Nothing hits the spot better on a cold day in Scotland than a perfectly spiced pad thai, or a fragrant green curry with a strong whiff of lemongrass. Though Edinburgh is already something of a mecca for comfort food, the Thai food game in this city is especially strong. From the cheap and cheerful to the truly decadent, read on to find out the best Thai eateries in Edinburgh.
Good luck getting a table here during the lunch rush – right across from the University of Edinburgh’s George Square campus, this place is forever packed with students looking for their fill of mouth-watering and inexpensive Thai food before their next class. But once you’ve elbowed your way through the crowds, expect to be generously rewarded with heaping portions of sweetly-savoury pad see ew, or impeccably caramelised pork moo yang with dustings of palm sugar and chilli pickle. Their small plates menu is also full of delicious street food options that you don’t often see, like their spicy yet refreshing papaya salad. Perfect for sharing – or not.
Another student favourite, the unfussy yet delicious Noodles ‘n’ Rice on South Bridge has long been an Edinburgh mainstay. Their large bowls of curry are swimming with greens and bamboo shoots, and generously flavoured with coconut milk and nam pla. For those especially cold days, choose from one of their traditional stir-fries, which mix crispy onions and seasonable vegetables with a generous dousing of fresh chilli, served alongside a pile of jasmine rice.
Nok's Kitchen specialises in Thai cuisine | Courtesy of Nok's Kitchen/Toby Williams
Tucked away down an alley in upscale Stockbridge, though Nok’s Kitchen may appear small and discreet, their flavours are anything but. Serving up authentic, beautifully-presented dishes, their menu is truly a feast for all the senses. From the prawn satay flavoured with cucumber relish, to their special “Bird in the garden” chicken-and-turnip dumplings, which arrives on a nest of crispy shallots, Nok’s Kitchen is a perfect marriage of aesthetics and taste. Their seafood menu is another revelation, particularly the steamed sea bass infused with organic lemongrass and pickled garlic.
The much-beloved Passorn in Edinburgh’s Tollcross neighbourhood offers both perennial favourites as well as surprising signature dishes, such as their refreshing sea bass and green mango salad, topped with their house lime dressing. The extensive vegetarian menu is similarly adventurous but pays off in a big way, particularly their scrumptious red curry with mushroom and taro root. So whether you’re dining with picky eaters or audacious palates, Passorn has something for everyone.
Elegant yet understated, New Town’s Dusit Thai fuses traditional Thai dishes with fresh, local Scottish ingredients for a contemporary twist. Their popia, a Thai-style vegetarian spring roll, is a particular delight, as well as their Talay Sam Rod – a flavourful medley of butterflied prawns, perfectly-charred monkfish and tender scallops. The red curry also packs a spicy punch, yet still tastes light and nutty throughout. Be sure to make room for dessert, which boasts a range of sticky rice puddings and a delectable palate-cleansing prosecco sorbet.
Tucked away above an unimpressive office building, Chaophraya is truly a hidden gem. Its lush, gilded interiors opens out onto a glass covered patio, which boasts spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle and the Firth of Forth. The menu is equally sumptuous, such as their tender roasted duck marinated in tamarind sauce and palm sugar; or their massaman curry, made from a paste of turmeric, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and chilli. If you’re looking for a lighter dinner, their starter platters are perfect for family-style dining, with delicious red curry tacos and seared fish cakes made from green beans and lime leaves.