Where Is the Best Thai Food in Austin?

Titaya's Thai Cuisine in Austin, TexasEditor’s Note, February 26, 2014: Titaya’s is back! It took forever and I seriously lost hope that it would ever open up again. But it has and – in renovated form – it is absolutely beautiful! I tried it out to make sure the quality of the food didn’t bite the dust with the demolition of the old space. I liked what I saw and tasted. The world is right-side-up again.

Editor’s Note, September 20, 2013: To our immense disappointment, Titaya’s shut down for “temporary renovations” in December 2012 and has yet to reopen. Our hopes of tasting Titaya’s tempting cuisine has faded over the past months, and we’ve found ourselves hiding under the eaves of Thai Cuisine for solace.

At the Austinot, we are always searching for the next Austin gem. Just recently, we were wondering the answer to this question:

Where is the best Thai food in Austin?

I’m going to share my pick with you in this post. I know that our readers might disagree, but let me challenge you to comment if you disagree, and tell me your favorite. We’d be happy to go check out your recommendations because we love Thai food. And to say that we love exploring new restaurants in Austin would be an understatement.

Ready for my thoughts on the best Thai food in Austin? Check this…

So the other night, Brittany and I had a hankerin’ (this is Texas, you get hankerin’s ’round here) for some Thai Food, so we surfed the Net and landed at Titaya’s Thai Cuisine.

Titaya’s sits in an unassuming building on North Lamar, just south of 2222 near Half Price Books. We walked in and the place was busy, which of course is always a good sign. We were greeted warmly by a host and seated immediately. Taking a look through the menu, there were plenty of choices. Though many were tempting, we went with our usual Thai food picks. I got the Pad Thai and Brittany went with the Red Curry.

Dining Room of Titaya's Thai Cuisine

Now I have to tell you that when it comes to Thai food, I’m kind of a snob. I’ve traveled extensively and Pad Thai is one of my all-time favorite dishes. The flavor explodes in this citrusy delightful symphony that is unique among Asian cuisine.

Pad Thai is basically stir-fried rice noodles combined with egg, red chili pepper, tamarind juice, chili oil, fish sauce, and bean sprouts and is traditionally garnished with crushed peanuts, cilantro, and lime. Many people opt to add chicken, shrimp or tofu. I’m a shrimp guy.

Pad Thai at Titaya's Thai Cuisine in Austin

Pad Thai at Titaya’s Thai Cuisine — the best?

Famished when we arrived, I ordered my Pad Thai hoping for the best, but willing to settle for decent. When my food arrived, the aroma coming off the sizable portion and the pleasing presentation of the dish told me I was in for a treat.

But you never know until you take that first bite, right? So with great anticipation, I dove my fork in and took my first bite. Not only was I not disappointed — and I struggle to write this because I’ve eaten Pad Thai in countless restaurants — but I think  the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had is right here in Austin.

No kidding.

Brittany was really pleased with her Red Curry and Thai Iced Tea as well. Both dishes were under $10 and, at the suggestion of some restaurant neighbors in a booth next to us, we even tried a dessert. The dessert we tried was the fried bananas with coconut ice cream. Honestly, it was incredible.

Fried Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream

Fried bananas with coconut ice cream

 

As far as the service goes, it was also excellent. Our server Patrick was all smiles and responsive to every request.

Our server at Titaya's Thai Cuisine in Austin

Our server, Patrick!

Now please understand, I’m not being compensated in any way to share this with you. Heck, to my knowledge, Titaya’s doesn’t have a Facebook account and their web page is down as of this writing, so I can’t even link them for you.

But what they lack in online presence, they more than make up for with their food and service. Titaya’s boasts  5 stars on over 500 reviews on Urbanspoon, and 4 stars on over 600 reviews on Yelp!

They are located at 5501 N. Lamar Blvd, and  I can’t encourage you enough to give them a shot.

 

Austinot Eric asks:
What is YOUR favorite Thai place in Austin and what do you normally order?

