Where To Eat The Best Thai Food In London: The Best Restaurants

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We all know the drill by now; there’s much, much more to Thai food than fluorescent green curries, teeth-achingly sweet phad Thai, and heaps of chilli.

It’s become something of a tired old refrain to repeat and reframe this fact, usually followed by a riff on the diverse regionality of the country’s cuisine, the breadth of its flavour profile beyond that much-trotted ‘spicy, sour, sweet, salty’ metric, and something about David Thompson’s influence on Thai restaurants and British chefs in the city.

Instead, let’s just get into it, and take a look at our favourite Thai food in the city, whether you’re looking for faithfully recreated, note-perfect food from the Kingdom or British takes on Thai cuisine using seasonal ingredients. Either way, it’s here, in our guide on where to find the best Thai food in London, and the best Thai restaurants in the city.

Supawan, King’s Cross

Ideal for a taste of Phuket without the 14 hour flight…

Thai cooking in the capital doesn’t always have to be enjoyed through the prism of ‘nu’ or ‘hip’. It needn’t always be Tik-Tok touting small plates and interiors designed more for the stories of Instagram than for the comfort of the diner. And so we find ourselves in Kings Cross, at Supawan, an elegant, understated spot whose flavours are very much not (the latter).

Here, chef and owner Wichet Khongphoon brings the food of his native Phuket to the table in a space so florally-appointed that it might have you sneezing even before the chilli and white pepper does. Not to worry; it looks beautiful and seems to chime with the fruity, flowery cocktail descriptions of which you’ll soon be sipping (mine’s a hibiscus infused, guava spiked number called Love Don’t Be Shy, I’m Super Shy, naturally).

Start with the miang Phuket, the definitive Thai hor d’oeuvre. Bringing the whole sweet-salty-spicy-sour thing together into a single bite, Supawan’s version sees grilled prawns, a galangal caramel and intricate dice of ginger, lime, peanuts and more, all perched atop a wild piper leaf. Wrap, fold, scrunch… Whatever you want to do, this guy goes down in one. The intricacies develop on the tongue long after it’s gone.

Though chef Khongboon has called London home for more than two decades, we’re so glad that the food memories of his southern Thai upbringing still linger with such clarity. It’s an absolute joy that you can order pla thu yud sai here. A Phuket seafood dish rarely found in the rest of Thailand let alone in the UK, this one is a complex preparation of deboned, hollowed out mackerel that’s then stuffed with a mixture of its minced flesh and red curry paste before being grilled. The kids might praise the ‘tekkers’ – we’ll just call it bloody delicious. Similarly, the stuffed chicken wings show off the same dexterity.

If it’s on the menu, do not miss out on the signature ‘Dad’s beef curry’, which has thankfully been conceived by Khongboon’s father, not by yours or ours. A thick and fragrant, coconut-defined red curry, it’s a soulful bowl that reveals the flavours of fresh galangal and toasted coconut in the curry paste once it’s cooled to Phuket room temperature. Best enjoyed with a side of stir fried morning glory that feels like it could cure whatever ails you and plenty of rice, this is one to luxuriate over. So, sit back, order another Singha, and give the chef his flowers. You won’t have to go far to find some.

Website: supawan.co.uk

Address: 38 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DT 


Singburi, Leytonstone

Ideal for London’s hardest to book restaurant, Thai or otherwise…

Our favourite Thai restaurant in all of London, period, Singburi is a heavy-hitter of the highest order.

No longer Leytonstone’s best kept secret, Singburi has shed its reputation as a ‘hidden gem’ in recent years, picking up accolades from the likes of Time Out London (who named it ‘restaurant of the year’ in 2021) and a whole host of plaudits from the capital’s culinary cognoscenti.

A family affair, with chef Sirichai Kularbwong working the stoves and his mother Thelma the room, it’s a cash-only, bring-your-own-booze situation. With the compact restaurant not having a website, and ”begrudgingly taking DMs for bookings” via their Instagram, there’s a slightly chaotic feel to proceedings, which is precisely what you want from your favourite neighbourhood restaurant.

