Cover Thai food | Photo by Jerome Jome on Unsplash

If you're craving for Thai food or simply want to go on a spice-filled journey, check out these restaurants

Thailand is a nation gifted with beautifully rich history, one that's filled with royal tales, intricate cultural nuances, spectacular produce, stunning traditions, and an overwhelming amount of notable local artisans and talents.

One facet that has stood out about Thailand all over the globe is the country’s bold, colourful, spice-filled cuisine. As one of the street-food capitals of the world, it's known for vibrant markets packed with stalls serving wild local delicacies, sticky sweets, handmade noodles, hearty meals and refreshing sips. Each step one takes along Thai streets is sure to introduce a tempting new scent.

Thai food is so inviting because of the intensity of its unique highly acidic notes, mélanged with splashes of savoury, salty, and sweet the come from the many shared plates, side dishes and dipping sauces. Eating through a full Thai meal can be overwhelming with such a cacophony of flavours, but it is always ultra-satisfying.

Find out where you can get your fix here in Metro Manila: 

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1. Benjarong

Through Benjarong, you will discover a fusion of traditional flavours that come to life thanks to the modern culinary techniques at work from Dusit Thani’s chefs. The hotel is in fact a Thai brand known for its signature hospitality. Bursting with authentic, bright, bold and vibrant flavours, every single dish on Benjarong’s menu is true to the culture’s royal roots. With quality as its first priority, diners feel pampered through and through.

Chef Watcharaphon “Ja” Yongbanthom, with more than a decade in this industry lives and breathes Thai cuisine. She has cooked for a variety of hotels and resorts around the globe and has even been on Iron Chef Thailand. Today she takes pride in her contemporary twists to this classic cuisine. 

Tatler Tip: Order the pad thai, tom tum spring rolls, and moo ping

2. Azuthai

Chef J and Malou Gamboa have loved food their entire lives. These siblings have remained a force to be reckoned with in the Philippine dining scene since way back when. From Milkyway to Cirkulo, Tsukiji, and Azuthai one thing stays true–great food. Known for home-style Thai food, Azuthai ensures that each mouthful brings comforting memories of travels past. Chef Watee, hailing from Bangkok, whips up delectable treats packed with Thailand’s magical treasure trove of spices. Feast on crispy duck salad, crispy soft shell crab or steamed whole boneless Apahap with lime. 

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3. People’s Palace

Run by one of our country’s great restaurateurs and chefs, Colin MacKay, People’s Palace has been a strong, beloved figure in our culinary landscape with good reason. Its menu’s flavours have been tweaked to fit a more Filipino palate, toning down some of Thailand’s more potent spices and nuances, but without fail, each and every order wins over diner’s hearts and stomachs. To me, they have the best pomelo salad in town. This restaurant has become a watering-hole, because of how its food has been time and time again associated with top-shelf memories and moments of friendship. It is one establishment that will not be going anywhere, anytime soon.

4. Crying Tiger

Situated in the once-bustling streets of Poblacion, Crying Tiger prides itself on affordable, lip-smackingly delicious Thai street food. For BGC residents, a brand new outpost will be opening its doors in the Food District Signature’s On 5th food hall, where you can expect a focus on, Bangkok street fried chicken. When ordering from Crying Tiger do not miss out on their moo ping (grilled pork), Thai omelettes, or Asian grilled calamari. Run by the Mabanta family of the Mexicali group, who are also responsible for Señor Pollo, El Chupacabra and more, it's no wonder Crying Tiger has gotten its rhythm down pat.

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5. Krapow

Chef Reginal Prospero is the culinary brain behind the much talked about Krapow. This hole-in-the-wall in Poblacion is known for Thai street food that does not shy away from spices –it definitely brings the heat. The restaurant posts daily menus on rotation with specials in addition to the craveable classics. Inspired by Thai hawker culture, these foodies don’t hold back on authentic Thai flavours. While at it, order the khao mun gai tod (fried Hainanese chicken rice), pad krapow mo sub (holy basil minced pork), or moo krob pad prik king (crispy pork red curry stir fry).

6. Mango Tree

Mango Tree’s beautiful interiors only further complement its food. Their approach to elevating casual dining welcomes guests into an inviting space, filled with the soothing and tempting aroma of Thai cuisine. Mango Tree is headed by chef Siwat Korsem who has been cooking Thai food for over 27 years. His goal? To ensure that every guest experiences the complex nature of each dish, further appreciating the food's many layers and details. They take inspiration from Thailand’s four main regions in order to weave their own tasty story.

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7. Khao Khai

Khao Kai is all about excellent fried chicken, but, don’t expect your usual American southern fried chicken with a thick covering of batter. This Thai fried chicken is more subtle and is perfectly browned, with crisped skin over moist, juicy meat and rubbed with a spice mix that will keep you coming back for more. Chicken is not the only thing on the menu. Here you can experience dishes from all over Thailand like certain Northern, Central and Southern dishes that are loved by locals but may be less known globally. Interestingly, this Poblacion favourite is also owned by the Manbanta group.

8. Samyan

Chef Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn brings his perspective and his skills to The Grid, eager to feed us hungry diners. This young talent is behind Le Du and Baan in Bangkok and yet found a way to lend his time and culinary talent to developing local Thai flavours for Philippine foodies. His goal is simple: deliver authentic flavours from the food he eats so frequently back home, to us here. No compromise, no changes. His first-food hall concept has been off to a strong start and only gains more fans as the days pass by.

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9. 50 Real Taste Of Thai

This home-cook has caught the attention of Thai food-lovers across the Metro. Some even saying that she whips up the best pad thai ever! From smoked duck in red curry simmered in coconut with pineapples and cherry tomatoes, to bagoong fried rice, to tom yum goong, each menu item is a winner. Every item is packed beautifully so that they all deliver well, and are sure to reach every diner's home in tip-top shape. 

Tatler Tip: Order two days in advance.

10. Chang Thai

This chef joined the popular Legaspi village weekend markets and even had a stall at the Philam Tower food court cooking up fragrant Thai meals and flavour explosions. Thai chef Aof Suwannalert trained under chef Sombat Prongthong from Blue Elephant, and in Manila worked with chef Sau Del Rosario. She eventually set up her own concept, Chang Thai, specialising in authentic Thai food, the flavours of her home. What makes each dish extra meaningful, is that is always cooked by chef AOM herself. If you are looking for a satisfying meal, give Chang Thai a ring because they do food delivery, pick-up, catering, bazaars, weekend markets and more.

Read more: Where To Order Fried Chicken Burgers

11. Nara

Nara will take you on a culinary journey, as your taste buds explore a plethora of flavours all across the map. The restaurant is popular for its boat noodles, a classic dish that is a staple in Thailand, one locals cannot go without. Nara is proud to combine tradition with fine ingredients in a contemporary soothing atmosphere where they welcome diners to eat away their worries. The ultimate goal is to make authentic Thai food accessible. They aim to feed anyone who orders a meal the best of this storied cuisine.

12. Manila House 

As of late, private members club Manila House has hired a brand new Thai chef, and has since expanded its menu offerings. Chef Piya Suthasiri has cooked in luxury resorts around the world and now brings his expertise to our shores. Manila House’s new menu can be ordered for delivery or you can enjoy a beautiful al fresco dining experience on-premises.


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