The City of Angels has the largest Thai population outside of Thailand, so it’s no surprise that Thai food is in abundance around town. If you just want to wander, you should explore Thai Town, a six-block area centered along Hollywood Boulevard between Normandie and Western Avenue, where many of the city’s best Thai restaurants are located. From boat noodle specialists to spicy Southern Thai fare and fusion Thai food, there’s something for everyone. Read on for 10 of the best Thai restaurants in Los Angeles.
A bit difficult to spot, Siam Sunset is attached to an America’s Best Value Inn. Don’t let the unconventional location deter you though, there's a slew of Northeastern specialties on the menu, including the standout papaya salad and glass noodle salad. The khao man gai, a mutation of Chinese Hainan chicken over rice, is fantastic as well. While most of the dishes are great, the real gems of Siam Sunset are housed in their breakfast section. Get the porridge and Chinese donuts, paired with hot coffee, and mixed with a couple drops of condensed milk.
Lum Ka Naad
This is the perfect place to go for a crash course in regional Thai food. The husband and wife team are from Northern and Southern Thailand respectively, and they’ve married their favorite dishes from their hometowns into a comprehensive menu with more than 100 items. The restaurant name is appropriately named “Lum Ka Naad,” it's an expression of deliciousness in Northern Thailand. Try the pork curry, seasoned with spices that are regularly sourced directly from Thailand.
Known for its extremely spicy food, Jitlada features a Southern Thai menu that is much-loved by foodies and journalists alike. In fact, food blogger Jo Stougaard of My Last Bite loved the restaurant so much, she ate her way through Jitlada's entire 300-dish menu during a two-year journey that began in 2010. The khua kling phat tha lung, a Southern Thai curry dish with shredded beef and a heap of turmeric, is a must for fans of spicy food. The searing heat of this dish will test even the sturdiest of palates.
NIGHT + MARKET WeHo
Night + Market is hip and delicious, a worthwhile combination that has propelled Kris Yenbamroong’s restaurant to Thai food fame in Los Angeles and beyond. Yenbamroong’s flagship restaurant is located on Sunset Boulevard. A second location, Night + Market Song, recently opened in the heart of Silver Lake, adorned in shades of fuchsia and serving favorites from the original location. The catfish tamale, wrapped up in a banana leaf with chile and fragrant herbs, is highly recommended.
Isaan, located in Northeastern Thailand, is home to nearly one third of the Thai population. Sticky rice and chili peppers are prominent features of the cuisine, and Isaan Station in Koreatown takes great care to reflect that in its menu. The sticky rice comes in an adorable woven bamboo basket, which is not only aesthetically awesome, but also keeps the rice warm. The papaya salad with pickled blue crab - called som dtum bhu mah - has a nice pop from the chilies, and is balanced out by the cool and crunchy papaya.
Saladang Song in Pasadena is a gorgeous place to dine. Hit it up in the early evening and ask for a seat outside, where candles are lit to help set the mood. Saladang Song is the sister restaurant to Saladang, located next door. (“Song” means number two in Thai.) Saladang Song has a more diverse menu than the original, with items that you might find on the streets in Thailand. Song is also a bit pricier. You can’t go wrong with any of the refreshingly spicy papaya salads.
Sapp Coffee Shop
Yes they serve coffee, but the real draw here is the noodles. Sapp Coffee Shop is a boat noodle specialist, a beef noodle soup that’s literally served off boats in Thailand. It’s a delicious combination of beef, tripe, offal, crispy pork rinds and thick rice noodles, fortified with an earthy blood broth. If you’re squeamish, opt for the jade noodles with BBQ pork, duck and crab meat instead.
Ruen Pair Restaurant
If you have a hankering for Thai food after midnight, Ruen Pair might be your best option. It’s open until 3 a.m. – perfect after a night out in town. The outstanding spicy catfish is deep-fried and served with a heaping portion of hot peppers and mint leaves. For an extra kick, thick curry paste is smeared all over the fish. If you’re looking for food to end the night, get the pad thai, it’s a solid rendition of the classic dish. Be sure to bring the leftovers home - pad thai is a perfect hangover remedy for the morning after.
Daisy Mint is an airy Pasadena lunch spot that serves up fusion Thai food. Everything is beautifully plated and the lunch specials are consistent. The Daisy Noodles, a customer favorite, is made with rice noodles flavored with a red curry, and topped with basil and crispy, fried shallots. Fresh bean sprouts are served on the side. The Daisy Ribs are also highly recommended - the ribs are coated with a nice sweet and sour sauce, and the meat is literally falling off the bone. Order anything on the menu that starts with "Daisy," and you won't be disappointed.