The Absolute Best Thai Food In The US

A visit to Thailand is high on the bucket list for many Americans. Filled with pristine beaches, beautiful temples, and friendly locals, this country is a great destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. However, the best part of Thailand is arguably the food. Thai cuisine covers a wide range of dishes, but it is most well-known for bright flavors, strong aromatics, and a kick of spice. 

While most Americans are familiar with classics like pad thai and green curry, there are dozens of other dishes that deserve attention. Tom yum goong, for example, is a spicy soup packed with shrimp, mushrooms, and lemongrass, while som tam is a salad made from shredded green papaya, carrots, and plenty of herbs. No matter which Thai dish you try, you'll be treated to a delightful mix of spice, flavor, and texture.

Is your mouth watering yet? We're always in the mood for some delicious Thai food, so we have rounded up the absolute best Thai restaurants in the U.S., in no particular order. Be sure to bookmark these for your next road trip.

Lers Ros - San Francisco

Lers Ros has been a staple in the Bay Area since the first location opened in 2008. Over the years, two more locations have opened in San Francisco as the fans continue to pour into this eatery. You'll likely have to fight your way for a spot at any of these locations, but the wait will be well worth it.

According to SFGate, the food at Lers Ros is made for fans of real Thai cuisine, meaning you won't find toned-down spices or overly sweet dishes. Instead, expect authentic versions of classics like pad thai and papaya salad, but the true beauty of Lers Ros lies in the creativity of the menu. Adventurous eaters will be excited to try proteins like frog legs and alligator prepared with a spicy, zesty kick of flavor. New menu items are introduced regularly, so you'll have to visit often to try everything. Fortunately, this popular restaurant takes reservations, which will be essential if you want to dine during peak times and on the weekend.

Ayada - New York City

Since opening in 2008, Ayada has been serving Thai food in Queens, New York. The popularity of this eatery led to a new location recently opening in Chelsea Market in the heart of NYC (via Gothamist). At first, Ayada was known as a no-frills restaurant that could barely accommodate more than a few parties. But that didn't stop people from making the trek out to Queens to try the spicy and authentic food this hole-in-the-wall served.

Everything on the menu at Ayada is fantastic, but there are a few dishes that are a step above what you'll find elsewhere. The raw shrimp salad, for example, offers a zesty combination of a spicy lime dressing, bitter melon, and fresh garlic. Other notable dishes include fried catfish, drunken noodles, and chive dumplings that might be the best appetizer in all of Queens. Ayada has been recommended by the Michelin Guide from 2012 to 2019, a sure sign that it consistently serves up some of the best Thai food in the country (via Chelsea Market). 

Asia Market Thai Lao Food - Houston

Asia Market Thai Lao Food is a hybrid marketplace and restaurant in Houston, Texas. Here, you'll find affordable and delicious Thai dishes, reminiscent of the food you'd find at a street market in Thailand. Fans of heat are particularly fond of this location, and almost every dish offers the option of mild to raging volcano levels of spice (and believe us, the latter is not for the faint-hearted). Asia Market isn't afraid to bring the heat, which elevates the food to another degree (via Houston Chronicle). You'll also find Laotian cuisine here, which gives you another opportunity to broaden your taste buds.

The cooks at Asia Market Thai Lao Food prepare the same dishes for customers as they make for their families. And if you enjoy a particular item, you can pick up the ingredients in the grocery section of the restaurant to try to recreate it yourself at home. Either way, you'll probably end up coming back to Asia Market again anyway.

Jitlada - Los Angeles

Everyone in L.A. knows about Jitlada, which has earned a reputation as one of the best Thai restaurants in a city with hefty competition. It has even been featured in the Michelin Guide and reviewed by publications like Bon Appétit, Eater, and more. Even though the restaurant is located in a strip mall in Thai Town, plenty of people — celebrities included — are eager to dine here, as evidenced by the wall of photos of those who call Jitlada home.

All of that hype doesn't come out of thin air. Jitlada's menu is massive, but each dish will bring tears to your eyes, from the spice levels and the explosion of flavor in your mouth. Southern Thai seafood is the real star here, with dishes like lemongrass tiger prawns and crab curry proving to be some of the best in the country. Brave souls can try Chef Tui's Spicy Dynamite Challenge, and even people with the highest spice tolerance will have sweat dripping down their faces. If you can handle a little spice, Jitlada is worth a visit.

Holy Basil - Los Angeles

Another L.A. staple is Holy Basil, which dominates the Fashion District with its casual setting and tasty food options. Opened by Bangkok natives Wedchayan "Deau" Arpapornnopparat and Tongkamal "Joy" Yuon, this food stall in DTLA is the definition of "more than meets the eye." Holy Basil specializes in Thai street food but likes to kick everything up a notch when it comes to flavor (via The Infatuation). The drunken noodles will have your mouth watering between bites and the seafood-packed tom yum soup may be the best version you've ever tried.

