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A photo of the Pad Thai Goong with a stir fry of small rice noodles, prawns, bean sprouts, chives and peanuts.
Pad Thai with prawns at Daughter Thai.
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

Denver’s 14 Essential Thai Restaurants Right Now

Where to go for — and beyond — pad Thai

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Pad Thai with prawns at Daughter Thai.
| Jonathan Phillips/Eater

For decades, Thai dining in greater Denver was a modest affair, with few restaurants pulling away from the pack of neighborhood stalwarts peddling traditionalist menus to offer something qualitatively different. But it doesn’t take much of a rising tide to lift all boats, and a spate of newcomers in recent years has given the whole scene a refresh. From sentimental old favorites to intriguing upstarts, here are 13 spots worth the drive (in some cases) and the wait (in others).

Note: Listings are ordered geographically from west to east, and the spellings of dish names are those used by the restaurants themselves (for instance, what appears as khao soi in one place may appear as kaw soy in another).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Mon Thai

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The lime-green walls echo the electric flavors at this suburban sleeper: Start with the unusually luxuriant tea-leaf salad, then delve into tangy curry-fried pad prik khing with duck, sweet-and-spicy pad catfish with eggplant, or kana moo krob with crispy pork belly and Chinese broccoli. Vegetarians are welcomed with meat alternatives beyond tofu.

Pad prik khing with duck
Pad prik khing with duck at Mon Thai.
Ruth Tobias

Farmhouse Thai Eatery

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This Lakewood star comes by its reputation thanks to a family-run kitchen that honors seasonal ingredients, preparing them with clarity and gusto from roast duck curry with pineapple, grapes, and tomatoes to pork-leg stew with kale and pickled cabbage. Delicately fried tofu, with its creamy interior and lightly sweet, peanut-topped chili sauce, may be the best in town, and the nam phrik ong (ground pork dip) gives the best bolognese a run for its money; to follow them, choose anything from the often-updated “Must Try” section of the menu, be it the intensely earthy floating market noodle soup with beef or the fresh tea-leaf salad tossed tableside.

Khao soi
Farmhouse Thai’s luxuriant koa soi.
Ruth Tobias

J's Noodles Star Thai

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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 se eyw; 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
Pad lad na at J’s Noodle.
Ruth Tobias

SUVIPA Thai Food

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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 lusty preparations of whole fried fish. 

Thai green curry with white rice
Suvipa’s green curry.
Ruth Tobias

Ros Siam

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Located in the old Victorian home that used to house Sassafras, this cozy Jefferson Park spot largely sticks to the standard menu script, but it does so with plenty of TLC. Regardless of spice level, the pumpkin curry, drunken noodles, and eggplant stir fry all count as cheering, soothing comfort food.

Eggplant stir fry with brown rice
Ros Siam’s eggplant stir fry.
Ruth Tobias

Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar

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On the upscale side of the spectrum, this Platte Street looker goes gourmet at every turn: Think curries with lamb, black cod, or mussels; larb with softshell crab; or the popular Volcanic Beef in a velvety chili-garlic sauce beneath a tower of onion rings. The bar follows suit, turning out smart cocktails infused with peanuts, lemongrass, butterfly-pea tea, and aquafaba.

A view of the Deep Fried Whole Striped Bass, a whole bass adorned with basil in a red sauce
Deep-fried whole striped bass at Daughter Thai.
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

Aloy Modern Thai

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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, rich creamed-duck wontons, and honey-drizzled Brie tempura with sweet-potato chips blatantly — and enjoyably — buck tradition, while atypical ingredients like lamb chops, black rice, and zucchini make their way into entrees, including a bright pineapple fried rice. 

A dish from Aloy Modern Thai Ruth Tobias

Liang's Thai Food

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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

Taste of Thailand

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The owners of this Rosedale charmer — which operated in Englewood for 20 years before relocating — incorporate produce and herbs from their own garden into their dishes, which is reason enough to start with a colorful salad like the seafood-based yum ta lay or the miang khum, a vibrant northern Thai dish whose name translates to “leaf-wrapped bites,” filled with dried shrimp and coconut, peanuts, and veggies. 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. So does the red curry with young coconut or fresh pineapple, for that matter.

