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An orange curry with broccoli and basil leaves in a grey ceramic bowl.
A curry from Kati Vegan Thai restaurant.
Andy Spaulding

Where to Get Terrific Thai Food in the Seattle Area

With silky pad see ew, vegan avocado curry, grilled boar collar, and more

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A curry from Kati Vegan Thai restaurant.
| Andy Spaulding

The Seattle area has a wonderful Thai food scene, which has long offered fragrant curries and soups, silky rice-noodle stir fries, and grilled meats — with plenty of options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diners too. The scene has diversified in the last several years with the inclusion of restaurants focused on regional Thai cuisines, like the Isan-focused Pestle Rock restaurant in Ballard. Here are some favorites from the area.

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May Kitchen and Bar

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Vashon Island’s celebrated Thai restaurant is so good that many Seattleites make the trek over by ferry just to sample the food. Chef-owner May Chaleoy serves up entrees with bright flavors like fried whole fried trout alongside mango salad flecked with mint and cashews as well as satisfying appetizers like grilled pork skewers marinated in yellow curry. She also offers versions of ubiquitous Thai dishes with elegant twists, like pad thai served with turnips and banana blossom or tom yum soup with oyster mushrooms. For now, service is take-out only.

Sen Noodle Bar

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This small Thai noodle spot, a sister restaurant to Pestle Rock next door, serves some of the best pad see ew in the city and a selection of noodle soups with locally sourced meat. Diners can build their own noodle bowls (the clear broth soup with a pork patty and thin rice noodles is a restorative option), or choose dishes like guay jab, rolled rice noodles with pork spare ribs, tofu, and a hard boiled egg in a five-spice broth fragrant with star anise. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Pestle Rock

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This Ballard restaurant serves Isan-style food from northeastern Thailand. The menu items are markedly different from what’s served in other local Thai restaurants, featuring meats like boar collar, homemade Thai sausage, and frog legs. Dishes use locally raised meat like Carleton Farms pork, which at Pestle Rock, is marinated in Thai whiskey. Open for dine-in and takeout.

A closeup view of a bowl, with noodles, chopped vegetables, and green and red peppers sticking out prominently.
Pestle Rock serves food from northeastern Thailand.
Pestle Rock

Buddha Ruksa

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Buddha Ruksa has been a popular destination for dining in West Seattle for more than ten years. "Bags of Gold," fried dumplings filled with shrimp, chicken, shiitake mushrooms, and water chestnuts, are a good starter, while dishes like whole fried trout served lemongrass, lime juice, and fresh vegetables and the grilled marinated flank steak served with sticky rice dazzle as entrees. Open for dine-in and takeout.

This Thai restaurant, which started off as Fremont Noodle House in 1995, consistently offers some of the best Thai classics in town, served with carefully crafted cocktails in a restaurant space with a large outdoor patio. The yum tua fahk yow is a nicely balanced dish of prawns, ground pork and toasted coconut in a tangy-sweet coconut milk sauce, the papaya salad is funky with small dried shrimp, and the khao soi’s turmeric-heavy broth is restorative.

Bahn Thai Restaurant

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Established in 1984, this Uptown (lower Queen Anne) spot claims to be Seattle’s oldest Thai restaurant. The drunken noodles are silky and well-balanced, and the Massaman curry is satisfying with big, soft chunks of potato, but the tom yum stands out for its unbridled flavors — sour, and spicy, with generous amounts of lime leaf. Open for takeout only.

Noodle Hut

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The “house noodle soup” at this tiny spot is actually boat noodles, rich from blood in the broth. Among the other dishes are hits like tom yum, pink-colored yen ta fo, excellent pad kee mao, and delectable chicken with panang curry sauce. Prices are elatively low, and the spice levels are satisfyingly high.

Pop Pop Thai Street Food

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Those on the north side of Seattle know that this restaurant, hidden from the street, serves up excellent Thai food. Recommended: the brilliantly pink noodle soup known as yen ta fo (here called Red Sea Noodle Soup) along with the braised pork leg with mustard greens.

Kati Vegan Thai

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Kati Vegan Thai, which has locations in South Lake Union and Kirkland’s The Village at Totem Lake, is a consistent option for Thai classics, adjusted to be vegan. Any of the curries, which can be made with jackfruit meat as well as tofu, are satisfying, and mango sticky rice is a must for dessert.

