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Where to Eat Thai Food in San Diego Right Now

Satisfy your curry and cool salad cravings at these 15 spots

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Thai cuisine is a food for all seasons. Warm temperatures call for refreshing salads that are as simple as shredded papaya or loaded with marinated, grilled beef. When the weather is brisk and breezy, our appetites turn to warming comfort curry dishes of red, green or yellow. And in the age of COVID-19 where days and months seemingly meld into each other, Thai food brings an added layer of comfort to an otherwise unpredictable climate.

Despite that, San Diegans can’t seem to get enough of the cuisine. With over 100 Thai restaurants in the county, there’s a restaurant to fit any budget and they’re all available for delivery and/or takeout, plus the occasional spot with outdoor dining. Here are a few standout Thai restaurants.

Disclaimer: This map should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still COVID-19 safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the California Department of Health. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Chaba Thai Kitchen

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8010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 503-7777
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Don’t drive past the nondescript strip center because you’ll be missing out in Chaba Thai’s generous portion sizes. Some must-order items include the Spicy Basil Chicken with preserved egg. Chaba Thai also has a fine pad see-ew, a classic dish with wide noodles and a choice of protein. It’s an approachable, entry-level dish for those unfamiliar with the cuisine.

Spicy Basil Chicken with Preserved Egg at Chaba Thai
Spicy Basil Chicken with Preserved Egg at Chaba Thai
Phaedra Cook

2. Mekong Restaurant

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3904 Convoy St #112
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-1879
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Lao and Thai cuisine meet at this Convoy District restaurant. Discover flavorful renditions of larb with your choice of chicken, beef or pork. The dish packs the fresh flavors of lime juice, chilis, mint and cilantro in every addicting bite. Don’t overlook the Laos portion of the menu either like the Lao cuisine platter, an introduction that includes beef jerky, sausage, spare ribs and wings, and steamed veggies. Food is only available for takeout.

3. Koon Thai Kitchen

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3860 Convoy St #102
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 514-8111
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Head in early to Koon Thai to take advantage of their first-come, first-served outdoor seating. Its winning combination of classic Thai dishes in a laid-back atmosphere has led to quick success, as the company has since opened three more restaurants under the AAHARN brand. Try the Boat Noodles. It’s a bigger rendition of the small bowls of hot soup served by the merchants who traverse Bangkok’s canals. Choose a version featuring beef or pork, plus choice of thin or thick noodles.

Boat Noodles at Koon Thai
Boat Noodles with beef at Koon Thai
Phaedra Cook

4. Lanna Thai Cuisine

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4501 Mission Bay Dr #1b
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 274-8424
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Thai newbies fearing the spice levels should consider Lanna as their introduction to Thai cuisine. Most of the menu is comprised of classic Thai dishes with the heat dialed back so if you’re craving something really spicy, request it. Curries are trustworthy with good depth of flavor. The don’t-miss dish is dessert. Sticky rice comes topped with a crunchy combination of toasted yellow rice and black sesame seeds with perfectly ripe, almost custard-like mango served alongside. Curbside pickup is available as well as delivery within a 3-mile radius of the restaurant.

Sweet rice with mango at Lanna Thai
Sweet rice with mango at Lanna Thai
Phaedra Cook

5. Thai Papaya

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2405 Ulric St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-6868
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Located in the original Sab-E-Lee location, Thai Papaya’s specialty is som tam, or shredded green papaya salad. There are 10 different varieties that elevate this essential dish with some creative additions. Just one example is the som tam khai kem, which gets its flavor with the additions of salted egg, fresh tomato, dried shrimp, green beans, peanuts, fresh red chili, lime juice and fish sauce.

Som tam, or papaya salad, with salted egg at Thai Papaya
Som tam, or papaya salad, with salted egg at Thai Papaya
Phaedra Cook

6. The Original Sab-E-Lee

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6925 Linda Vista Rd B
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 650-6868
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The Original Sab-E-Lee’s dining room in Linda Vista gets packed enough to have a waiting list on Friday and Saturday nights — but since the start of the pandemic where indoor dining is either limited or prohibited, the takeout orders are just as busy. Go here for classic Thai dish like stellar tom kha gai with the push-and-pull tartness of lime juice and the contrast of creamy coconut milk. Duck larb with crushed red chili, red onion, green onion tops, fresh mint and ground rice for texture, is just as good.

Tom Kha Gai at Sab-E-Lee
Tom Kha Gai, or creamy coconut and chicken soup, at The Original Sab-E-Lee
Phaedra Cook

7. J&T Thai Street Food

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5259 Linda Vista Rd
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 294-7500
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While diners will find the usual Thai dishes like curries and noodle dishes, one dish that separates this Linda Vista spot from other restaurants is the steamed chicken rice. The homey comfort of slow-poached chicken and fragrant chicken-ginger rice may look unimpressive but the accompanying chicken broth make it a standout menu item. Also good is the tom-ka soup.