Inside, the welcome is warm and the atmosphere electric. Whilst there’s plenty to enjoy from the ‘normal’ menu, with familiar Thai dishes like chicken satay skewers, tom yum and phad Thai, it’s on the restaurant’s blackboard that things get properly, outrageously delicious. A recent southern curry of prawn and betel leaf was rich, luxurious and capsaicin-forward, whilst a riff on Thailand’s favourite comfort food, pad grapao, used minced mutton to wonderful effect.

And then there’s the moo krob (crispy pork), which is, quite simply, as good as it gets, and well-deserving of its cult status as one of London’s best dishes.

Instagram: @singburi

Address: 593 High Rd Leytonstone, London E11 4PA


Kolae, Borough Market

Ideal for coconut curry skewers of perfection…

The opening of Kolae in Borough Market was one of last year’s most hyped, with every other reel on the ‘gram seemingly a walkthrough of a room in various shades of cameo and a breathy description of a pickled mango dirty martini. Flame and chili emojis naturally followed.

Even if you have been sheltering under a half coconut husk for the last year, we’ll spare you the usual spiel about Kolae being from the same team as critically acclaimed Som Saa. We’ll only briefly mention this time the cooking method that gives the restaurant its name – that is, a style of grilling popular in Southern Thailand that sees skewers marinated in a thick coconut cream curry before meeting the coals. At Kolae, this is most often used on mussels, chicken and squash, that marinade catching and caramelising to a gorgeous, irregular rust. Squeeze on some calamansi and get messy.

But really, it’s not just the eponymous, headlining dish you should be focusing your order on. More than anything, Kolae is a celebration of coconut milk. Not the UHT, uncrackable stuff, mind. Rather, the freshly pressed variety, which Kolae do each and every day, its luscious sweetness unmatched. Luxuriate in that coconut cream in a fragrant, turmeric heavy curry of prawns and cumin leaf, pungent from shrimp paste and fruity-sharp from heaps of pounded mouse shit chillies in the paste. 

Of course, a complete Thai table is also a balanced one, so temper those richer notes with something piquant and perky, the sour curry of grey mullet being just the guy for the job. It’s acidic not only in its use of both lime and tamarind as souring agents, but also in that it’s spicy to the point of hallucinations, just as it should be. Freshly steamed jasmine rice should be flowing by now.

You’ll want to be doing all this tripping with a view of the action; Kolae’s open kitchen throbs with activity, with pestles pounding and wok flames licking the ceiling. Pull up a pew on stools that look so much like Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Buttons (you might want to see a doctor about that) that it’s distracting, and relish the onslaught of deeply nuanced, deeply delicious flavour that’s to come.

Website: kolae.com

Address: 6 Park St, London SE1 9AB 


Plaza Khao Gaeng, Tottenham Court Road

Ideal for curry, rice and all things spice…

It’s been pretty impossible to miss the buzz surrounding the JKS-backed Arcade Food Hall since its opening in April of this year.

Housed in the Centre Point building on New Oxford Street, and just a few second’s stroll from Tottenham Court Road station, Arcade Food Hall offers a veritable feast of global cuisines, with 8 restaurant concepts currently operating here, and a fully-fledged Southern Thai joint on the mezzanine above the communal dining area.

That Southern Thai restaurant is Plaza Khao Gaeng, which, despite only being six months old, is already doing some of the most faithfully composed, fiery food from The Kingdom anywhere in London.

Though much has been written about the fearsome chilli levels on display here, it’s the vivacity of the ingredients that really shine through. The coconut cream in the massaman and chicken curries tastes freshly pressed (a labour intensive process that’s rare to find in the capital), the sour curry sparkles with garcinia fruit as opposed to just lime and tamarind, the khua kling’s green peppercorns bring rasping heat alongside the undulating presence of various fresh and dried chillies. It’s magic.

Our only complaint? More elbow room on the tables, please; because it’s impossible not to order every dish on the menu.

Speaking of finding room, if you’ve somehow managed to save stomach space for seconds, then on the floor below there’s sushi, smash burgers, shawarma and more.

The team behind Plaza Khao Gaeng have just opened a new Central London spot, specialising in the food of Bangkok’s Chinatown. It’s called Speedboat Bar, and we can’t wait to try it.

Website: plazakhaogaeng.com

Address:103-105 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1DB


Kin + Deum, London Bridge

Ideal for hip, wholesome Thai food close to London Bridge…

Meaning ‘eat and drink’ in Thai, the restaurant’s name is a gentle, straightforward invitation that seems to translate to the wholesome plates, plant tonics and general easy-going vibe at Kin + Deum.

It’s a family-run affair. Led by three stylish Thai siblings from the Inngern family, there’s a real focus on nutrition and balance here; the restaurant doesn’t use refined sugars or MSG (for better or worse) and it’s a 100% gluten-free affair to boot. The paired back but gorgeous interiors of the restaurant further reflect this.

The recipes here are nominally based on dishes heralding from Bangkok, though really the menu spans the whole country, with laap salad from the North East, khao soi curry noodle soup from the North, and panang from the deep south of Thailand. Hey, there’s even a katsu curry, Kin + Deum style, if you’re hankering for it.

Regardless of origin, the cooking here is fantastic; though there’s a lightness of touch in the dishes, that isn’t in the name of sacrificing chilli heat or punchy acidity. Nope, it’s all here, and it’s all very delicious, indeed.

Website: kindeum.com

Address: 2 Crucifix Ln, London SE1 3JW

Read: Where to eat near London Bridge


Som Saa, Shoreditch

Ideal for that crispy sea bass…

It’s a well-trodden path to restaurant success – earn fans through supper clubs and pop-ups before crowd-funding your way into permanent premises, but Som Saa did this well-trodden path in some style. £700’000 was pledged by friends, fans and financers and a place on a busy, East London street secured, all on the back of some superbly grilled chicken, pounded-to-order som tam salads, vibrant laap and other assertive dishes largely (but not exclusively) from Thailand’s north.

It’s no wonder this place is so confident in their delivery; the two chef/founders were schooled by Thai food deity David Thompson, and it shows. Flavours are bold but balanced, ingredients well-sourced, and spice levels prevalent and assertive.

Arrive early and enjoy a drink at the bar with some of Som Saa’s excellent snacks; we’re absolute suckers for their naem (grilled fermented pork served with ginger and peanuts) and would happily come here only for a few plates of it. 

That said, to do so would be to miss out on the restaurant’s iconic deep fried seabass with herbs and roasted rice powder, which has never left the menu due to its enduring popularity. It’s easy to see why; it’s delicious.

Website: somsaa.com

Address: 43A Commercial St, London E1 6BD


Smoking Goat, Shoreditch

Ideal for raucous, ramshackle Thai drinking food…

We’ve been huge fans of Smoking Goat since its raucous, ramshackle days on Brewer Street, Soho. Rest assured; since the Thai barbeque restaurant’s move to Shoreditch, the vibe remains rowdy, the chill levels still Scoville baiting, and the aroma of smoke even more pervasive, in the best possible way of course.

This is food designed to reinvigorate. Though the fish sauce chicken wings have gained deserved cult status, and their Tamworth pork chop with spicy jaew dipping sauce is a real crowd pleaser, it’s the restaurant’s work with the offal which keeps us coming back.

With liver, heart and kidney featuring heavily in various laap, you could go to the Goat and dine very well on these intoxicating Laotian/Thai salads alone. With several rounds of sticky rice, a som tam salad and a couple of cold ones, it’s the ideal meal, any time of day in the city.

The food here is ultimately excellent Thai drinking food. As such, the drinks and cocktail list at Smoking Goat is thoughtfully curated to complement. Order a ‘Tray of Joy’ which features globetrotting, esoteric liquors including a a Coco Leaf Liqueur from Amsterdam, a watermelon Liqueur from Serra Di Conti and, of course, Mekhong from Bangkok.

Website: smokinggoatbar.com

Address: 64 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ

Read: Where to eat near Shoreditch High Street Station


Kiln, Soho

Ideal for a celebration of the best of British ingredients, told through a Thai lens…

The second restaurant from the aforementioned Ben Chapman, Kiln is quite the spectacle, with bar seating overlooking flames, coals and clay pots. The vibe transports you right out of central London and to somewhere altogether hotter and more rustic. 

The restaurant works proudly with a close clutch of suppliers, with fish sourced directly, daily, from fishing boats in Cornwall and heritage vegetables earning equal billing on the menu to protein. During game season, that menu comes alive with jungle curries of wood pigeon or wild mallard and minced laab salads of raw venison (whose season begins in April through October, incidentally).

