Salty, spicy, sweet, and sour. These key flavours appear in just about every Thai dish there is, regardless of whether it comes from the country’s seafood-loving south, or the herb- and root-happy north.

Simplicity isn’t something Thai chefs have much time for. They’d never drizzle olive oil on tomatoes when they could use chilli, salt, lime juice, lemongrass and galangal instead. Maximum flavour is the goal, though everything needs to be kept in balance.

Melbourne’s Thai restaurants seem to have adopted this approach for food and aesthetics. There are a few quieter spots around, but on the whole they’re a noisy, vibrant bunch, with neon lights and colourful cocktails to match.

We may not be able to eat our pad thai with tropical ocean views, but these lively alternatives (with serious food) do just fine.

Read more:
Best Spicy Food in Melbourne
Best Mexican Restaurants in Melbourne

Dodee Paidang

Affordable, street-style Thai, by way of Sydney.

Basement 353 Little Collins
Melbourne VIC 3000

Jinda Thai

Cheap, cheerful and BYO. Winner.

1-7 Fergus Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

Mr Nice Guy Restaurant

Small on space, but assuringly big on sharing and warm Thai hospitality.

Shop J, 535 Little Lonsdale Street (enter via Healeys Lane)
Melbourne VIC 3000

Son in Law

What'll it be? Mum's classic recipes? Or fusion?

56-58 Johnston Street
Collingwood VIC 3066