Friday Question of the Day – Where is your favorite Thai Restaurant?

1326 14th Street, NW

A bit specific but someone mentioned it in a rant/revel so I’m curious what more folks think – where is the best/your favorite Thai restaurant in DC? If super delicious – in the greater DC area?

109 Comment

  • Little Serow to be sure. Nothing in DC compares. All DC Thai is in competition for best utilitarian “Americanized” Thai food: pad thai, drunken noodles, tom yum etc.

    Dungrats in 7 Crnrs is great as is Ruan in Wheaton.

    • I agree. Outside upscale dining, the Thai scene in DC is pretty meh. So meh that you had to go all the way out to 7 corners and Wheaton, which aren’t even in DC.

      • Have you been to Zabver in Mt. Pleasant? It is the most authentic (and best) Thai food I have had in the area. It is the real deal… Fwiw, it is definitely no frills but man it is good.

        • This is absolutely not true. Zabver is a close second to Beau Thai in the Mt Pleasant area. Not even close to Bangkok Golden or Little Serow.

          • Pish posh… I agree to disagree with you — in my opinion, Zabver is much better (for food not ambience). To each his own of course but for god’s sake don’t use absolutes, paricularly when it comes to something as subjective as food. Have you ever seen Penn and Teller BS? It has several episodes where they poke significant holes in food criticism/culture. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

      • Thai Square on Columbia Pike in Arlington is really good.

    • Ruan Thai in Wheaton is definitely solid.

    • I lived in Boston for a few years and often cried because I missed DC thai food. If you think DC thai food is bad, please do not ever move to Boston. It’s horrifying.

    • I have always wanted to try Little Serow. I’m sure the food is delicious, but the thought of going there at 5pm to get a spot in line always makes me choose somewhere else. Also, the Little Serow web site says “No flash photos or videos”, which always makes me laugh. (Is there expensive artwork on the walls? Will my food be moving around on the plate?) This just seems kind of pretentious to me. My favorites = Thai X-ing and Thip Khao. Both are welcoming and friendly with delicious food.

      • justinbc

        It’s not about the restaurant, they ask that ask a courtesy to other diners.

      • Knowing how to not take flash photos and having the courtesy to not shoot video in a private, close environment is basic common courtesy. The admonishment is for all the noobs who use their phones in a disruptive manner and have no idea what they are doing or enough self awareness to know it is 1) annoying and 2) unnecessary and easy to avoid.

        A hint: you don’t necessarily have to show up at 5:00 to get a table, depending on the day.

      • Justin is right but it’s funny that you ask that. It could not be more opposite. It’s basically like being in someone’s basement. Someone who also employs the best Thai chefs I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat from. It is hands down the best Thai food.

    • YO need to go to SOI 38 then. Thai street food. my fav and also outside dc Bangkok golden

  • That One Guy

    Thai Ghang Waan in Springfield was an awesome spot. It was the type of find you don’t share with people because you want to keep to yourself. Turns out that the original owners (as I knew them) sold the business recently. Food is still good but not the same. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still much better than just about any Thai restaurant I’ve tried in DC that I’ve tried.

    • I don’t think you have to worry about the majority of the people here running out to Springfield. Your secret is safe with you.

  • Fancy Thai – Little Serow is unbelievable.
    Not Fancy Thai – Thai Taste by Kob in Wheaton is fantastic.

  • Siam House in Cleveland Park. Excellent delivery.

    • Anonomnom

      Yesss! I definitely don’t think it would qualify as fancy thai, but I absolutely love Siam House. And its so cheap. Its not in the Little Serow / Thai Xing category, but still so good.

    • I went there for the first time last night, thought it was really good!

    • I used to do the lunch special at Siam House 2 or 3 times a week. Really good value, great food.

    • Absolutely Siam House. I lived on Porter St for a while and ordered from here often enough to have their number on speed dial.

      I moved outside their original delivery area but now I noticed they recently started showing up on some of the delivery websites which is awesome.

  • Serious question? Thai Xing – done. (Aroi Thai when I just want some take-out.)

