I’ve lived in Thailand for over a year, so I feel I’m a pretty good judge of the best Thai restaurants in Edinburgh. I’m constantly saying that you can’t find real Thai food outside of Thailand, but Edinburgh seems to be the exception to the rule. Here are the restaurants in Edinburgh where you can find authentic Thai food that tastes just like Thailand.
This is just one small segment of my list of best restaurants in Edinburgh.
Thailander is run by Joe, his partner Somruedee and her son Game. Somruedee and Game are from Chiang Mai themselves and brought their cooking skills to Edinburgh. While Thai ingredients in Scotland might not be identical to Thailand, there is a Thai market not far away where they get their spices, teas, and other ingredients. The kitchen set-up is also just like what you’d find in Thailand – big cast-iron woks over gas flames.
I’ve visited several times for their perfect Pad Thai. I also tried their Pad Khao, satay, deep-fried prawns, and mango sticky rice. Everything was delicious and reminiscent of Thailand. Sadly, I have to say the mangoes in the UK just aren’t the same as Thailand where they are so much softer and juicier.
Check The Thailander website for current hours and prices.
Ting Thai Caravan
Both locations of Ting Thai are my go-to for Thai food in Edinburgh. They’re conveniently located, the price is great, and the quality is consistently just like what I would get in Thailand. They also have khao soi, my favorite dish from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The location near Edinburgh University has been there at least since I arrived in Edinburgh back in 2015. Now, there are four locations, two in Edinburgh and two in Glasgow. I’ve made my rounds between three of the locations, and have yet to have a bad meal.
Aside from having great food, the locations are also interestingly designed. Instead of individual tables. the locations have larger tables and benches for more of a community feel, exactly as you would find in Thailand. The music is good, the staff is friendly…in other words, all the boxes are checked.
Check the Ting Thai Caravan website for current hours and prices.
Chaophraya Thai Restaurant
I would consider Chaophraya Thai more of a modern twist on Thai food. Somewhat of an avant-garde cuisine, if you will. The quality of the food is fantastic but doesn’t taste quite the same as what you would find in Thailand.
Sadly, it’s the most expensive restaurant on this list, which in itself puts me off a bit when I compare it to how cheap Thai food is in Thailand. I get it, the cuisine can be considered exotic, but £18 ($23.50) for a Pad Thai is just a bit much. The other problem is the portion sizes aren’t that great. Yet I still think it belongs on this list.
The khao soi at Ting Thai Caravan is larger, half the price, and tastes closer to what you would find in Thailand. So from that end, Chaophraya Thai isn’t the best. But it’s still one of the better Thai restaurants in Edinburgh, and there’s nothing wrong with fine dining, even when it comes to Thai food. If you’re looking for Thai but want something a little different and have a larger budget, you’ll love Chaophraya Thai.
The other benefit of this restaurant is it has some of the best views in town. One side (if are lucky enough to get those tables) looks out at Edinburgh Castle. The other side, where the terrace is, looks over the New Town and down to the Firth of Forth.
Check the Chaophraya Thai website for current hours and prices.
Spirit of Thai
Spirit of Thai is the second-most expensive venue on this list. Vanesa and I ate there during the pandemic when the Eat Out to Help Out scheme took 50% off our bill. Otherwise, just like Chaophraya Thai, it’s a little pricy. But I quickly learned why the price is high there.
With my first bite, I was brought right back to Thailand. My dish tasted exactly as it would have in Thailand. So I asked the waiter what they did to make it so good. He said the chefs were all Thai. Yeah, but every restaurant on this list has Thai chefs. Well, they also fly their ingredients in from Thailand regularly. No wonder. Meat and produce taste differently around the world. Thai food in Thailand has a very distinct flavor, which Spirit of Thai replicated perfectly.
The other thing I love about Spirit of Thai is how small their menu is. Thailand has a massive cuisine and there are dozens of dishes available around the country. Spirit of Thai has quite a few dishes, but the menu is the shortest on this list.
Check the Spirit of Thai website for current hours and prices.
This is another street-food-style Thai restaurant in the Newington neighborhood of Edinburgh. It’s on par with Ting Thai Caravan with similar prices. The difference is the longer menu, which means they have dishes you can’t find at other Thai restaurants in Edinburgh.
This is the only location I could find that has Khaow Khai Jiaw, the Thai egg omelet I used to eat every day in Thailand. Sure, it’s a bit overpriced when it’s only two eggs on a bed of rice, but it’s not easy to make at home without the right equipment, and it reminds me so much of my time living in Thailand.
The other dishes and drinks were spot-on. Best of all, the portion sizes are big, so Soi 38 ends up being the best value for your money when it comes to authentic Thai food in Edinburgh. Perhaps it’s a good thing that it’s so far from where I live in Edinburgh, or I’d probably be spending my weekly food budget there regularly.
Check the Soi 38 website for current hours and prices.
Best Thai Restaurants in Edinburgh – Honorable Mentions
There are a few more Thai restaurants in Edinburgh that I should mention. These are either out of my budget, recommended by other locals, or just ones I just haven’t visited enough to rate.
- Dusit (probably the top fine-dining Thai restaurant in Edinburgh)
- Nok’s Kitchen Thai Restaurant Stockbridge
- Thai Bowl on the Walk
- Absolute Thai
- Time 4 Thai
- Celadon 2 U
I also want to give a shout-out to Ka Pao at the St. James Quarter shopping mall. It’s an Asian small plates restaurant, but many of its dishes are Thai or Thai inspired. It can be a little pricy there, but the food is delicious!
For more information about Edinburgh and Scotland, make sure to check out the rest of my Scotland articles.
This post may contain affiliate links. These links help give me the wherewithal to continue traveling at no additional cost to you. For more information, click here.