But even better, and on more consistently throughout the year, is cull yaw, a type of mutton from retired female ewes that has been fattened with high degrees of welfare in mind. The meat has an incredible depth of flavour, and has been making appearances on the menu of several acclaimed London restaurants in recent years. At Kiln, it’s often served as a collar chop accompanied by a spicy dipping sauce, or in grilled skewers with a little sprinkle of cumin. Just so damn delicious.

Website: kilnsoho.com

Address: 58 Brewer St, London W1F 9TL


Speedboat Bar, Chinatown

Ideal for a taste of one of Bangkok’s most iconic dishes…

This neon-lit gem, which opened its doors in September 2022, is the brainchild of talented, Thai-food obsessed British chef Luke Farrell, who has been exploring the cuisine of the Kingdom for years while bouncing between Dorset, London and Thailand.

His first restaurant, Plaza Khao Gaeng, which opened in collaboration with the increasingly omnipresent JKS, was an instant smash, garnering rave reviews from basically all the national newspaper critics soon after its opening in spring of last year. 

Farrell’s second, Speedboat Bar, followed later in the year, and it’s safe to say that his ode to Bangkok’s Chinatown has hit the ground running. Or, rather, hit the river speeding…

Speedboat Bar takes its inspiration from the flashing lights of Bangkok’s Chinatown and the thrilling sport of speedboat racing along the canals (klongs) of the city. The two-story restaurant’s main dining areas features a utilitarian, stainless steel design reminiscent of a Thai-Chinese shophouse, while the upstairs clubhouse bar is adorned with signed portraits of speed boat racers and blasts of Thai pop, turbo folk, and molam music through the speakers. It’s almost impossible not to neck a few jelly bias while you’re up there – be warned.

With many of the native Thai ingredients and herbs used in the dishes cultivated and grown at Farrell’s Dorset nursery, Ryewater, there’s an veracity to the flavours here, whether that’s in the chicken matchsticks (essentially chicken wings halved lengthways) with a pert tangle of shredded green mango salad, or the clams stir fried in nahm prik pao, a staple dish of Bangkok Chinatown institutions like the imitable TK Seafood.

The signature here is a tribute to the iconic Jeh O Chula, which sits on the outskirts of Yarowat, and, more specifically, her legendary Tom Yam Mama Noodles. Having eaten the original more times than we’d care to confess in print, we can honestly say that Speedboat’s version is up there, on a par.

Save space for the pineapple filled pie which is a nod to the Ezy Bake pies that you can get from 7/11s across Thailand. Be warned; these flaky babies sell out, so get your order in at the beginning of the meal if you’ve got a sweeth tooth.

Basically, if you don’t have the time to take a plane to Thailand in the coming months, Speedboat Bar is arguably the next best thing this side of the Chao Phraya. 

Websitespeedboatbar.co.uk

Address30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL, United Kingdom


Farang, Highbury

Ideal for comforting, invigorating Thai food in North London…

Thai food in the capital is now so popular that the usual explanatory diatribe seems unnecessary; you probably know farang means foreigner, dishes are designed to be shared, everything revolves around rice, the food of the country is hugely different from region to region……

But just because we’re all now so well versed in the vernacular, it shouldn’t overshadow just how splendid the cooking is at Farang. Their gai prik – deep fried chicken wings with a sweet fish sauce glaze – are simply divine, and the larger, sharing curries, cooked low and slow, consistently pack a huge punch of depth and verve, whilst remaining resolutely comforting.

Just make sure you order a side of turmeric and roasted garlic butter roti to mop up all the sauce! Bliss.

Website: faranglondon.co.uk

Address: 72 Highbury Park, London N5 2XE


Begging Bowl, Peckham

Ideal for gorgeous plates of zest and fire…

Located on Peckham’s foodie strip Bellenden Road, the Begging Bowl uses Thai street food to form gorgeous small plates of zest and fire. The building is beautiful and airy, adding to the buzz this place generates even on a weeknight.

On the menu, dishes boast real clarity and punch, with excellent sourcing evident in the precision of flavour. The jasmine rice, so fragrant and nourishing, is limitless. A real treat.

Website: thebeggingbowl.co.uk

Address: 168 Bellenden Rd, London SE15 4BW


Next up, with the chilli heat still dancing on our tongues, here’s where to eat the spiciest food in London.

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