Cha Yen Thai Eatery

It’s little surprise that a city populated with cash-strapped students, busy professionals, and adventurous eaters has a soft spot for Thai cooking. Whether you’re looking to challenge your perception of the cuisine with authentic street eats—or just looking to end a long day with a generous plate of pad Thai—you’ll be well-served by the diverse options below.

S&I To Go

S & I To Go stands out in Allston—a hotbed of inexpensive Asian take-out—for offering more than a nourishing box of Pad Thai. Its impressively long menu includes specialties like a Thai BBQ Chicken with Sticky Rice and Kao Moo Dang (roast pork, crispy pork belly, sweet sausage, and a hard-boiled egg in a sweet sauce). Calling S & I To Go healthy might be a stretch, but you can request whole wheat noodles for many of its dishes.

Davis Square hotspot Dakzen eschews the expected Thai-American fare, instead focusing on the bold flavors of Bangkok street food. Noodle soups are made with five-hour broths and come crowded with contrasting textures and tastes (we’re a sucker for the tangy Khao Soi). But even familiar dishes like Pad Thai and Khao Grapow are punched up to new levels. Portions are smaller, so bring a crowd and order a bunch of dishes to share.


For comfort food outside your comfort zone, look to Mahaniyom, a “Thai Tapas Bar” in Brookline Village emphasizing scratch-made ingredients and bold flavors. Its curries, like the Kang Pu (crab curry) and Roti Beef Massaman with slow-cooked beef shank, are rich and flavorful, and dishes like Ba Mee Hang Nua (egg noodles, hand-cut beef hanger, and pork bone marrow broth) and Yum Ngoh (toasted coconut, dried shrimp, cashew nuts, rambutan, and chili jam) combine a riot of texture and tastes to magnificent effect. Dishes are designed to be shared; you won’t regret trying out a few.

Montien Thai Restaurant

Nestled at the edge of Chinatown, Montien Thai Restaurant is a prime destination for hearty, crowd-pleasing fare. Its portions are proudly oversized, so you can expect to have Spicy-Basil Fried Rice or Pad-See-Iew Noodles with crispy fried chicken left over for lunch tomorrow. But this establishment plays more than just the greatest hits; dig a bit deeper into the menu and you’ll be rewarded with Chili-Chili Fish—a crispy fried filet topped with tamarind chili sauce and peppers—or the Bang-Bang Soft-Shell Crab in Thai curry sauce.

Cha Yen Thai Cookery

We’d visit Watertown’s Cha Yen Thai Cookery anytime for a steaming bowl of Khao Soi Brisket noodles or some Fried Curry Dumplings, but it’s also the rare Thai restaurant that we’d recommend for dessert. The ice cream is made in house, and while flavors change on a biweekly basis, you can expect to catch Thai-influenced flavors like Thai iced tea, Thai iced coffee, and strawberry basil sorbet.

Pho Basil

The Berklee College of Music-adjacent Pho Basil serves two cuisines beloved by budget-strapped students: Thai and Vietnamese. We’re taken with their spot-on renditions of Thai classics like Pad Gra Pow, Pad Thai, and Kao Soi, as well as Bun Thit Nuong, a traditional Vietnamese dish that surrounds your choice meat (get the pork!) with vermicelli noodles, shredded lettuce, bean sprouts, scallions, ground peanuts, and a homemade nuoc cham dipping sauce.

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