Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver
Danielle Lirette

With the temperatures dropping, Thai food -- with all its fresh flavors and heat -- is sounding very appetizing. Thai Monkey Club, which Gretchen Kurtz just reviewed, is just one of the exciting new spots that's joined a line of favorite standbys. Spice junkies often quabble over the spots with the best pad thai, curry or tom kai gha in the metro area. Here, to settle some of those arguments and inspire new ones are our Cafe Society picks for the twelve best Thai restaurants in the Denver area.

See also: Thai Monkey Club: this place is hot!

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

12) Thai Flavor

1014 South Peoria Street

At Thai Flavor, the curries are what shine, made by Surin Thanon, a native of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, and served in a no-frills Aurora dining room. The star of the show is the panang curry--creamy with coconut milk and laced with the heat of chili peppers, tempered with fresh lime, garlic, and herbs, and dotted with tender cuts of meat.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

11) Thai Diamond Cafe

1560 Kipling Street

Among a vast menu of hot curries and a host of other traditional Thai plates, it's hard to go wrong. Complex, savory favorites like Pad Thai are coveted by the loyal flocks that return to Thai Diamond Cafe, along with comforting bowls of Tom Kha Gai, a hot and sour soup scented with lemongrass, swimming with chicken, mushrooms, and lime leaves in a delicate coconut broth.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

10) Thai Pot

1550 South Colorado Boulevard

This pint-sized Thai spot on Colorado Boulevard is about to move into some new digs: In January 2014, Thai Pot will move a stone's throw away from its current location, where patrons can still find aromatic Thai basil chicken, shrimp red curry, and drunken noodles, in a range of heat levels.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

9) Snow Thai

406 East Colfax Avenue

This Colfax newcomer has quickly been decorated with praise from the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and although the owner is from Burma, Snow Thai turns out healthy portions of Thai standards, like flavorful Pad Thai and spiced curries. To top it off? every entree comes with a freshly-made eggroll, on the house.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

8) Liang's Thai Food

16th and Tremont Street

This friendly downtown cart serves up simple, authentic Thai food to a snaking lunch line, and everything is made from scratch on Liang's one burner. The expansive menu runs the gamut from Panang and massaman curries to pad Thai, spicy sour soup and pad see ewe.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver
Hunter Stevens

7) J's Noodles Star Thai

945 South Federal Boulevard

J's Noodles Star Thai crafts its dishes in a simple (and tiny) space that seats no more than a handful of customers. Still, they come in for traditional plates of larb, ground meat mixed in a spicy lemon dressing with onions, cilantro, roasted rice powder and mint, and a legendary pad Thai.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

6) US Thai Cafe

5228 West 25th Avenue

US Thai is actually owned by a Laotian, and the cuisine tends to favor northern Thai. The balanced offerings dreamed up in the open kitchen include habit-forming curries and noodles, which if you're not careful, can scorch your taste buds for your next few meals. Play it safe and order the medium heat -- it will still make you sweat.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

5) Udom Thai

7547 South University Blvd.

For staples like papaya salad, thom yum, and thom kha (plus chef specialties like pork belly with broccoli and addictive mango sticky race), Udom Thai is one of greater Denver's most coveted Thai spots, especially for Littleton residents. But for those willing to venture just a little bit further, it's worth the drive.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver
Cassandra Kotnik

4) Wild Ginger

399 West Littleton Boulevard

Wild Ginger is one of a handful of global cuisine options in Littleton and a comfortable place to train your palate in the tastes of Thai flavor: an Americanized heat scale that ranges from mild to hot-hot is available across the board in all dishes, like traditional noodles and curry. Kudos to a more expansive selection of desserts.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

3) Star Thai

8048 West Jewell Avenue, Lakewood

Yet another nondescript strip mall gem, customers swear by the bright, complex green curry and plates of pad Thai, all customizable on the heat scale. And although the space might feel questionable, the Thai dishes, along with a small section of Chinese specialties influenced by one of the native Chinese owners, make the place truly shine.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver
Danielle Lirette

2) Thai Monkey Club

102 South Broadway

4122 East Colfax Avenue

To many, Thai food is associated with a sweat-inducing heat, and at Thai Monkey Club they've made something of an endurance test out of this association, offering a six-level heat index not intended for the faint of heart. Whatever your poison, it can be cooled down with a refreshing papaya salad or creamy Thai iced tea.

Twelve best Thai restaurants in Denver

1) Thai Street Food

11650 Montview Boulevard, Aurora

Utumporn Killoran's works of food art made their mark on patrons when she began turning out her dishes from a cart on the 16th Street Mall. A few years and a move to a brick-and-mortar later, Killoran delights with plates influenced from her home in the Issan region of Thailand, from standby curries to the coveted noodle jelly salad, earning Thai Street Food Westword's award for Best Thai Food this year.

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