Given the plethora of restaurants offering Thai food, it can get quite confusing. We tell you where you should go for the best Thai food in India
With everyone tending lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves in their backyards, picking up galangal at the fresh market and searching for Thai recipes on YouTube, there is no doubt that Thai cuisine has made its way on to Indian tables. But the secret of great Thai dishes is ensuring they remain true to their roots and not get Indianised as Chinese food often has been. We pick out restaurants where chefs who specialise in Thai cuisine offer that finely balanced mix of sweet, spicy, salty and sour that remains the hallmark of an authentic Thai culinary experience. Here’s where to get the best Thai food across the country.
Thai Pavilion, President, Mumbai-IHCL SeleQtions, Mumbai
What started in 1993 went on to become a sensation and one of the top restaurants in the city with a loyal fan following including Bollywood stars. After experimenting with about 3,000 dishes, Chef Ananda Solomon introduced the city to a cuisine that they were not familiar with. Apart from curries there were scallops with yellow chilli, Thai-style foie gras and duck with greens and more. People loved this and soon Thai Pavilion became a favourite spot for many from Bollywood actors like Aamir Khan to industrialists like Ratan Tata. They even introduced an innovative concept where they offered both starters and the main course at fixed prices, and this became a huge hit. Ananda Solomon has moved on, but he’s left his legacy behind and even today this place is a top draw for authentic Thai food.
+91-22-66650808, 90 Cuffe Parade
Coming all the way from Bangkok, Nara has climbed the popularity charts since it opened and sees celebrities dining here regularly. When you walk in, you will encounter an explosion of purple—from the crockery to the drinks—all inspired from the butterfly pea flower which finds its way into a few signature dishes as well.
What sets Nara apart from others in the city is that it also has Thai street food on its menu. Take, for example, goong kabeuang, the crispy prawn pancake that is widely available on Bangkok’s streets, but served in a fancy avatar here. Do try the butterfly pea fried rice, their signature dish with Thai herbs. Squeeze some lime on it and see the magic. The menu is vast, so if you are confused go for the set five-course menu. Do order one of the Thai-inspired cocktails or Singha beer to complement the meal.
+91-8355878888, Ground floor, Raheja Towers, G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East and Amar Chand Mansion, Madame Cama Road, Dr Ambedkar Statue Chowk Area, Colaba
Thai Naam by Ananda, Mumbai
When an industry veteran like Chef Ananda Solomon opens a restaurant, you know it will be in a class of its own. Launched just before the lockdown last year, this stellar fine-dining restaurant has four dining areas including PDRs and community tables that set the mood with touches of Thailand like cane lamps and Benjarong jars. Thai food that reflects the subtle nuances of cuisine from across the country is what you would expect from Chef Solomon—fish cakes made with red snapper, duck liver with sea asparagus in mango sauce, steamed john dory with lemon garlic sauce, stir-fried morning glory with yellow bean paste. Thai curries vary according to the region they come from, so they even have southern Thai curry on the menu, which is quite spicy.
+91-7417300300, +91-22-28530500, ORB, Near T2 Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Next to JW Marriott Sahar, IA Project Road, Andheri East; www.thainaam.com
A popular restaurant in Bandra has been serving the city some of its best Thai food, from Thai chilli crab, prawn cakes to red curry with prawns. The 30-minute waiting for a table before the lockdown is a testimony to what it offers. It’s headed by Chef Seefah Ketchaiyo and her partner Karan Bane, and the duo is not afraid to experiment. While dishes like deep-fried chicken lemongrass, mango sticky rice (oh yes, finally) and the curries continue to be hot favourites, they are now also offering Asian burgers from their new brand ‘Asian Burgers by Seefah’. There are burgers like ‘deep-fried laab gai’ which comes with a flavourful chicken patty marinated in Thai herbs with sticky rice buns. Sides include tom yum french fries.
