The best Thai restaurants in Canberra

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Massaman Lamb Shank from Kinn Thai.

Massaman Lamb Shank from Kinn Thai, one of Canberra’s most recommended Thai restaurants. Photo: Sophia Brady.

We are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to global cuisine in Canberra. We are a multicultural city, and our collective love of food is reflected in the large number and variety of restaurants we have to choose from.

Understandably, Thai food is an extremely popular option, with light noodle dishes and hearty curries to choose from. No matter the weather or your particular cravings, Thai food has something for everyone.

But with so many Thai restaurants all over Canberra, deciding on the perfect venue can be an overwhelming choice. In this article, we’ll give you a few ideas of what to look for in a great Thai restaurant, as well as a guide to some of Canberra’s top picks.

What makes a great Thai restaurant?

Aside from making tasty food, here’s what the best Thai restaurants in Canberra have in common:

  • Varied menu. Thai food is already quite varied, and includes soups, noodle and rice dishes as well as salads and roasts. A great Thai restaurant will have enough dishes available that there’s plenty to choose from without it becoming overwhelming.
  • Able to cater to dietary requirements. Luckily, most Thai food is already gluten free, and there are plenty of dishes that are vegetarian or vegan to begin with. However, if you maybe want to adjust spice levels or make a dish vegetarian, a great Thai restaurant will be able to meet your needs.
  • Lively atmosphere. No one wants to sit in an awkward and quiet venue while they eat. Great restaurants draw great crowds – look for a venue that is regularly attracting lots of customers to make sure you have a fun night out!
  • Value for money. The cost of the food should reflect the quality of it. Great Thai restaurants have reasonable serving sizes and consistent quality, leaving you feeling satisfied that you haven’t been ripped off.
  • Helpful waitstaff. If you’re new to Thai cuisine or haven’t branched out beyond Pad Thai, you might find yourself relying on your waiters to help explain what certain dishes are. Great Thai restaurants will be staffed by friendly and helpful waiters to make sure you have the perfect dining experience.

The best Thai restaurants in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Baitong

This laid-back, casual venue in Weston Creek offers authentic Lao and Thai cuisine and service with a smile. Their menu features plenty of traditional dishes, as well as a selection of Chef’s Specials which includes crispy pork with Chinese broccoli and a soft-shell crab stir fry.

See what ‘Local Guide’ Matthew Smith had to say in their Google review, “Always a great meal. The lunch specials are a bargain. Great Pho and Laksa plus plenty of other options.”

Morks Restaurants

Award-winning Morks creates inventive, contemporary Thai food, beautifully plated and professionally served. Dishes change with the seasons and have included BBQ pork buns, Angel prawns, curries and 12-hour beef short ribs. For dessert, try Mork’s fried ice cream. Indoor and outdoor dining available.

As Facebook user Mark Hurwitz writes, “Great meal Superb variety and tremendous courses. Really good meal and superb service. Highly recommended.”

D Thai Street Food

D Thai Street Food is a kid-friendly venue located away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Head to D Thai for their selection of house specialties including roasted duck, crispy pork belly and red duck curry, or if you’d rather have a quiet night in then take advantage of their home delivery service.

Facebook user Gay McGuire writes in this review, “Great service, pleasant casual decor & delicious food. Definitely value for money & look forward to eating there again. Highly recommend this restaurant.”

Kinn Thai Restaurant

Conveniently located in the CBD, Kinn Thai takes great pride in bringing you an authentic Modern Thai culinary experience. They open for dinner, lunch, takeaway, and offer functions in their private dining room.


READ ALSO: Three to try: comforting curries


As ‘Local Guide’ Umar Ansari writes in their Google review, “Delicious food with amazing flavours! We tried the lamb shanks, stir fried chicken and beef chilli. All of them tasted amazing with a healthy serving size. Will definitely visit again!”

CocoNine

CocoNine serves delicious, authentic Thai cuisine in a gorgeous setting on the Foreshore, with some al fresco dining perfect for warmer evenings. Whether you’re after some homemade crispy wontons, Panang curry or a laksa, CocoNine has something to suit all tastes.

Facebook user Vikram Varma wrote the following review of their experience at CocoNine, “A delicious Thai restaurant with great service, atmosphere and convenient location. The portion sizes are good, menu creative and flexible. Staff are friendly and professional. Highly recommended!”

Craving some Asian food, but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered – check out our articles on the best Chinese, Indian and Yum Cha restaurants in Canberra for a guide to some of the best venues around.

Your experience with Thai restaurants in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the Thai restaurants listed above? Have we missed your favourite? If so, please share your feedback in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get Thai food to takeaway in Canberra?

