While Vietnamese foods, like the popular noodle soup pho or the imitable sandwich, the Bahn Mi, have dominated Asian food trends in recent years, they are far from the only options for incredible Asian flavors. Thai food all too often gets overlooked when compared with more trendy options.
The heat of the summer is the perfect time to try Thai. If you’ve ever bitten into a chili pepper, you probably already know how it affects your body. You may flush or blush and will probably develop a light sheen of sweat. That may seem like the opposite of what you want in the middle of the summer, but don’t jump to conclusions. There’s a reason that some of the spiciest foods in the world also come from the warmest regions.
When you sweat, the water your body releases evaporates, helping you drop your internal temperature. While it may seem counter-intuitive, eating hot, spicy foods can actually help you beat the heat. That means there’s no time like the middle of summer to try some of the great local Thai restaurants around San Diego.
As a city with an overwhelming number of locally owned restaurants, San Diego has plenty of options available for those who want to try Thai. Whether you’re an old hand with favorite dishes or someone trying Thai cuisine for the first time, you can find some incredible Thai-inspired dishes on menus all over the city. We’ve located four eateries with tip-top Thai menus sure to keep you coming back for more.
Supanese House of Thai
Location: 2907 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 110 (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday: Noon to 9:30 p.m., Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m.
If you find yourself craving a little something spicy in Point Loma or Fleetridge, Supanese House of Thai has what you’re looking for. The menu here features farm to table ingredient sourcing, with much of their produce coming from local farms. They also feature local seafood in many dishes and offer local craft beer to cool down the spice.
They have plenty of appetizers here, including summer rolls, egg rolls, chicken wings, stir fried clams, wonton-wrapped shrimp and even fresh Thai sausages seasoned with lemongrass, curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. They also have soups and salads to start your meal off.
Try some of the fresh catch of the day in their Spicy Sauté, which features Thai eggplant, karachi, green peppercorns and Thai holy basil leaves. They also serve Whole Rockfish with a spicy garlic, tamarind and chili sauce.
There are plenty of other spicy selections, including their Spicy Squid or Spicy Seafood or a dish called Screaming Tiger. Screaming Tiger is a marinated flank steak served over sautéed vegetables and topped with their “screaming” chili-lime sauce. There are also many curries, fried rice dishes and noodle dishes on the menu. They will season most spicy dishes to your level of spice preference here.
Location: 8993 Mira Mesa Blvd (map)
Hours: Seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’re near Mira Mesa when that spice craving hits, check out Siam Nara. With a modern, yet classic interior and some incredible presentation for their dishes, Siam Nara helps redefine Thai cuisine as an upscale option without prohibitive prices.
The menu here includes a great assortment of starts, include Satay chicken on a stick with fresh peanut sauce, marinated Thai fish cakes (called Tod Mun Pla) and even a fried taro cake served with sweet and sour sauce. They also serve classic salads, like larb, and many different kinds of soups.
Fried rice is practically a staple in Thailand, and you can enjoy all kinds of it here, include holy basil fried rice, crab fried rice and even garlic salmon fried rice. They have many popular noodle dishes, too, including Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles.
You will also find a great assortment of curries at this eatery, including cashew curry, garlic green bean curry, panang curry and the standard red, yellow and green options. Each of these dishes comes with your choice of protein. Options here include chicken, roast duck, pork, beed, shrimp, squid, scallops and mixed seafood. There are also some tasty fresh fish and seafood dishes, which range from sweet and savory to downright spicy.
Location: 4646 Park Blvd, Suite 3 (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Located in University Heights at the border of North Park, Bahn Thai is the perfect place to get educated about Thai dishes. This family owned and operated eatery focuses on fresh ingredients and authentic flavors, making them a must-try for Thai newbies and the long-initiated alike.
They serve all of the classic appetizers here, such as Thai spring rolls, a smaller version of the popular egg roll, filled with noodles and shredded veggies. They also serve chicken satay, which is a marinated chicken on a stick, served with subtly sweet peanut sauce, as well as soups like Tom Yum and Tom Ka. The main course is what will keep you coming back, however.
You can try a Thai staple, basil fried rice, served with Thai jasmine rice, sweet peppers, fresh basil, green onions and eggs, topped with crispy fried basil leaves. When it comes to spice, however, they’ve got all the classics. The menu includes red, green and yellow curries, as well as creamy Panang curry and sweet Massaman curry.
If you’d like something a little cooler, consider their chilled salads, like Lahn Gai. This salad features ground chicken seasoned with lime juice, mint, green onion and fish sauce. There are plenty of other salads, as well as stir-fry dishes and curry stews.
Amarin Thai Cuisine
Location: 3843 Richmond Street (map)
Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Looking for some of that good, spicy Thai curry or stew in Hillcrest? Look no further than Amarin Thai Cuisine. Amarin Thai has a reputation for incredible service and beautiful plating. Not only will they serve many of your favorite dishes (or help you find a new favorite), the presentation will be amazing.
Start your meal off with a steaming hot bowl of soup, like Tom Yum, a lemongrass sweet and sour soup, or Tom Kah, a coconut milk soup, with your choice of protein. If you’re dining with friends, family or a date, consider trying one of their Hot Pots.
These are both visually appealing and fun to share with friends, offering an authentic and exciting dining experience. If you’d rather head straight for the spice, check out some of their specialty and signature dishes. Their Green Bay Salmon is an incredible fusion take on the ever popular green curry. It features Atlantic salmon, avocado and eggplant in green curry sauce served with fresh holy Thai basil.
Their Black Pepper Tiger Prawn is another spicy option. Enjoy the gigantic portions of shrimp served in a spicy black pepper sauce. Make it even spicier with their Atomic Black Tiger Prawns, served in