Food & Drink

The 10 best Thai restaurants in LA, according to Jet Tila

Jeff Miller Published On 02/28/2014 Published On 02/28/2014
Jet Tila

Not just the ONLY judge on the Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, LA-based celeb Chef Jet Tila is also recognized by the Royal Thai Consulate-General as the "Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine" -- which, in short, is why we asked for his picks for the best Thai food in LA. Here's what he sent us...

Flickr user Stu_spivack

Sapp Coffee Shop (click here for address and deets)
Hollywood; Los Feliz
This small, hole-in-the-wall "coffee shop" is a longtime hidden treasure; lots of people looking for supreme authenticity go for their Boat Noodle Soup (thickened with... whoa... blood), but the Jade Noodles are far more approachable and equally delicious (it's a huge bowl of carb-bombs topped w/ roast pork, shredded crab, and cilantro). Pro tip from Jet: "Never miss the homemade Thai tea and iced coffee -- and the little known Pandanus iced tea."

Flickr user T. Tseng

Isaan Station (click here for address and deets)
Koreatown
Jet says he hits this spot for traditional dishes from the Northeastern part of Thailand, which means charcoal-grilled pork and perfectly balanced "larb", a type of Lao minced-meat salad.

Cathy Chaplin/The Gastronomy Blog

Ruen Pair (click here for address and deets)
Hollywood; Los Feliz
The papaya salad's orderable in four different ways, and if you're adventurous, you can also get it with raw crab. Other Jet menu-picks? Crispy pork jerky, the spicy basil roast duck, and "Morning Glory", a leaf vegetable popular in Southeast Asian cuisines that can be illegal to grow, import, possess, or sell without a permit in the US, because it's a "Federal Noxious Weed". AKA: awesome.

Zach Brooks/Midtown Lunch

Rodded (click here for address and deets)
Hollywood
Another hole-in-the-wall spot, this one's notable for its hard-to-find-elsewhere spicy duck soup, which's insanely flavorful and loaded with wontons.

Flickr user KThread

Yai (click here for address and deets)
Hollywood
"All the pan-fried noodles are amazing here -- and they have the best pork belly in Thai town," says Jet, who especially recommends the Pad Thai cousin, Pad See Ew.

Siam Sunset (click here for address and deets)
East Hollywood
Jet says this kinda-sketchy-looking-but-actually-totally-amazing motel diner (?!) is the only legit Thai breakfast house in the city. Start your day with their rice porridge topped with pork and a cracked egg, or an order of fluffy, fried Chinese donuts.

Hong An Tran

Pa Ord (click here for address and deets)
East Hollywood
They actually invented putting noodles in the spicy, lemongrass-laden Tom Yum soup, according to Jet. So get that, plus the Chinese broccoli with pork belly and fried egg, which's kind of a no-brainer order on any menu, ever.

Flickr user TheDeliciousLife

Jitlada (click here for address and deets)
East Hollywood
The Southern-Thai menu's monstrous, but Jet says the best dish is the Celebrity Chicken: stir-fried crispy chicken topped with fried basil. Also: be ready to drink lots of beer -- the food here's crazy-flavorful, and also crazy-spicy.

Zach Brooks/Midtown Lunch

Spicy BBQ (click here for address and deets)
East Hollywood
This teeny, tiny place takes rezzies and is BYOB, so get on that. Jet says to hit their special Northern menu, and that the Khao Soi -- aka Thai curry noodles with beef -- are "just like Grandma used to make." He also recommends the Naprik Ong, aka ground pork w/ tomato chili dip.

Bhan Kanom (click here for address and deets)
Los Feliz
Notable mostly for desserts, which range from fried bananas to taro and corn fritters, Jet says not to miss their roasted coconut milk, either.

Jeff Miller is Thrillist LA's Senior City Editor and will always order Tom Kha soup when it's available. You can follow him at @thrillistla on Twitter or @jeffmillerla on Instagram.

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1. Spicy BBQ Restaurant 5101 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

This Thai resto is literally a hotspot with their spicy food. But in case that doesn't suit your palate, they also have plenty of non-spicy options too. Their specialties include Northern Thai fare, pork curry, pork salad, and jackfruit.

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2. Ruen Pair 5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Hollywood)

This Hollywood spot does Thai how it's supposed to be done, featuring a large menu with all of your favorite dishes at affordable prices.

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3. Jitlada Thai Restaurant 5233 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

If this East Hollywood spot didn't have a cult following for its over-the-top spicy Thai food, it would easily go under-the-radar thanks to its nondescript strip mall exterior. Everything on Jitlada's super-long menu will take you out of your comfort zone, like the spicy catfish salad and green mussels curry. Speaking of curry, there are plenty of varieties, all of which are pretty darn spicy. The best thing about Jitlada, aside from the occasional celebrity sighting, is the affordable price.

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4. Yai Restaurant 5757 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

This Hollywood Blvd Thai spot has a menu absolutely loaded with all your favorite Thai grub from noodles to rice dishes to soups and spicy salads.

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5. Pa-Ord Noodle 5301 Sunset Blvd Ste 8, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Here you'll find some of LA's spiciest Thai dishes (seriously, even the "mild" dishes are on the fiery side). So if you're into that, check out their authentic menu that features noodles, rice plates, soups, and more.

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6. Sapp Coffee Shop 5183 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Hollywood)

If you're a fan of boat noodles and happen to be in Hollywood, you'll wanna check out this Thai-style coffee shop. Don't know what boat noodles are? No, problem. Still pop in for some Thai tea or coffee and some food that's anything but the norm.

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7. Isaan Station 125 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

This Thai spot has its bases covered with a large menu featuring just about anything and everything Thai, from rice dishes to salads to grilled and deep-fried selections.

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8. Rodded Restaurant 5623 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

This cash-only Thai joint brings the flavor with a diverse menu loaded with tasty dishes including duck noodle soup, crispy pork with mint leaves, and chicken & rice.

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9. Bhan Kanom 5271 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

From appetizer to main course and dessert Bhan Kanom brings you authentic Thai cuisine right on Hollywood Blvd.

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10. Siam Sunset 5265 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Come in as early as 6am for Thai breakfast or wait until the lunch and dinner hours to scarf down items like chicken over rice and porridge with pork and egg.

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