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...
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."
Isaan Station (click here for address and deets)
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.
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.
Rodded (click here for address and deets)
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.
Yai (click here for address and deets)
"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)
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.
Pa Ord (click here for address and deets)
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.
Jitlada (click here for address and deets)
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.
Spicy BBQ (click here for address and deets)
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)
Notable mostly for desserts, which range from fried bananas to taro and corn fritters, Jet says not to miss their roasted coconut milk, either.
1. Spicy BBQ Restaurant5101 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles
2. Ruen Pair5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
3. Jitlada Thai Restaurant5233 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
4. Yai Restaurant5757 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
5. Pa-Ord Noodle5301 Sunset Blvd Ste 8, Los Angeles
6. Sapp Coffee Shop5183 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
7. Isaan Station125 N Western Ave, Los Angeles
8. Rodded Restaurant5623 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
9. Bhan Kanom5271 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
10. Siam Sunset5265 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From appetizer to main course and dessert Bhan Kanom brings you authentic Thai cuisine right on Hollywood Blvd.