From pad Thai and som tum to fiery red curry and Thai corn fritters, Sydney has a very firm grasp on the great breadth and depth of flavours found by exploring the best Thai food in the city. It never used to be like that, but in the past decade especially, Sydney’s taste for regionality has seen Thai food take off with a resurgence in popularity. Numerous restaurants are now highlighting more than just your typical takeaway Thai standards like the aforementioned pad Thai and pad see ew, expanding the scope we’ve got when looking for the best Thai restaurant Sydney has to offer.
Classic dishes, super delicious regional specialties and supporting side dishes (such as Thai stir-fried bean curd – which is pepper, bean curd, Thai spices and broccoli) can typically be found popping all kinds of colours over at the best Thai restaurants in Sydney, from Long Chim to Caysorn. And really, locals wouldn’t have it any other way.
The city has a demonstrably insatiable palate when it comes to tasty food credited to Thailand in general. That includes all four distinct styles exported by Thailand: Northern Thai cuisine, Southern Thai cuisine, Isan Thai cuisine; and, of course, the Central Thai cuisine that comes from Bangkok and its surrounding areas.
If you’re looking to find Thai dishes that go beyond what you ate as a student, Sydney is arguably the best city outside of Asia for your culinary crusade. However, great yummy Thai isn’t as common as it appears to be. There are plenty of duds out there (especially in Potts Point – you’ve been warned) and disappointing takeout options. To help you navigate the minefield that is Thai restaurants in Sydney, here are our tried-and-tested favourites that’ll serve you well after you’ve finished with other Asian cuisines like the roti beef rendang of Malaysian or the sushi that’s so central to the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney.
Best Thai In Sydney Overview [Not Ranked]
- Manly Thai Gourmet
- Chat Thai
- Boon Cafe at Jarern Chai
- Long Chim
- Dodee Paidang Haymarket
- Spice I Am
- Khao Pla
- Chin Chin
- Thai Pothong
- Newtown Thai
- Joe’s Table
- Yok Yor Thai Food Factory
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What Is The Best Thai Restaurant Sydney Has To Offer In 2023?
Manly Thai Gourmet
Manly Thai Gourmet is largely unknown to anyone outside of the Northern Beaches, but this relatively obscure casual Thai restaurant is easily one of Sydney’s very finest. Consistency counts for a lot when it comes to something as inescapable as casual Thai food, and it’s unlikely you’ll find standards such as pad Thai and pad see ew as delicious as what you’ve got from Manly Thai Gourmet. And at such a reasonable price too.
Everything from the soft shell crab and the green curry to the crispy pork belly invariably hits the mark here, speaking to the kind of quality and consistency that you wouldn’t really expect from the small space up a narrow set of stairs opposite Manly Beach. Looks can be deceiving of course, and there’s no mistaking Manly Thai Gourmet as anything but the Northern Beaches’ most valuable spot for delicious Thai food.
Address: 1/33 S Steyne, Manly NSW 2095
Contact: 0431 334 788
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday (7 am – 10 pm); Saturday (8 am – 10 pm); Sunday (8 am – 11 pm)
There’s a good reason why Chat Thai is often the first recommendation you get when asking after the best Thai restaurants Sydney has to offer. The cult-like following that sits behind this chain is fierce and loyal, worshipping the unrivalled consistency that the late, great Amy Chanta built when she first opened Chat Thai in Darlinghurst way back in 1989.
Why does Sydney have so many Thai restaurants? Chat Thai. It’s the kind of often imitated, never duplicated brand that many restaurateurs could only dream of. Consistently is key, which is why this is some of the best Thai food in Sydney, from the small Chat Thai Manly Wharf to the flagship in Chat Thai in Haymarket.
The approachable Thai menu has all the standards you’d expect and want from a Thai restaurant, but the scope is wide enough to pop in a lot of regional Thai cuisine as well so it’s not all just focused around Central Thailand.