Steamed chicken rice J&T Thai Street Food

8. Thai Joint

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3456 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 564-6659
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The dishes at this Adams Avenue location are as pretty as they are masterfully executed, and worth a call for delivery or pickup. The crispy-skinned E-Sarn Sausage made with ground pork is addictive and gets extra flavor from the additions of ginger, galangal, lemon grass and chili. Both this and the Half Moon fried wonton skins stuffed with curried potato, peas and carrots are the kinds of dishes that have diners coming back for more.

E-Sarn sausage and the Half Moon fried dumplings at Thai Joint
E-Sarn sausage and the Half Moon fried dumplings at Thai Joint
Phaedra Cook

9. Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant

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4661 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 269-9989
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Vegan and vegetarian Thai dishes headline the menu at this University Heights restaurant. Flavors are on point for many of their dishes but lean towards the conservative side when it comes to spice levels. A don’t-miss item is the pad see-ew— wide rice noodles sautéed with broccoli, carrots and cabbage. Carnivores ordering satay with mock chicken won’t miss the real thing.

Plumeria

10. Bahn Thai

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4646 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 299-6363
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Order ahead for takeout but drivers be warned: parking in this area of University Heights is scant so plan accordingly. A few dishes like the yum nuea, a beef salad, or young duck curry, make a pickup worth the extra effort. Unlike other places, Bahn Thai does not fool around on spice levels. Diners get the heat they order — a refreshing change from other places that dial the spice level back.

Yum Nuea, or beef salad, at Bahn Thai
Yum Nuea, or beef salad, at Bahn Thai
Chuck Cook Photography

11. Lotus Thai Cuisine

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3761 Sixth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 299-8272
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Serving since 1999, this Hillcrest Thai restaurant offers unbeatable and filling lunch specials from 11 AM to 3 PM on the weekdays. Choose from holy basil, drunken noodles and variety of curries as a few of the takeout specials. Dinner is equally memorable with chef dishes like Three-Flavored Soft Shell Crab, featuring a sweet and spicy tamarind sauce.

12. Soi 30th

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3442 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 892-7300
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Go here for Northern Thai fare like its namesake dish khao soi. It features crispy rice noodles cut from a big square of dough that’s laid over a cloth to steam over a pot then fried. Dishes here tend to have gentle sweetness to temper any heat, including the pad phet served with either pork belly or fried fish, chili paste, coconut milk, Thai eggplant, bamboo shoots, bell pepper and Thai basil, all with a fried egg on top. There’s now a second location in Ocean Beach ready for takeout or delivery.

Khao Soi at Soi 30th
Khao Soi at Soi 30th
Phaedra Cook

13. Supannee House of Thai Restaurant & Catering

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2907 Shelter Island Dr #110
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 795-8424
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Supannee’s regular delivery of fresh local fish makes it not just a great Thai restaurant, but a great restaurant in general. Add in an exemplary wine list (perfectly geared for Thai cuisine) and you have a go-to spot in Shelter Island. Classic Thai dishes are just as well executed as restaurant specialties, like the som tam, a shredded green papaya salad with cherry tomatoes and plenty of blanched peanuts. Outdoor seating is available, as well as delivery and takeout.

Deep-fried rockfish at Supannee Houston of Thai
Deep-fried rockfish at Supannee Houston of Thai
Phaedra Cook

14. AAHARN by Koon Thai

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1202 Kettner Blvd #104
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 542-9595
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Humans cannot live by pasta alone, which is only one reason why Thai restaurant AAHARN is a welcome addition to the Little Italy area. Heat levels are as-requested. Standout dishes include tum yum, loaded with sturdy straw and wispy enoki mushrooms, or order specials like the lemon & lime fish featuring a steamed filet in a lime-garlic broth. A second location is in the University City area, and both sites offer delivery or takeout

Tom yum soup at AAHARN Thai in Little Italy
Tom yum soup at AAHARN Thai in Little Italy
Phaedra Cook

15. 55 Thai Kitchen Golden Hill

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2601 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 955-5501
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Depending on which location you opt for, you’ll either find 55 Thai at the back of a convenience store in Golden Hill, or in East Village, SDSU or Pacific Beach. It’s open later than many Thai restaurants, so go here when the craving for green curry sauce or pad thai hits late. Visitors here should be forthcoming if they like spicy food; the staff doesn’t necessarily ask for preferences, so the dishes tend to default to the mild side.