As you would expect when ordering street food, the freshness of each dish is what really stands out. There's not a single ingredient in any dish that tastes like it was prepared earlier that day and set under a heating lamp to keep warm. The integrity of making everything to order gives an unbeatable combination of interesting textures and fresh flavors in each bite. The owners are still experimenting with their menu, so be sure to stop by and find your favorites today.

Kin Len - San Diego

San Diego hot spot Kin Len is another restaurant that specializes in Thai street food. In a city known for its Mexican cuisine, don't sleep on this eatery. The dark interior with neon string lights sets a vibe that will take you back to any Asian street market you've ever visited. But the real treat here is the food, which Eater describes as an assortment of small bites and larger plates, all packed with Thai influence and flavor.

Start your meal with fried enoki mushrooms and fresh oysters, both served with vibrant sauces. But don't get too full: The crab fried rice and Thai-style fried chicken deserve your attention too. Kin Len also features a small dessert menu and a great selection of beer that will pair perfectly with whatever you decide to eat. If you're in San Diego and looking for tasty Thai food, a cool vibe, and good beer, this is the perfect restaurant to check out.

Night + Market - Los Angeles

Night + Market is practically as well-known as Jitlada in the L.A. area. According to Food Network, this restaurant began as a repurposed art space where owner and chef Kris Yenbamroong wanted to show off his takes on Thai street food. Yenbamroong learned to cook informally in Bangkok and quickly became successful when he opened Night + Market's first location in West Hollywood. He now has three locations in the L.A. area and one in Las Vegas.

This restaurant specializes in unique versions of Northern Thai fare, combining authentic recipes with an Asian-fusion flair (via Tock). Think filet mignon satay, vegan larb, and the best fried chicken sandwich in the city. But fans of Thai classics won't be disappointed, and you can still find dishes like pad thai on the menu. The food is spicy, flavorful, and simply exquisite. Arrive early if you want a table: Every location books up quickly and the wait can be lengthy during peak times. We promise it's worth it though.

Little Serow - Washington, D.C.

If you're in Washington, D.C., it's practically required that you visit Little Serow (after checking out the Smithsonian and the White House, of course). This restaurant specializes in northern Thai cuisine, which offers complex sweet, salty, spicy, and sour flavors in each dish. The flavors are bold but prepared perfectly, and this eatery stands out as an exceptional dining spot. The upscale menu and relaxing environment make for an evening you won't forget as you enjoy one of the best restaurants in D.C. (via Eater). From minced catfish laap (a fan favorite) to whiskey-marinated pork short ribs that will knock your socks off, we can guarantee you'll be satisfied with every item on the menu.

There are no reservations accepted at Little Serow, but anyone who's eaten here will verify that the wait is worth it. For the time being, the restaurant is only offering take-out, but rest assured that the food will be just as delicious from the comfort of your home.

Somtum Der - New York City

Somtum in Thai refers to a spicy papaya salad that is a staple of the country's cuisine. Given its name, you certainly won't want to miss out on Somtum Der's version of the flavorful salad. Both locations in New York are actually modeled after the original restaurant in Bangkok, which is evident from the authentic flavors you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere (via Eater). It is even recognized by the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand as good quality and value cooking. 

In addition to papaya salad, you'll find an abundance of food that is rich in chilis, fish sauce, and herbs. Try the deep-fried spicy chicken thigh, served with a bold dipping sauce that's the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. Or, opt for a spicy larb that will ruin all other larbs for you in the best way possible. Somtum Der has two locations in New York: one in Brooklyn and one in the East Village. Fortunately, they accept reservations which are highly recommended.

Teton Thai - Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Good Thai food doesn't exactly come to mind when you think of Wyoming, but you'll reconsider after eating at Teton Thai. Set at the base of the Tetons, this family-run restaurant is far from a tourist trap for people visiting Jackson Hole. Instead, you'll find great consistent service and regional specialties that hold their own against eateries in large cities. The quality is thanks to the owners, Samuel and Suchada Johnson, who take pride in their food and service (via Buckrail).

Customers are able to personalize the spice level on a scale from one to five for most dishes, making the food more accessible. If you're a fan of the heat, the barbecued chicken pork with sticky rice is best enjoyed at a level four on the spice scale and it will leave you sweating. The roasted duck curry is also excellent, filled with a rich coconut sauce, sweet pineapple, and perfectly tender duck breast. Cool off with a Thai tea and you've got yourself a fantastic dining experience in the middle of Wyoming.

