Los Angeles is blessed to have some of the best ethnic eating in the country, and our enclave of Thai cuisine and people just east of Hollywood is one of many feathers in the city's cap. The range of cooking goes all across the Southeast Asian country, from North to South, from spicy and piquant to soulful and comforting. Commemorating the first annual Thai Food Festival on September 29, Eater has compiled a handy list of restaurants and eateries in Thai Town.Read More
A Handy Guide to Dining in Thai Town
Jitlada Thai Restaurant
Still the reining queen of Thai cuisine in Los Angeles, Jazz Singsanong and brother Tui Sungkamee have maintained the quality of this Thai Town gem, specializing in some of the best Southern Thai food anywhere. Sure, some detractors have complained of rising prices, but finding this level of cooking in L.A. is surely worth the premium. Order the green curry, fried morning glory salad, crying tiger, or pretty much anything on that Southern Thai menu. Just be ready for the ridiculous level of spice.
Sapp Coffee Shop
Still one of the top boat noodles in town, this casual eatery boasts fantastic, inexpensive dishes that don't hold back in flavor, especially the jade noodle tossed with chunks of duck and crab. Nearly everything on the menu here is impressive, even the beef fried rice. Cash only.
Though it's recently split off into a second location closer to Hollywood, this expanded original (with more tables) still makes some of the best noodles and traditional Thai plates in L.A. The boat noodles are arguably at the top while the stir-fried pork belly with Chinese broccoli is a revelation. Even the pad thai is no throw-away.
Ruen Pair Thai Restaurant
This Chinese-Thai fusion is more than authentic, despite some of the more unfamiliar dishes on the menu. The salty egg turnip is worth a try, as is the stewed pork leg over rice. The raw crab papaya salad is refreshing, and the pad prik king with either chicken or pork has layers of flavor. Cash only, open late.
The Northern Thai special menu at Krua Siri is impressive, and available late into the night. Think super-spicy duck laab or fermented sausage. Or maybe delve into the terrific green payapa salad, even if it's 2 in the morning.[Photo: Midtown Lunch]
Known for a delicious duck noodle soup, Rodded has been a Thai Town mainstay for years. There's terrific Chinese-style dishes like stir-fry ham hock, wonton dumplings, maybe even a little duck pad thai.
Spicy BBQ Restaurant
This classic Northern Thai table is diminutive, but the big flavors on the table more than make up. There's one of the best khao sois in town, which is the signature dish of the region. The spicy ground pork larb and sausage slices should fill your need for pork. Cash only.
Bhan Kanom Thai
This Thai dessert shop is a wonderland for sweets lovers. The main draw is the freshly made paanchi, which are small purple corn-and-taro cookies, but the coconut-based khanom kork, delectable little cups of ooey-gooey deliciousness, are also worth trying if they're available. Mango sticky rice is also great here.
Darabar Secret Thai Cuisine
This late-night lounge has some of the cheapest booze in town, with whole bottles of Johnnie Walker as one example. But the drinking food might hold up as some of the best in town, with very good papaya salads, boat noodles, satay, and curries. Don't mind the scene though, just sit back, order a bunch of plates, and maybe a bottle of Scotch, and relax.
A solid place to get Thai breakfast at near impossibly cheap prices, like rice porridge with a slew of condiments to with chunks of pork. There's hainan chicken and tofu custard with ginger syrup, as well as crusty
This steam-table restaurant in the most popular Thai strip mall in this part of town does a few things well, like fried catfish, pad thai, curries, and duck noodle soup. The prices are low and the service is casual making it one of the best regular places to hit for a quick meal.
Pailin Thai Cuisine
A small family-run restaurant with a little bit of everything, Pailin has great crab fried rice, duck curry, shrimp hot pot, deep fried fish and spicy beef salad. Maybe not the most remarkable, but also consistent across the menu, which makes it good for picky eaters who might not want something too adventurous.
This late-night hang has some very good boat noodles and other Thai favorites in pretty large portions that will go great after a night of drinking. Chinese broccoli with beef or crispy pork with a fried egg will surely prevent any hangover the next morning. Prices are low, though it's cash only.
Palms Thai Restaurant
The Thai Elvis (and his purported death(s)) are almost as mystical as The King himself, but come for the expansive dining room and extensive menu that will surely have something for anyone. Think all the standard classics: pad see ew, red curry, and green papaya salad.