Best Thai

Char's Thai

Readers' Pick: While there's a decent assortment of restaurants with Thai offerings (four by our count), Char's is almost inarguably Tucson's standout. You, gentle readers, have picked Char's for seven years running now, and it's easy to see why. From the nearly perfectly rendered soups and curries to the more exotic dishes that you'd expect from a menu with over 100 entrees, Char's does just about everything right. And though it's a little provincial to focus on the Pad Thai (especially the Shrimp Pad Thai), you won't find a better one this side of Santa Cruz. Don't be fooled by the inauspicious setting (surprise, a strip mall in Tucson!); Char's is as authentic as it gets, unless you're reading this in Bangkok. One last caveat: Beware the "spicy" option unless you're fully committed to the sweet pain of a hot mouth, or have a disposable asbestos liner for your throat.

Readers' Poll Runner-up: Karuna's Thai Plate, 1917 E. Grant Road, provides a cheap, satisfying Thai meal that's easy enough on the spices for the faint of heart. (The rest of us ask for extra hot.) The bright lighting and baby pink/toothpaste green color scheme don't exactly provide the most romantic or exotic ambiance, but that's not why you're here-you're here because you're hungry and low on cash. If you're brave enough to reckon the tangle of Grant and Campbell traffic, you can sample a fine rendition of Green Papaya Salad-rumor has it that Karuna's is the only place in town that serves this dish. Plenty of vegetarian friendly options.

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