Brighton – UK Capital of Thai Cuisine
If you live in Brighton and can’t get enough of Thai food, you are not alone. According to a recent analysis by Chef’s Pencil, Thai food is the third most Googled cuisine in the UK. And Brighton ranked 1st among UK’s cities, earning its name as the UK capital of Thai cuisine.
The analysis takes into account searches made on Google for things like Thai restaurants, Thai food, Thai recipes, Thai curry, pad Thai, and even names of local Thai restaurants.
Brighton ranked ahead of York, Edinburgh, and even London.
Chef’s Pencil features a range of Thai food recipes, but if you prefer food created by a professional and served to you by another professional, then we have lined up some of the best local restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Thai food.
Let’s get started.
Address: 11 Market Street, Brighton BN1 1HH
The story of the first squid that giggled began in the basement of a tiny fishermen’s cottage in 2002. Here, a married couple pulled together the first Thai tapas, which quickly became a hit and can still be enjoyed for lunch. The Giggling Squid is unlike other restaurants as it’s spread across three floors, creating cozy little dining rooms.
Located at the heart of Brighton’s historic Lanes pedestrian area, the restaurant offers outdoor seating for when the weather is good. The restaurant’s vision is to offer simple and fresh Thai food just like Taiwanese people eat and share in their homes. The menu covers all needs as it has children’s specials, it caters for those with allergies, and provides vegetarian options.
Sampling sets and take away are also available in any of the 35 locations beautifully decorated with fairy flowers. Wondering what to get? Here is a menu sneak peek: Mixed Seafood, Thai-style Fish Cakes, Spring Rolls, Pork Dumplings, Sesame King Prawns, Seared Scallops, Prawn Crackers, Thai Steamed Mussels, Chicken Satay, and many more.
Street Thai Restaurant
Address: 5 & 20 Brighton Square, Brighton BN1 1HD
Contemporary Thailand meets Brighton in a two-floored restaurant with colorful graffiti of Thai street scenes. Authentic Thai street food comes to you, no passport needed, providing an experience of the true tastes and flavors of Thailand right on your restaurant plate or in the privacy of your home.
The traditional menu is composed of classic dishes with their Thai names and emphasizes street food, and gives some additional information about the traditions involved. As you would expect, the three color curries are available – red, green, and yellow.
The á la carte menu has various selections including Honey Garlic Spareribs, Chicken Satay, Red Pumpkin Curry, Vermicelli rice noodles with Tofu in Coconut milk, Lamai Green tea Cheesecake, Deep-fried Soft Shell Crab, and more. The restaurant’s modern building has a generous roof terrace overlooking Brighton square, making a great setting for summer days.
Sawadee Thai Restaurant
Address: 87 St James Street, Brighton BN2 1TP
Just one street back from the seafront and Brighton pier, you’ll find Sawadee Thai, a bijou and family-run restaurant. The food here tastes just like back home in Thailand, said one reviewer after having Pork Ga-prao, a stir fry pork with basil and Thai herbs.
The secret of great food is fresh ingredients and Sawadee knows this as the dishes are bursting with inviting flavors. Customers’ needs and allergies are catered for from vegan and gluten free options to the level of spiciness preferred. A few stars from the menu with great reviews are: Chicken Satay, Prawn Crackers, Seafood curry, Beef Masaman curry, Chicken Ga Pow.
The share menu is a great idea for tasting a variety of dishes. Reviewers rated Sawadee with great food and value, friendly and fast service, and booking is recommended especially on weekends.
It is said that Gordon Ramsey came twice and declared the food great.
Address: 165-169 Princes House, Princes Place, East Sussex, BN1 1EA
Four years in a row, Sabai was awarded the Thai Select award by the Royal Thai Government, which launched the program to certify and promote authentic Thai cuisine around the world. The chefs cook with local ingredients, blending the essential imported Thai herbs and spices to make the food as authentic as possible. Because everything is made to order, special requests are also welcomed, thus vegans and food intolerances are catered for.
The Thai word “sabai” translates as “relaxed” and that best describes dining Alfresco and enjoying the views of the historic Pavilion gardens and Brighton Dome; or when sitting inside on the cozy floor pillows having a cocktail or a Thai beer, Singha, or Chang.
The deep red wood, and gold and green interior somehow foresees the colorful dishes that will arrive to delight your senses and they do not disappoint. “The dumplings and Tom Yum really brought me back to my childhood in South East Asia” one reviewer said.
The Weeping Tiger dish another reviewer sampled gave him the same impression of bringing him back to a trip to Thailand. Some of the recommended dishes are: Jungle Curry, Chicken Satay, Bean Curd Massaman Curry, Red Thai Curry, Tamarind Duck, Pad Ga Pow Moo.
Tookta’s Thai Food
Address: 30 Spring St, BN1 3EF
TripAdvisor’s #1 rating for a Thai restaurant in Brighton and East Sussex goes to Tookta’s Thai Food, a small but charming restaurant. It is run by Tookta, who usually pops out to chat with her customers during the evening and makes sure everyone is taking care of.
The friendly environment also gets its warmth from the wood décor and mismatched chairs, making it cozy and rustic, and the touch of mysticism provided by the bronze Thai statues.
Service is great and once the orders are out, you can get a taste of food prepared with care and fresh ingredients. Prawn toast, Matsaman Duck Curry, Tom Yum soup, spicy squid, Penang Beef Curry, and Dark Soy Sauce Noodles are just some of the dishes reviewers recommend.
So don’t hesitate to book in advance to experience great quality Thai meals served in what feels like a good friend’s living room.
Address: 65 Preston St, BN1 2HE
Located not too far from Churchill Square and the seafront, Kanok Thai welcomes you with a relaxing atmosphere and authentic food, not “the typical Thai food served to tourists”, as one reviewer said. Also, the presence of actual Thai people dining in is a validating sign for good food.
Walk in for a delicious coconut-ty iced milk Thai tea and a great offer of a two-course lunch. Stir-fried chicken with chilies and basil is a favorite and their steamed jasmine rice is said to be the best.
Also well appreciated are the mixed vegetables in oyster sauce, Tempura prawns, a beautifully balanced fish dish with aromatic herbs, and the fried wonton from the Tom Yum bowl, which really stands out.
Great value for amazing food is what viewers highlight on TripAdvisor and a 10% discount on takeaways, collection only. Amazing food often comes from unpretentious, cozy places.