    • i want to like aroi, i really do, but every single time it’s just so mediocre. if given a choice between ordering from them or beau thai (who still deliver to bdale in their new location) i just can’t see why i’d choose aroi.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        I think Aroi is way better than Beau Thai. I have heard the quality of the new Thai X-ing has gone downhill, but I haven’t been. If cost is not an issue, it would def. be Little Serow or Thai X-ing.

      • I completely agree that Aroi Thai is nothing special – serviceable take-out when you’re lazy – but it’s absolutely better than the new Beau Thai location on 7th. I’ve ordered delivery from there a couple of times recently and it was mediocre at best. We ordered quite a bit if food and everyone agreed in the quality.

    • I went to Thai X-ing (original location) for the first time last weekend and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had!

  • Thip khao. Which replaced thaitanic 2 in the allegro building? From worst Thai to best. Also they actually have beer that pairs with Thai food and is offered cheaper than anywhere else in the city.

    • Err – Thip Khao is not a Thai restaurant.

    • Laotian (which is sorta similar to northern Thai food…??). Went there a few weeks ago, and the food is fantastic – so is the service although there’s definitely a bit of a language barrier (unless you speak Laotian). There’re two menus…one that seems to cater a little more the typical American palette, and one that has more “adventuresome” items like chicken heart and pig intestine.

      • justinbc

        I’ve had zero communication issues there. What type of language barrier do you mean?

        • Our server had very limited command of English, so the barrier that presents. Doesn’t matter though since we ended up with a sampler of dishes – all of which were fantastic. Have no idea what was what, but it was all delicious.

          • The menu is clear about ingredients in the dishes, so it didn’t have to be a mystery. Maybe ask to keep the menu handy for reference? That is exactly what I did at Thip Khao last night.

            As others have noted, the food is Laotian but has similarities to northern Thai. Little Serow and Thip Khao are my two favorites for authentic, spicy fare from that part of the world.

          • TJ, I was looking for more information about the dishes than the basic menu description, hence the rationale for talking with waiter. Anyways, the language barrier is really not the main point of my comment (though you seem to have really latched on to that part of my comment for some reason) – the main point is the food at Thip Khao is delicious.

      • The people who live in NE Thailand (Isaan) are Lao. They were forcibly settled there and in pockets elsewhere in Thailand after Thailand annexed Laos. the Lao were slaves (as were most Thai at that time) but they’ve always been second class citizens. Lao food has been incorporated into the diet of the Thai. Som tam (which is usually horrible in the DC area and most places) is popular lunch and drinking food. Lao bbq chicken is another lunch favorite and beats anything that a US chain delivers, and bbq catfish is even better.

        Some things are Lao,. Others could best be described as Lao inspired.The same could be said for Little Serow, which claims Isaan (ethnic Lao region of Thailand) roots.

        BTW–no communication probs for me at Thaip Khao. Did you ask for help with this?

      • I’ve never had a communication problem there. And I do love it, particularly some of the jungle menu dishes (at least this that aren’t too spicy for me – not for the faint of heart).

  • Beau Thai, DUH!

    • Best pun name and great food.

      • I actually prefer Thai Tanic, both as a pun name and frankly for the food. I tend to order the same thing from any Thai place and for that particular dish, Thai Tanic has been the most consistently good. Beau Thai probably a close second. This is for delivery. For actually sitting down and considering atmosphere, Beau Thai moves ahead for me. I have had some difficulty with Beau Thai when it comes to delivery, often being told they are too busy and the kitchen is too backed up to take an order. Good for them, but that kind of inconsistency makes me call other places first for delivery.

  • I really like Siam House in Cleveland Park. (I haven’t sampled enough places, citywide, to proclaim them the best.)

  • This is easy. Little Serow.

    • Is it possible to have Little Serow without it being super spicy? That’s been my hesitation.

      • justinbc

        It varies as the menu changes, but generally leans towards more spicy than other places. You can certainly request that they tone it down for you, just judge it accordingly knowing that you’ve also stripped out some of the flavor that accompanies the heat.

