Sawadee, guys! Thai food makes the world—and, in particular, Auckland—a better place. From table-bending banquets to pants-less takeaways, the gastronomic delights of Thai food flourish across the dining spectrum.
Feel like bringing your own tipple? Absolutely. Want to celebrate with a fancy crew? Right this way. Fancy getting your pad Thai delivered so you can scoff the whole thing on your couch? No problem. Thai food really is the people’s food.
Lucky for us JAFAs there’s a fair few Thairiffic eateries in Auckland-town. So, without further ado, here are Auckland’s best Thai restaurants.
Plating up some of the best Thai in Auckland is MooChowChow. And, with chef Che Barrington at the helm of the Ponsonby restaurant, it’s no wonder it’s good—he’s also the mastermind behind The Blue Breeze Inn, Chop Chop and Woodpecker Hill. We’re particularly fond of Moo’s caramelised pork hock and red curry with beef cheek. If you’re game enough to brave the steepest stairs in Auckland—and, trust us, it’s worth it—you’ll come across MooChowChow’s private dining room. Invite your squad and spend the night feasting on a banquet menu.
You get more bang(kok) for your buck at @Bangkok. The friendly Thai local dishes up your fave dishes around the $15 mark. They’re renown for a bad ass pad Thai and their ‘ugly roti’ is just the way we like it—crispy, flaky and oh-so delicious. @Bangkok is located just down the road from Glengarry, which is particularly convenient considering they offer BYO. Better living, everybody.
Another Ponsonby restaurant worthy of a mention is Saan. While dark and dingy restaurants are all too common when it comes to Thai cuisine, Saan is quite the opposite—here you’ll find a cream colour palette and large, floor-to-ceiling windows welcoming in the daylight. Interior aside, the food is divine. Think picked crab with spicy green papaya salad and chargrilled chicken rubbed with Thai spices and lemongrass. Don’t leave without trying their moreish pork crackling.
Sunflower Thai Vegetarian Restaurant
Catering to the vegetarians amongst us is Sunflower Thai Vegetarian Restaurant. Despite serving dishes with ‘chicken’, ‘duck’ and ‘pork’, the entire menu is vegetarian. Say whaaat? The answer, my friend, is tofu. Our go-to dish is their crispy ‘chicken’ with rice and veges but we can also vouch for their mammoth tofu pad Thai. The cheap and cheerful High Street joint brings delight to vegetarians and carnivores alike and is why it's on our list for best Thai food in Auckland.
If you’re all about authentic Thai street food, pop in to Thai Street in Wynyard Quarter. There’s no such thing as ‘Thai fusion’ or ‘Thai with a twist’ here. Instead, you’ll find your fave street food: chicken satay skewers, jumbo banana prawns, massaman beef curry and ye ol’ faithful spicy chicken larb. Thai Street also dish up the best green curry in town (big call, we know).
Joy Bong Thai
Bringing joy to K Road is Joy Bong. The Thai restaurant is a popular BYO spot, catering up to 60 people. While we realise a lot of BYO spots can be terrible and tacky, Joy Bong is far from being either of the two. Here you’ll find cosy booths, a wine cellar and—of course—delish Thai eats. Start with a mixed appetisers starring all the classics (a spring roll, money bag, curry puff and satay chicken), then get amongst the crispy chicken with tamarind sauce and veges. Don’t pass on dessert because their banana fritters are not to be missed.
Grey Lynn, Mt Eden
While going out is fun and games when you feel like it, sometimes you just CBF. Don’t worry, we understand—and so do Soul Thai. Here they whip up restaurant-quality Thai dishes and deliver them fresh and fast to your front door. We’re talking pork and prawn bread triangles, BBQ prawns, ginger chicken and more vegetarian dishes than you can poke a stick at. Forget Netflix and chill, come Saturday night we’re all about Netflix and Thai.
Tucked away behind the Parnell shops you’ll find Blue Elephant. This hidden gem serves some of the best Thai food in Auckland. The extensive menu features all the classics as well as some more innovative dishes such as deep-fried salmon served on a bed of steamed beans, carrot and courgette, topped with flavoursome red curry. Enjoy a table for two at the cosy restaurant or round up the troops and opt for a banquet dinner.
Secret Thai Garden
The secret’s out: Secret Thai Garden do some of the best Thai food in Auckland. Located in Otahuhu, the restaurant is a bit off the beaten track—but let us assure you that the trip is absolutely worth it. The décor of the garden restaurant will have you questioning whether you’re in South Auckland or if you’ve been magically transported to Chiang Mai. Think fairy lights, beautiful archways, wooden furnishings and plenty of Buddhas!
Pla Thong Thai
Great customer service makes our toes curl with happiness and your toes will be well and truly curled at Pla Thong Thai in Mt Eden. The friendly folk are nothing but smiles as they serve up some of the best panang curry in town. And, if you’re all about your snapper, Pla Thong is the place to be. They have four whole snapper offerings including one deliciously flavoured with garlic, basil, chilli and chicken mince.
Mai Thai restaurant is a little bit special! The food here is so good that the restaurant was host to the Thai Prime Minister and has even received an International Thai Brand certificate for producing the finest quality Thai food. Not to mention, it’s one of the biggest Thai restaurants in the country being able to seat up to 160 patrons! Their menu is to die for with so many scrummy dishes to choose from and if you just can’t decide then they’ve got a set menu option where you can get a taste of a full course. It’s all about the options people!
Prefer Italian food? What are you doing reading this? Check out Auckland’s Best Italian Restaurants.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews at Saan