Absolutely! While not every single Thai restaurant may offer delivery, a large number of them do, either through their own delivery system or a service such as UberEats or Menulog.

Is Thai food expensive?

Generally speaking, no. Thai cuisine tends to use similar spice mixes, vegetables and proteins across the majority of their dishes, but prepares them in different ways to differentiate between the dishes. These ingredients are easy to find and cheap to buy in bulk, so restaurants don’t have to charge too much and can serve large portions.

Is Thai food gluten free?

Most Thai food is naturally gluten free, as most dishes are either made with rice or rice-flour noodles. However, some dishes may contain soy sauce, and while traditional Thai soy sauce is gluten free, many restaurants may be using wheat-based soy sauce. Check with your waiter if you’re unsure.

Can I cook Thai food at home?

Absolutely! Thai food is very easy to cook yourself. The ingredients for most Thai recipes are very easy to find in either your local grocery store or a nearby Asian grocer, and the recipes themselves are often very simple. Pad See Ew, for example, is a great recipe to try to make at home as it uses few ingredients, and everything is cooked in the same pan.

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batmantrilogy8:07 pm 29 Oct 15

+1 for lemon grass

zllauh said :

i went with my crew to lemon grass earlier for thai.
Service was great and the food too

This is the preferred choice of people on the NY subway, too!

i went with my crew to lemon grass earlier for thai.
Service was great and the food too

i have been to lemon grass in civic last week. Quick service, food was good as well

Checked Thip’s out last night. Good indeed. Best Pad Thai I’ve had in Canberra. Excellent, well-spiced, fried chicken as well. I’ll be back.

Baitong – down the side of Cooleman Court – very tasty.

leemansterns12:04 am 24 Apr 15

Crazed_Loner said :

I had a great meal at Thirst in West Row a while back. I don’t work in Civic any longer or otherwise I would head back in a flash for lunch.

I agree that Thirst does great Thai meals. It is the only Thai place I go to regularly and it is always worth checking out the specials blackboard.

Consumer_Grinch said :

Absolutely best one is Soi-8 Thai at the Griffith shops. Really good value, fabulous freshness. I agree there’s not many good ones in Canberra.

+1 for Soi-8 at Griffith shops, and as others have said, Thai Chiang Rai at Kingston.

Crazed_Loner5:22 pm 23 Apr 15

I had a great meal at Thirst in West Row a while back. I don’t work in Civic any longer or otherwise I would head back in a flash for lunch.

Consumer_Grinch5:08 pm 23 Apr 15

Absolutely best one is Soi-8 Thai at the Griffith shops. Really good value, fabulous freshness. I agree there’s not many good ones in Canberra.

jsm2090 said :

Morks is great for ‘contemporary’ Thai, but in terms of non-fancy Thai food, the only place in Canberra that is really authentic is Thip’s Thai in the Belconnen Churches Centre. It’s a basic hole-in-the-wall, and was recommended to me by a friend with the Thai Embassy. The majority of Thai restaurants here are boring, with dishes smothered in generic salty sauce, and lacking fragrant herbs and chilli.

Good to hear the Embassy folk recommendation. I will be checking Thip’s out.

Morks is great for ‘contemporary’ Thai, but in terms of non-fancy Thai food, the only place in Canberra that is really authentic is Thip’s Thai in the Belconnen Churches Centre. It’s a basic hole-in-the-wall, and was recommended to me by a friend with the Thai Embassy. The majority of Thai restaurants here are boring, with dishes smothered in generic salty sauce, and lacking fragrant herbs and chilli.

Wherearetherealliberals3:40 pm 23 Apr 15

Far and away the best Thai I’ve had in Canberra is at Soi 8 at Griffith shops.

vintage123 said :

Ok guys, we are off to thai herb in Harrison. I will write a review for you tomorrow. Cheers vintage123

Okey dokey, well we booked a table at thai herb last night and headed over there around 6pm. Because I was picking up friends on the other side of Amaroo we decided to double back to Harrison via horse park drive, ouch what a pain. We couldn’t turn right across bumper to bumper traffic. Note to self, use Flemington road or find some traffic lights.

Anyway we arrived albeit a tad late, and found a sign to the back carpark entrance. Once parked we had some trouble finding the restaurant as we had never been there before and looked like it was tucked away amongst residential flats. With a little bit of walking around some flats, we found it facing Flemington road. All good.

So we headed up to the entrance and was greeted by a very friendly waitress who opened the door and welcomed us inside. Very nice considering it was a chilly night, the air inside the restaurant was perfect. I must say first impressions, wow, this is so much nicer than the webpage. It looks brand new, with high end fit out high ceilings modern decor and great pendant lights. It really had a sophistication about it. The table were well spread out and the atmosphere was great.

