Readers Say

The best places to get Thai food in Greater Boston

More than 250 readers recommended 80 restaurants, including their favorite dishes and preferred spicy Thai food level.

Pad mee korat⁠ at Sugar & Spice. Photo courtesy of Sugar & Spice

The streets of Bangkok have given birth to some of the most delicious and aromatic dishes you’ll ever find, but you don’t need to leave Boston in order to get a taste of authentic Thai food. If you’re a fan of pad Thai, red curries, and mango sticky rice, you can discover classic eateries and restaurants where you can sample cuisine from Southeast Asia. And while you’re handling the heat of a plate of khao gra pow, you can wash it all down with a cold glass of Thai iced tea.

We asked our readers for their favorite Thai food in the Boston area, and more than 250 readers responded to our survey and on social media with 80 restaurant recommendations. The most popular restaurant, with 6.5% of the vote, was Sugar & Spice Thai Restaurant in Cambridge.


Owner and chef Penjan Janburiwong told that she wants guests to learn about the different parts of Thailand and what dishes are unique to them when they visit the eatery.

“I just wanted customers to learn the cultures in Thailand,” Janburiwong said. “Different regions have different tastes, different spices.” The menu allows guests to select a region whose cuisine they’d like to explore. Khao soi is very popular when you go to Chiang Mai in the North, Janburiwong said. If someone wants to experience the flavors of Central Thailand, they would order hor mok, a curry in a young coconut, or tom yum koong.

Below, find our reader guide to the best Thai restaurants in and around Boston, including a countdown of readers’ top five picks, a map of all restaurant recommendations, and the dishes you should order, marked by spice level.

Your preferred level of spice:

We asked our readers how much spice they like in their Thai food. Most voters prefer some heat, with a “medium” level taking the lead at 38% and “hot” coming in second place at 26%. Very few readers said they would want “no spice” at all.

What's your Thai spice level?
No spice! 😅
Mild 🌶️
Medium 🌶️🌶️
Hot 🌶️🌶️🌶️
Thai Hot 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

Readers share their favorite Thai restaurants in the Boston area:

5. Brown Sugar Cafe

This casual Allston spot, which took 4.6% of the vote, is popular among Boston University students and offers dishes from many different regions in Thailand. Readers praised the pad see ew, flat rice noodles stir fried with egg, vegetables, and a choice of protein. The tom yum goong, a hot and sour shrimp soup with lemongrass, is “so tasteful,” according to Catherine G. from North Reading. Sarah from Dartmouth said, “Their yellow curry is the best in the city. It’s creamy, sweet, slightly spicy and savory all at once. The perfect dish! I moved an hour out of the city and still make a point to regularly travel in for the yellow curry at Brown Sugar.”


Readers Recommend: Massaman curry 🌶️, Tom yum goong 🌶️

1033 Commonwealth Ave., Boston

Crispy pad Thai at Brown Sugar. – Photo courtesy of Brown Sugar Cafe

4. Rod D by Sitti Thai Cuisine

Affordable Thai food is in demand at this modest Brookline spot, which earned 4.6% of the vote. Readers recommended the pad Thai with crispy chicken on top, which has a refreshing crunch. They also praised the boat noodle soup and the pad kee mao, or drunken noodles, with one fan of the restaurant mentioning that when friends from the far east who went to college in Boston visit, they come to Rod D first. “My go-tos are the boat noodle soup and yum wun sen,” Isabel from Brookline said. “The food at this family-owned spot is always excellent, [prices are] reasonable. I’ve been supporting them since they first opened in Brookline as a tiny spot with three tables.”

Readers Recommend: Pad Thai, Drunken noodles 🌶️🌶️

1422 Beacon St, Brookline

3. Crying Thaiger Rustic Thai Kitchen

There are many legends that explain the story of the “Crying Tiger” and how this Thai dish got its name, but when you’re at this Malden eatery that garnered 5% of the vote, you’ll be focused exclusively on the food. Owner Nisachon Thanangthirapong said that the kitchen aims to prepare “some of the Thai staple plates that Thai people love but any other restaurant in Boston doesn’t cook because they have difficulty getting the ingredients.” Readers insist that the nampla wings, drizzled in sweet and savory sauce, are a must-have, as are the honey ribs and BBQ pork skewers.


