11 Best Thai Places in Philly
The city of Brotherly Love is known for its unique cuisine. Here, locals nosh on TastyKakes, cheesesteaks (wit wiz), and soft pretzels. But did you know that Philly has a thriving Thai food scene? From Rittenhouse to Chinatown, there are plenty of delicious spots for Thai cuisine.
As a food blogger, I’ve tried my fair share of Green Curry, Tom Kha soup, and Pad See Ew. In this article, I’ll share some popular Thai places along with my favorite underrated gems.
Ahead, you’ll find unexpected surprises, including Drag Queen Happy Hour, vegan-friendly spots, homemade ice cream, escargot curry, and plenty of BYOBs!
Must-Try Thai Spots in Philadelphia
- Kalaya Thai Kitchen
- Chatayee Thai
- JJ Thai Cuisine
- Jasmine Rice Rittenhouse
- Chabaa Thai Bistro
- Xiandu Thai Fusion Cuisine
- Circles Thai
- Trio BYOB
- White Elephant Restaurant
- Little Thai Market
Kalaya Thai Kitchen
764 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Craig LaBan (food critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer) called Kalaya’s dishes “more compelling than any others I’ve tasted at Thai restaurants in Philadelphia before”. Don’t believe the hype? Food & Wine named Kalaya one of their Best New Restaurants of 2020. Still not convinced? Kalaya was nominated for an esteemed James Beard Award in 2020, as well.
When you go, be ready for show-stopping flavors from chef Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, who learned how to cook Southern Thai dishes from her mother. Try the Tom Yum soup, with fresh giant shrimp, mushrooms, and barramundi. Or check out the Instagram-famous Shaw Muang, blue dumplings shaped like beautiful flowers!
Address: 1227 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
If you’re vegan, a lover of drag queens, or a happy hour aficionado, this is the place for you! In addition to a classic menu full of traditional Thai dishes, Chatayee has a whole vegan menu with tofu and veggie options.
Chatayee is also one of the few Thai restaurants in Philly to offer Happy Hour specials. Menu highlights include $5 Massaman curry (pumpkin, potato, cauliflower, carrot, onion, yellow curry, roasted peanuts with a thin crust flatbread) and $3 spring rolls (with shrimp, mushrooms, cabbage, sweet chilli sauce). Drinks include $3 featured draft, $5 house wines, and $8 cocktails.
If food and drinks aren’t enough for you, Chatayee hosts a weekly event on Mondays called Sidewalk Showgirls. As you dine, drag queens, comedians, and other performers entertain you along the sidewalk. There’s no cover charge, either. Sign me up for dinner and a show!
JJ Thai Cuisine
2028 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Into sophisticated Thai-French fusion? JJ might be the place for you. Chef Jub Jang serves an eclectic mix of cuisines, with items like escargot, lamb lollipops, steak au poivre joining more traditional dishes like drunken noodles and pad thai.
Not in the mood to go out to eat? JJ offers take out and delivery. If you do choose to change out of your sweatpants and go in person, JJ is a BYOB restaurant. They also have a cute outdoor seating area with umbrellas and lots of potted plants. JJ is located on Chestnut Street, so it’s perfect for some downtown people-watching.
Jasmine Rice Rittenhouse
306 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
You can’t get a better location in Philly than Rittenhouse. This neighborhood in Center City West borders the iconic Rittenhouse Square, as well as rows of gorgeous brick homes that I can’t afford. The next time you’re meandering through the area, stop by Jasmine Rice for their lunch menu. Here, you can try lemongrass soup with white mushrooms and fresh lime for just $6.
If you’re a fan of seafood, stop by for the dinner menu, which features specialties like the Thai Fisherman Delight, which includes “Jumbo shrimp, calamari and mussels in tangy massaman curry coconut sauce with soft yellow noodles”.
Hosting a private party? Jasmine offers party and wedding reception services, as well as catering for events.
Chabaa Thai Bistro
4343 Main St, Philadelphia, PA 19127
Want a meal by the 2019 Winner of Best Chef Manayunk? Located right on the bustling Main Street of Manyunk, Chabaa is a great BYOB for date night. Chabaa’s decor is modern but homey, with wooden booths and a geometric ceiling.