+91-8928895952, 2 Floor, Khan House, Hill Road, above McDonald’s, Bandra West
Spice Route, The Imperial New Delhi
This legendary restaurant needs no introduction. Being one of the pioneers that introduced Southeast Asian cuisines to the country, it is in a class of its own both in the food it offers and its awe-inspiring interiors, which took seven years to finish. Helmed by Chef Veena Arora, who was born in Thailand, its menu will keep you coming back for more. There’s tom yum goong, the famous Thai soup with prawns, flavoured with lemongrass and galangal, kung nang phad khing, stir-fried lobster served in the shell with ginger and Thai black mushrooms, kaeng kheow waan kai which is green Thai curry with chicken, peas and cherry aubergines and phad phak, stir-fried baby spinach with black mushrooms and soybean paste.
Although The Imperial is famed for its décor, this restaurant will take your breath away. It has been painstakingly hand painted with vegetable and flower dyes by mural painters from a temple in Kerala. On a sunny winter afternoon, eat your meal at the courtyard where you’ll be surrounded by Thai sculptures from Chiang Mai.
+91-11-41116605, The Imperial New Delhi, Janpath Lane, Connaught Place
Soy X Neung Roi, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport, New Delhi
There were hardly any stand-alone Thai restaurants in Delhi when Neung Roi opened its doors a few years back, so it was warmly embraced and went on to show its class by winning awards. Under the watchful eyes of Chef Yenjai Suthiwaj (who’s now returned to Thailand), dishes from different regions brought the varied flavours of Thailand from the spicy to the more aromatic.
Apart from curries, their signature dishes are phad phed moo krob (southern-style pork with white ginger, peppercorn, basil and kaffir lime) and pla neung manao (steamed red snapper with lime chili sauce). However two lockdowns later, it is time for things to change, and the restaurant has been relaunched as Soy X Neung Roi to include dishes from the Far East—China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia—so the menu is bigger and has more choices now.
+91-11-26779191, NH-8, near Mahipalpur Extension, Block R, Mahipalpur Village, Mahipalpur
Ziu, New Delhi
After studying Thai cuisine in Bangkok and spending time in villages across Thailand, Chef Gurmehar Sethi came to India and opened Ziu in 2016 with the tagline ‘Innovative Thai Cuisine’. He wanted to introduce the city to modern Thai food and won accolades as the restaurant went on to win several awards. The dishes are experimental. For example, one of the signature dishes is Rice Cracker, where stir-fried chicken/tofu sits neatly on a brown-rice cracker imported from a village home in Northeast Thailand. Smoked prawns with kaffir lime where the sauce is smoked for six long hours is yet another signature.
+91-9958677731, Ground floor, Sangam Courtyard, Major Somnath Marg, Sector 9, RK Puram
Bo Tai, New Delhi
It is the Thai cocktails that first sweep you away in this modern Thai restaurant by Zorawar Kalra. A bar consultant and mixologist Dino Koletsas from London has come up with innovative cocktails like The Full Moon Festival, a gin cocktail with edible flowers and Thai herbs inspired by Loy Krathong, a Thai festival. Hem and Lion combines watermelon and tequila with Thai red syrup. While the menu is a mix of Asian, there are some Thai dishes that you can’t resist—raw mango soft shell crab salad, Thai duckwrapped in pancakes and, of course, the pad thai.
+91-9870587770, 6, 4, Kalka Das Marg, Behind Qutub Minar, Seth Sarai, Mehrauli
Rim Naam, The Oberoi Bengaluru
There’s nothing better than an al fresco restaurant in Bengaluru’sdreamy weather. At Rim Naam, you will be sitting at a wooden pavilion that resembles a Thai summer pagoda around a waterbody surrounded by trees, a stunning setting. Master Chef Tam, who comes from the Isan province of Thailand, has curated an extensive menu that has everything Thai under the sun, from sharing platters, stir fries, meat grills to curries and even a few cocktails.