      • It’s my understanding that, at Little Serow, it’s the Thai way or the highway with the food . Vegetarians, and capsaicinophobes need not apply.

        I’ve personally not found it to be particularly brutal, but I suppose I have a relatively high tolerance/preference. I guess I’m just looking for a true Homer Simpson experience.

  • Navi Thai in Wheaton when I really want to make the effort for something special. Otherwise dumbed down “Americanized” thai is just fine with me. Give me a plate of drunken noodles from Thaitanic and I am one fat happy camper.

    • Nava Thai is the most genuine IMHO. They also have authentic items like floating market noodle soup on the menu. Also, the grocery store connected to Bangkok 54 has more traditional prepared food for sale that reminds me of food my mom cooks!

  • for just a solid weeknight delivery option, beau thai, all the way. i’ve been ordering from them from day one, and have probably had everything on the menu.

    i will say i haven’t been to little serow which is a huge oversight for a thai fan, but my favorite in the area is definitely thai taste by kob in wheaton. i work in silver spring so getting there isn’t a stretch for me, but it’s RIGHT next to the metro for anyone who wants to pay them a visit. it’s awesome. i tried baan thai the other week and i had a few of the dishes i usually get at thai kob – they were good, but not AS good. although at baan, there was a kick ass eggplant salad.

  • Teakwood on 14th! Bonus that they will gladly prepare it GF. I don’t get sick and my friends love the place too.

    • I work down the street from Teak Wood and always marvel how that place stays open. I don’t think I’ve seen more than 8 people in there at any one time.

      • They seem to do pretty good takeout business. The empitness may be a bit of an illusion has it is one of the biggest spaces on all of 14th Street. 10 diners in Thaitanic makes it look half-filled. Teakwood is OK, just way overpriced.

  • justinbc

    Best? I would say Little Serow, although it’s not the type of Thai that most people think of. Thai X-ing from 4 to 5 years ago was by far the best “traditional” Thai food in DC, but their quality declined significantly once they began expanding and microwaving food. There is very little discernible difference between the other typical Thai restaurants in DC, although I’ve yet to try Soi 38 as the initial impressions came back rather flat. I still think it holds some promise though. I think Kruba and Teakwood are both “OK”, but not great. Rice is awful, only mentioning them because it’s probably the worst Thai I’ve had in DC and ironically the most expensive. There’s a very good place down in Alexandria called Sam Phao Thai Cuisine which has one of the best lunch specials in the whole area (crispy duck is A+). Top Thai Restaurant in Crystal City used to be outstanding (formerly best drunken noodles in the area), but their quality has diminished a good bit as well. Thai Orchid’s Kitchen in Anacostia does pretty decent delivery and has a big delivery radius. I will say the Thai style dishes at Doi Moi are great, but it’s hardly classified as a Thai restaurant. I’ve not been to Beau Thai since they moved locations, so I don’t want to comment on them.

    • I was thoroughly unimpressed with my food at Doi Moi (same goes with the cocktails I tried there). It wasn’t bad, but it was completely unremarkable. Maybe the kitchen had an off night, so I’ll give this place another shot. I have yet to try Little Serow but want to ( though the outside line wait is off-putting).

      • justinbc

        Very possible, I haven’t been in a couple months and the menu changes a good bit. I wasn’t really impressed with the cocktails there either, from a pure drinking point of view, but I did find them very unique and at least complementary to the dishes.

  • How has nobody mentioned Baan Thai– which is on the picture. Their food is way more authentic thai than beau thai for a quick takeout option (albeit pprices run from 10-15 so SLIGHTLY more expensive than usual takeout thai options).

    • justinbc

      Someone did mention them. I’m guessing not as many have because it’s a relatively new operation and is still going through rebranding.

      • Isn’t Baan Thai simply the thai sushi bar owned by Thai Tanic. I didn’t think they were rebranding so much as just adding to the Thai Tanic concept by expanding into sushi?

        • It used to be the sushi concept, but they started doing authentic Thai dishes and have rebranded.

