One theme links Miami’s best Thai restaurants together: they’re all hidden in unexpected places. Whether in an unassuming strip mall out west (far from the best Miami attractions) or on the main drag of Calle Ocho (a street more known for finding the best Cuban sandwich in Miami), delicious Thai food in this city will take some searching. But you'll be glad you spent the time looking when you're full, happy and on your way to one of the best Miami beaches.
Best Thai food in Miami
It’s true: Calle Ocho is not where you expect to find good Thai food. And yet there it is: the cozy, no-frills building on 8th Street, standing bright and loud, serving the city’s best Thai food. Here, Chef Veenuthtapon Trisransri (or “Bas,” as we locals know him) whips up tapas-style Thai. Curries range from red, green, panang and massaman. And don’t forget about the yum ped—a crispy duck salad with chilies, pineapple, cashews and a spicy lime dressing. But wait! You missed the palo moo soup with spiced pork broth, tender yet crisp pork belly, tofu and shiitake mushrooms. The caveat: There’s a rule that you can’t order more than once, so take your time and be extra sure you’re ready.
If you’re as far south as Palmetto Bay, it is your duty to stop by this hole-in-the-wall, which boasts exactly what its name implies: a gorgeous roster of Asian food. Helmed by chef and part-owner Lek Ratanavong, who grew up cooking with her grandmother in the Loei Province of Northern Thailand, Asian Fusion Cafe offers traditional Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese dishes—you'll even find an adequate sushi menu. Having spent over 20 years perfecting her own twist grandma’s recipes, this unassuming eatery is where Ratanavong brings it all together. The result? Thai standouts like deboned roasted duck with red curry and chargrilled ka proud lamb with rare Thai herbs.
Named after the son of Italian Giuliano Carrafelli and Thai Majcha Manomai (the husband/wife duo behind Ricky Thai) this North Miami haunt has amazing food at unbeatable prices. As a consequence of this, a line is usually waiting for you during lunch and dinner. When finally seated, indulge in Thai specialties like green curry, beef red curry, tom yum kai with chicken and tom kha goong—jumbo shrimp in a spicy sweet and sour coconut, lemongrass and lime soup.
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash.com
If you haven’t heard of Chef Bee by now, do you even eat Thai food? After he impressed us with Oishi Thai, Chef Bee really took our breath away with NaiYaRa in Sunset Harbour. A low-key spot primped to SoBe standards, the menu nods to local Thailand in a very Miami way. Look around: there are hanoi baskets-turned-dangling light fixtures, Indonesian teak tables, a hand-painted elephant mural, and columns wrapped in pages of Thai magazines and newspapers. The food follows suit, as Bee puts a trendy twist on the Thai street food of his childhood with spicy and sweet chicken wings, beef jerky with a woody nahm jim jao sauce, fried garlic bok choy and more.
Thirty-two-year-old Phuket “Cake” Thongsodchareondee has mastered the art of Thai cuisine—especially a modern version of his father’s famous pork soup, a local dish called kway teow tom yum. Made over the course of a day, this soup simmers a slab of pork belly and poached pork shoulder in a broth of garlic, black peppercorns and cilantro before topping things off with fish sauce, lime juice and his dad’s peanut-ground chili paste. Finally, the whole mixture is poured over sliced pork loin, rice noodles and crispy pig skin curls. It's just one among many standout items on the menu of dishes from Cake’s childhood.
Yet another example of delicious Thai food in a strip mall (which is a thing in South Florida). Here, the dishes are simple but the quality is what stands out. Stick with the classics, people. There’s a pork pad thai with egg, scallions, bean sprouts and ground peanuts that'll satisfy just about anyone with a tongue. Bird fans will love the duck steeped in panang curry and seafood lovers should opt for the twin tails of lobster in a spicy Volcano sauce.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Alpha
With seven locations throughout the Magic City, Sushi Siam is a Miami Thai staple not to be missed. Taste points aside, what we really love about Sushi Siam is its huge menu. Find everything from Thai-style N.Y. strip steak to Masaman curry beef with coconut milk and potatoes. Added bonus: Every dish can be as mild or spicy as your taste buds can handle.
A fixture in Fort Lauderdale since 2005, Coco Asian Bistro serves up a long menu of sushi, nigiri and the recipes chef Mike Ponluang grew up cooking in Thailand. The plates are as Instagram-worthy as they are delicious. Don’t believe us? Try the curtained crispy duck covered in mango sauce, the six-ounce lobster pad thai and large shrimp wrapped in egg net, the lemongrass creme brulee or maybe the pan-fried snapper and shrimp tempura in a pineapple curry sauce.
This Miracle Mile mainstay is a Thai classic in the Magic City. You don’t go here for bells and whistles—you go here for reliably good, traditional Thai food. For decor, expect glass-topped tables, giant fish tanks, red lighting and an overall demure ambiance. On the menu, find staples mixed with standout specials, like snapper and glass noodles cooked in wine and ginger, crispy volcano chicken in a mild chili sauce and fried frog legs with basil leaves and peppers.
Located in the heart of Pinecrest, this local spot merges classic tropical Miami vibes with the typical Thai food scene. Think teal tablecloths, bright pink napkins and authentic Thai plates with out-of-the-box names. The Cocky Bob, for example, glazes fried chicken with garlic and honey while Tani's Angels sautées shrimp and scallops with ginger, onion and mushrooms. For those looking for more of a punch, do the curry Gang Dang, a fiery combo of coconut milk, bamboo shoots and peppers.
Glitzy South Beach, this is not. Instead, you'll find Sea Siam located in a strip mall in Pinecrest. Walk in and pick your side: to the left, you’ll find a buzzing, family-oriented restaurant and on the right waits a dark, sultry bar where you and other barflies can pick your poison in silence. Regardless, the prices are reasonable and the food is authentic—expect plates like pla lad prig, a crispy, whole-fried snapper with tangy, sweet and spicy chili sauces. Or go with ped nam dang, crispy duck with cashews, vegetables and pineapple. Want to kick it up a notch? Ask your waitress to add some more chili flakes and strap in.
This Kendall spot serves guests spicy Thai food on traditional floor mats. At Bangkok Bangkok, get charmingly-named plates like Name That Tune with thin slices of beef tenderloin in a homemade tangy sauce. The oh-so-cute Roasted Duck Darling is fried duck, vegetables and pineapple in a sweet and sour sauce. Nothing on the menu disappoints.