When it comes to Thai food, nobody has it better than Los Angeles. America’s only official Thai Town exists right here in East Hollywood and it’s packed with some of the best Thai restaurants in the country - but the party certainly doesn’t stop there.
From party spots on the Sunset Strip to 30-year-old strip mall Valley joints, the bar for Thai food is set so high in this city, you have absolutely no excuse to be eating anywhere subpar. Get some cash (seriously, almost no one takes cards) and go experience the best this city has to offer. Here are the 25 Thai food spots you need to know about.
Jitlada isn’t just the heart and soul of LA’s Thai food scene, it’s one of this city’s essential dining experiences, period. The Sunset Blvd. space is cramped and kitschy, and while you’ll probably spot a few celebrities, the real star of the show is Jazz, the legendary owner who still goes around to every table asking if you loved your meal. Don’t worry, your answer will always be a resounding “Yes.” With over 400 items, the menu is objectively overwhelming, so our tip is to steer clear of the dishes you can find at any Thai restaurant, and go all-in on the ones that make Jitlada the gold standard for LA - the crispy catfish salad, full Dungeness crab with garlic, taepo curry, or the secret off-menu Jazz Burger.
A kid takes over his parents’ family Thai restaurant on the Sunset Strip and turns it into one of the greatest Thai restaurants in Los Angeles. Tale as old as time, right? Hardly. What the people over at Night + Market (and its equally fantastic Silver Lake location) have been doing for the past few years is nothing short of incredible. The food is both traditional (grandma’s old recipes are still being used) and continuously pushing the envelope. And the atmosphere is one giant, beautiful party.
Don’t let Luv2Eat’s cheeky name fool you, this Hollywood strip mall spot is an LA classic and home to several dishes worth leaving your neighborhood to eat. Sure, you can come here, order some pad thai or pad se ew, and walk out happy, but if you only stick to the dishes that the tourists in the corner recognize, you’re simply not getting the real experience. Luv2Eat’s greatness lies in the “Chef’s Special” section of the menu, a mixed bag of dishes that showcases the two chefs’ family recipes from Phuket. The crab curry, moo-ping (pork skewers), and jade noodles with three different kinds of BBQ meat all need to be ordered.
Greetings from LA’s best (and most important) Thai restaurant you’ve never heard of before. Located up in the outer fringes of North Hollywood, Sri Siam has been around for over 30 years and is Thai royalty when it comes to its influence over this city. The crispy rice salad that blew your mind over at Night + Market? Sri Siam’s been doing it since the ’80s. Also, don’t be surprised if your server (i.e. the owner) pulls up a chair next to you and starts chatting - that’s just how things are done here. Best thing here? The off-the-menu radish cakes. Drop what you’re doing and go get them now.
NTFC is one of the newest Thai restaurants in LA, but its place on this list cannot be refuted. The dime-sized spot on Sunset Blvd. is home to some of the most fragrant, sinuses-clearing food in the city, and the kind of place you’ll visit for lunch - then go right back after work for dinner. Sure, you might have to eat your food pressed up against a window next to a stack of old newspapers, but that’s just part of the fun here. The khao soi, jackfruit salad, and the sai oua (spicy pork sausage) are must-orders, but no meal here is complete without a stop at the hot bar in the back, featuring all the daily specials.
In terms of the menu itself, Night + Market’s Silver Lake location is nearly identical to the original, meaning the food is still among the best you’ll find in LA. The atmosphere is bit more chaotic and cramped than the West Hollywood location, they don’t serve beer towers, and there’s no outdoor patio for you and your big group of friends. But as soon as those wings, the khao soi, and every other dish starts hitting the table, you tend to forget about those very small shortcomings.
With a name like Tasty Food To Go and a location inside an old house in Long Beach that doubles as a barber shop, this tiny Thai/Laotian restaurant certainly doesn’t lack intrigue. But we’re confident in saying this order-at-the-counter spot (owned by the same guy who runs the barber shop) serves some of the best food in Long Beach. Our go-to Thai dishes are the panang curry and pad see ew, and on the Laotian side of the menu we love the nam tok (sliced beef with mint and chili peppers) and the larb (spicy minced chicken). It’s a great place to swing by on your way home from work - though you’ll probably end up eating most of it in your car.
