Sydney is no stranger to delicious Thai restaurants, with eateries around the city offering a delicious taste of regional flavours. The cuisine is no longer just considered takeaway food but instead explores a greater depth of herbs and spices as they take centre stage. Whereas some prefer to focus on authentic and traditional Thai style cooking, there are those who prefer their own modern interpretation to Thai food. From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the seafood heavy shores of Phuket, we delve into the vibrant world of Thai food, uncovering the best restaurants and must-try dishes.
With its name literally translating to “come and try”, Long Chim invites you to experience the perfect fusion of street food and fine dining. It’s a haven by renowned Australian Thai chef, David Thompson (his restaurant Nahm, in London, was the first Thai restaurant to earn a Michelin Star), with a focus on mouth-watering authentic flavours using the best local produce. Try their take on a saucy Pad Thai and Pad See Ew, cooked with delicate fresh rice noodles, or their housemade fish cakes and nong’s eggplant to share on the table. Go for the set menu if you’re looking to try their most popular dishes, and make sure to leave plenty of room for dessert.
Find Long Chim at Corner of Pitt St and, Angel Pl, Sydney NSW 2000.
Chef Narin Kulasai’s mission at Porkfat is to transport diners to the chaotically delicious, flavour-filled streets of Bangkok with a 100% authentic menu. He’s an ex-Long Chim chef, working closely with David Thompson and drawing upon his rich cultural heritage of growing up in Saraburi, central Thailand. Expect Thai staples such as; Green Curry made with grilled pork jowl, lychee, apple, eggplant, wild ginger, makrut leaves, and Thai basil; and a Phuket Curry of tiger prawns, southern style curry paste, black pepper and betels leaves. Kulasai also plates up dishes lesser known to Australia’s Thai dining scene, including house specials of; Grilled Pork Jowl with smoked chilli nam jim, roasted rice, tamarind and lime and Deep-Fried Golden Pomfret.
Find Porkfat at 33 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket NSW 2000.
Chat Thai is a poster child for Thai food in Sydney, with various outlets gracing the CBD since its inception in 1989. The long-standing restaurant dishes out vibrant street food, with spice and colour on every plate. It’s no frills, fuss free casual dining that is prepared with precision. Start off with crispy spring rolls and guay tiew lohd dumplings (steamed tapioca and rice) before moving onto more substantial plates like their Chilli fried rice and Gaeng BPU crab curry (a yellow crab curry and signature dish).
Find Chat Thai at 20 Campbell Street Haymarket NSW 2000.
Chef and owner, Annita Potter, envisioned Viand becoming a food concept of its own. Not bound to just Thai food but instead growing and melding into other cuisines. At Viand, expect the unexpected as Potter celebrates the ingredients, flavours and tastes of Thai cuisine with a delicious five or eight-course set menu (with a vegan option upon request). The bistro cooks up a braised duck with sweet salted radish-toasted peanuts and pickled ginger, as well as Gregory Island tiger prawns with banana blossom. You’ll be taken on a journey of modern Thai, tasting your way through unique dishes not commonly found at most Thai restaurants.
Find Viand at 41 Crown St, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011.
It’s as modern as modern goes, but at Alphabet Street, you can still taste the authentic Thai foundations in all their cooking. It’s got a fresh and funky vibe, located right on the cusp of Cronulla Beach with a stunning view. Eat your way through fusion Thai dishes whilst sipping on cocktails inspired by the party cities of Thailand. It’s the most delicate balance of modern and classic, with dumplings and baos included in the menu alongside Massaman curry (with a whole lamb shank), steamed fish and Green curry with Murray cod and pea eggplant. For dessert, choose between Pan-fried ice cream with choc coated vanilla or a classic Banana roti on butterscotch.
Find Alphabet Street on 5/8 Kingsway, Cronulla NSW 2230.
When the Head Chef has done a stint at Ms G’s, Spice I Am and Mr Wong all before cooking up a storm at Khao Pla, you just know the food is going to be a hit. Chef Pla Rojratanavichai’s approach to Khao Pla is fun and funky, delivering constant surprises of taste and flavour all through modern dishes. It’s a multi-award-winning restaurant, with all curries and pastes made in-house using family recipes. Highlight dishes include an Isan steak tartare tossed with chilli flake and lime juice, and salmon served with nori and kaffir lime. Come for the savoury and stay for the sweet, with warm black sticky rice, Jasmine tapioca and jack fruits making an appearance.
Find Khao Pla at 7/370-374 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067.
With its first restaurant opening on Wentworth Avenue over two decades again, Spice I Am has cemented itself as another classic institution in Sydney’s Thai cuisine scene, delivering authentic Thai dishes with a creative ‘Spice I AM’ twist. Most dishes are region specific, which means it’s not only majorly authentic but you wouldn’t have tried it elsewhere. If you can take your spice, it’s also one of the best places to ask for an even hotter addition of chilli to your dishes. The Massaman duck and crispy pork belly are the restaurant’s most popular dishes, but standouts also include som pla, a traditional fish curry (best served with a side of rice) and eggplant stir fry.
Find Spice I AM at 90 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills NSW 2010.
Chin Chin has made waves in Melbourne as one of the city’s best Thai restaurants, and for the last few years has started to make its own name in Sydney. They’re all about offering an affordable luxury experience, with a chic interior and great vibes that go late into the night. The menu is predominantly Thai-focused but borrows influences from other surrounding regions like Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia. A must-try is the Chin Chin fried rice and their extensive list of curries. Plus, keep an eye out for their seasonal specials and exclusive menu drops here and there.
Find Chin Chin at 69 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010.
Joe Kitsana’s restaurant has created some of Sydney’s most delicious South-East Asian cuisine, having previously spent his 20 years of hospitality experience working at Longrain and Phamish. With a warm and airy feel to his restaurant, Joe’s Table dishes out Thai-inspired noodle bowls, curries & seafood mains that will leave you coming back for more. Perhaps the most impressive is his stir-fried pork hock, braised for an impressive four hours, taken off the bone and pressed overnight. It’s then tossed in sticky chilli jam and served with lime for an explosion of proper flavour.
Find Joe’s Table at 1/28 Kings Ln, Darlinghurst NSW 2010.
Boon Cafe strikes the perfect balance of being an all-rounder day-to-night Thai restaurant. During the day, the cafe serves brunch-style dishes with a grocer and pantry located at the front stocked with local Thai ingredients and desserts to take home. At night, the restaurant cooks up heartier meals that you usually find in Northern Thailand, with a focus on stronger flavours and veggies. Order yourself a warm bowl of classic boat noodles or tom yum soup, followed by stir-fried egg noodles with chicken and cabbage. You can also find almost 10 pages of the menu dedicated just to drinks and desserts, from frappes, to shaved ice and fizzy mocktails.
Find Boon Cafe at 1/425 Pitt St, Haymarket NSW 2000.