Address: 20 Campbell St, Haymarket NSW 2000 (also in Manly, Chatswood and CBD)
Contact: (02) 9211 1808
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (10 am – 9:15 pm); Thursday – Saturday (10 am – 9:45 pm)
Located in the Prince Center Building in Haymarket, the decades-old Caysorn Thai is a rarity amongst the countless Thai restaurants Sydney has to offer. Southern Thai food is known to be some of the spiciest in the world, and this Haymarket kitchen steps up to the challenge of moving away from more approachable dishes like pad Thai and pad see ew in favour of fragrant, punchy Thai curries that lean heavily on fresh seafood. You won’t find many Thai restaurants in Sydney with such a firm grasp of the Southern region, making this a one-of-one for lovers of Thai food in Sydney.
Key to the Southern Thai food menu is khanom jeen, which is a springy vermicelli-like fermented rice noodle – not quite like glass noodles but similar texture. At Caysorn, kanom jeen is offered in several different versions, all of which are the most popular Thai dishes for the kitchen, especially the house signature kanom jeen tai pla which is noodles served in a very dark, fragrant and salted fish curry that’s possibly the hottest dish you’d find on the menu.
The ferocious spice of Caysorn’s signature dish is not for the faint-hearted, but the inevitable pain is worth it if you want to really experience authentic Thai food in a different way. One you’re unlikely to forget anytime soon.
Those deep, hearty curries are best taken with a visit to the DIY salad bar, which stands in the middle of the Haymarket restaurant and helps offset a bit of that spice with fresh bean sprout, sliced cabbage, Chinese broccoli, cucumber and Thai basil. Trust me, you need a bit of those cooling vegetables to help with the heat.
Address: 106/8 Quay Street Prince Centre Building, Level 1, Haymarket NSW 2000
Contact: (02) 9211 5749
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday (11 am – 9:30 pm)
Boon Cafe at Jarern Chai
Boon Cafe is another Haymarket institution that just may very well be the single best fusion Thai restaurant in Sydney. The strong flavours of Northern Thai cuisine dominate the dinner menu here, which is spearheaded by the same team behind Chat Thai and is complemented by a Thai supermarket.
Far from your average Thai restaurant, Boon Cafe is also incredibly popular for the kitchen’s brunch menu, making it one of the few places where you can tuck into Thai breakfast dishes that go down perfectly with a refreshing coconut water. No one has ever walked away from this Thai resto disappointed.
Address: 1/425 Pitt St, Haymarket NSW 2000
Contact: (02) 9281 2114
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (8 am – 9 pm); Friday – Saturday (8 am – 10 pm); Sunday (8 am – 9 pm)
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Long Chim Sydney
It’s now been a good few years since David Thompson returned to Sydney and brought his famed Long Chim brand with him. Unsurprisingly, it was an instant hit. The legendary chef, who is best known for building his former Bangkok signature, Nahm, into one of the best Thai restaurants in the world, gifted Sydney what is for many locals their favourite Thai restaurant.
But is it all it’s hyped up to be? The excellent service and energetic atmosphere certainly help elevate the entire dining experience. You’ll get mostly small, share-style dishes focusing on all types of regional Thai cuisine.
Consider Long Chim Sydney somewhat of a pioneer in this sense. While a lot of authentic Thai restaurants existed well before Thompson opened up on Angel Place, Long Chim Sydney really proved regional Thai was commercially viable for Sydney’s restaurant scene and you’ll find plenty of specialties along with smaller plates like fish cakes and the essential nong’s eggplant. Go for the set menu with the wine pairing if you want to get the most of it, and then on your second visit (and there will be one) dive straight into the a la carte menu.
Address: Colonial Mutual Life Building, Angel Pl, Sydney NSW 2000
Contact: (02) 9223 7999
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday (12 pm – 3 pm, 5 pm – 10 pm)
Dodee Paidang Haymarket
Dodee Paidang is another Sydney Thai restaurant that no similar round-up can possibly do without. An eternal favourite amongst Thai connoisseurs, this Haymarket staple gets by mainly thanks to the signature tom yum noodle soup with pork and a generous heap of fried garlic with crispy wonton strips.