A great Thai restaurant that’s also a sports bar? Count us in. Hoy-Ka has established itself as one of LA’s finest not only because of their excellent food, but also for having a space that’s different from everyone else’s. The wood-covered interior feels kind of like a tavern, and with plenty of TVs playing sports, you won’t have any trouble finding a reason to drink. The crispy pork ka prao, with its chili and basil-topped tower of white rice, is your order.
Noree Thai is from the same people who run Luv2Eat, and that alone should get you through the door. Their menu is fairly similar to the original Hollywood spot (including the tremendous jade noodles), plus a few new items like massaman lamb chops and ko-lae chicken (herb-rubbed in a sweet and sour sauce) that should be on your table. The casual space is small, but you can still come here with a group, and there’s a tiny front patio if you feel like watching people spend $300 on groceries at Erewhon across the street. Tip: Leave some extra time for parking, it can get tricky.
Sapp Coffee Shop is a legitimate coffee shop, but not the kind that sells you $7 cold brew and is full of people talking about the Oregon coast. Walk in here at any point in the day and you’ll find old men sitting in the corner, drinking coffee by themselves, and simply reading the newspaper. And while we certainly condone joining them, you’re really here for the beef boat noodle soup. It’s fragrant, savory, and downright soul-curing. There isn’t a bowl of soup we want more on a sick day.
Amidst all the chaos of Grand Central Market, you might miss Sticky Rice at first. But inside this food stall in the center of the market is a fantastic secret: The best beef panang curry in the city. The rest of the menu is pretty great, too, but something in that curry speaks to us unlike anything else. It’s sweet, savory, and a little spicy, and the braised beef is so tender that chewing is optional.
We appreciate a restaurant that calls it like it is, and at Spicy BBQ, expect to get Thai-style BBQ and expect to get it really spicy. But this six-table strip mall spot at Normandie and Santa Monica has much more than just a few excellent plates of BBQ pork. The spicy jackfruit salad, the pork patties, the chili dips, and a khao soi we think about late at night when the lights go out make this colorful, tiny spot great.
Pailin isn’t the most well-known name in Thai Town, and its small space (there are maybe eight tables total inside) isn’t going to jump out at you while driving down Hollywood Blvd. But it’s delicious. It’s all Northern Thai cuisine here, and that means one thing - khao soi. For anyone unfamiliar with the dish, it’s essentially a curry noodle soup and God’s greatest gift to mankind. Pailin has one of the best versions in town. The tiny space is colorful and kitschy and a perfect quick lunch spot. The spicy shrimp balls are another must-order.
Lum-Ka-Naad in Northridge might be a bit of a hike, but it’s worth it. The modern restaurant has a big menu, but you’re narrowing it down to two sections: “Northern Cuisine” and “Southern Cuisine.” These are the dishes specifically from the owner’s home regions, and they are incredible. Start with the turmeric shrimp soup from the South and work your way up to the kang ho in the North (essentially drunken noodles with vegetables in a curry rub). Delicious food and a geography lesson. Everyone wins.
You might not have ever seriously considered which red wine you should be having with your bowl of green curry before, but Same Same is here to change that. Located in a dark Silver Lake strip mall, Same Same took the place of a well-run neighborhood Thai restaurant and converted it into a casual wine bar. Except one thing - they kept the old Thai menu and made it even better than it was before. Good wine, great food, and a welcoming atmosphere you never really want to leave? All aboard the Same Same train.
Crying Tiger is a tiny take-out window a few feet off of Hollywood Blvd. and, at first glance, seems like another decent drunk food option for everyone stumbling out of the bars. But Crying Tiger is much, much more. First off, it’s operated by the Luv2Eat people, so expect flavors and spice to be intense. Secondly, their menu goes far beyond a solid bowl of pad thai. Think spinach-based jade noodles, shu mai dumplings, and crispy chicken skin. If you feel like sitting down, hop inside the bar next door at Black Rabbit Rose, where the full Crying Tiger menu is also available.