SriPraPhai - New York City

SriPraPhai has been a New York City institution since the '90s, holding the title as one of the best, if not the best, Thai restaurants in the city. An essential part of its success is the great amount of care put into preparing dishes with strong aromatic components that don't shy away from spice (via The Infatuation). Even though the restaurant went through a revamp a while back, the quality of the food wasn't lost.

The curry here is particularly good, with a great depth of flavor and perfectly cooked ingredients. The crispy fried catfish, a unique protein used in multiple dishes here, is also a must-try. The menu is expansive and you'll never find yourself disappointed by an item. Finish off by ordering the green tea ice cream for dessert to cool off your fiery mouth. New York natives and visitors alike will agree that this restaurant stands out in a city full of fantastic food options.

Opal Thai Food - Honolulu

Between surf lessons and shaved ice breaks, be sure to grab lunch at Opal Thai Food on your next visit to Honolulu. What started as a food truck in Haleiwa has turned into the most coveted Thai spot on any Hawaiian island. Opal Thai Food is family-run and known for a winning combination of friendly service and fresh ingredients. It's not unusual to see a line out the door, so be sure to arrive early or call ahead to make a reservation.

Featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives," this restaurant serves some mean glazed chicken garlic wings, larb with pork and veggies, and of course, pad thai. But it's always a gamble whether or not you'll actually be ordering off the menu yourself. According to multiple TripAdvisor reviews, customers have found that the owner often tailors a spread of dishes for you based on a few questions about the type of foods you enjoy. Whether you order from the menu or not, you'll leave Opal Thai full and satisfied.

Siam Sunset - Los Angeles

Located just down the street from Jitlada, Siam Sunset is another Thai restaurant that deserves your attention in L.A. Although the outside is quite forgettable, don't skip out on this tired-looking spot. Siam Sunset is open for breakfast and lunch and serves up a plethora of classic Thai dishes. The food is simple but doesn't skimp on flavor. The pad thai is both visually exciting and well-balanced, with a mixture of bright orange noodles, fresh bean sprouts, and a tangy sauce.

But the real reason to battle L.A. traffic to get to this spot is its breakfast menu. The restaurant opens at 6 a.m. to serve tea, Chinese donuts, and congee, a plain porridge that can be filled with toppings and sauces (via Los Angeles Times). Enjoying this traditional Thai breakfast with your fellow neighbors will make you feel like you've been transported straight to Thailand. The cherry on top is the price which is kept low and reasonable.

Ricky Thai Bistro - Miami

Known for its Latin influences and seafood, Miami actually has a decent Thai scene as well. But the best of the best is Ricky Thai Bistro, where there's always a line-up (via Eater). While more reasonably priced than most other Thai places in the area, this restaurant also serves food that is a step above when it comes to fresh ingredients and great flavor.

Here you'll find some of the best noodles in North Miami, which further add to the deliciousness of dishes like pad thai, pad kee mow, and pad woon sen. Each plate is made with crisp herbs, plenty of chilis, and a hefty dose of fish sauce for that quintessential Thai flavor. If you're not in the mood for noodles, grab a bowl of their tom kha kai, a coconut-based soup made with mushrooms, herbs, and lime juice. The sweet and sour dish may be the best version you've ever had. The service here is also excellent, with friendly staff and a comfortable vibe.

Langbaan - Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon has a well-known food scene, with a highlight on vegan dishes and creative cuisines. Langbaan still fits in with the unique food vibe here, offering only tasting menus for 24 people at a time. In the past, guests have waited months for an exclusive reservation, and although the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in the restaurant industry, you'll still want to book a spot as early as possible. In case you can't secure a reservation, the restaurant offers takeout and delivery as well.

The menu rotates often, so what you eat will likely differ from last week's guests. The food involves traditional Thai snacks, raw dishes, savory soups, and plenty of heat-infused curries and grilled meats. Whatever you end up eating, it will be everything you'd hope for from an exclusive and intimate dining experience. Rich spices, bold flavors, and a lesson in food history all make for a fantastic evening out. 

Archi's Thai Bistro - Las Vegas

It's no secret that Las Vegas is a foodie's paradise. There are plenty of tourist traps, sure, but there's no shortage of good food either. If you're craving some noodles or curry between shows and pool parties, head to Archi's Thai Bistro. This family-owned eatery serves authentic Thai cuisine with all the classic flavors you'd find in Bangkok. Everything is made in-house, including their flavor-packed curry paste (via Eater). And with a heat scale from one to ten, there are spice levels for everyone in the family.

Try the popular panang curry, which is made with rich coconut milk, green beans, bell peppers, and lime leaves. Other popular dishes include the tangy tom yum soup, spicy larb salad, and flavorful pad thai that may be the best you'll find in the state. With four locations in the city, don't miss a stop at this restaurant when you're partying in Vegas.