    • I just went there for the first time last week, and immediately went back for takeout for lunch the next day. So good, and the papaya salad was spicy and delicious (that’s normally the dish that sells me on a place if they have it). I don’t care that I spend $20+ on lunch for myself because, god damn. Maybe it’s in order again today…

  • The one in your photo (upstairs).

  • I really like Beau Thai in Mt Pleasant. I have no idea if it’s authentic or not, but I always enjoy their food.

  • Siam House in Cleveland Park

  • Ruan Thai, although my last visit wasn’t up to their usual standard
    Little Serow
    Thip Khao

    FWIW, Every place that’s been recommended to me in NoVa as authentic has been a disappointment

    ThaiXing has had obviously weak ingredients for a long time

  • Hands down…Bangkok 54

    • Yes! I love this place. Worth the trip to Arlington!

    • They say they are “contemporary Thai”, whatever that means, I prefer Thai Square right down the street for most of the traditional Thai dishes, especially curry – it’s actually spicy there. Bangkok has a nicer dining room though and they’ll mix a better cocktail.

    • Yes and yes – Bangkok 54 is my favorite in the area!

  • Beau Thai Mt. P!

  • This really is 2 different questions – favorite, and best. Favorite is open to interpretation, and everyone gets to pick their own (though usually there is a “best” component to it). Best is more of an objective standard, and it’s hard to see how anything beats Little Serow – when you have a 4 star chef, with all the resources from his mother ship restaurant, preparing the food, that’s a high bar to clear. That said, I only eat there 3-4 times a year, because of the wait/hassle – we’re much more often eating at/getting takeout from Beau Thai or Zabver, both of which are more than adequate.

  • Glad to see so many people loving Little Serrow and Bangkok Golden but just to clarify, this is actually LAO food, and not Thai. Little Serrow claims to be northern Thai but it’s heavily Lao influenced. Bangkok Golden and Thip Kaho are exclusively Lao.

    • Bangkok Golden has a Thai and a Lao menu.

    • Nope, Bangkok Golden originally started out as a Thai restaurant. People started asking the chef to create Lao dishes so now they have two separate menus – a Thai menu and a Lao menu.

  • Thai Tanic
    1326 14th Street, NW

  • Definitely Little Serow, though the wait makes it hardly an everyday spot.

    For everyday Thai, Baan Thai. Or I prepare it myself. After years of terrible Thai food in DC I just decided to learn to make it myself.

    Thip Khao is indeed amazing, and could be described as Thai as NE Thailand shares many cultural similarities to Laos, including the cuisine.

  • I lived in Thailand for 3 years, traveled/visited/lived all over the country and speak fluent Thai. My favorite cuisine is Thai (though Lao is a very close second) and I even worked in a restaurant in Thailand for a while (I traded my labor for the owner’s cooking lessons – we were good friends).

    With those credentials, people often ask me what the best Thai restaurant in DC is. My answer always is… it depends.

    Top Thai on 23rd St. in Crystal City makes the best rice soup I’ve had in the US but Urban Thai (just down the block) tends to be a smidgen better overall. Kruba Thai in Navy Yard has amazing curries but their Pad Thai is “tamada” (nothing special). Little Serow is really, really awesome but it is not authentic – I’d say it’s heavily Thai-inspired but not authentic Thai food. Thai X-ing is probably the best “down home” Thai food in DC but Bangkok Golden is amazing Issan/Lao food.

    I could go on and on. The bottom line is that there are a lot of great Thai restaurants in DC and that is one reason I choose to live here but none of them sticks out as “the best”.

    Oh, and since no one in DC offers “jok” (savory rice porridge) on their menu, I provide here as a public service the best/most authentic jok recipe I have found:

    Chok dee na kap!

  • I know this isn’t what people think of when the talk about the authentic, but I want to know who has the best drunken noodle in the area. I visited here ten years ago and had it for the first time at some place in NoVa. It was incredible. I’ve been trying to find one as good ever since and can’t. (Mostly in other places. Only been in DC area for six months.). Can you guys help me out?

