The 4 Best Thai Restaurants in Budapest

For a city whose Thai community numbers less than a thousand, Budapest has a surprisingly good representation of Thai restaurants. Spicy green-papaya salad with sticky rice from the Isan region of northeastern Thailand is just as readily available as stir-fried noodles, coconut curries, over-rice dishes, and the signature Thai dessert, mango sticky rice. Here, the best Thai restaurants in Budapest.

In 2018, three Thai ladies, two of whom had been working in Thai kitchens in Budapest, decided to strike out on their own. Their restaurant, Rim Thanonh, is a pocket-sized space on the edge of the city's party district, near the Grand Boulevard. With a bare-bones, undecorated interior, Rim Thanonh isn’t the type of place where you'd go for birthday celebrations or business dinners, but if tasty and reasonably priced home-style Thai food is what you’re after, I can’t think of a better place in Budapest.

If you like spicy food, order the freshly sliced green-papaya salad (som tam), or the nam tok, grilled pork with mint leaves, roasted rice, and red onions. The pad see ew is the best version I’ve had of these caramelized rice noodles stir fried with an egg and broccoli. There are four types of curries, and several over-rice dishes, of which the pad krapow, with minced pork and a fried egg topping, was wonderful. You can round out your meal with the signature Thai dessert: mango sticky rice.

Do you have a favorite Thai dish you don't see on the menu? Don't hesitate to ask if they'd prepare it for you (ingredients permitting, the likely answer is a "yes"). If it's full here, try their other location, 40 Akácfa utca, just minutes away.

Budapest's Thai restaurants can be grouped into two categories: there are a few formal establishments with a service staff and a comprehensive drinks menu, while most others comprise mom-and-pop takeouts operating out of small, undecorated spaces. Parázs represents the former genre, so if a proper sit-down Thai meal is what you're after, head to District 6, not far from downtown. Know before you go that Parázs isn't cheap by local standards, with main ranging €15-20.

Since its opening in 2007, Parázs has grown into a chain restaurant with three locations across the city, but this one, in Jókai Street, offers the most complete food and drinks menu. Apart from familiar Thai classics like pad thai and drunken noodles, the menu pays respect to regional Thai fare, too. No matter what you order, the kitchen puts out composed, elegantly plated dishes, many with spice levels that will leave your mouth burning. I can recommend the electrifying green curry, the deep-fried whole tilapia fish, and the two spicy dishes from the Isan region: the grilled pork (nam tok) and the refreshing green-papaya salad.

Kao Niaw Ping Kai Restaurant is located on one of the least inviting stretches of Budapest, the multi-lane Rákóczi Road, where the constant stream of car traffic has all but cleared the area of pedestrians. But don't despair. A downtown bus (take #5, #7, #110, #112, or #178) will drop you right outside the restaurant so you won't need to inhale any exhaust fumes.

Inside, you'll find one of the top casual Thai restaurants of Budapest. The Thai-Laotian owner-couple duo serves a pan-Thai fare, featuring curries, stir-fries, and coconut soups. There's also a section dedicated to spicy dishes from Isan, the northeastern region of Thailand bordering Laos. The interior fittings are a notch above takeout decor so a laid-back date night wouldn't seem out of place here.

You can't go wrong with the pungent green or red curries, and the familiar stir-fry dishes — pad see ew, pad thai, drunken noodles — also beat the local competition. I'm convinced the nam tok moo, a pork salad with green herbs, is one of the spiciest dishes in all of Budapest. All the more reason to leave room for the coconut-tapioca pudding to soothe your burning mouth.

Bangkok Étterem is one of Budapest's oldest Thai restaurants, occupying a below-ground space near the Grand Market Hall and the tourist-heavy Váci Street. Golden Buddha statues and fading celebrity photos line the walls — hello Matt Damon and Yoko Ono — and lend an adorably dated feel to the inside. The food is a bit hit-or-miss. I've had disappointingly tired papaya salad (som tam) but also bright and silky green curry here. A highlight is the whole roasted trout, served with a crispy skin and blanketed in a chili-laced sauce. The stir-fried noodles feature the usual suspects: pad see ew, pad thai, drunken noodles, and pad woon sen (glass noodles).

In its third decade of existence, Bangkok Étterem is still going strong — a wait during dinner hours is not unusual. Prices have remained reasonable despite the central location and popularity (mains range €12-18). The old-school servers are accommodating even during peak dining hours. Note that there's little network signal inside the premises so this is your chance for a truly unplugged meal with friends or family.