Where to find the best Pad Thai in Bangkok is likely one of the most heavily disputed topics in the local culinary scene.
There are those who say that you can’t name and shame a list of the ‘best’ Pad Thai dishes in the city because such a thing doesn’t exist. There are those who claim that it exists everywhere. There are those that will list out directions rather than place names (“corner of Narathiwas 24, Sukhumvit 12, 22, or Soi Bearing”), because they know street food stalls reign supreme here. And then there are those who are lost, hungry, and just simply in search of a little guidance in the field.
Our roundup — we’re sure you’ve guessed it — caters to the latter group.
Love it or hate it, Pad Thai is one of the most popular and well-known dishes in Thai cuisine. The tourists love it. A lot of locals (even if they don’t always openly say so) love it. And in general, it is a dish that is not hard to find in Bangkok at all.
But where should you begin if you wanted to suss out some of the city’s most recommended? Here, we’ve provided a rough guide of household names that are easy for the uninitiated to start with, and even for the fully initiated to enjoy.
Consider it a starting point or a fail-safe list to bookmark, with a variety of options that cater to different tastes. Celebrity chef Pad Thai? Natural wine pairing for your Pad Thai? Vegetarian options? They’ve got it all. You can fight us on this list, but Pad Thai is for everyone.
(Hero and featured image credit: Baan Phad Thai)
Where to really find the best Pad Thai in Bangkok
Definitely the most mainstream, the most well-known, and arguably the most legendary of all Pad Thai spots in Bangkok, Thipsamai is an institution. It’s really, really famous for its Pad Thai, claiming to be the oldest Pad Thai restaurant in the country (a reputation that goes back before World War II). These days, beyond the massive queues, you can find a varied and classic menu here, including classic, vegetarian, and shrimp Pad Thai, as well as ‘Pad Thai Song Krung’ made with fresh deep sea prawns, crabmeat, sliced squid, and sliced mango. They even sell ready-to-cook Pad Thai sauce and cooking kits for diners to take back.
Pad Thai Fai Ta Lu
Boasting a Michelin Bib Gourmand mention four years in a row now, most Bangkok foodies will agree that Pad Thai Fai Ta Lu is the city’s best Pad Thai joint. The brainchild of celebrity chef Andy Yang, the dishes here are classic, prepared with top-notch quality ingredients, and satisfying even to the snobbish city dweller. Homemade rice noodles, organic duck eggs, and Berkshire pork (you may know it as Kurobuta) are the stars of the game here, with chargrilled pork neck, crispy pork belly, and massive grilled prawns completing each dish. Luckily, beyond Dinsor Road, you can now also find Andy Yang’s Pad Thai at Siam Square Soi 10 and Mahanakhon CUBE, too.
Baan Phad Thai
Baan Phad Thai translates quite literally to “house of Pad Thai.” It is located in charming Charoenkrung, and helmed by Michelin-starred Saawaan’s leading lady Chef Aom. Made with a secret 18-ingredient sauce, the Pad Thai here uses sen jan rice noodles, and features interesting toppings, include fresh blue Swimmer crab, grilled pork, and grilled chicken. The interiors here are decorated with antique Ayutthaya wood partitions, with nods to the olden days in the form of memorial paintings and photos on the walls. A fine setting for Pad Thai with equally satisfying dishes to suit.
Pad Thai Mae Am
Pad Thai Mae Am has been around for over 30 years, serving up a traditional Pad Thai made from local ingredients. Placed on a banana leaf and wrapped in egg, the Pad Thai here is a true classic, and much loved especially for its noodles. Located along Rama IV, come to Pad Thai Mae Am for the noodles, but definitely also stay for the desserts: they’ve got mango and durian sticky rice, just to name a few.
Pad Thai Aree
For when you seek convenience, stop by Pad Thai Aree and check out their interesting Pad Thai menu. They’ve got vegetarian, chicken, and shrimp options, but also a whole host of other toppings to pair with your noodles, too. These include crispy wonton, fried mussel pancakes, and even oyster omelette, for a very unique rendition of the classic Thai dish. Something for those with an adventurous palate, or just craving something different.
Mayrai Pad Thai Wine Bar
We’re ending our list with possibly the most stylish of the lot. Helmed by Le Du’s Chef Ton and his brother Tam, Mayrai Pad Thai Wine Bar specialises in Pad Thai and Khao Soi, alongside a massive selection of natural wines. Underneath the sultry red lights, enjoy your Pad Thai here with grilled pork jowl, wagyu beef, or ginormous river prawns. Mayrai has more recently also opened a second branch on Wireless Road, within Chef Ton’s other casual Thai eatery, Baan.