We’re not going to make any puns with the word Bangkok; we all know finding fresh, tasty and cheap Thai when cravings (or group dinners) arise is a serious aspect of modern life. Here are our picks for the best Thai restaurants in Canberra, for emergency use.
Morks has a list of accolades longer than the road from Florey to the Kingston Foreshore, where it now resides after six years in Florey Shops. It’s been rated best restaurant in Canberra (yes, that’s best restaurant, not best Thai restaurant), picked up a Chef's Hat from the Australian Good Food Guide and listed in the top 500 restaurants in Australia by the Australian Financial Review. So what’s all the fuss about? Siblings Mork and Benn Ratanakosol, who lead the kitchen and front-of-house respectively, have created a contemporary restaurant with cutting-edge dishes that still give a discernible nod to their heritage.
Belconnen Churches Centre is kind of a weird location for a little Thai joint but you’ll be thanking your deity of choice for unlikely bedfellows once you try the food here. We love that even at their busiest, Thip’s Thai always turns around orders quick smart and they are consistently delicious. Top picks include the crispy fish with five spice sauce and the beef with Thai basil and chilli.
Soi-8 is located in a leafy Griffith shopping centre, a far cry from the bustling entertainment and dining precinct of Bangkok referenced in its name. Inside is a different story - the kitchen is always pumping because Soi-8 has long been known as the go-to place for “real” Thai food in Canberra.
Joe’s Thai brings zingy Asian flavours to the Wanniassa shops and the locals are loving it - if the restaurant’s open, the small dining area is packed. The noodles here are a winner; soft and slippery, they really bring a great texture to your favourite soups and stir fries.
Sabaidee is located within walking distance of ANU and the Canberra Centre and it dishes up excellent Lao cuisine. Sure, you can get great pad Thai and pho noodle soup, but when you ask for the daily specials you get to try the likes of handmade Lao sausages and paw paw salad with pork crackling.
We love restaurants that can only be found if you know where to look, so of course we really like Rice Tapas Bar and Restaurant, because the only hint that you’re about to have a great meal is a flight of stairs leading up and away from a Civic street. Don’t be fooled by the “tapas” reference in the name - there’s nothing Spanish about this place, and you’re better off going for the mains than the small plates on offer. The huge menu of Thai dishes are easy on the back pocket. Go to dishes: Jim’s sweet pork belly or any of the curries tipped for takeaway.
The low-key Hackett Shopping Centre is smarting up, with a number of eateries now offering diners a meal after dark. Siam Twist is a great choice whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight feed or lining your stomach before rolling down the road to Dickson’s small bars. There’s a simple “choose your hero” style menu, guaranteeing you’re going to get your favourite ingredients and excellent flavours.
Sukothai’s perennially packed dining room is its own best advertisement; the fact that’s it’s in a quiet part of Midland, at the end of a dodgy-looking arcade in Yarralumala Shops seems to have no bearing on its popularity. The menu spans Thai, Burmese and Indian dishes, and all pack a punch when it comes to heat and flavour.
Good food is always enhanced by a great view and Chong Co ticks both those boxes. The Thai chain restaurant has a relatively new addition in the upmarket dining precinct at the edge of Lake Burley Griffin. We love the contemporary dining room, the fresh menu and the great selection of wines on offer.
The search for tasty, authentic Lao dishes ends in Weston Creek with Baitong Lao and Thai Cuisine. If you haven’t tried Lao cuisine, this is the place to do it when you’re craving Thai but feeling a little more adventurous than your go-to curry. Try the soft shell crab - its a Lao specialty.