    • The drunken noodles at Dungrat’s are very good. Could that be the place you went to ten years ago? It’s in a horrible location but the food is great.

    • Drunken noodles are my go-to dish. Regent Thai, 18th just north of Florida, and Typhoon Thai, Pentagon City and DuPont Circle locations, are both excellent.

      Dungrat’s has gone way down hill since their heyday. They won a lot of awards in the late 90s and early 00s but nothing since ’03 or maybe ’06. I started going in ’09 and was not impressed. His sister has a restaurant down the street that I thought was better. Forget what it is called but its next to a matress store.

  • nightborn

    If craving Thai in DC, I’ll settle for Beau Thai in Shaw. They are the only place in DC who actually listen to me when I ask them to make my meal spicy.

    My preferred Thai restaurant is actually not in DC – it’s Bangkok Garden in downtown Bethesda.

  • I haven’t been to Thailand or Little Serow yet, but for a neighborhood joint, I love The Regent. Good food and such nice people.

    • +1 on Regent. Granted, it gets extra points for being 2 blocks away from home (resulting in a 10-15 minute delivery time when I’m feeling extra lazy), but I’ve really enjoyed their food. I think they also own Teakwood since sometimes the takeout/delivery bag will have their name on it instead of Regent.
      I’ll have to try Beau Thai, and really do want to try Baan.

  • Beau Thai is my favorite because it’s my go-to neighborhood joint. Interested in checking out what they’re doing with the old New Jersey Ave. location.

  • I loved old Thai X-ing. Teakwood and Thai-phoone are actually good too.
    Don’t like Beau Thai at all. The food is average at best and when you call for delivery it’s impossible to get somebody on the phone. Dining in the drinks are also expensive and weak.

  • Bangkok 54 in Arlington, but not so much for the restaurant, which is fine, but for their market, including the prepared meals. You can find lots of dishes there that don’t show up on their menu. If you’re not Thai, the staff will often check to make sure that you know what you’re getting into–these dishes tend to be less Americanized. You’ll find a lot more fish sauce and sour ingredients, for example.

  • I haven’t been to them all (not Little Serrow, Mango Treet, Baan Thai, etc.), but my favorite is Thai X-ing. For every day lower key Thai, I love Beau Thai in Mt. Pleasant.

  • SanPhan Thai at Eastern Market is awesome.

  • So many options it’s hard to choose.
    But I do have a few old favorites where I feel the love in the kitchen and keep going back:
    DC Noodles, Rice, Regent, Beau Thai

  • Welll….based on some of the comments this may be too lowbrow for this crowd but my favs for delivery and dining are Asia 9 and Teakwood…the latter has especially speedy delivery, but that may have more to do with the fact I leave about 5 blocks away. Also, my roomate is half Thai and she approves of both of these.

  • Thai Shirlington in Shirlington Village (South Arlington) is so affordable and everything I’ve had is tasty. I really enjoy their Green Curry and Chicken Basil. Not always easy to get to but well worth the trip.

  • RICE hands down for takeout at mid-range price. The rest of the Thai places are pretty typical but RICE definitely steps up the quality. I’ve converted lots of former Thaitanic and BeauThai enthusiasts because RICE is similarly priced but worlds better. That being said, yes I know that it’s not authentic. I don’t care. It’s good.

  • Beau Thai Shaw without a doubt. We eat there at least once a week and love those Drunken Noodles.

  • Absolute Thai in Chinatown by the Verizon center

  • A former thailand expat here- I’m surprised no one has said Elephant Jumps out in Arlington by the beltway.

  • Thai Orchard’s Kitchen at 2314 Pennsylvania Ave SE DC
    One of the best kept secret in Southeast DC!

  • I’m surprised no one has mentioned SOI 38, downtown DC. SOI 38 just had the smithsonian associates dinner serving authentic street Thai in a upscale atmosphere. The drink menu is awesome too. SOI 38 name is from a famous road in Thailand of just excelent street food.

  • Thaibox. Lorton.

  • Baan Thai for sure.

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