So popular is DoDee that, much like Chat Thai, it’s one of the few brands that managed to expand without diluting quality, maintaining consistency across Dodee Paidang restaurants in Chatswood, Bondi Junction and most recently Melbourne.
Address: 9/37 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket NSW 2000
Contact: (02) 8065 3827
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (11:30 am – 11 pm); Friday – Sunday (11:30 am – 12 am)
Spice I Am
Big menu, big flavours, small prices. Spice I Am is one of the quintessential Thai restaurants Sydney has long had a love affair with. As you can tell by the name, punchy dishes packed with punishing heat are what this kitchen specialises in, but there’s a great range seeing as the menu features no less than around 82 different options for you get to across.
I can’t claim to have tried everything here, but you can never go past the signatures of this Surry Hills restaurant. Grab the rich and deeply aromatic roast duck massaman curry like most people do, or switch it out for the pad ma kour goong – soft stir fried king prawns served with Thai purple eggplant and lightly coated with shrimp paste, soy bean paste, and red chilli with more than a generous hit of garlic and basil. This is one restaurant with serious staying power, but don’t take it for granted. Spice I Am will always be a great option for anyone looking for the best Thai restaurant Sydney has to offer.
Address: 90 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Contact: (02) 9280 0928
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday (11:30 am – 3 pm, 5:30 pm – 9 pm)
There are plenty of Thai restaurants in Sydney that have pops of Issan Thai food on the menu. The regional Thai cuisine is usually incredibly pungent and sour with a lot of fish sauce used to make up flavour, and signature dishes like som tum – a papaya salad usually served with heavily fermented fish sauce – are always essential orders.
Khao Pla is one of the better ones doing Issan Thai so well, offering signature standouts like the Issan steak tartare with chilli flakes and lime juice and kingfish sashimi served with prawn floss and red chilli mayo. Although there are also plenty of dishes best credited to Central Thailand, inspired by the street food you’ll find all over Bangkok.
Address: 7/370-374 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Contact: (02) 9412 4978
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday (11 am – 10 pm)
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You knew Chin Chin was coming sooner or later in this round-up of the best Sydney Thai restaurants. Ever since the Lucas Restaurants group expanded from their inescapable Flinders Lane restaurant in Melbourne up to Surry Hills, Chin Chin Sydney has been a magnet for all types of diners looking for up-scale fusion Thai.
Most importantly, the great tasting food on the Chin Chin menu is (usually) worth the money. There’s been a consistency issue, and sometimes I’ve left disappointed, but more often than not dishes like the signature Chin Chin fried rice and pad see ew with wagyu beef hit the exact spot they were intended to hit.
Yeah, Chin Chin may be easy bait for Instagram celebrities, but this is one of the very few occasions where aesthetics are backed up by substance and a genuine attempt to elevate authentic Thai food with modern flourishes and good quality Australian ingredients.
Address: 69 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Contact: (02) 9281 3322
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday (12 pm – 11:30 am); Sunday (12 pm – 10 pm)
Why does Newtown have so many Thai restaurants? It’s a question long asked by visitors confused by King Street’s obsession with Thailand and is probably why everyone who attends Sydney University graduates with a love-hate relationship when it comes to cheap Thai food.
The barramundi curry dish at Thai Pothong is one of the first things you should order at this long-standing Newtown institution. The sweet and sour dish is one of the many reasons why Thai Pothong will always stand out amongst the plethora of Thai restaurants in Newtown, which used to be even more numerous than they are now.
It may be one of the pricier Thai restaurants in the inner-west, but it’s always worth heading along when the cheap-and-cheerful rhythms of Newtown Thai aren’t doing it for you.