Titaya's Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

  • http://twitter.com/RealAustin Katrina Tolentino

    I LOVE Titaya’s!  Check out Thai Kitchen by campus and Madam Mam’s as well.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Katrina, I’ve never been to Thai Kitchen so I’ll have to check that for sure. I went to Madam Mam’s and I’m not sure if it was an off night or what.. but I really wasn’t impressed. Titaya’s is on a whole playing field from them IMO.  What is your favorite Thai dish?

      • writenett

        I like Thai Kitchen’s pad thai better than Titaya’s (though Titaya gets my overall Best Thai vote). Maybe it’s because the first time I ever tried pad thai was at Thai Kitchen, the tofu version, which is how I always order it.

        Thai Cuisine on Parmer is good. I like the Thom Ka Gai better than anyone else’s. And they have these appetizers called Angel Wings – stuffed chicken legs. They are amazing! The Gang Dang curry is also great.

        As for Madam Mam’s, I still like their Lard Na, pork, better than anyone’s. Some of the best comfort food around. And I really enjoy the atmosphere at the Anderson Lane location.

        Don’t forget Satay. Been around forever. The Phuket Wonder is my favorite there. Get it with a protein for a main dish or as is for a side. The Kampung Udang is unbelievably yummy. And if you’re willing to branch out from Thai, try the Singaporean dish Nasi Goreng. It’s a palate tickling array of flavors.

        Was going to tell you about another place but I haven’t been there in a long time and the recent reviews include several reports of food poisoning. Yikes!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1158574418 Troy Herman

    As a Yelp*er and a Foodie, it seems that you have just added another location on my “To Do” List. Thanks Eric & Brit.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Troy, maybe one of these nights we could do a double date there. That could be fun! Keep me posted. 

  • http://www.knektion.com/ Brittany Highland

    I was shocked when you said that Titaya’s Pad Thai was your favorite yet. You’ve been talking about the Pad Thai in St. Petersburg for years and I thought you’d never get past it! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      I was shocked too… hehe, I actually had to take several bites to confirm it.. but yeah.. I’m ready to go back.. like tonight.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520875329 Joshua Joab Garza

    I’ve only had a bad experience with the Madam Mam’s on Guadalupe. The one on West Gate never fails me. It’s also a much prettier place. It’s called Sap’s now, after their split, she took Madam Mam’s and he took Sap’s on Westgate. Still just as amazing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      We went to the one on Guadalupe and honestly we weren’t really impressed. Perhaps they were having an off day. We’ll have to give Sap’s on Westgate a shot though. What is your favorite dish there Joshua?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520875329 Joshua Joab Garza

        The names are too ridiculous to remember…but it’s some coconut milk soup dish with chicken or tofu (if that’s your thing.)

        • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

          Good to know.. we’ll keep that in mind. I’m a Pad Thai guy.. so I have a really hard time trying new things.. but Brit might try it. 

  • tastyprawn

    Titaya’s is my favorite Thai food in Austin! My favorite dishes there are the Hor Mok Talay, the Chu Chee, and the Pad Param with tofu. My husband’s favorites are the Pad Woon Sen, the Kua Kai, and the Pad Thai.

    We used to be fans of Madam Mam’s, but after eating at Titaya’s we tried Madam Mam’s again and were not impressed any longer. Titaya’s is much more flavorful!

    • http://www.knektion.com/ Brittany Highland

      Tastyprawn, have you had the Papaya salad dish at Titaya’s? It looked tempting, but I went with a safer choice because I wasn’t sure!

      • tastyprawn

         I have! It was very spicy, but I enjoyed it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

          Tastyprawn, thanks for the comments.. sounds like you are a shrimp lover too… any other Austin joints you recommend we check out? I love me some shrimp!

          • tastyprawn

            I do love shrimp! Check out Chago’s on North Lamar (just north of St. John’s). They only have one shrimp dish (the Camarones a la Plancha), but I love it!

            Korea House (in the Village shopping center, off of Anderson Ln) also has a really good seafood soup, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it is called.

          • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

            Thanks for the tips!!! Out of curiosity, how did you find out about the Austinot? Please let us know, we love to learn where our readership comes from. 

          • tastyprawn

             I found you guys via the Austin Bloggers Metablog (I subscribe to that RSS feed, even though it seems to often get littered by spam I’ve found enough good blogs via that feed that I’m willing to ignore the spam).

          • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

            Awesome! I think you are the first that I’ve heard that has found us through there. Can we know your name or do you just go by TastyPrawn which we like by the way – Eric

          • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

            (I promise Eric isn’t a stalker, just really friendly.) I think we’re going to find out soon how many comment layers Disqus allows.

          • tastyprawn

            My name is Heather Lopez. I just go by TastyPrawn on most social sites.

          • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

            Heather! Great e-meeting you. I’m glad Brit qualified that I wasn’t a stalker. This post stream is getting really tight now. We are pushing the boundaries.. but we are so glad you found us. We’d love it if you’d join us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/theAustinot or followed us on Twitter at @theAustinot

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1184390015 Aaron Ramirez

    I need to try this place, but my favorite thai has got to be MuangThai 13945 N Highway 183 # C80. Its way up in northwest austin in a shopping center next to a fast eddies. The pad thai is great and the beef noodle stew is my favorite!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Whoa! Never heard of this joint Aaron. We’ll most definitely need to check it out. Thanks for the tip. Trust me on this though.. go for the Pad Thai at Titaya’s!

      By the way, how did you find out about the Austinot? I’m always curious as to our new commenters. Great having you here by the way. – Eric

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1184390015 Aaron Ramirez

        Twitter, @atxhipsters shared this article and anything about food is always a good read.

        • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

          We follow #atxhipsters on Twitter… they are always tweeting great stuff about Austin. Glad you found us Aaron. 

  • Alisa Kennedy

    Titaya’s is in my neighborhood and it is great. But I think the secret is out because every time we go there, the place is packed and there is a wait. It used to be a sleepy hole in the wall but now seems pretty popular – and with good reason!

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Alisa! Great to have a comment from you on a food post! Have you reviewed TItaya’s?

  • http://www.epreferreds.com/ preferred stock

    Its way up in northwest austin in a shopping center next to a fast
    eddies. The pad thai is great and the beef noodle stew is my favorite!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Preferred Stock… you never named the place you are talking about! What place is it that you are saying has great Pad Thai and beef noodle stew?

  • MatthewParente

    Thai Taste, in SW Austin is awesome … try the Pad Plick Pao

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Matthew, I’m always hard pressed to order anything but Pad Thai, but I might be inclined to check this out. Can you describe the dish?

      • MatthewParente

        It’s a stir-fry with carrots, onion, broccoli, and cabbage with a slightly spicy (like black pepper spicy) sweet sauce on rice. Delish! Pad Thai is good too, but this is better :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

          Can you add a meat like shrimp or chicken to it? Or is it just the way it comes?

          • MatthewParente

            Yep. Add meat to it to finish it off. I get it with tofu ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Watts/579802369 Josh Watts

    We have been going to Titaya’s for a couple of years now, I’m from Los Angeles so I have a pretty good idea what good Thai food is and I really do love the food here. I usually get the pad ginger (pork), thai fried rice (pork), Tom Kha (chicken) and the crispy egg rolls. This place is good every time we go and the couple of times we tried madam nam’s it just didn’t seem that good to me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Obviously as I wrote the article, I agree with you Josh on Titaya’s over Madam Mam’s. But have you found any other Thai restaurants in Austin that you like better than Titaya’s?

  • Chris Schneider

     I’ve tried a few Thai places in Austin and Titaya’s is the definite standout. My only complaint is that eating there is not a fun experience. They charge extra for whatever they can (soda comes in cans w/o refills for the normal soda price, they give small amounts of rice and charge for more, etc.), there is usually a good wait (w/o a good waiting area), and maybe since they’re so busy they seem to rush to get us in-and-out. Luckily we live close enough so that we can order take-out, but I hope they improve someday so it’s actually nice to go to.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Good points all around Chris. Though the staff was really friendly, I agree that they have significant areas to improve (other than the quality of their food).

