Thai food is that friend you call when you need a change from your normal crew. Italian? You had pizza for lunch. Mexican? Taco Tuesday was last night, or it’s tomorrow, you can’t remember which. Chinese? Don’t you recall what happened last time you two got together?
So, in case it’s been a while since you spent time with your spicy, Southeast Asian friend, here is a list of Charlotte area Thai restaurants within and around the 485 loop, and what to expect and order at each.
Author’s note — the stars aren’t meant to indicate how good a place is, just how fancy. For “Scene,” my rating system here is:
★ = shirt and shoes required, and that’s about it
★★★★★ = dust off your gowns and tuxedos
5301 E Independence Blvd.
Scene : ★★
Vibe: This place is good for couples or double dates with its small wooden tables and simple dining area.
What to order: Pok Pok Salad ($8.95/shredded papaya, tomato, peanut seasoned with lime juice)
12206 Copper Way #122
Vibe: Cool, textured art and tapestries hang from the wall. The dining room is simple with a well-placed bar, good for enjoying a Singha while you wait for your table or takeout order.
What to order: Minced Chicken Larb ($10.95/mixture of fresh mint, scallions, lemon juice, ground rice, and crushed dried chili on a bed of shredded lettuce)
7629 Pineville-Matthews Rd.
Vibe: Sandwiched in between strip mall storefronts, Bangkok Ocha has a surprisingly comfortable dining room with a few booths off to the side.
What to order: Mee Krob ($7.95/crispy noodles with chicken in a sweet and sour sauce served with lettuce)
7800 Rea Rd. A
Vibe: Basil’s Ballantyne location at Stonecrest has a dome entrance you can’t miss:a small patio outside, and two long bars inside—one facing a TV and another with a front row seat to the open kitchen.
What to order: Stuffed Shrimp ($9.95 lunch/stuffed with chicken and served with a tangy dipping sauce)
210 N Church St.
Vibe: Freakin’ chic and beautiful, Basil at 5th & Church Streets in Uptown is a great place for special occasions and expense account dinners.
What to order: Three-Flavored Fish (market/deep-fried whole fish topped with a sweet, spicy, and sour sauce)
4847 Shopton Rd. Suite f
Vibe: Bonzai Thai & Japanese Cuisine is exactly one mile from Charlotte Premium Outlets, but far enough removed to find plenty of parking. Holiday shopping just got a little spicier.
What to order: Fried Tofu ($5.95/served with sweet and spicy chili sauce and crushed peanuts)
3333 Pineville-Matthews Rd.
Vibe: Located in the Arboretum Shopping Center Harris Teeter, Chi Thai is a unique spot for takeout when you’ve shopped for groceries for an hour and somehow have nothing for dinner tonight.
What to order: Kow Pud Sub Pra Ros with beef ($7.50/crispy bits of beef with fried rice, pineapple, green onion, and red pepper)
3629-103 N Davidson St.
Vibe: Stuffy, pretentious… Just kidding. It’s NoDa. What do you expect? It’s hip and industrial, with exposed brick, a bar with a subway tiled backdrop (look at the ceiling), and a sweet back patio that is perfect for Sunday afternoons.
What to order: Thai Sausage ($6/served on a bun with slaw and peanuts)
613 Providence Rd.
Vibe: During the day, the dining room is full of power lunch-ers and retail shoppers. But at night, Deejai turns down the lights and turns up the intimacy of its space. Check out the small back patio of two-tops and bring your coat—it gets a little chilly out there.
What to order: Nuer Poo Kao/”Mountain Beef” ($15.99/stir-fried beef in Thai gravy with broccoli, carrot, baby corn, and crispy noodles)
1600 E Woodlawn Rd #150
Vibe: Under Libretto’s and next to Bonchon, Hibiscus flies under the radar being surrounded by so many area eateries. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the whimsical elegance and vintage-inspired sophistication of this spot—perfect for impressing a first date or acting impressed while on a first date.
What to order: Thai Crispy Duck Salad ($14/lettuce, carrot, cucumber, tomato, red peppers, red onion, lime dressing)
9211-1 N Tryon St.
Vibe: The walls are stark and modestly decorated and that straightforward simplicity extends to the food.