Probably due to the fact it sounds like an all-girl group from Calabasas with a noon start time at Coachella, Summer Buffalo doesn’t really get the credit it deserves. But make no mistake about it, this place is great. And with locations in Burbank and on Melrose, it serves two areas largely in need of some quality Thai food. The feel inside is modern, and you could even pull off a casual date here. Must-orders include the salmon curry noodle, isaan sausage, and their pad kee mau. Also, there’s free delivery.
Thai brunch anyone? Otus is actually the second iteration of a once-popular Thai spot called Kinaree that burned down a few years back. But don’t cry too many tears - Otus is much better. The space is modern, and while the food across the board is great, the breakfast/brunch situation is what really sets it apart. The Kai-Kata (Thai-style eggs and sweet sausage served in a skillet) is fantastic and comes with a cup of Thai coffee. Hangover bonus: Breakfast is served all day.
Pa Ord has two locations, both within very close proximity of each other in East Hollywood. To make matters more confusing, the menus are slightly different at each location. So we’ll make it easy on you - go to the original at Sunset and Hobart, because that’s where you’ll find their legendary soup menu in its entirety. This is the best tom yum in town, and their savory boat noodles aren’t too far behind either. That said, if you aren’t in the mood for a hot bowl of soup today, there’s a full menu of excellent Thai staples.
The other late-night option when all the tables over at Thai Patio are full, Ruen Pair is ideal for that 2:00am run when you’ve got a friend who’s only ever had pad thai, and another friend who’s got a hankering for pork blood soup. The menu at this restaurant is expansive, and no matter how much experience you have eating Thai food, you’ll find something for yourself here. Just make sure to order multiple salty egg and turnip omelettes for the table - everyone will agree they are life-changing.
Thai Patio does not have the best food on this list. However, it has something that almost nobody else does - an atmosphere that’s essentially one gigantic afterparty. Roll into Thai Patio at 12:30am on a Saturday, and you’ll be greeted with 100 other late-night revelers. The order at Thai Patio is always noodles - their drunken noodles (coincidence?) are among our favorite in town. Then sit back, soak up that tequila, and listen to the teenage girl on stage singing an acoustic version of “Man! I Feel Like A Woman”.
Bhan Kanom isn’t a restaurant. It’s a market/bake shop in a Thai Town strip mall and home to the best collection of Thai desserts in the city. This is the place you stop at on the way home from work and pick up some mini crispy crepes or a bag of imported Thai candy to eat in your bed later. Or if you’re grabbing dinner at Thai Patio or Ruen Pair (all located in the same strip mall), skip the mango sticky rice at the end and come get it here instead. It’s way better.
At first glance, Anajak is a solid neighborhood Thai spot in Sherman Oaks full of all the papaya salad, curries, and noodles you could want. But then the separate seasonal menu hits the table and you realize there’s a lot more going on here. With dishes like whole fried branzino and some of favorite Thai fried chicken in LA, this is the menu you need to be ordering from and the reason you’ll keep coming back again - even if you live on the other side of the hills.
Rodded is an all-around solid Thai restaurant, but if you aren’t here eating the duck noodle soup, you’re doing your life a disservice. This bowl of glory might not have the finest curb appeal of all time, but something about it hits every correct note possible. Rich, savory, and not in the least bit oily, this is one of the best single dishes in Thai Town. We also highly recommend getting the wontons for dipping. You also get to choose your own noodle to put into it, if freedom is something you get excited about.
LA has a number of vegan Thai restaurants, and for the most part, they’re terrible. Save for Araya’s Place. The Beverly Grove strip mall joint started in Seattle, and has been around for almost 30 years. And while we’ll always prefer our curry with meat, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t think about their avocado curry more than we probably should. The green curry itself is outstanding, but the avocado mixes so well with it, you wonder why more people don’t serve it. If you’re a vegan, you can’t get much better than this place. And if you’re not, the statement still stands.