We had a little trouble finding Thainatown. The bartender at a nearby pub seemed confused: "Chinatown? Mate, this whole area is Chinatown," he responds. "No, no, I said ‘Thainatown'. Um, never mind."

Thai-pun confusion aside, ask anyone who truly knows their Thai food and they'll happily point you in the right direction.

Tucked beneath the Harry Seidler-designed North Apartments on Goulburn St, this isn't so much a fine dining (or interior design) destination but the venue for an authentic, efficient, price-friendly meal. Reminiscent of old school Hawker centres found around Chinatown, there's a low-key, fuss-free vibe that attracts students, the after-work crowd and Thai aficionados alike.

Thainatown holds true to its authentic roots reflected in some of its more colourful menu items such as the tom jued luert moo - boiled pork blood jelly, intestines, minced pork, pork liver and vegetables with clear soup.

Never fear, there are plenty of equally authentic dishes that don't involve offal if that's not your bag.

A mixed selection of entrée dishes turn up a few gems including the fish cakes - hand shaped, aromatically spicy and actually taste of fish - these are not your cookie cutter McThai variety. The grilled chicken satay and house special pork moo ping are marinated, skewered and perfectly charred, giving them a smoky flavour. Well-priced, small servings mean you can try a few dishes without ruining your appetite or budget.

Another house special, moo pa stir-fried is a colourful stir-fried pork belly creation, with fresh green peppercorns (still on the stalk), chilli, garlic and bamboo shoots. This dish is a riot of flavour and texture - the richness of the pork is cut by the sharpness of the chilli and the crisp freshness of the bamboo.

The pad keem mao which arrived next is a good litmus test for any Thai restaurant - a spicy wok-fried rice noodle dish, traditionally made with chicken. The chefs here make no apology when it comes to delivering this renowned spicy dish. Cooler in texture though not in spiciness is that som tum, a delicious shredded green papaya salad dressed with a chilli and lemon infused fish sauce.

If the spice gets a little too much, grab a fresh coconut juice and try the grilled beef crying tiger. Served with a tamarind, garlic and dry chilli sauce, this dish sits on the milder side of the fence.

The verdict? A good low-key, modestly priced destination for authentic Thai with spicy flair. 

Want to attend the Sydney Food Awards?

First published on . Updated on .

By Melissa Leong   |  

Thainatown details

Shop 48, 91 Goulburn St

Sydney 2000

Telephone 02 9211 0090

Price per person including drinks Up to $50

Open Daily 11am-10pm

Sydney area guide

Restaurants near Thainatown


71m - The room is narrow and incredibly loud and service isn't their strong point...

Spicy Sichuan - Sydney

145m - Want to know the future of Sydney eating? It's regional Chinese food....

Kingswood Coffee

190m - If you've baulked at the ferry trip to Manly to get your hands on the sweet...

Bars & pubs near Thainatown

Maloney’s Hotel

37m - This Irish pub gets behind supper time beers with $4 drinks offered from...

Civic Hotel

45m - Some people love the Civic for its Art Deco finishes, craft beer specials...

Red Bottle - Pitt Street

86m - With three bottle shops in the CBD, Red Bottle specialises in premium wines,...

Other venues near Thainatown

Sydney Masonic Centre

28m - Sydney Masonic Centre (SMC) is a function centre located in the heart of...

Civic Underground

43m - Sydney is finally starting to gain some cred in the late-night clubbing...

Lawson's Records

67m - Lawson’s hole-in-the-wall store at the bottom of Pitt Street is one of the...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.