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Ruth Tobias

Denver’s 10 Essential Thai Restaurants Right Now

Where to go for — and beyond — pad Thai

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For decades, Thai dining in greater Denver has been a modest affair, with few restaurants pulling away from the pack of neighborhood stalwarts peddling more-or-less interchangeable menus to offer something qualitatively different. But it doesn’t take much of a rising tide to lift all boats, and the arrival of a few more diverse options in recent years has given the whole scene a refresh.

From sentimental old favorites to intriguing newcomers (listed geographically from north to south), here are 10 spots worth the drive (in some cases) and the wait (in others).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Aloy Modern Thai

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2134 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 379-9759
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Run by two sisters whose mother owns the original Aloy Thai in Boulder, this relatively upscale Ballpark spinoff earns its spot on the list with a menu that takes more chef-driven, contemporary twists and turns than most. Small plates like the crunchy golden corn fritters, earthy alligator nuggets in black-pepper sauce, and honey-drizzled deep-fried Brie with fresh green apple and sweet-potato chips blatantly — and enjoyably — buck tradition, while atypical ingredients such as lamb chops, kumquat, green peppercorns, and fresh grapes make their way into entrees that include a snazzy pineapple fried rice. 

A dish from Aloy Modern Thai Ruth Tobias

2. US THAI CAFE

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5228 W 25th Ave
Edgewater, CO 80214
(303) 233-3345

The masochists who’ve saddled this Edgewater fixture with the reputation of a torture chamber frankly miss the point of Thai cuisine, which is all about balance. Though the kitchen freely obliges those who insist on ordering everything “Thai hot” (read: “showoff hot”), it rewards those who request medium-spicy or even mild versions of the classics comprising its menu with a much more satisfying meal. Curries are especially strong. 

A dish from US THAI CAFE Ruth Tobias

3. Liang's Thai Food

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407-445 16th St Mall
Denver, CO 80202

Standing in the endless line at this cart on the 16th Street Mall counts as an item on any Denver food lover’s bucket list. Are the noodles, curries, and stir-fries cooked to order in a kitchen the size of a hall closet really that good, or does the wait — which can be longer than an hour — just whet the appetite that much? There’s only one way to find out, and it’s a local’s rite of passage.

Ruth Tobias

4. 9 Thai Restaurant

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4122 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80220
(303) 658-0751
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Housed in a snug, eco-chic storefront on East Colfax, this little standout excels at dishes that don’t otherwise get much play in this town. Must-try cases in point include khao mun gai, Thailand’s answer to Hainanese chicken rice, as well as rich and piquant noodle soups like northern Thai khao soi, featuring whole chicken legs braised in yellow curry, and tom yum noodles chock-full of fish balls and ground pork as well as sliced pork roll and boiled egg.  

A dish from 9 Thai Restaurant Ruth Tobias

5. Farmhouse Thai Eatery

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98 Wadsworth Blvd #117
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 237-2475
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This instant hit in Lakewood comes by its buzz honestly, with a family-run kitchen that honors fresh ingredients, preparing them with clarity and gusto. Delicately fried tofu, with its creamy interior and lightly sweet, peanut-topped chili sauce, may be the best in town; the rice-noodle soup called yen ta fo, brimming with seafood and kale in a fiery red bean–paste broth, hurts too good to stop slurping. A few surprises from Laos and Burma await here too, including the fabulous tea-leaf salad, which is tossed tableside. 

A dish from Farmhouse Thai Eatery Ruth Tobias

6. J's Noodles Star Thai

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945 S Federal Blvd # E
Denver, CO 80219
(303) 922-5495
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Go funky with soy, fish sauce, and chili paste or go home at this Federal Boulevard standby, whose regulars swear by the country pad Thai; deep, dark pad see ew; and tangy, smoky prik pow. The tom kha, buoyant with mushrooms and citrusy herbs in a coconut-milk broth, is another crowd favorite. 