Josh, a reader from Malden, shared his recommendations. “Pad see ew with vegan duck. Crispy chive cakes. Tofu red curry. Tod mun,” he said. “It’s always delicious, and each dish has a distinct flavor that somehow all work well together. We were a little wary of vegan duck at first, but oh man!”

Readers Recommend: Pad see ew, Crying Tiger 🌶️🌶️

114 Ferry St., Malden

A curry from Crying Thaiger. – Photo courtesy of Crying Thaiger Rustic Thai Kitchen

2. Kala Thai Cookery

From the chef behind Cha Yen Thai Cookery in Watertown comes a Downtown Boston Thai spot that took 5% of the vote: Kala Thai Cookery. Reader Michael O. from Brighton called the restaurant “a treasure” and “an anchor for so many that work and live in the area,” giving a nod to the basil fried rice with beef. Others commended the galangal soup, a coconut broth that comes with oyster mushrooms and protein choice, as well as the corn cakes, fritters with a peanut dressing.

Chef and owner Manita Bunnagitkarn said that she hopes to put a modern twist on Thai food and introduce new concepts, like the larb beef tacos. She trains her chefs personally and teaches them to make dumplings, from how to fold to adjusting the spice level. “I teach them to understand the food from the beginning, before they cook,” she said.

“The pineapple curry is amazing, but everything else is also incredible,” Nick from Jamaica Plain said. “I took one of my friends who grew up in Singapore to this place, and he said it’s some of the best Thai he’s had, both within and outside of Asia. The fact that it’s literally steps away from the Orange and Green lines at Haymarket Station also makes it the perfect spot to get to when the cravings hit (that is, when the T is actually running)!”


Readers Recommend: Char kway teow 🌶️🌶️, Kapow dumpling 🌶️🌶️

151 Hanover St., Boston

1. Sugar & Spice Thai Restaurant

Porter Square is home to a restaurant with modern digs and bold flavors: Sugar & Spice, the eatery that took 6.5% of the vote and claimed first place. The papaya salad arrives with the strong essences of chili lime juice and dried shrimp, while the Isan sausage reminded one reader of the food one would get from the vendors of Northern Thailand. Readers also applauded the crab fried rice and lemongrass chicken, while on the menu, you’ll also find coconut sticky rice and frozen drinks that can have tapioca pearls added.

According to chef owner Penjan Janburiwong, using fresh ingredients is important, and many unexpected components of dishes are made in house. “We make our own curry paste, with galangal and lemongrass. We blend it … and we cook day by day,” Janburiwong said. “All the major sauces, I make my own. [For] pad Thai sauce … we have a tamarind base. We drain, and then we combine it with palm sugar. It’s different from other restaurants because we don’t use vinegar.”

Janburiwong has been cooking since she was very young, living in Thailand. “I was born in a large family in a little village in the South of Thailand,” she said. “This caused me to learn many things in life. I didn’t learn from the books; I learned in a real kitchen.”

Reader Shriya from Waltham said, “They divide their menu based on regions of Thailand, and the tom yum SukhoThai is unlike any other tom yum soup I’ve had in the city. The miang kum is a go to appetizer, and the pad mee korat is incredible.”


Readers Recommend: Khao soi, Panang curry 🌶️🌶️🌶️

1933 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Honorable mentions🏅

Dakzen: This Davis Square street food place has a bright and inviting exterior, and inside, it’s a laid back neighborhood haunt, open until late hours. Try the khao soi, a Northern curry noodle soup, and get green sticky rice with custard and sweet minced fish for dessert.

Readers say: “EVERYTHING is good here. Their pad Thai tastes the closest to what I’ve had in Thailand. And their khao soi, tiew kai toon, and boat noodles are perfect for soup weather. It’s also one of the only few places to get Thai lime iced tea in the city. And always get the extra fried egg, crispy on the edges with runny yolk.” –Anonymous

Giggling Rice: In Brookline, you’ll find this tiny restaurant that dishes out mango fried rice, green curry with bamboo shoots and Thai basil, and tofu dishes. Try the Crying Tiger, which combines sliced beef with eggplant and green beans.

Readers say: “Siam string bean, gai grob pad Thai, deluxe crispy chicken. Best crab rangoons. It’s a little spot to sit down and is cozy and friendly, but their food is always so fresh and tasty. Spice level is customizable.” –Nate, Brighton

All of the best Thai food spots in 2022, according to readers: