Our guide to the capital’s finest Thai restaurants
Evoking the flavours associated with many a gap year, Thai restaurants in London are aplenty. From cosy little back street haunts to high-fashion lairs, we’ve mapped out our favourites for south east Asian dining in London. So whether it’s a classic green curry or a super spicy tom yum soup you’re after, you’d be hard pressed to find more authentic joints than these.
1. Crazy Bear Book Crazy Bear
A sultry restaurant in Fitzrovia, super-glamorous Crazy Bear tops our list of best Thai restaurants in London. Plush padded-leather walls, a copper-topped bar and sweeping red-carpet-clad staircase are found inside, as well as what happen to be some of the capital’s weirdest restaurant toilets, with (somewhat unnerving) mirrored cubicles. Dishes are traditional yet perfectly in line with the upmarket styling: think banana-leaf-wrapped red snapper with Thai herbs, massaman lamb cutlets, and lobster pad Thai.
2. Champor-Champor Book Champor-Champor
With the phrase loosely translating as ‘mix and match’, Champor-Champor is the definition of eclectic dining. Decked out with tribal artefacts, splashes of rainbow colour, fresh flowers and flowing fabrics, the emporium-style dining room also features a unique ‘snug’ private dining room. Complemented by fragrant teas and tropical cocktails, the Champor-Champor food menu includes creative dishes like duck satay with crispy lemongrass, river prawn gratin, and vegetarian banana curry.
3. Busaba Eathai Book Busaba Eathai
Seamlessly mixing minimalist styling and pretty south east Asian-style decoration in the form of lanterns, lush foliage and water features, Busaba Eathai offers casual, communal-style Thai dining in London. Along with soups, curries, stir fries, and Busaba’s raved-about pad Thai dishes, ‘Bangkok’ set menus pave the way for a diverse tasting journey.
4. Suda Thai Café Book Suda Thai Café
A sleek, minimalist Thai restaurant, Suda Thai Café brings traditional Thai street food indoors, to a contemporary hideout in Covent Garden no less. Glossy black walls and ceilings are offset by smooth sanded furniture, and an open kitchen offers a glimpse of the chefs rustling up dishes like oyster & ginger beef sirloin, and red curry sea bass.
5. Nipa Thai Book Nipa Thai
Winner of 2 AA Rosettes, Nipa Thai is one of a handful of restaurants to receive a ‘Thai Select’ award, direct from the Thai government, for its food. This orchid-filled, ultra-Zen setting overlooks the lush greenery of Hyde Park, and the beautifully elegant dining room features intricate wood panelling and Thai artefacts. The traditional menu features time-honoured mainstays, like pad Thai, and massaman and green curry.
6. Smoking Goat
One of the hottest London restaurant openings of recent times, Smoking Goat left newspaper critics weak at the knees, with its slow-smoked meats prompting a string of glowing reviews. A chestnut & oak cask timber smoker is the pride and joy of this Thai barbecue-cum-Soho dive bar. Expect dishes like smoked goat shoulder with Thai herbs, and 5-spice pork belly with sour chilli.
7. O’s Thai Café Book O’s Thai Café
Found in the heart of charming Crouch End, O’s Thai Café is an avidly-followed neighbourhood restaurant in north London, established back in the 1990s. Don’t be fooled by the understated, stripped back décor, as the menu offers a journey through intense Thai flavours and bursts with colour. No-nonsense curries, stir-fries and noodle dishes make up the selective menu.
8. Rosa’s Thai
Having started out life as an East End stall in 2008, Rosa’s Thai has become synonymous with relaxed, authentic dining in London. Now boasting a small empire of restaurants, husband & wife team Alex & Saiphin mix modern Thai dining with a splash of London charm: look out for inventive signature dishes like Rosa’s butternut red curry, pineapple & seafood fried rice and pandan chicken wings.
9. The Begging Bowl
Found on so-hip-it-hurts Bellenden Road in Peckham, The Begging Bowl is a relaxed Thai canteen. Be warned, their real-deal, sit-down street food draws in quite a crowd, so be ready to queue down the street for their south east Asian creations. Simple furnishings and whitewashed walls are the backdrop for cutesy patterned crockery and mind-blowingly flavoured recipes: pig cheeks in coconut cream, venison stir fry or baby squid salad.
10. Mango Tree Book Mango Tree
An award-winning Thai restaurant in upmarket Belgravia, Mango Tree is a sleek hideaway serving up exotic flavours. Signature platters, soups and grilled meats and fish dominate the traditional menu. Also look out for Mango Tree’s piled-high signature platters.