A dish from J’s Noodle Star Thai Ruth Tobias

7. Thai Flavor Restaurant

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1014 S Peoria St
Aurora, CO 80012
(720) 859-7648
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This longtime Aurora strip-mall tenant is the quintessential hidden gem, inexplicably overlooked by too many people despite its proven ability to rock the staples while sprinkling all sorts of unexpected delights throughout its large menu. Crispy omelets are a highlight, whether set atop a vibrant grilled-eggplant salad tossed with shrimp or filled with fried pork and leeks, accompanied by a pungent chili sauce; so are lemongrass- and basil-steamed mussels.

A dish from Thai Flavor Restaurant Ruth Tobias

8. SUVIPA Thai Food

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1015 S Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80219
(720) 379-6038
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One word: puffs. Whether stuffed with curried potatoes and onions or sweet mashed taro, the flaky housemade pastries alone warrant a trip here. But this Federal Boulevard hideaway also delivers one of the lightest, brightest, prettiest green curries around as well as a lusty pad makeua with eggplant and potato in the Thai equivalent of gravy. 

A pastry from SUVIPA Thai Food Ruth Tobias

9. Taste of Thailand

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2120 S Broadway Unit J
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 762-9112
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The owners of this Rosedale charmer — which operated in Englewood for 20 years before the relocation — incorporate produce and herbs from their own garden into their dishes, which is reason enough to start with a colorful salad like the yum ta lay or the miang kham, a vibrant northern Thai dish rarely seen in these parts whose name translates to “leaf-wrapped bites,” namely of dried shrimp and coconut, peanuts, and veggies in lettuce. But in cooler weather, the flu-shot soup has a cult following: Bursting with ginger and herbs as well as chicken and wontons, it sure tastes like a cure for all that ails. 

A photo of a dish consisting of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, romaine lettuce and other vegetables from Taste of Thailand Ruth Tobias

10. Aung's Bangkok Cafe

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1225 E Hampden Ave
Englewood, CO 80113
(303) 806-9354
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On every table at this Englewood mainstay is a tent holder containing a heartwarming blurb about owner Aung Kyaw, a refugee of Burma by way of Thailand, and his dream-come-true of running a restaurant with his family by his side. The story adds an extra layer of comfort to the homestyle warmth of his repertoire — here’s the place to come for extra-saucy drunken noodles, pumpkin curry, fried catfish, and the soothing like. 

A dish from Aung’s Bangkok Cafe Ruth Tobias

1. Aloy Modern Thai

2134 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
A dish from Aloy Modern Thai Ruth Tobias

Run by two sisters whose mother owns the original Aloy Thai in Boulder, this relatively upscale Ballpark spinoff earns its spot on the list with a menu that takes more chef-driven, contemporary twists and turns than most. Small plates like the crunchy golden corn fritters, earthy alligator nuggets in black-pepper sauce, and honey-drizzled deep-fried Brie with fresh green apple and sweet-potato chips blatantly — and enjoyably — buck tradition, while atypical ingredients such as lamb chops, kumquat, green peppercorns, and fresh grapes make their way into entrees that include a snazzy pineapple fried rice. 

2134 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

2. US THAI CAFE

5228 W 25th Ave, Edgewater, CO 80214
A dish from US THAI CAFE Ruth Tobias

The masochists who’ve saddled this Edgewater fixture with the reputation of a torture chamber frankly miss the point of Thai cuisine, which is all about balance. Though the kitchen freely obliges those who insist on ordering everything “Thai hot” (read: “showoff hot”), it rewards those who request medium-spicy or even mild versions of the classics comprising its menu with a much more satisfying meal. Curries are especially strong. 

5228 W 25th Ave
Edgewater, CO 80214

3. Liang's Thai Food

407-445 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202
Ruth Tobias

Standing in the endless line at this cart on the 16th Street Mall counts as an item on any Denver food lover’s bucket list. Are the noodles, curries, and stir-fries cooked to order in a kitchen the size of a hall closet really that good, or does the wait — which can be longer than an hour — just whet the appetite that much? There’s only one way to find out, and it’s a local’s rite of passage.

