While Philadelphia isn’t particularly known for its Thai food, you can find a few great spots if you know where to look. Visit any of these restaurants to enjoy the balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy that Thai cuisine is known for. As an extra bonus, many of the Thai restaurants in the area are BYOB, making dining at them extra affordable.

Aqua Malaysian & Thai Cuisine (Credit, Michelle Hein)

Aqua Malaysian & Thai Cuisine
705 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 928-2838
www.aquamalaysianthai.com

Aqua brings the cuisine of South East Asia to Old City with standout dishes including pad Thai, mango chicken and soft shell crab. While it’s one of the Malaysian specialties, the roti is a crowd favorite. The crispy Indian-style pancakes are best eaten dipped in the delicious curries. The elegant dining room is perfect for anything from date night to business lunches. And while many of the Thai restaurants in the area are BYOB, Aqua has a full bar offering everything from beer and wine to cocktails like the Thai mojito made with the traditional mint, rum and lime, as well as lemongrass syrup and your choice of mango or lychee.

Circles Contemporary Asian Cuisine
1514 Tasker St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(267) 687-1778

812 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 687-1309
www.circlesthai.com

A Bangkok native, Alex Boonphaya is the owner and chef behind Circles. He opened the first location in 2009 at 15th and Tasker Streets with the dream of bringing authentic Thai cuisine to Philadelphia foodies. After the success of his South Philly spot, Boonphaya opened a second Circles in 2011, this time located in Northern Liberties on Second Street. While the original Circles stays true to more traditional Thai entrees, the menu in Northern Liberties is constantly changing to feature more innovative dishes inspired by Boonphaya’s recent travels. Circles was named “Best New Thai” in 2011 by Philadelphia Magazine and received the honor of “Best Thai Restaurant” in 2012 and 2013. Both locations are BYOB with detailed mocktail menus with suggested drinks that can be ordered and paired with the alcohol you provide.

Tamarind Thai Restaurant
117 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 925-2764
www.tamarindsouthstreet.com

Located at the party end of South Street, Tamarind is an unexpected low-key find with a menu robust in fresh, natural ingredients. Some standout favorites include the chicken pad kee mao (drunken noodles), salmon pad thai and red curry. Most dishes can be ordered on a seven-point spicy scale. Keep in mind that spicy means SPICY, so order with caution. Like many city restaurants, the interior is a bit small, so be sure to call ahead if you’re hoping to visit on a weekend. Tamarind is a BYOB.

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Thai Chef & Noodle Fusion (Credit, Michelle Hein)

Thai Chef & Noodle Fusion
157 W. Lincoln Highway
Penndel, PA 19047
(215) 757-5038
www.thaicheftoday.com

Just outside Philadelphia in Bucks County, you’ll find Thai Chef & Noodle Fusion among the industrial strip malls in Penndel. The main dining room is on the small side, but after recent renovations, it’s cozier than ever. Bamboo walls divide the individual tables giving you a sense of privacy that’s perfect for a date night, while there’s still room for small groups out for a family dinner or girls’ night. There is also a large open room available for parties. Traditional favorites including pad Thai and a variety of curries are served along with more unique entrees such as “Winning Alligator” (described as being more tender than — you guessed it — chicken). Thai Chef is a BYOB with a liquor store conveniently located in the strip mall that’s less than a minute down the road. Quality and value go hand in hand at Thai Chef, with great lunch specials and coupons often available in weekly mail ads.

Thai Kuu ( Credit, Michelle Hein)

Thai Kuu Authentic Thai & Asian Cuisine
35 Bethlehem Pike
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(267) 297-5715
www.thaikuu.com

With an atmosphere that’s both modern and warm, Thai Kuu is a chic BYOB in Chestnut Hill. Co-owner Atchara Cooley has developed a menu inspired by her sister’s restaurant in southern Thailand as well as her own experiences cooking with her mother in northern Thailand. Dishes celebrate the balance of salty, sweet, spicy and sour that Thai cuisine is known for, with favorites including the crispy basil beef, lettuce wraps, sea bass and crab meat fried rice. The main attraction is the hot rock cooking, where entrees are cooked on sizzling hot volcanic stones right at the table. With the Top of the Hill Wine & Spirits just steps away and outdoor seating available, Thai Kuu is a wonderful spot to visit while enjoying a day in Chestnut Hill.

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Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.