      Do you have any other restaurants that are “must check out” for us? Please let me know. I’m always looking for “that one spot”

  • Trish

    Not the most original name for a restaurant, but Thai Cuisine on Parmer north of Mopac is incredible. If you go, you have to try the Som Tum salad. It is a shredded green papaya salad with cherry tomatoes and peanuts. It is addictive. This place has the most expansive Thai menu I have ever seen. The friend who introduced us is Hmong and she says the Tom Sum is as close as she has ever had outside the Hmong community. Everything I have tried there has been fantastic. Just try it!

    • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

      Interesting that you mention Thai Cuisine, Trish, because I think I’ve seen them on Groupon Now a few times and I’ve been wanting to check them out. Now I know I need to! The Som Tum sounds delicious. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • katmandelstein

        Make sure you go for lunch. Prices are better and they have a free appetizer buffet. Better deal and experience here at lunch.

        • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

          Great to know, Kat! Still haven’t been able to make it out to Thai Cuisine, but looking for to it.

        • writenett

          The lunch deal at Thai Cuisine is good. But the dining experience is better in the evening when it’s less crowded.

          • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

            @afdf7e870220cb0c2bd74111733ac09b:disqus, we made it out to Thai Cuisine for the first time a couple of weeks ago – for dinner. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the thai iced tea, but we weren’t wow’ed by our entres and it was more pricey than I expected. Definitely willing to give it another shot, though. Would love to try the Som Tum salad that @9e9e3d203fff99cc2aea02281cc85442:disqus recommended.

  • carrie

    no one has mentioned Thai Passion? Their daily curries are cheap cheap and way delish. And if you get it with tofu, it’s vegan friendly! The Pud Kee Mow is also bomb!

    • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

      Ooh, thanks for the tip, Carrie! Do you have a favorite curry there? I’m a big red fan and never step out of that box…maybe I should one of these days!

  • gelitron

    No bueno. Not convinced. The spring rolls were warm… Not chilled. Not room temp. Warm. The other dishes were mediocre at best. The supposed hottest curry item on the menu hardly cleared up my sinuses. Also, it was more like a soup than curry. Now, I’m no curry expert. But I was disappointed that it wasn’t more like a curry that I’m used to. The yellow curry was… ok. It just didn’t have the bite that I love. The other 2 dishes we ordered were unremarkable. I left this restaurant craving Thai food.

    • Austinot

      @cf045afe7bde35d8c3eecf4e5d63f15e:disqus well we don’t get paid for our reviews and it seems like you had a bad experience… was it just once or was this on multiple occasions? We went for lunch one time and the Pad Thai was a bit dry. However the next time we went we mentioned it, and they more than made up for it. What is your favorite Thai food joint in Austin?

  • Lisa

    Thamnak Thai in Cedar Park is fantastic! http://www.thamnakthai.com/home.html

    • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

      Thanks for the tip, @52e23de0db532a306284b2d5e4c13d35:disqus ! What is your favorite dish?

  • Jennie

    The best Thai food in Austin can be found on Sunday mornings at the Thai Temple outside of Austin in Del Valle. There you will find delicious Thai boat noodles and papaya salad. I’m sorry to say, but no real Thai person eats Pad Thai. As someone who is Thai-American and lived in LA for many many years (home of the best Thai food, outside of my mother’s kitchen), I’m sorry to say but no Thai restaurant in Austin offers the same authenticity as any even mediocre place in LA.

    • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

      @9eed2757e5037239a5db49103261613d:disqus, thanks for letting us know about Thai Temple! Unfortunately for us, Titaya’s has been closed since the beginning of the year “for renovations” and may not ever open again. But from the sound of it, we can get some real schooling in authentic Thai food in Del Valle. :)