What to order: Toast Red Pork ($7.95 for lunch/crispy breaded pork with cucumber and egg)
9107 S Tryon St.
Vibe: When you walk in this Vietnamese pho/Thai fusion spot, you’re sandwiched by nautical themes adorning one wall and bamboo on the other. The menu is designed to make each cuisine approachable.
What to order: Thai-style crispy potatoes ($5.95/deep-fried sweet potatoes with plum sauce)
1520 South Blvd #130
Vibe: The restaurant is small but utilizes its space well. The L-shaped dining room gives nooks where intimate meals can be shared. And the food is some of the best in South End.
What to order: Oyster Pancake ($15/bean sprout, scallion, egg, and cilantro pancake served on newspaper with a sweet chili sauce)
3607 Whitehall Park Dr.
Vibe:The dining room has a definite family friendly feel to it with lots of unique and distracting decorations in every corner.
What to order: Soft Shell Crabs ($17.95/two jumbo crabs topped with ground chicken and fresh ginger or garlic chili sauce)
9824-B Rea Rd.
Vibe: The floating paper umbrella chandeliers and dark wooden furniture make for a casual, but sophisticated interior.
What to order: Duck Wing ($6.95/lightly fried and served with a plum sauce)
8706 Pineville-Matthews Rd #160
Vibe: The stunning carved woodwork and jungle flora in this restaurant look right out of a lost temple and add to the whole experience.
What to order: Yellow Curry with chicken ($14.95/yellow curry, coconut cream, onion, and potato)
230 E W.T. Harris Blvd B9
Vibe: Backed into the corner of a strip mall near the UNCC campus, the interior sports wood carvings similar to its Pineville location and a boldly lit canopy bar, stacked with bottles of wine.
What to order: Half Roasted Duck ($20.95/pineapple red curry sauce with mixed vegetables)
4223 Providence Rd #7
Vibe: Super tiny but cute as heck, Thai Orchid in Strawberry Hill is ideal for dates or dining solo.
What to order: Thai Orchid Poh Tak ($20.95/shrimp, scallops, squid, and mussels cooked in a hot pot with Thai herbs, roasted chili paste, mushroom, tomato, sweet basil, and red onion)
324 East Blvd.
Vibe: Wood paneling and giant exposed beams make this classic Charlotte restaurant interior timeless.
What to order: Thai Taste chicken ($17/crispy chicken and broccoli over a bed of fresh lettuce and sweet-spicy sauce)
131 Matthews Station St, Matthews, NC 28105
Vibe: Located a stone’s throw away from Town Hall Branch Library, Thai Taste in downtown Matthews echoes the stylings of its Dilworth location but with unique deviations like bright, colorful walls and plenty of natural light.
What to order: Massaman Curry with roast crispy duck ($18.95/Massaman curry with coconut cream, onion, potato, carrot, and peanuts; topped with bits of fried onion)
2025 E Arbors Dr # 230
Vibe: Simplified and streamlined for the turnstile of hungry college students, Thai Taste in the University area sacrifices comfort for practicality.
What to order: Siam Shrimp ($15.95/flash-fried, tossed in peanut sauce with broccoli; served over mee krob noodles with a side of rice)
10416 E Independence Blvd #630, Matthews, NC 28105
Vibe: Responding to what the owners saw as a need in the Charlotte food scene, Tamarind recently switched from Indian to Thai cuisine. The clean, no frills, efficient use of space in this restaurant allows you to focus on the food in front of you.
What to order: Naam Kao ($11/crispy rice mixed with cured pork sausage, cilantro, green onion, mint, basil, ginger, peanut, and lime juice)
1412 East Blvd C
Vibe: This takeout only spot in Dilworth is super popular for both weekday and weekend dinner so plan accordingly as wait times can approach Netflix show lengths.
What to order: #42 Lemongrass Garlic Chicken ($11.95/stir-fried chicken with garlic, chopped lemongrass, and onion; served with jasmine rice)
8314 Pineville-Matthews Rd.
Vibe: Spacious, with a solid wood bar and plenty of booths, it has the feel of the living room of a family friend.
What to order: Waterfall Beef ($12 lunch/$15 dinner/sliced grilled steak mixed with rice powder, chili pepper, beef, and onion; served with lettuce and cucumbers)