Wann Yen/Mark Thai Food Box

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This U District counter service gem serves many popular dishes, from the mellow khao mun gai, with its poached chicken over ginger rice, to the fiery pad krapow gai kai dao, with its minced chicken, Thai basil, and chilis. The restaurant is open for takeout and delivery and also serves sealed bento boxes of popular dishes and pantry items like a house-made chili oil.

A view of a dish with ground pork, served with a fried egg on top of white rice.
Ground pork with rice and fried egg
Jay Friedman

Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen

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This new restaurant in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood, with older locations in Kirkland and Lynnwood, is the brainchild of a Thai couple who partnered with friends at popular local chain Bai Tong to bring more Southern Thai cuisine to the area. Dishes include mushroom fritters and an excellent curry with crab and vermicelli. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Araya's Place

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With two locations in Seattle (the other is in the U District) and one in Bellevue, Araya’s Place serves vegan Thai food that satisfies. Recommended dishes include “Drunken Mushroom” — wide rice noodles with portobello, shiitake, and white mushrooms (with mushroom sauce standing in for fish sauce) — and avocado curry. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Viengthong

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This restaurant in Mount Baker is a mainstay for excellent Thai and Laotian dishes full of powerful flavors. The pad Thai contains dried shrimp (as it should) and the green papaya salad has serious heat, a perfect accompaniment to pa lad prig (fried tilapia) and a side of sticky rice.

Pa lad prig (a fried whole tilapia, with chili peppers) on a white plate with garlic sauce
Pa lad prig (a fried whole tilapia, with chili peppers and garlic sauce)
Viengthong

Royal Orchid Restaurant

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This unassuming restaurant right off Rainier Avenue South, just beyond the airport, serves expertly crafted dishes by chef Buppha Booma (known best by her nickname “Chef Daeng”), a restaurant veteran with thirty plus years under her belt. Booma serves satisfying dishes like whole deep fried trout with chili sauce, bright fresh papaya salads, and golden, comforting, yellow curries. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Soi Kirkland

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The food at this industrial-chic spot features sour, funky, spicy, flavors from northern Thailand, with its Lao influence. Kor moo yahng (grilled pork collar), som tum (papaya salad with pickled crab and anchovies), excellent shrimp dishes, and rotisserie-cooked game hen dominate the menu. Open for indoor dining and takeout.

May Kitchen and Bar

Vashon Island’s celebrated Thai restaurant is so good that many Seattleites make the trek over by ferry just to sample the food. Chef-owner May Chaleoy serves up entrees with bright flavors like fried whole fried trout alongside mango salad flecked with mint and cashews as well as satisfying appetizers like grilled pork skewers marinated in yellow curry. She also offers versions of ubiquitous Thai dishes with elegant twists, like pad thai served with turnips and banana blossom or tom yum soup with oyster mushrooms. For now, service is take-out only.

Sen Noodle Bar

This small Thai noodle spot, a sister restaurant to Pestle Rock next door, serves some of the best pad see ew in the city and a selection of noodle soups with locally sourced meat. Diners can build their own noodle bowls (the clear broth soup with a pork patty and thin rice noodles is a restorative option), or choose dishes like guay jab, rolled rice noodles with pork spare ribs, tofu, and a hard boiled egg in a five-spice broth fragrant with star anise. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Pestle Rock

A closeup view of a bowl, with noodles, chopped vegetables, and green and red peppers sticking out prominently.
Pestle Rock serves food from northeastern Thailand.
Pestle Rock

This Ballard restaurant serves Isan-style food from northeastern Thailand. The menu items are markedly different from what’s served in other local Thai restaurants, featuring meats like boar collar, homemade Thai sausage, and frog legs. Dishes use locally raised meat like Carleton Farms pork, which at Pestle Rock, is marinated in Thai whiskey. Open for dine-in and takeout.

A closeup view of a bowl, with noodles, chopped vegetables, and green and red peppers sticking out prominently.
Pestle Rock serves food from northeastern Thailand.
Pestle Rock

Buddha Ruksa

Buddha Ruksa has been a popular destination for dining in West Seattle for more than ten years. "Bags of Gold," fried dumplings filled with shrimp, chicken, shiitake mushrooms, and water chestnuts, are a good starter, while dishes like whole fried trout served lemongrass, lime juice, and fresh vegetables and the grilled marinated flank steak served with sticky rice dazzle as entrees. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Thaiku

This Thai restaurant, which started off as Fremont Noodle House in 1995, consistently offers some of the best Thai classics in town, served with carefully crafted cocktails in a restaurant space with a large outdoor patio. The yum tua fahk yow is a nicely balanced dish of prawns, ground pork and toasted coconut in a tangy-sweet coconut milk sauce, the papaya salad is funky with small dried shrimp, and the khao soi’s turmeric-heavy broth is restorative.

