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The Best Thai Food in Downtown Davis, Reviewed and Ranked

There’s a quote from the movie 10 Things I Hate About You that I think describes me quite nicely: “Likes: Thai food, feminist prose and angry girl music of the indie rock persuasion.”

But seriously. I love Thai food. I adore Thai food. I am always happy to eat Thai food, even for multiple nights in a row. I’m even making plans to get Thai food with another Her Campus writer right now. I appreciate it deeply, and especially now that my favorite Thai restaurant in my hometown has permanently closed, I rely on the ones in Davis to keep me going.

But in downtown Davis alone, there are five Thai restaurants. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own special place on my list, ranked from worst to best. So the next time you decide to get your pad see ew or red curry fix, turn back to this list to see if you’re headed to the right place. And don’t worry if you’re at the wrong one — because all of these restaurants are downtown, they’re all within walking distance of each other!

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5. Sophia’s Thai Kitchen

Despite the folksy name, it would seem that Sophia’s aims for a classy, mature vibe, with a dimly lit restaurant that relies heavily on candlelight in the evenings. Unfortunately, it can get pretty frustrating to wait in the dark for over 30 minutes before you get your food. Sophia’s consistently has pretty slow service, and the food often seriously lacks the wide-ranging flavors and spice that Thai cuisine is so well-known and well-loved for. So I won’t even recommend any dishes. If I were you, I’d skip Sophia’s and hop over to Dumpling House next door. It’s not Thai, but it’s delicious!

4. KetMoRee

There’s some mood lighting at KetMoRee, too, but somehow the ambience is much better than it is at Sophia’s — perhaps because it’s usually a little busier, and filled with lively and energetic chatter, especially during the daily happy hour from 4-6PM. While the entrees here are decent, the restaurant is better known for its drinks, which are both affordable and refreshing, and the appetizers on the Happy Hour menu are good, too. This is a great spot to bring a group of friends that want to let all the stress of the day melt away and dive straight into a lychee margarita.

3. Thai Canteen

Thai Canteen does run a little bit like a real canteen — while your food is still brought out to your table like it would be at any other restaurant, it’s definitely a fast-casual spot. The blackboard menu, metal chairs and wooden tables give the space an industrial look but also an ultra-modern, contemporary feel that’s clearly meant to be as youthful as the restaurant’s college-aged customers. Thankfully, Thai Canteen also knows that its customers like cheaper eats, and a good portion of food will only cost you around $8. If you go for the noodle dishes here, I’d recommend the Pad See Ew or the Pad Kee Mao over the Pad Thai. The roti prata is deep-fried golden goodness, and the specials here are always tasty too.

2. Taste of Thai

It may be called Taste of Thai, but this restaurant is really about all five of the senses. As soon as you step in, your ears are treated to mellow instrumental music and you’ll see an interior that makes you feel as though you’re in Thailand and not Davis  — intricately carved wood, golden statues, colorful flowers and paintings. The food is incredible here, and you should not miss the opportunity to try their mango sticky rice for dessert.

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1. Thai Nakorn

Oh, Thai Nakorn. I could write a love letter to Thai Nakorn; I love it so much and so ardently. It may lack the hipster vibe that Thai Canteen has, but it makes up for it in practically every other realm. It’s cozy and comfortable, and the dishes here are the most authentic versions that I’ve tasted in Davis (and there are photos for practically every dish on the menu)! The Pad Kee Mao is the best I’ve tasted anywhere. The pineapple fried rice is stellar. All the standard curries — Green, Red, Panang and Yellow — here are cooked to perfection, and the more daring specials are always impeccable too. The waitstaff is incredibly friendly and kind, and you’ll just walk away feeling so content that you can’t wait to come back. It sounds like hyperbole, but I’m totally serious. 10/10, would recommend.


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