green curry and shrimp pad Thai at 55 Thai Kitchen
Green curry and shrimp pad Thai at 55 Thai Kitchen in Golden Hill
Phaedra Cook

1. Chaba Thai Kitchen

8010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111
Spicy Basil Chicken with Preserved Egg at Chaba Thai
Spicy Basil Chicken with Preserved Egg at Chaba Thai
Phaedra Cook

Don’t drive past the nondescript strip center because you’ll be missing out in Chaba Thai’s generous portion sizes. Some must-order items include the Spicy Basil Chicken with preserved egg. Chaba Thai also has a fine pad see-ew, a classic dish with wide noodles and a choice of protein. It’s an approachable, entry-level dish for those unfamiliar with the cuisine.

8010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111

2. Mekong Restaurant

3904 Convoy St #112, San Diego, CA 92111

Lao and Thai cuisine meet at this Convoy District restaurant. Discover flavorful renditions of larb with your choice of chicken, beef or pork. The dish packs the fresh flavors of lime juice, chilis, mint and cilantro in every addicting bite. Don’t overlook the Laos portion of the menu either like the Lao cuisine platter, an introduction that includes beef jerky, sausage, spare ribs and wings, and steamed veggies. Food is only available for takeout.

3904 Convoy St #112
San Diego, CA 92111

3. Koon Thai Kitchen

3860 Convoy St #102, San Diego, CA 92111
Boat Noodles at Koon Thai
Boat Noodles with beef at Koon Thai
Phaedra Cook

Head in early to Koon Thai to take advantage of their first-come, first-served outdoor seating. Its winning combination of classic Thai dishes in a laid-back atmosphere has led to quick success, as the company has since opened three more restaurants under the AAHARN brand. Try the Boat Noodles. It’s a bigger rendition of the small bowls of hot soup served by the merchants who traverse Bangkok’s canals. Choose a version featuring beef or pork, plus choice of thin or thick noodles.

3860 Convoy St #102
San Diego, CA 92111

4. Lanna Thai Cuisine

4501 Mission Bay Dr #1b, San Diego, CA 92109
Sweet rice with mango at Lanna Thai
Sweet rice with mango at Lanna Thai
Phaedra Cook

Thai newbies fearing the spice levels should consider Lanna as their introduction to Thai cuisine. Most of the menu is comprised of classic Thai dishes with the heat dialed back so if you’re craving something really spicy, request it. Curries are trustworthy with good depth of flavor. The don’t-miss dish is dessert. Sticky rice comes topped with a crunchy combination of toasted yellow rice and black sesame seeds with perfectly ripe, almost custard-like mango served alongside. Curbside pickup is available as well as delivery within a 3-mile radius of the restaurant.

4501 Mission Bay Dr #1b
San Diego, CA 92109

5. Thai Papaya

2405 Ulric St, San Diego, CA 92111
Som tam, or papaya salad, with salted egg at Thai Papaya
Som tam, or papaya salad, with salted egg at Thai Papaya
Phaedra Cook

Located in the original Sab-E-Lee location, Thai Papaya’s specialty is som tam, or shredded green papaya salad. There are 10 different varieties that elevate this essential dish with some creative additions. Just one example is the som tam khai kem, which gets its flavor with the additions of salted egg, fresh tomato, dried shrimp, green beans, peanuts, fresh red chili, lime juice and fish sauce.

2405 Ulric St
San Diego, CA 92111

6. The Original Sab-E-Lee

6925 Linda Vista Rd B, San Diego, CA 92111
Tom Kha Gai at Sab-E-Lee
Tom Kha Gai, or creamy coconut and chicken soup, at The Original Sab-E-Lee
Phaedra Cook

The Original Sab-E-Lee’s dining room in Linda Vista gets packed enough to have a waiting list on Friday and Saturday nights — but since the start of the pandemic where indoor dining is either limited or prohibited, the takeout orders are just as busy. Go here for classic Thai dish like stellar tom kha gai with the push-and-pull tartness of lime juice and the contrast of creamy coconut milk. Duck larb with crushed red chili, red onion, green onion tops, fresh mint and ground rice for texture, is just as good.

6925 Linda Vista Rd B
San Diego, CA 92111

7. J&T Thai Street Food

5259 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA 92110
Steamed chicken rice J&T Thai Street Food

While diners will find the usual Thai dishes like curries and noodle dishes, one dish that separates this Linda Vista spot from other restaurants is the steamed chicken rice. The homey comfort of slow-poached chicken and fragrant chicken-ginger rice may look unimpressive but the accompanying chicken broth make it a standout menu item. Also good is the tom-ka soup.

5259 Linda Vista Rd
San Diego, CA 92110

8. Thai Joint

3456 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
E-Sarn sausage and the Half Moon fried dumplings at Thai Joint
E-Sarn sausage and the Half Moon fried dumplings at Thai Joint
Phaedra Cook

The dishes at this Adams Avenue location are as pretty as they are masterfully executed, and worth a call for delivery or pickup. The crispy-skinned E-Sarn Sausage made with ground pork is addictive and gets extra flavor from the additions of ginger, galangal, lemon grass and chili. Both this and the Half Moon fried wonton skins stuffed with curried potato, peas and carrots are the kinds of dishes that have diners coming back for more.

3456 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

9. Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant

4661 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Plumeria

Vegan and vegetarian Thai dishes headline the menu at this University Heights restaurant. Flavors are on point for many of their dishes but lean towards the conservative side when it comes to spice levels. A don’t-miss item is the pad see-ew— wide rice noodles sautéed with broccoli, carrots and cabbage. Carnivores ordering satay with mock chicken won’t miss the real thing.

4661 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

10. Bahn Thai

4646 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Yum Nuea, or beef salad, at Bahn Thai
Yum Nuea, or beef salad, at Bahn Thai
Chuck Cook Photography

Order ahead for takeout but drivers be warned: parking in this area of University Heights is scant so plan accordingly. A few dishes like the yum nuea, a beef salad, or young duck curry, make a pickup worth the extra effort. Unlike other places, Bahn Thai does not fool around on spice levels. Diners get the heat they order — a refreshing change from other places that dial the spice level back.

4646 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

11. Lotus Thai Cuisine

3761 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

Serving since 1999, this Hillcrest Thai restaurant offers unbeatable and filling lunch specials from 11 AM to 3 PM on the weekdays. Choose from holy basil, drunken noodles and variety of curries as a few of the takeout specials. Dinner is equally memorable with chef dishes like Three-Flavored Soft Shell Crab, featuring a sweet and spicy tamarind sauce.

3761 Sixth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

12. Soi 30th

3442 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
Khao Soi at Soi 30th
Khao Soi at Soi 30th
Phaedra Cook

Go here for Northern Thai fare like its namesake dish khao soi. It features crispy rice noodles cut from a big square of dough that’s laid over a cloth to steam over a pot then fried. Dishes here tend to have gentle sweetness to temper any heat, including the pad phet served with either pork belly or fried fish, chili paste, coconut milk, Thai eggplant, bamboo shoots, bell pepper and Thai basil, all with a fried egg on top. There’s now a second location in Ocean Beach ready for takeout or delivery.

3442 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

13. Supannee House of Thai Restaurant & Catering

2907 Shelter Island Dr #110, San Diego, CA 92106
Deep-fried rockfish at Supannee Houston of Thai
Deep-fried rockfish at Supannee Houston of Thai
Phaedra Cook

Supannee’s regular delivery of fresh local fish makes it not just a great Thai restaurant, but a great restaurant in general. Add in an exemplary wine list (perfectly geared for Thai cuisine) and you have a go-to spot in Shelter Island. Classic Thai dishes are just as well executed as restaurant specialties, like the som tam, a shredded green papaya salad with cherry tomatoes and plenty of blanched peanuts. Outdoor seating is available, as well as delivery and takeout.

2907 Shelter Island Dr #110
San Diego, CA 92106

14. AAHARN by Koon Thai

1202 Kettner Blvd #104, San Diego, CA 92101
Tom yum soup at AAHARN Thai in Little Italy
Tom yum soup at AAHARN Thai in Little Italy
Phaedra Cook

Humans cannot live by pasta alone, which is only one reason why Thai restaurant AAHARN is a welcome addition to the Little Italy area. Heat levels are as-requested. Standout dishes include tum yum, loaded with sturdy straw and wispy enoki mushrooms, or order specials like the lemon & lime fish featuring a steamed filet in a lime-garlic broth. A second location is in the University City area, and both sites offer delivery or takeout

1202 Kettner Blvd #104
San Diego, CA 92101

15. 55 Thai Kitchen Golden Hill

2601 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92102
green curry and shrimp pad Thai at 55 Thai Kitchen
Green curry and shrimp pad Thai at 55 Thai Kitchen in Golden Hill
Phaedra Cook

Depending on which location you opt for, you’ll either find 55 Thai at the back of a convenience store in Golden Hill, or in East Village, SDSU or Pacific Beach. It’s open later than many Thai restaurants, so go here when the craving for green curry sauce or pad thai hits late. Visitors here should be forthcoming if they like spicy food; the staff doesn’t necessarily ask for preferences, so the dishes tend to default to the mild side.

2601 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92102

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