407-445 16th St Mall
Denver, CO 80202

4. 9 Thai Restaurant

4122 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220
A dish from 9 Thai Restaurant Ruth Tobias

Housed in a snug, eco-chic storefront on East Colfax, this little standout excels at dishes that don’t otherwise get much play in this town. Must-try cases in point include khao mun gai, Thailand’s answer to Hainanese chicken rice, as well as rich and piquant noodle soups like northern Thai khao soi, featuring whole chicken legs braised in yellow curry, and tom yum noodles chock-full of fish balls and ground pork as well as sliced pork roll and boiled egg.  

4122 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80220

5. Farmhouse Thai Eatery

98 Wadsworth Blvd #117, Lakewood, CO 80226
A dish from Farmhouse Thai Eatery Ruth Tobias

This instant hit in Lakewood comes by its buzz honestly, with a family-run kitchen that honors fresh ingredients, preparing them with clarity and gusto. Delicately fried tofu, with its creamy interior and lightly sweet, peanut-topped chili sauce, may be the best in town; the rice-noodle soup called yen ta fo, brimming with seafood and kale in a fiery red bean–paste broth, hurts too good to stop slurping. A few surprises from Laos and Burma await here too, including the fabulous tea-leaf salad, which is tossed tableside. 

98 Wadsworth Blvd #117
Lakewood, CO 80226

6. J's Noodles Star Thai

945 S Federal Blvd # E, Denver, CO 80219
A dish from J’s Noodle Star Thai Ruth Tobias

Go funky with soy, fish sauce, and chili paste or go home at this Federal Boulevard standby, whose regulars swear by the country pad Thai; deep, dark pad see ew; and tangy, smoky prik pow. The tom kha, buoyant with mushrooms and citrusy herbs in a coconut-milk broth, is another crowd favorite. 

945 S Federal Blvd # E
Denver, CO 80219

7. Thai Flavor Restaurant

1014 S Peoria St, Aurora, CO 80012
A dish from Thai Flavor Restaurant Ruth Tobias

This longtime Aurora strip-mall tenant is the quintessential hidden gem, inexplicably overlooked by too many people despite its proven ability to rock the staples while sprinkling all sorts of unexpected delights throughout its large menu. Crispy omelets are a highlight, whether set atop a vibrant grilled-eggplant salad tossed with shrimp or filled with fried pork and leeks, accompanied by a pungent chili sauce; so are lemongrass- and basil-steamed mussels.

1014 S Peoria St
Aurora, CO 80012

8. SUVIPA Thai Food

1015 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219
A pastry from SUVIPA Thai Food Ruth Tobias

One word: puffs. Whether stuffed with curried potatoes and onions or sweet mashed taro, the flaky housemade pastries alone warrant a trip here. But this Federal Boulevard hideaway also delivers one of the lightest, brightest, prettiest green curries around as well as a lusty pad makeua with eggplant and potato in the Thai equivalent of gravy. 

1015 S Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80219

9. Taste of Thailand

2120 S Broadway Unit J, Denver, CO 80210
A photo of a dish consisting of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, romaine lettuce and other vegetables from Taste of Thailand Ruth Tobias

The owners of this Rosedale charmer — which operated in Englewood for 20 years before the relocation — incorporate produce and herbs from their own garden into their dishes, which is reason enough to start with a colorful salad like the yum ta lay or the miang kham, a vibrant northern Thai dish rarely seen in these parts whose name translates to “leaf-wrapped bites,” namely of dried shrimp and coconut, peanuts, and veggies in lettuce. But in cooler weather, the flu-shot soup has a cult following: Bursting with ginger and herbs as well as chicken and wontons, it sure tastes like a cure for all that ails. 

2120 S Broadway Unit J
Denver, CO 80210

10. Aung's Bangkok Cafe

1225 E Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO 80113
A dish from Aung’s Bangkok Cafe Ruth Tobias

On every table at this Englewood mainstay is a tent holder containing a heartwarming blurb about owner Aung Kyaw, a refugee of Burma by way of Thailand, and his dream-come-true of running a restaurant with his family by his side. The story adds an extra layer of comfort to the homestyle warmth of his repertoire — here’s the place to come for extra-saucy drunken noodles, pumpkin curry, fried catfish, and the soothing like. 

1225 E Hampden Ave
Englewood, CO 80113

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