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

Aung's Bangkok Cafe

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Behind this Englewood mainstay is a heart-stirring story 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. But diners don’t have to know it to appreciate the homestyle warmth of his repertoire — here’s the place to come for extra-saucy drunken noodles; colorful crab fried rice; zesty catfish red curry; and bouncy, aromatic jungle curry laden with crisp veggies.

Jungle curry with seafood
Jungle curry with seafood at Aung’s.
Ruth Tobias

Lucky Noodles

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The menu at this modest East Colfax spot is fairly short on selections but long on charm, especially when it comes to dine-in-only items like the Thai-style fried chicken with papaya salad and the fiery but still flavorful “OG” red curry. Other uncommon offerings include the pork roti and the hangover wonton soup.

Red curry with chicken and rice
Lucky Noodles’ OG red curry with chicken.
Ruth Tobias

9 Thai Restaurant

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Housed in a snug, eco-industrial-chic storefront on East Colfax, this little standout puts its own subtle twists on the classics, adding fried chicken to green curry and pork in various forms as well as peanuts to tom yum while garnishing boat noodle soup with pork rinds. It also offers daily specials, so check the blackboard for eggplant-tofu stir fry, grilled meats, and the like.

Boat noodle soup
9 Thai’s boat noodle soup.
Ruth Tobias

Chiang Mai Thai Kitchen

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Hailing from northern Thailand, the house specials are truly special at this suburban strip mall surprise: The likes of nam ngiew — a hearty noodle stew brimming with pork in multiple forms — and kanom jeen namya (creamy crab vermicelli curry) aren’t to be found elsewhere in town. But even less rare fare, like the rich, soupy massaman curry, shines here.

Vermicelli noodle curry made with pork stock, pork riblets, and blood sausage
Chiang Mai’s vermicelli noodle curry made with pork stock, pork riblets, and blood sausage.
Ruth Tobias

Thai Flavor Restaurant

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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. The vibrant eggplant salad tossed with shrimp and topped with an omelet is a highlight; so is the sweet-and-sour three flavor fish.

A dish from Thai Flavor Restaurant
Thai Flavor’s eggplant salad topped with a crispy omelet.
Ruth Tobias

Mon Thai

Pad prik khing with duck
Pad prik khing with duck at Mon Thai.
Ruth Tobias

The lime-green walls echo the electric flavors at this suburban sleeper: Start with the unusually luxuriant tea-leaf salad, then delve into tangy curry-fried pad prik khing with duck, sweet-and-spicy pad catfish with eggplant, or kana moo krob with crispy pork belly and Chinese broccoli. Vegetarians are welcomed with meat alternatives beyond tofu.

Pad prik khing with duck
Pad prik khing with duck at Mon Thai.
Ruth Tobias

Farmhouse Thai Eatery

Khao soi
Farmhouse Thai’s luxuriant koa soi.
Ruth Tobias

This Lakewood star comes by its reputation thanks to a family-run kitchen that honors seasonal ingredients, preparing them with clarity and gusto from roast duck curry with pineapple, grapes, and tomatoes to pork-leg stew with kale and pickled cabbage. Delicately fried tofu, with its creamy interior and lightly sweet, peanut-topped chili sauce, may be the best in town, and the nam phrik ong (ground pork dip) gives the best bolognese a run for its money; to follow them, choose anything from the often-updated “Must Try” section of the menu, be it the intensely earthy floating market noodle soup with beef or the fresh tea-leaf salad tossed tableside.

Khao soi
Farmhouse Thai’s luxuriant koa soi.
Ruth Tobias

J's Noodles Star Thai

A dish from J’s Noodle Star Thai
Pad lad na at J’s Noodle.
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 se eyw; 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
Pad lad na at J’s Noodle.
Ruth Tobias

SUVIPA Thai Food

Thai green curry with white rice
Suvipa’s green curry.
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 lusty preparations of whole fried fish. 

Thai green curry with white rice
Suvipa’s green curry.
Ruth Tobias

Ros Siam

Eggplant stir fry with brown rice
Ros Siam’s eggplant stir fry.
Ruth Tobias

Located in the old Victorian home that used to house Sassafras, this cozy Jefferson Park spot largely sticks to the standard menu script, but it does so with plenty of TLC. Regardless of spice level, the pumpkin curry, drunken noodles, and eggplant stir fry all count as cheering, soothing comfort food.

