Brisbane’s Thai restaurant scene has spruced itself up and come out fighting. These 10 spots are where you can taste stand-out noodles, rich curries and the rewards of all that hard work.
Led by acclaimed Spirit House alum Ben Bertei, Longtime is Brisbane’s go-to when you want evolved Thai cuisine. This Valley superstar boasts a giddy collection of rich curries, spicy salads and fragrant stir-fries and the menu is backed by terrific wine list and delivered with razor sharp service. The hip location, down a laneway with globe lights and festoons of greenery, goes well too.
610 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley; (07) 3160 3123
Kinn + Derm
Part of a swank food precinct at a Westfield in Brisbane’s north, Kinn + Derm is more new wave than your average Thai hole-in-the-wall. Think wok-tossed tofu and Chinese broccoli in a rich mushroom sauce or soft-fried egg within a chicken mince salad. Kinn + Derm’s ultra-hip space tends to fill up on a Friday night, giving it a freewheeling, funky and fun atmosphere.
Shop 1 / R63 Westfield Chermside, Gympie Road, Chermside; (07) 3350 3931
Mons Ban Sabai Thai
What started as a market stall selling homemade Thai curry pastes has blossomed into a series of classy eateries scattered throughout Brisbane. Mons Ban Sabai Thai was the first and remains the best, an award-winning linchpin on a brilliant strip in bucolic Camp Hill. Just about everything on the menu is worthwhile but the beef cheek massaman curry is legendary south of the river. The restaurant just earned itself a liquor licence, too, so no more schlepping to the bottle shop for booze before tea.
12 Martha Street, Camp Hill; (07) 3843 5366
My Thai is a western suburbs icon, flipping serious (and often seriously spicy) Thai food in a neat Auchenflower shopfront since 1993. Dishes such as fried whole baby barramundi and laab gai are distinguished by a liberal application of chilli, garlic, lemongrass and ginger. But there’s a healthy dash of humour here too — try a spicy Aussie Cry beef salad (if you dare) or One Nation steamed fish.
113 Haig Road, Auchenflower; (07) 3217 7277
Spice Den opened in early 2017 underneath the swank Spire Residences in the CBD is already known for its fast-paced, highly evolved Asian street food that highlights Thai flavours. Spice Den’s speciality lies in its wagyu beef dishes – particularly a pat see yeuw with hand-cut rice noodles, dressed with pickled chilli, and a gingery pat prik king. The slick digs are a touch off the beaten track but once here, tucking into your fragrant curry, you won’t mind the journey.
457 Ann Street, Brisbane
Best known as a breakfast café, Pawpaw parties late with a Thai-leaning menu as colourful as the venue’s striking feature mural. The curries are bold and flavoursome and the stand-out dish is the holy basil chicken mince, featuring eggplant, onion and chilli, while the whole fried barramundi comes with a fragrant salad of green mango, apple and Asian herbs.
Cnr Potts and Stanley streets, Woolloongabba; (07) 3891 5100
Even if they haven’t been, Brisbane northsiders know Thai Naramit by reputation (or by its consistently packed terrace on Zillman Road). All the Thai staples – pad siew, curries of varying colours – are here but the more aromatic dishes are where Naramit excels. Try perfectly fried soft shell crab or a beef salad lifted by a perfectly seasoned homemade sauce.
4 / 5 Zillman Road, Hendra; (07) 3268 5146
Thai Chada is easily spotted by the delivery cyclists lined up outside, patiently waiting to whisk orders to homes throughout the inner north. But it’s best to dine-in for the full experience of tucking into technicoloured curries served by friendly and efficient waitstaff. The kao soi curry with crisp egg noodles is a specialty but for something extra adventurous, try the spicy fish pad char, which comes with eggplant and fistfuls of green peppercorns.
1 / 8 Days Road, Grange; (07) 3856 6455
Banana Leaf declares its modern skew by lining its feature walls with funky film and backs it up with a menu leaning towards fabulously light wok-fried dishes. Try a spicy fried rice with a sprinkling of quinoa; a pad thai that swaps out noodles for carrot and zucchini strips; or pan-fried salmon with a spiced mix of rice and quinoa, finished with a smoky reduction. Be sure to book ahead on Friday and Saturday nights.
4 / 121 Wellington Road, East Brisbane; (07) 3392 1006
Ruean Phae Thai
Ruean Phae Thai’s divey digs might not be much to look at but this place is authentic, right down to the dart patrons need to make through the kitchen to get to the loo. Menu highlights include the sizzling pepper beef and decadent duck shanks in a white wine and Thai herb sauce. If nothing else, a trip to this Newstead restaurant sets you down in the middle of a hub of bars and brewpubs perfect for post-dinner drinks.
136 Commercial Road, Newstead; (07) 3191 8494
Top image: Longtime