Service was timely and tailored, as we had a small child with the group, the staff were more than accomodating with providing children cutlery, grayons, and small bowls and cups. Thankyou.

First look at the menu and it was very comprehensive. A lot of choice and well priced. We ordered satay sticks satay Gai, thai style wontons grow tore and tempura prawns going tempura. Ice cream for the youngin as requested. Drinks, ice cream and entree arrived in no time at all. Fantastic presentation, fresh and tasty, wow, this is going great.

For mains we ordered pad med Ma mount king prawn cashew stir fry, Penang chicken curry and a mild mussarmum curry. We also ordered sides of chicken fried rice. Once again, quickly served, great presentation and amazing taste.

The atmosphere was very pleasant, the place was packed and I noticed several people turned away due to no reservation, for a Wednesday night I am thinking thai herb is doing something right. There was a small line up of eager customers keen to grab a seat.

Overall I can not fault Thai herb at all. It well and truly exceeded my expectations. I would recommend to all, and ensure you reserve a booking. Excellent authentic Thai cuisine in a fantastic setting and very good price point. http://www.thaiherb.com.au/#!dl=284&n=Aboutus

HardBallGets8:01 am 23 Apr 15

+1 for Joe’s Thai Food at Wanniassa shops.

It’s no longer a secret though, which is good for them but bad for regulars who’ve been enjoying the place untroubled by inconveniences such as having to book a table. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure no one begrudges them their success.

We used to be regular customers of Sukathai at Yarralumla Shops. Whilst the food was tasty, the servings were getting smaller and smaller – A bit too much cabbage “filler” in their Take Away containers.

Ok guys, we are off to thai herb in Harrison. I will write a review for you tomorrow. Cheers vintage123

katrinamaree2:34 pm 22 Apr 15

Thai Amarin in Erindale is the best!! Thai Alice in the city was good too… Before it burnt down ????

BombaySapphire2:01 pm 22 Apr 15

I love Lemongrass Thai in Civic – 38 chicken (Gang Dang Fug Thong) and coconut rice is my death row meal I adore it oh-so-much.

vintage123 said :

Hi all, I am heading over to Amaroo for dinner with friends tonight, thinking of grabbing some thai, should I give thai herb in Harrison a try or is there something closer to Amaroo that’s good.

There are a few at the Gungahlin Marketplace but they are not as good as the one in Harrison.

Hi all, I am heading over to Amaroo for dinner with friends tonight, thinking of grabbing some thai, should I give thai herb in Harrison a try or is there something closer to Amaroo that’s good.

My biggest gripe with Thai food in Australia is that they try too hard with the vegetarian dishes. I’ve eaten vego Pad Thai all over Thailand and it was always fantastic because the noodles and the sauce were the stars.

In Australia if you ask for vegetarian Pad Thai they always fill it out with carrot and broccoli and all sorts of stuff that doesn’t belong in there.

It should be noodles, sauce, chilli, tofu, egg and bean sprouts. That is all. If the noodles and sauce are good that’s all you need.
\end rant

The only place I’ve found in Canberra that could do it well was Thai Spice in Woden (which seems to have closed now). I’ve tried making it at home but just can’t seem to get it right 🙁

tecclestone said :

Coming from someone who is Thai, I would have to say the best Thai food in canberra is Thip’s Thai in Belconnen! Or my mothers kitchen ????

I am not Thai but travel to Thailand each year with my family, current favourite is Thai Herb in Harrison but have not tried Thip’s Thai, definitely have to give it a go. Thanks

rubaiyat said :

pajs said :

JC said :

pajs said :

Morks is decent, but Canberra is a wasteland for top-quality Thai food. Nothing here as good as Sydney’s best options.

Thought someone would say Morks. Whilst a really good restaurant it is not really that Thai. Thai fusion yes but if you were looking for real (traditional) Thai and went here you may well be disappointed.

Yep, not trad, but a rare example in Canberra of attentive scratch-cooking for pastes etc. So much Canberra Thai is bland and assembly-line cooking not that different from using pre-made pastes at home.

Australians really don’t have a stomach for authentic Thai cooking. Not just the chilli but the enormous amount of salt they throw in their food in Thailand. They make Aussie country diners look positively aenemicly non-saline.

The 3 parts rice, 1 part everything else rule for Thai food seems a tough ask for Australians, but it helps make sense of the spicing/heat and the fish sauce/salt (not to mention the weather).

we got some good Thai food from the Thai Herb in Harrison the other night.

My favorites are Madam Woo (Kingston) and River Kwai Thai at Cooleman Court. Morks is good too but agree it’s fusion rather than traditional Thai. I love Thai food and eat it about once a week so keen to see the outcome of this taste off!

