The 15 Best Thai Restaurants in Boston
Whether you're hankering for stir-fried rice noodles, hot and sour soup, or vibrant curries—here's where to head.
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Pad Thai lovers, take heed; tom yum fans, your attention please. Whether you’re hankering for stir-fried rice noodles, hot and sour soup, vibrant curries, or another expression of Thai cuisine, here are a handful of Boston-area favorites that are best designed to satisfy.
This guide was last updated in November 2021; watch for periodic updates.
Brown Sugar Cafe
It’s an institution for a reason. This stalwart has stood at its current, Boston University-side location since 1999 (and spawned a similarly-great sibling near Kendall Square, the Similans, in 2005). From cash-strapped students to neighborhood long-timers, the seats stay filled with fans of tod mun (spicy, minced fried shrimp with cucumber sauce and crushed peanuts); look chin ping (charcoal-grilled pork or beef meatballs with a sweet chili sauce); and other specialties.
1033 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, 617-787-4242, brownsugarcafe.com.
Chalawan Asian Eatery
Chalawan doesn’t serve Thai cuisine exclusively, but it’s certainly very well-represented on the spot’s Southeast Asian-spanning menu: crispy confit pork hock with nahm pla prik and tamarind chili sauce; stir-fry soft shell crab with ginger, chili, and coconut; and red curry of duck with lychee, apple, and eggplant are all among the Land of Smiles-inspired plates that (alongside dishes from Malaysia, Indonesia, and elsewhere) have helped turn Chalawan into a foodie-favorite over the last two years.
1790 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-547-8888, thechalawan.com.
Cha Yen Thai Cookery
It might be easier to get to chef Manita Bunnagitkarn’s newer restaurant, Kala Thai Cookery, which opened near Faneuil Hall in 2018. But it’s worth making a trip to Watertown for her first venture, Cha Yen Thai Cookery, a casual and contemporary-feeling operation that well-earns attention for khao soi-style noodles with braised brisket; skewers of grilled pork sausage with sliced ginger; and Bunnagitkarn’s beloved homemade ice cream, which comes in rotating flavors like spicy chocolate and Thai iced coffee.
613 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown, 617-393-0031, chayenthaicookery.com.
Crying Thaiger Rustic Thai Kitchen
Tears of joy will flow when you snag a table at this Malden Center stalwart, a short walk from an Orange Line MBTA stop. It cribs its name from the dish suea-rong-hai (Thai for “crying tiger”), beef brisket served with pungent jaew sauce of dried chilis and toasted rice. Naturally, that signature sauce is served alongside a few different plates (“crying” pork, chicken, and salmon are all on the agenda), but don’t snooze on snacks like pork skewers marinated in coriander, cilantro, and soy sauce; or honey-glazed spare ribs with pickled garlic.
114 Ferry St., Malden 781-480-1243, cryingthaigerma.com.
Our past “Best of Boston” winner for Best Thai Restaurant doesn’t cast too wide a net: Street food-style noodles are the emphasis here. But the narrowed focus yields great depth of flavor in standouts like the brothless ba mee doo dang, egg noodles with pork belly and smoky barbecue sauce; and khao soi, a vibrant Northern Thai noodle bowl of coconut-creaminess, crunchy noodles, spicy funk, and fresh aromatics.
195 Elm St., Somerville, 617-718-1759, dakzen.com.
Is’Original Thai Cuisine
For years, the Rod Dee restaurants have been beloved staples of Thai cuisine in the Boston area—so when Brookline’s New Rod Dee closed in the spring of 2019, many tears were shed by those suddenly stranded without tom kha soup. Luckily, Is’Original Thai Cuisine opened in its place at the start of 2020, with original (see what we did there?) Rod Dee chef Pichaya Promploy at the helm. His recipes, passed down from his mother, are as delicious as ever; we’re big fans of the tofu triangles with sweet sauce and crushed peanuts, vibrant curries in coconut milk, and drunken noodles with basil sauce.
1671 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-879-0544, isoriginalthai.com.
