Tāmaki Makaurau has no shortage of delectable Thai restaurants, ranging from old-school authentic to contemporary fusion, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the delicious conundrum that occurs when we have to choose between them. Although you may have an undying loyalty to your neighbourhood Thai joint, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the restaurants we rate for you to venture further afield and fire up your tastebuds. Without ado, consult our definitive guide to the best Thai restaurants in Auckland.
Located at the Upland Road end of Remuera Road, Ginger has cultivated quite the cult following. A sleek interior complements a menu that proudly delivers real, authentic Thai food in a contemporary manner. The greatest hits (stir-fries, soups, curries and salads) are made using hand-crafted sauces and pastes we can’t get enough of.
The original Ponsonby address is an intimate 20-seater restaurant that also happens to be entirely vegan, and as such, Khu Khu’s succinct menu celebrates the best of Thai cuisine, sans meat. Clever and concise, the menu is familiar yet exciting, offering new twists on old favourites (the ‘duck’ drunken noodles are non-negotiable). Vegan or not, this cosy Ponsonby spot will satisfy your Thai craving in a deliciously different way, with a second Milford location having opened earlier this winter.
Shore-side, Soho Kitchen has been top of our list for Thai since it opened in 2019. Located in the Goodside precinct at Smales Farm, Soho Kitchen champions classic Thai flavours with rave-worthy curries and king-prawn ladened pad Thai alongside enticing riffs like lemongrass snapper rolls and basil battered cauliflower. The cocktails are like no other in town — think pandan margarita, lemongrass mojito and Mekhong whiskey sour.
This delicious eatery has flown under the radar for far too long. Serving pared-back street eats from a menu designed to share (because of course), Nahm’s tasty offering has been created to always satisfy. If you’re feeling adventurous, might we suggest trying the kraprow thad — a dish that the chefs promise is totally authentic, and beloved by everyone.
Kingsland locals love @Bangkok, and it’s easy to see why. The humble neighbourhood joint is both a dine-in and takeaway favourite. We recommend the massaman curry with plenty of ‘ugly puffy roti’ for soaking up the rich coconut sauce. The housemade peanut satay is also addictive, so prepare to order extra.
It’s fair to say family-run Thai House has reached stalwart status on the Ponsonby strip, having dished up reliable Thai fare since 1993. The flavours are big and the staff are welcoming, plus it has the added allure of being BYO. Any one of the sizzling garlic dishes is sure to make a delicious impression, while the addition of wood ear mushrooms to the vegetarian pad Thai makes for a particularly delightful bite.
Thaiger is the latest offering by Auckland favourite Wok Express, a restaurant so popular that some nights it’s had to turn customers away. Alongside beautiful, traditional Thai dishes (utilising recipes passed down to Co-Owner Pim Brandwood through generations), others encompass a modern, elevated take. The menu has been designed as a series of sharing plates — some of the stand-outs include the Gai Yang (BBQ chicken marinated for 48 hours) and the Mair Yai Papaya Salad (a recipe from Pim’s mother, whose portrait hangs on the restaurant’s walls).
Sunflower Thai Vegan Restaurant
Not only is this inner-city haunt home to some of the City’s most highly-rated Thai, it serves up (unnoticeably) delicious vegan food too — a delight seeing as Thai cuisine traditionally features fish sauce and shrimp paste. At Sunflower, flavour isn’t compromised either, the joint famously beloved for serving up some of the most sought-after ‘prawn’ fried rice in town.
Famously recently taking over the corner spot where GoGo Daddy Thai Canteen once stood, Ponsonby Central’s new Thai eatery, Mama Do, offers a more authentic experience of the cuisine. While still serving a delicious sense of fun and whimsy, the menu here leans into familial recipes inspired by owner Nolina’s mother’s cooking. As such, it’s quite quickly become one of our favourite places in this dining precinct.
Despite the more sophisticated offerings found around town, we can’t ever look past Soul Thai. Always reliable and efficient, these hole-in-the-wall restaurants (found in Mount Eden, Grey Lynn and Royal Oak) offer some of the best Thai in town. Everything on the menu is delicious — but for the ultimate in comfort and indulgence, we recommend requesting your pad thai extra-saucy, with a side of roti to mop it all up.
Come for the atmosphere, stay for the food. Po’ Brothers is perfectly formulated to facilitate an excellent night out, with its prime position on Ponsonby Road, BYO offering and ability to cater for larger groups or smaller gatherings. Be as adventurous (there’s a Thai-level hot section) or predictable (the pad Thai and char kuey teow are as delicious as they come) as you please.
When you need your Thai fix stat, scurry on over to Aroy Express in Commercial Bay. The refined takeaway menu, which is thoughtfully dished up in compostable containers, spans selected entrees like roti and curry puffs, through to curries and soups, chicken and cashew nuts, black pepper beef and vegetarian red curry. The Aroy empire stretches from Wellington to Auckland (with a bigger, larger restaurant in Mount Wellington too), so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about serving up a good Thai feed.
Thai Village Remuera
Having re-opened earlier this year after a famously long renovation that saw the restaurant’s most loyal customers still getting their daily fix through a pop-up takeaway window, Remuera’s most iconic Thai Village is now offering a decidedly elevated take on their most authentic cuisine. Now, the venue is adopting some new traditions, like bottomless brunches in the weekends which leans into the expert touch of the bar, and an extensive menu that caters to vegan, gluten-free, and other essential dietarys. Having sampled more than our fair share over the years, we think the tender grilled lamb rack with Chef Savang’s special sauce, the Mook Fish with its crumbed market fish, Thai herbs, orange and lemon dressing, and the Red Duck Curry are all must-order dishes.
Touted among locals as the best Thai over the bridge, Devonport’s The Taste prides itself on tasty takeaways, when you need them most (although on popular nights, you might have to be prepared to wait). The chefs here have nailed the perfect balance of sour, savoury and sweet for sumptuous Thai classics that literally melt in your mouth.
You can’t miss Kiss Kiss — the Balmoral eatery is bathed in neon light that lures in hungry punters like moths to a flame. The menu covers the likes of buns (filled with pork belly, lemongrass fried chicken or tofu), sharing plates such as som tum salad and whole deep-fried snapper, noodles and rice dishes, so best gather a group and sample a little bit of everything. Be sure to leave room for dessert — the mango and sticky rice are a must.
Blue Elephant Thai Parnell
This Parnell institution is proof that you can’t beat an old classic. Consistently recognised as one of Aucklanders’ most-loved Thai restaurants, Blue Elephant offers traditional dishes in a humble and cute atmosphere, where homage is payed to the beloved, peaceful national animal. Known for their generous servings, reliable offering and the chef’s special Blue Elephant Crispy Pork. Requesting your dishes ‘Thai Hot’ also alleviates the need for any extra spice requests.
White + Wong’s
While not strictly a Thai-centric eatery, White + Wong’s has built its reputation around doing Asian fusion fare well, and its Thai-inspired dishes are no exception. From tender Thai beef salad to fragrant tom yum soup, tantalising green papaya salad and moreish pad Thai, White + Wong’s covers all your bases for a family-friendly meal with harbour views at its Viaduct location to boot.