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A poll by Starwoods for Chinese New Year 2010 showed that Thai is in fifth place in the affections of the British public for food, after Chinese, Indian and British, with Italian in fourth position. Eating at the places listed here would move it up the table.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Best Thai

Isarn    ££

Upper Street is a fiercely competitive market for restaurants but Isarn prospers by doing the basics right: good food, good service. It’s dark, cramped and does have its off-nights but the locals keep coming back for more.

119 Upper Street N1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7424 5153
Tube: Highbury & Islington/Angel
www.isarn.co.uk

Benja    £££

A small exterior hides three floors of this Soho favourite.  Modern decor is eye-catching and it’s fun to find frogs’ legs and salmon on the menu. Such touches raise Benja above the average Thai – but also raise its prices more than  the food really merits. Good cocktails in the bar, though.

17 Beak Street W1
Tel +44 (0)20 7287 0555
Tube: Oxford Circus

Mango Tree   £££

Top class modern Thai food that is not afraid to try experiments such as a game season of pheasant and venison. Despite its slightly odds location behind Buckingham Palace, it is always full – a tribute to its consistent high quality.

46 Grosvenor Place SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7823 1888
Tube: Hyde Park Corner
www.mangotree.org.uk

Blue Elephant    £££

An international chain, with branches from Brussels to Beirut, the decor is amazing and service first-class, with prices to match. As to the food, it’s usually top-notch, though it’s almost a small part of the total immersion here in Thai charm and culture.

4 Fulham Broadway SW6
Tel: +44 (0)20 7385 6595
Tube: Fulham Broadway
www.blueelephant.com

Esarn Kheaw    ££

Having the price on the menu also printed in Thai currency is an assurance that the food here is authentic enough for the local Thai community. A dull exterior fronts a place that still turns out consistent (and very fiery hot) quality night after night.

314 Uxbridge Road W12
Tel: +44 (0)20 8743 8930
Tube: Shepherds Bush
www.esarnkheaw.com

Nahm    £££

This soul-less hotel dining room won a 2010 Michelin star for its cuisine – a first for a London Thai (what Michelin inspectors know about Thai is  another matter). Head chef Andrew Thompson has made this a destination for foodies, with service to match.

The Halkin, 5 Halkin St SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7333 1234
Tube: Knightsbridge
www.halkin.co.uk

Singburi    £

A bring-your-own alcohol policy keep prices down at this local favourite. It might not look like much outside but attention to detail makes what is on offer inside a bit special. Many think it is the best Thai in London – and it fills up accordingly, so book ahead.

593 Leytonstone High Road E11
Tel +44 (0)20 8281 4801
Tube: Leytonstone

http://singburi.50webs.com/

Addie’s Thai Cafe    ££

Serving up tasty Thai food since 1987, Addie’s is more upmarket than its name suggests. An endless drinks menu complements a menu that is not afraid to try some original spins on the familiar  basics. The basement bar is worth a visit on its own.

121 Earl's Court Road SW5
Tel: +44 (0)20 7259 2620
Tube: Earl's Court
www.addiesthai.co.uk

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Saran Rom    £££

Spectacular design hints you are in for a (expensive) treat in this Thames-side branch of the Blue Elephant group. All the Thai classics are well done with some real class. The tuk-tuk pick-up from the Tube is another nice touch.

The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf,
Townmead Road SW6
Tel: +44 (0)20 7751 3111
Tube: Fulham Broadway
www.saranrom.net