Address: 294 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Contact: (02) 9550 6277
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (12 pm – 3:30 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm); Friday – Saturday (12 pm – 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 11 pm); Sunday (12 pm – 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 11 pm)
Newtown Thai is on this list for one reason: value. This is perhaps the best balance between price and quality you’ll find in Sydney, with the business almost single-handedly kept afloat by hungry and poor USYD students looking to save their easy-earned cash for something a bit more risque and not-so-legal.
So popular was Newtown Thai at one point that King Street was dominated by two venues from the same brand. And while Newtown Thai II has since closed down, the original remains and still pumps out all the classic dishes that are best experienced when the restaurant has one of its cheap-as-chips lunch specials going on. If you’re looking for cheap Thai food in Newtown that is actually good, you’ll find it here.
Address: 177 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Contact: (02) 8964 5224
Opening Hours: Monday (11 am – 9 pm); Tuesday (11 am – 4 pm); Wednesday – Thursday (11 am – 9 pm); Friday – Saturday (11 am – 10:30 pm)
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Mango sticky rice is the best dessert in Thailand, with very few exceptions. And while it always seems so simple to make, you’d be surprised by just how many restaurants mess the whole process up. Every layer of the dessert needs to be perfect, from the sticky rice to the fresh mango. Joe’s Table excels when it comes to this.
Yeah, the savoury dishes are great here as well, but it’s always nice to know there’s one thing this kitchen does so incredibly well next time you’ve got a craving for the traditional Thai dessert. Make sure the dessert is following that incredible stir-fried pork hock, which owner Joe Kitsana makes overnight before serving it with sticky chilli jam and kaffir lime.
Address: 1/28 Kings Ln, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Contact: (02) 8385 7110
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday (12 pm – 3 pm, 6 pm – 9:30 pm); Saturday (6 pm – 9:30 pm)
Yok Yor Thai Food Factory
When you look at the name of Yok Yor Thai Food Factory, it’s hard to imagine that the kitchen at this Haymarket restaurant really does flow like a factory. The staff even wear hardhats, which of course is part of the gimmick but also echoes just how studious the kitchen is when building these dishes with uncompromising precision.
Thai food isn’t often seen as technical or high-brow as Italian or French, but to deny the exacting approach many Thai dishes require would be kind of stupid. Very few cuisines in the world rely on such a precise layering of flavours and carefully built profiles that run the gamut from intensely sour and divisive to volcanic and overpowering spice that has been artfully dialled to flow over the palate in waves.
Yok Yor understands this very well, which is why this family-owned restaurant, started in Sydney by Joe and Mek Phungsamphan after their parents founded the original Yok Yor in Thailand in 1982, is always so popular amongst the Thai diaspora.
Only Spice I Am and Caysorn come close to the level of punishing heat that comes from the Yok Yor kitchen. But don’t be afraid, there are plenty of dishes that are just as approachable as your standard pad Thai and pad see ew.
If you want to make just one choice, go for one of the three personal favourites: the gang leaung pla insee, which is a southern Thai soup packed with bamboo and mackerel, boat noodles in pork broth and soy sauce, and the great catfish medallions in red curry paste with Thai eggplant and green peppercorns.
Address: Shop G06/323 Castlereagh St, Haymarket NSW 2000
Contact: 0415 817 099
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (11:30 am – 11 pm); Friday – Saturday (11:30 am – 12 am); Sunday (11:30 am – 11 pm)
Not in Sydney? Check out the best Thai restaurants in Melbourne.
Best Thai Restaurant Sydney – Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best Thai food in Sydney?
You can find some of the best Thai food in Sydney at institutions like Caysorn, Manly Thai Gourmet, Spice I Am, Long Chim and Yok Yor Thai Food Factory.
Where can I find cheap Thai food in Sydney?
If you’re dining on a budget then Newtown Thai is a great option for cheap Thai food.
How many Thai restaurants are there in Sydney?
Are you asking us to count? The impossible task of rounding up all Thai restaurants in Sydney is made harder knowing it’s one of the most popular cuisines in Australia. From Sydney CBD to Western Sydney, just about every suburb in Sydney has at least one Thai restaurant. Are they all good though? No.