There are some cuisines out there which are just universally popular around the world, and we think that Thai food is certainly one of them. With its influences coming from surrounding Asian countries as well as further afield, Thai cuisine is beautiful blend between the spicy elements of Indian food and the more subtle aromatics which underpin Chinese cookery.
Now, when we talk about Thai food, it would be easy to quickly leap to images of a standard pad Thai that you might find at any local restaurant but there’s a lot more to it than that; Thailand has a number of different regions, all of which have distinct differences when it comes to their food. This makes it one of the more varied cuisines around and means that there’s something for everyone when it comes to Thai food.
As you would expect with most big cities, Dubai has its fair share of great Thai restaurants. From casual hidden gems to glitzy Thai fine dining, there’s something for all tastes and occasions. As you might expect with Dubai, there are also plenty of Thai restaurants with incredible views of the skyline, whether that’s from a rooftop in the city’s financial district or a five-star hotel in Dubai marina.
Once you’ve decided that Thai food is what you fancy while you’re in Dubai, the trickier question becomes which restaurant you ought to go to. To give you a hand deciding which Thai restaurant is the perfect spot for you, we’ve put together our picks of the best Thai restaurants Dubai has offer. We’ve tried to take into account all price brackets and have also included restaurants in all parts of the city. Let us know if your favourite spot isn’t on the list as we love discovering new places.
The Royal Budha
What: Things have been kept ultra-traditional at The Royal Budha when it comes both to the décor and the menu but the quality of cooking alone makes it worth a visit. Begin your meal here with tempting treats such as deep-fried minced prawn cakes with plum sauce, before moving onto favourites like beef massaman curry and crispy sea bass. The Royal Buddha also serves a few more unusual dishes from Thailand’s Isan region, which are well worth a try.
Where: Holiday Inn Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Barsha
What: If it’s a sense of real occasion that you’re looking for in a restaurant, then Pai Thai ticks all those boxes. Accessible only by boat, this Thai restaurant which stretches out over the Madinat Jumeirah’s waterways is luxurious through and through and you can expect a hefty price tag to boot. However, if you do decide to visit, you’ll be treated to some of the finest Thai food in town, with the dim sum proving a particular highlight. Head here in the evening for a memorable romantic meal.
Where: Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah
What: Having had a major revamp in 2020, Benjarong at the Dusit Thani hotel now looks more stylish than ever. Sleek velvet-clad interiors only compliment the 24th-floor restaurant’s incredible views of the Burj Khalifa, while Thai chef Wichit Panyo’s menu keeps things classic. Must-try dishes include the green chicken curry with Thai aubergine, and the grilled chicken burger topped with holy basil sauce and a Thai fried egg.
Where: Dusit Thani Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
What: Winning the prize for the best al fresco Thai dining experience in the city is Thiptara, which has a stunning terrace built out into Burj Lake. Featuring unbeatable views of the Burj Khalifa and a particularly magical ambience in the evenings, the menu at Thiptara is high-end with prices to match but is great option for celebrations and special occasions. The restaurant also offers a fantastic Friday brunch.
Where: Palace Downtown Hotel, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
The Thai Kitchen
What: Don’t be deceived by the simple name of this longstanding Port Saeed restaurant. The Thai Kitchen has earnt itself a reputation over the years as one of Dubai’s most popular Thai restaurants. Watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen while they prepare dishes using ingredients imported directly from Thailand. The Thai Kitchen also has a particularly good selection of dishes for vegans and vegetarians.
Where: Park Hyatt Dubai Hotel, Dubai Creek Club Street
What: Found inside Wasl Vita Mall, Rhong Tiam is worth visiting for value of momney alone. With prices significantly lower than some of the city’s swankier joints, the food here is impressively flavoursome. The spacious dining room’s relaxed atmosphere makes Rhong Tiam a particularly good restaurant to visit with the family. Be brave and try the crispy fried grasshoppers to start, while the tamarind red snapper main is sure to impress.
Where: Wasl Vita Mall, Al Wasl Road
What: Movie memorabilia lines the walls in this fun Barsha Heights restaurant. Wise Kwai doesn’t take itself too seriously, as you can probably tell by its punny name, but the Thai menu certainly isn’t to be sniffed at. Although it’s great to try something new at restaurants, the pad Thai here really is worth a try, while the Thai snack menu, which includes crispy beef in roasted rice, and chicken satay, is great for keeping things cheap.
Where: DusitD2 Kenz Hotel, Al Khareef 1st Street, Barsha Heights
What: Serving up dishes from Thailand’s North Eastern region, Café Isan has a wonderfully laid-back atmosphere which makes it hugely popular among locals and tourists alike. The food on offer takes its inspiration from Thai street food and is lighter than the food you’d expect at a standard Thai. As well as serving a number of Thai classics, there’s also a separate ‘farang’ menu on offer at Café Isan, which consists of playful Thai fast-food dishes.
Where: Cluster B, Jumeirah Lake Towers
Mango Tree Thai Bistro
What: This JBR eatery showcases food from Southern Thailand, meaning that seafood is at the heart of the menu. Large windows ensure that Mango Tree Thai Bistro is flooded with light during the day, while the covered outdoor area means you can dine al fresco throughout the year. Expect hefty Thai seafood platters, chargrilled prawns and of course a devilishly good mango sticky rice.
Where: The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence
What: Located in the JW Marriott Marquis, Tong Thai is undeniably a restaurant for special occasions but if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s on the money. Red mood lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows and chic décor provide a stylish setting to enjoy luxurious dishes such as lobster panang curry, grilled Thai marinated Wagyu striploin, and deep-fried seabass. Tong Thai’s Inventive Asian-inspired cocktails are perfect for a postprandial drink.
Where: JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
What: Offering an incredibly intimate dining experience, with just six tables, Sticky Rice hasn’t been around for as long as some of the restaurants in our guide but the constant queues outside tells everything you need to know about how popular it is. This casual eatery may be covered in rubber ducks but the food isn’t to be laughed at with everything from kai yang chicken skewers to stir-fried clams on the menu.
Where: Jumeirah Village Circle, Sobha Daffodil
What: Translating as “Dawn of happiness”, Sukhothai has an appropriately warm ambience as soon as you step inside, which is further complemented by the restaurant’s welcoming service. As well as an extensive a la carte, there are also various set menus on offer at Sukhothai which offer great value. Keep things traditional and go for the lamb massaman curry or if you’re looking to splash out about, why not try one of the live lobster options.
Where: Le Meridien Dubai Hotel, Al Garhoud
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