Bahn Thai Restaurant

Established in 1984, this Uptown (lower Queen Anne) spot claims to be Seattle’s oldest Thai restaurant. The drunken noodles are silky and well-balanced, and the Massaman curry is satisfying with big, soft chunks of potato, but the tom yum stands out for its unbridled flavors — sour, and spicy, with generous amounts of lime leaf. Open for takeout only.

Noodle Hut

The “house noodle soup” at this tiny spot is actually boat noodles, rich from blood in the broth. Among the other dishes are hits like tom yum, pink-colored yen ta fo, excellent pad kee mao, and delectable chicken with panang curry sauce. Prices are elatively low, and the spice levels are satisfyingly high.

Pop Pop Thai Street Food

Those on the north side of Seattle know that this restaurant, hidden from the street, serves up excellent Thai food. Recommended: the brilliantly pink noodle soup known as yen ta fo (here called Red Sea Noodle Soup) along with the braised pork leg with mustard greens.

Kati Vegan Thai

Kati Vegan Thai, which has locations in South Lake Union and Kirkland’s The Village at Totem Lake, is a consistent option for Thai classics, adjusted to be vegan. Any of the curries, which can be made with jackfruit meat as well as tofu, are satisfying, and mango sticky rice is a must for dessert.

Wann Yen/Mark Thai Food Box

A view of a dish with ground pork, served with a fried egg on top of white rice.
Ground pork with rice and fried egg
Jay Friedman

This U District counter service gem serves many popular dishes, from the mellow khao mun gai, with its poached chicken over ginger rice, to the fiery pad krapow gai kai dao, with its minced chicken, Thai basil, and chilis. The restaurant is open for takeout and delivery and also serves sealed bento boxes of popular dishes and pantry items like a house-made chili oil.

A view of a dish with ground pork, served with a fried egg on top of white rice.
Ground pork with rice and fried egg
Jay Friedman

Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen

This new restaurant in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood, with older locations in Kirkland and Lynnwood, is the brainchild of a Thai couple who partnered with friends at popular local chain Bai Tong to bring more Southern Thai cuisine to the area. Dishes include mushroom fritters and an excellent curry with crab and vermicelli. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Araya's Place

With two locations in Seattle (the other is in the U District) and one in Bellevue, Araya’s Place serves vegan Thai food that satisfies. Recommended dishes include “Drunken Mushroom” — wide rice noodles with portobello, shiitake, and white mushrooms (with mushroom sauce standing in for fish sauce) — and avocado curry. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Viengthong

Pa lad prig (a fried whole tilapia, with chili peppers) on a white plate with garlic sauce
Pa lad prig (a fried whole tilapia, with chili peppers and garlic sauce)
Viengthong

This restaurant in Mount Baker is a mainstay for excellent Thai and Laotian dishes full of powerful flavors. The pad Thai contains dried shrimp (as it should) and the green papaya salad has serious heat, a perfect accompaniment to pa lad prig (fried tilapia) and a side of sticky rice.

Pa lad prig (a fried whole tilapia, with chili peppers) on a white plate with garlic sauce
Pa lad prig (a fried whole tilapia, with chili peppers and garlic sauce)
Viengthong

Royal Orchid Restaurant

This unassuming restaurant right off Rainier Avenue South, just beyond the airport, serves expertly crafted dishes by chef Buppha Booma (known best by her nickname “Chef Daeng”), a restaurant veteran with thirty plus years under her belt. Booma serves satisfying dishes like whole deep fried trout with chili sauce, bright fresh papaya salads, and golden, comforting, yellow curries. Open for dine-in and takeout.

Soi Kirkland

The food at this industrial-chic spot features sour, funky, spicy, flavors from northern Thailand, with its Lao influence. Kor moo yahng (grilled pork collar), som tum (papaya salad with pickled crab and anchovies), excellent shrimp dishes, and rotisserie-cooked game hen dominate the menu. Open for indoor dining and takeout.

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