.

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  • Thai
  • Northridge
  • price 2 of 4

For those deep in the San Fernando Valley, this restaurant in Northridge and Encino has you covered with an expansive menu that includes many of the greatest hits from Northern-style and Southern-style Thai cuisine. Order the fragrant salmon hor mok—an incredible Laotian curried fish custard—and the kanom jean tai pla, a Southern rice noodle soup that’s full of smoky, fermented fish and a bevy of hearty vegetables. If you’re willing to stray from your usual stir-fry and curry order, you can’t go wrong here.

  • 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.

 

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  • 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.


  • Thai
  • South Bay
  • price 2 of 4

Tucked away in Gardena’s Pacific Square Shopping Center, Sweet Rice is the strongest member of the Bowl Thai triumvirate, which holds sway over much of the South Bay with its excellent mix of noodle soups, rice porridges, curries and desserts. At Sweet Rice, the focus is in the name: When mangoes are in season, you won’t find a better mango sticky rice in all of Los Angeles. The restaurant also does a mean Thai breakfast, from a rice porridge loaded with pork meatballs and fresh ginger to Thai-style omelettes full of crab, chicken, or vegetarian-friendly celery and bean sprouts. If you’re hankering for Northern-style isaan sausage or Thai barbecue, however, we suggest zipping over to Bowl Thai Grill next door.

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  • 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.

  • Thai
  • Thai Town
  • price 1 of 4

Located in the same strip mall as Ruen Pair and Pa Ord, this Thai sweet shop and mini-mart is one of the most reliable places in the city for kanom krok (sweet coconut cakes), mango sticky rice and other hard-to-find Thai sweets you’re not likely to find outside of North Hollywood’s Wat Thai on the weekends or Chinatown’s LAX-C. We’re partial, however, to the boxes of khanom bueang—delicately folded crepes that come stuffed with cream and topped with shredded coconut. Just note that Bhan Khanom often sells out early, so arrive before 8pm if you’d like to maximize your sweet selection.

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