Coming from someone who is Thai, I would have to say the best Thai food in canberra is Thip’s Thai in Belconnen! Or my mothers kitchen ????

Tara490 said :

Thai Herb in Harrison is definitely the best! I find Chong Co to be a little bit watery.

Thai Chong was fantastic, and we would eat there a few times a month. Change of chef late last year, and it was virtually inedible. My next meal there is free apparently but no way I’m ever going back.

pajs said :

JC said :

pajs said :

Morks is decent, but Canberra is a wasteland for top-quality Thai food. Nothing here as good as Sydney’s best options.

Thought someone would say Morks. Whilst a really good restaurant it is not really that Thai. Thai fusion yes but if you were looking for real (traditional) Thai and went here you may well be disappointed.

Yep, not trad, but a rare example in Canberra of attentive scratch-cooking for pastes etc. So much Canberra Thai is bland and assembly-line cooking not that different from using pre-made pastes at home.

Australians really don’t have a stomach for authentic Thai cooking. Not just the chilli but the enormous amount of salt they throw in their food in Thailand. They make Aussie country diners look positively aenemicly non-saline.

JC said :

pajs said :

Morks is decent, but Canberra is a wasteland for top-quality Thai food. Nothing here as good as Sydney’s best options.

Thought someone would say Morks. Whilst a really good restaurant it is not really that Thai. Thai fusion yes but if you were looking for real (traditional) Thai and went here you may well be disappointed.

Yep, not trad, but a rare example in Canberra of attentive scratch-cooking for pastes etc. So much Canberra Thai is bland and assembly-line cooking not that different from using pre-made pastes at home.

Thai Herb in Harrison is definitely the best! I find Chong Co to be a little bit watery.

pajs said :

Morks is decent, but Canberra is a wasteland for top-quality Thai food. Nothing here as good as Sydney’s best options.

Thought someone would say Morks. Whilst a really good restaurant it is not really that Thai. Thai fusion yes but if you were looking for real (traditional) Thai and went here you may well be disappointed.

Joe’s Thai Food at the Wanniassa shops is hands down the best thai food in Canberra. Joe and his wife run a fantastic restaurant. My suggestions are the Ginger and Garlic Soft Shell Crab, Chefs Special Whole Snapper or the Drunken Noodles with chicken or prawns. I know it seems like a little bit of a trek if you don’t live on the south side but trust me when I say that its worth the drive.

Alexandra Craig11:05 am 21 Apr 15

pajs said :

Morks is decent, but Canberra is a wasteland for top-quality Thai food. Nothing here as good as Sydney’s best options.

Spice I Am in Surry Hills is my fave.

Morks is decent, but Canberra is a wasteland for top-quality Thai food. Nothing here as good as Sydney’s best options.

Milly Withers10:10 am 21 Apr 15

Alexandra Craig said :

OMG – I forgot about Chong Co! I’ve been to their Belco restaurant a few times and it’s always great, really fresh and delicious. Since the first time I went to Belco, about 5 other ones have appeared in Canberra. There’s pretty much one Chong Co in every region of Canberra!

I forgot about Chong Co too! I’ve never had a bad experience there 🙂

One of the best for real Thai, not westernised is Thips on the top floor of the Belconnen Churches Centre. Certainly not flash, but what Thai restaurant in Thailand is flash? Just good food and often full of Thais.

Normally reserve our Thai for the many favorites we have in Sydney but I will second Thai Chiang Rai in Kingston.

We have had the best Mussaman Curry there bar none, and most of their other dishes are pretty darn good.

Alexandra Craig9:38 am 21 Apr 15

OMG – I forgot about Chong Co! I’ve been to their Belco restaurant a few times and it’s always great, really fresh and delicious. Since the first time I went to Belco, about 5 other ones have appeared in Canberra. There’s pretty much one Chong Co in every region of Canberra!

Milly Withers9:17 am 21 Apr 15

For cheap and cheerful Friday night takeaway Thai, Lemongrass Thai at Woden is a winner. I’m a big fan of the red duck lychee curry with coconut rice.

However, for really good, interesting Thai food that’s probably better suited to a nice dinner or celebration (it’s more expensive than the average Thai restaurant), Morks on the Foreshore has it for me.

I reckon good Thai is the one thing we don’t have here. Have been going regularly to places in Sydney for years and it’s always quick, fresh and so cheap!! Feed the family for $40.

We were quite impressed with Chong Co when it first opened in Belconnen. Less impressed lately – and it’s way too expensive.

Alexandra Craig8:58 am 21 Apr 15

I don’t have Thai often but I like Thai Chiang Rai in Kingston and Yen Zai in Civic.

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