Eggplant stir fry with brown rice
Ros Siam’s eggplant stir fry.
Ruth Tobias

Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar

A view of the Deep Fried Whole Striped Bass, a whole bass adorned with basil in a red sauce
Deep-fried whole striped bass at Daughter Thai.
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

On the upscale side of the spectrum, this Platte Street looker goes gourmet at every turn: Think curries with lamb, black cod, or mussels; larb with softshell crab; or the popular Volcanic Beef in a velvety chili-garlic sauce beneath a tower of onion rings. The bar follows suit, turning out smart cocktails infused with peanuts, lemongrass, butterfly-pea tea, and aquafaba.

A view of the Deep Fried Whole Striped Bass, a whole bass adorned with basil in a red sauce
Deep-fried whole striped bass at Daughter Thai.
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

Aloy Modern Thai

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, rich creamed-duck wontons, and honey-drizzled Brie tempura with sweet-potato chips blatantly — and enjoyably — buck tradition, while atypical ingredients like lamb chops, black rice, and zucchini make their way into entrees, including a bright pineapple fried rice. 

A dish from Aloy Modern Thai Ruth Tobias

Liang's Thai Food

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.

Ruth Tobias

Taste of Thailand

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 relocating — incorporate produce and herbs from their own garden into their dishes, which is reason enough to start with a colorful salad like the seafood-based yum ta lay or the miang khum, a vibrant northern Thai dish whose name translates to “leaf-wrapped bites,” filled with dried shrimp and coconut, peanuts, and veggies. 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. So does the red curry with young coconut or fresh pineapple, for that matter.

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

Aung's Bangkok Cafe

Jungle curry with seafood
Jungle curry with seafood at Aung’s.
Ruth Tobias

Behind this Englewood mainstay is a heart-stirring story 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. But diners don’t have to know it to appreciate the homestyle warmth of his repertoire — here’s the place to come for extra-saucy drunken noodles; colorful crab fried rice; zesty catfish red curry; and bouncy, aromatic jungle curry laden with crisp veggies.

Jungle curry with seafood
Jungle curry with seafood at Aung’s.
Ruth Tobias

Lucky Noodles

Red curry with chicken and rice
Lucky Noodles’ OG red curry with chicken.
Ruth Tobias

The menu at this modest East Colfax spot is fairly short on selections but long on charm, especially when it comes to dine-in-only items like the Thai-style fried chicken with papaya salad and the fiery but still flavorful “OG” red curry. Other uncommon offerings include the pork roti and the hangover wonton soup.

Red curry with chicken and rice
Lucky Noodles’ OG red curry with chicken.
Ruth Tobias

9 Thai Restaurant

Boat noodle soup
9 Thai’s boat noodle soup.
Ruth Tobias

Housed in a snug, eco-industrial-chic storefront on East Colfax, this little standout puts its own subtle twists on the classics, adding fried chicken to green curry and pork in various forms as well as peanuts to tom yum while garnishing boat noodle soup with pork rinds. It also offers daily specials, so check the blackboard for eggplant-tofu stir fry, grilled meats, and the like.

Boat noodle soup
9 Thai’s boat noodle soup.
Ruth Tobias

Chiang Mai Thai Kitchen

Vermicelli noodle curry made with pork stock, pork riblets, and blood sausage
Chiang Mai’s vermicelli noodle curry made with pork stock, pork riblets, and blood sausage.
Ruth Tobias

Hailing from northern Thailand, the house specials are truly special at this suburban strip mall surprise: The likes of nam ngiew — a hearty noodle stew brimming with pork in multiple forms — and kanom jeen namya (creamy crab vermicelli curry) aren’t to be found elsewhere in town. But even less rare fare, like the rich, soupy massaman curry, shines here.

Vermicelli noodle curry made with pork stock, pork riblets, and blood sausage
Chiang Mai’s vermicelli noodle curry made with pork stock, pork riblets, and blood sausage.
Ruth Tobias

Thai Flavor Restaurant

A dish from Thai Flavor Restaurant
Thai Flavor’s eggplant salad topped with a crispy omelet.
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. The vibrant eggplant salad tossed with shrimp and topped with an omelet is a highlight; so is the sweet-and-sour three flavor fish.

A dish from Thai Flavor Restaurant
Thai Flavor’s eggplant salad topped with a crispy omelet.
Ruth Tobias

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