Kor Tor Mor
Bangkok street foods are the purview of this recent addition to Somerville, as well as its newer Cambridge cousin, 9Zaab. So when you feel like imagining yourself amid the sights, sounds, and smells of a bustling Thai market—well, update your passport (we’ll be traveling again eventually) and then grab Kor Tor More takeout hits, including the signature khao na kai, a rice bowl topped with sauced chicken, sausage, and fried egg.
24 College Ave., Somerville, 617-666-9822, kortormorboston.com.
In our just-dropped ranking of the top 50 restaurants in Boston, Mahaniyom took the top spot among new openings. It’ll be easy to understand why, once you swing by the Brookline restaurant, whose tapas bar-like approach to Thai cuisine allows it to highlight less ubiquitous offerings. That might include Hat Yai-style fried chicken topped with crispy shallots; sauteed brussel sprouts with fried garlic and fish sauce; and turmeric-spiced flying squid for dipping in a spicy seafood sauce. Don’t miss the standout cocktails, either—we recommend flying the Bangkok First Class, butterfly pea-infused gin with maraschino and violet.
236 Washington St., Brookline, 617-487-5986, mahaniyomboston.com.
Montien Thai Restaurant
Another past “Best of Boston” winner, the place is still a standout more than 30 years after its doors first opened. The half of the menu that is specifically dubbed “authentic” is, perhaps unsurprisingly, where most of the prizes are to be found. So head there for deep-fried whole fish; coconut milk-free jungle curry, a “country-style” offering of eggplant, bamboo, and green beans; and duck noodle soup in a dark soy-sauce broth.
63 Stuart St., Boston, 617-338-5600, montienthaiboston.com.
Pad Thai Cafe
The flavors simply sing at this casual favorite near Berklee College of Music. Naturally, you’ll want to hit up the various iterations of the namesake, stir-fried noodle dish, but don’t hold back from sampling the rest of the broad-ranging menu, which covers everything from rice plates with spicy bamboo or curried pineapple, to specials like zesty orange beef with steamed veggies.
6 Hemenway St., Boston, 617-267-2828, padthai.cafe.
Rod Thai Family Taste
Tucked among a slew of other cuisine-spanning joints in a Fenway-area strip known as “Restaurant Row” by locals, this stalwart—previously known as Rod-Dee 2 Thai Cuisine—serves up a street-food sensibility with plenty of pad Thai, prik pow fried rice, and “drunken noodles” in basil sauce.
94 Peterborough St., Boston, 617-859-0969, rodthaifenway.com.
Rutchada Thai Cuisine
A year-old addition to Roslindale’s dining scene, this neighborhood Thai restaurant offers home-cooked classics in a spiffy little dining room with a hint of midcentury-modern style. Coming out of the kitchen, meanwhile, are curry-filled puffy pastry pockets; green onion-flecked fried octopus balls topped with mayo, bonito flakes, and dried seaweed; and plenty of noodle, soup, and stir-fried dishes. Helpfully, there’s a big gluten-free menu, too.
153 Belgrade Ave., Roslindale, 617-942-8385, rutchadathai.com.
S & I To Go
There are only a few tables in this pint-sized Allston winner (hence the “To Go”). But even if it’s just to snag some takeout, swing by for spicy standouts like squid sauteed with hot peppers, sai ouar pork sausages, or pad basil noodles with shrimp and chicken that taste just as good no matter where you eat them.
168 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-254-8488, sanditogoallston.com.
Sugar & Spice
Shout-out to this lovely Porter Square spot, the only restaurant in Somerville (and one of only two in Massachusetts) to bear a “Thai Select” certification from Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, which recognizes standout exports of the country’s cuisine. We can see why, when you consider dishes like the stunning kow yum salad. Its centerpiece is rice that is dyed bright blue using butterfly pea flower (but turns purple when mixed with citrus); accoutrements include lemongrass, lime leaf, coconut flakes, and mango.
1933 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-868-4200, sugarspices.com.
Pretend you’re in class, and pay attention to the blackboard: Though the menu is sprawling, that’s where you’ll find the most tantalizing northern-Thai standouts, including pork or chicken in a peanut, ginger, and pineapple stew; jack fruit salad with pork rind, boiled egg, and steamed veggies; and pork curry with pickled bamboo shoots.
433 Faneuil St., Brighton, 617-254-2025, thainorthbrighton.com..