If you want to order a few signatures, then go for goong sarong (pastry-wrapped prawns with Thai herbs and chilli plum sauce), the Paataya seafood platter or goong mangkorn phad horapa (stir-fried lobster and peppers with sweet basil sauce). Vegetarians need not worry. There is a lot of variety for them as well: phad phak tao jiao (taro, assorted vegetables with yellow bean sauce) and hed phad prik see ew (shiitake, shimeji and button mushrooms with soy chilli sauce). When it comes to cocktails they have drinks that are named after islands: Krabi comes with gin, kaffir lime, turmeric and honey, while Phi Phi is all about vodka, carrot, orange and lime juice, rosewater, Thai basil and Sambuca.
+91-80-25585858, The Oberoi, 37-39, Mahatma Gandhi Road
Nasi and Mee Asian Canteen, Bengaluru
Street-style food is best eaten the way it’s meant to be—and at Nasi and Mee one can do just that. Wooden tables, basic chairs and a few benches set the ambience of a typical hawker street food market, making Nasi and Mee an apt place for a casual meal. Although the menu also includes East Asian dishes, there is a wide choice of Thai food apart from red and green curry and pad thai. Go for the fish cakes, Thai-style grilled chicken and Red Ruby, a dessert made with mock pomegranate seeds and coconut milk. Nasi and Mee started with one restaurant in Bengaluru but has now opened in Chennai and Kochi as well.
+91-80-41513456, 974, 4th Cross, 80ft Main Road, 4th Block, Koramangala
Thai Chy, Bengaluru
The extensive menu at this restaurant attracts foodies from across town—the starters, stir fries, dimsums, curries, rice and noodles spoil you for choice. Although the restaurant serves dishes from other Asian countries, its name underlines that its Thai offerings are the winners. A few dishes that every Thai food lover must order are the Thai basil duck, Thai namprik chicken and Thai penang curry with lamb and duck. The affordable pricing won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
+91-80-43751788, 197, Paramahansa Yogananda Road, Stage 2, Eshwara Layout, Indiranagar
Baan Thai, The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata
One of the oldest Thai restaurants in Kolkata, Baan Thai welcomes you inside with a gigantic Buddha statue, while Thai curios and artefacts in the restaurant set the tone for the experience that is to follow. Chef Kale Somsuay who comes from North Thailand has brought with him recipes that have been handed down generations, so dining here is as authentic as it can get. While the menu is extensive, some of their popular and signature dishes are Baan Thai kaeng luang, the chef’s special homemade Thai yellow curry and gung mangkorn (lobster tail stir-fry with green peppercorn, Thai chilli and sweet basil). They have a provincial menu from different regions of Thailand (north, south, central plains and northeastern) with signature dishes from each area.
+91-33-22492323, The Oberoi Grand, 15 Jawaharlal Nehru Road
Vintage Asia, JW Marriott, Kolkata
This fine-dining restaurant at the JW Marriott serves Thai and Chinese food but, before stepping inside, sip a cocktail at the beverage lounge to set the mood for the meal. The classy interiors have Chinese touches but the best part is the live/interactive kitchen and a private dining area when the party is large. While a few items on the menu change seasonally, some classic dishes remain a favourite—tom yum soup, som tam salad and, of course, Thai red curry with asparagus, water chestnut and Thai sweet basil with jasmine rice.
+91-33-66330000; 4A, JBS Haldane Avenue
Pan Asian, ITC Sonar, Kolkata
Lovers of Thai food have managed to identify some must-try, gourmet offerings tucked away among the huge offerings of East Asian dishes at this restaurant at the ITC Sonar. We recommend the tom yam mor pai—a traditional Thai hot pot served with vegetables, chicken, mixed seafood and a delicious dipping sauce. It is open only on weekends from Friday to Sunday.
+91-33-23454545; 1 JBS Haldane Avenue