Parking around this area can be challenging, but luckily Chabaa is right by the Manayunk Regional rail station. If you do choose to pick up an order, they currently have curbside parking for take-out.
Start your night at Chabaa by ordering an appetizer sampler with crispy spring rolls, chicken dumplings, fried tofu, chicken satay; Thai sweet chili sauce, and ground roasted peanuts. Next, try a special from the chef’s seasonal menu. End your night with a stroll by the Manayunk Towpath.
Xiandu Thai Fusion Cuisine
1119 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
If you’re afraid of spices, this might be the Thai food experience for you. Xiandu offers to tone down the spice for people who can’t handle the heat of traditional Thai dishes.
If it’s always 5 o’clock for you, Xiandu offers plenty of wines, beers, and “Asian-inspired” cocktails. If you’re gluten-free, you’ll be happy to see plenty of GF options on the menu.
Trying to become a food influencer? With trendy orange walls and cute cut-outs in the white chairs, this place is perfect for a sneaky Boomerang of you holding a cocktail.
534 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
This hidden gem is the cutest, greenest restaurant located on South Street. (Just look for the green place on the corner.) It’s the perfect place to get a bowl of Tom Kha soup with your friends. It’s right by the Lombard-South Broad Street Line stop, so it’s very accessible by public transportation.
Sawatdee is close to all the theaters on Avenue of the Arts, so it’s a great place to go for dinner before a show at the Kimmel Center or the Academy of Music.
Salad-lover? Sawatdee offers seven different salads, from Yum-Neua-Yang salad with grilled flank steak to Yum-Talay salad with squid and mussels.
812 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Circles Thai is a three-time winner of Philly Magazine’s award for Best Thai Restaurant. I’m a big fan of their General Thai Chicken, which comes with pineapple, bell peppers, and onions. An interesting menu item is the Fried S’more Banana Spring Roll.
Vegetarians, fear not. You can substitute seitan or tofu for any meat on the menu.
Lunch specials start at $7.50! My wallet approves. Circles is known as a great take-out option, so it’s perfect to order while bingeing the Bachelorette on Monday nights.
2601 Pennsylvania Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Cool things about TRIO BYOB:
- It’s a BYOB, obviously.
- It’s a block away from the Philadelphia Art Museum. Cultured, much?
- They have a cute outdoor deck
- They make HOMEMADE ICE CREAM.
What else could you need? They even have a newsletter called the Trio Tribune where you can get special coupons, deals, and news on specials. Sign me up, ASAP.
Follow @triobyob on Instagram to get the inside scoop on the latest sweets that they are baking. Recent treats include Key Lime Pie and Pumpkin Cheesecake.
White Elephant Restaurant
759 Huntingdon Pike, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Phone: (215) 663-1495
No lie, White Elephant was my go-to takeout place for the entirety of 2020. Their Green Curry absolutely saved me from many boring months of quarantine and working from home. It always arrived piping hot, accompanied by soft jasmine rice.
White Elephant is about half an hour from Center City, so you might want to order this one for takeout. If you happen to go in person, don’t be fooled by the drab exterior. The coconut soup here is so comforting and tangy.
Little Thai Market
51 N 12th St #39, Philadelphia, PA 19107
You haven’t really experienced Philadelphia until you’ve ventured inside Reading Terminal Market. One of America’s first markets, this place is a national historic landmark filled with iconic spots to eat. Hidden inside is the Little Thai Market, which always has a line at peak hours, due to its popularity.
Little Thai market is known for its Salmon Curry and Basil Chicken. If you’re an eager home cook and want to create their dishes at home, you can grab jars of their curry sauce, along with hard-to-find ingredients like galangal and special fish sauce.
Whether you’re looking for a chic, award-winning experience at Kalaya, or an outdoor night out on Trio’s patio, you can’t go wrong with the Philadelphia Thai food scene.
Not into Thai food? Check out this article about the best BYOBs in Philly and stay on the lookout for upcoming articles from me!
Did we leave out one of your favorite Thai restaurants? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll check it out!