Lotus of Siam: Northern Thai Cuisine in Las Vegas

Lotus of Siam on Flamingo Rd in Las Vegas, Nevada
Lotus of Siam on Flamingo Rd in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you are looking for the best Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, you go to Lotus of Siam, which specializes in authentic Northern Thai cuisine.

Everybody who loves Thai food knows of Lotus of Siam, including locals, tourists, magazine writers, food bloggers, and celebrity chefs such as Anthony Bourdain.

Since its opening in 1999, the restaurant has become well known for its Northern Thai cuisine inspired by Chef Saipin Chutima. In 2011, Chef Chutima won a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southwest.

Lotus of Siam currently has two locations in the Las Vegas area. The original Lotus of Siam location can be found in an unassuming strip mall off Sahara Ave, just east of the Las Vegas Strip.

It was at this hole-in-the-wall restaurant where I first experienced the unfamiliar flavors of Northern Thai cuisine. It was like nothing I had experienced before. I knew then what the hype was all about.

In September 2017, the original location was heavily damaged during a rainstorm, partially causing the roof to collapse.

Only a few months later, a second location opened just to the south on Flamingo Road. Fortunately, the food and flavors remained unchanged.

This review will focus on my visit to the new location. For those wondering, the original Lotus of Siam on Sahara Ave reopened in May 2020 after years of repair.

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Interior of Lotus of Siam

The new location, much larger and open than the original location, featured a beautiful and modern décor.

The interior was cozy, intimate, inviting, and open, with colorful walls and paintings. The tall ceilings, white tablecloths, and light purple walls made the dining room feel spacious.

To the left of the entrance was a bar and lounge area. A narrow dining room led to a larger back room to the right. Because of how busy it was, the restaurant was not as loud as I had expected.

What I enjoyed about Lotus of Siam was that it felt upscale but was casual and relaxing without being pretentious. Sure, there were white tablecloths, but there was no need to dress fancy unless you wanted to.

If you arrive without a reservation or don’t feel like waiting over an hour, then you have another option: the bar and lounge.

All seats in and around the bar and lounge were first come, first served. Even better, these seats had access to the full menu.

This area was much larger than I thought at first glance. There were couches and tables in front of the bar and counter seats near the hostess stand.

This whole area was considered part of the bar. During my visit, multiple seats were open at the bar and lounge.

Lotus of Siam Menu

The menu at Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, Nevada
The menu at Lotus of Siam

The menu at Lotus of Siam was massive. It was so large that there was no way I could take photos of every menu page.

You had Appetizers, Soups, Salads, B.B.Q., Specials, A La Carte, Seafood, Noodles, Fried Rice, Curries, Northern Dishes, and Chef’s Choice on the menu.

As Anthony Bourdain once said, you “don’t do Pad Thai here.” Some of the more popular items on the menu included dishes from Northern Thailand, such as garlic prawns and crispy duck. No matter what you choose, it will be good.

You can view the menus for both locations at https://www.lotusofsiamlv.com/menu/featured-dishes.

Complimentary Condiments and Sauces

Chili powder, spicy chili sauce, and pickled jalapeños served on the side
Chili powder, spicy chili sauce, and pickled jalapeños served on the side

For extra flavor and heat, accompanying the dishes was a complimentary assortment of colorful condiments.

You had a smoky Thai hot pepper powder, a basic spicy chili sauce, pickled jalapeños, and fish sauce with chilies.

While I knew the dishes would be great on their own, adding a little chili sauce never hurts.

Som Thum

Som Thum, a colorful salad of green papaya and cabbage, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, Nevada
Som Thum, a colorful salad of green papaya and cabbage

First up was Som Thum ($11.00). Even though the portion looked small, it was perfect for sharing.

You might be asking yourself, what is som thum? Som thum is a classic dish from Thailand consists of green papaya, cabbage, chili, tomato, and crushed peanuts in lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar.

My favorite component of this dish might have been the sauce of lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. The sauce was funky and salty from the fish sauce, acidic and sour from the lime juice, and sweet from the sugar.

All the robust flavors that made up the sauce complemented each other without overpowering itself or drowning out the fresh flavors of the salad.

The large chunks of fresh cabbage and thinly sliced green papaya added a refreshing and crunchy component. I was expecting the papaya to be sweet, but this was not the case.

Sweet and earthy crushed peanuts sprinkled over the salad added more texture to each bite. The small chopped red chilies mixed into the salad had just the right amount of heat.

I had the option of selecting a heat level between 1 and 10. I went with 8. If you don’t like spicy foods, ask for a lower heat level. Finally, you had simple wedges of tomatoes, which added a fresh, tart flavor.

The fresh, crispy green papaya and cabbage complemented the spicy, sour, and sweet sauce, while the heat from the chilies left a slow burn in my mouth.

This som thum was refreshing, crunchy, and flavorful.

Garlic Prawns

Garlic Prawns, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, Nevada
Garlic Prawns

Next up were the Garlic Prawns ($32.00). This unique dish featured shell-on deep-fried prawns sautéed in a special garlic sauce and topped with ground black pepper.

This was not your typical fried shrimp dish. What made it unique was that the shell and tail of each shrimp were not removed but peeled into one long piece.

The shrimp and its attached shell were then fried until golden brown. It might sound strange to eat the shells of the shrimp, but believe me when I tell you that this was the best part of the dish.

The deep-fried shells were out of this world. They were crispy and crunchy like I was eating a shrimp potato chip. While the crust was rich and salty, it was neither oily nor greasy, which was impressive.

The meat of the shrimp, also deep-fried, was just as delicious. I was happy with how large each piece of shrimp was and how expensive this dish was.

Each shrimp was meaty, fresh, and tender with a salty, sweet taste. After being fried, the shrimp was sautéed in a special garlic sauce and seasoned with coarse black pepper.

The sauce had a hint of garlic and pepper but was also sweet, maybe from honey. The well-balanced sauce was light enough not to mask the fresh flavors of the shrimp.

I now realize why garlic prawns are one of the most popular items on the menu at Lotus of Siam.

Crispy Duck Panang

The beautiful Crispy Duck Panang, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, Nevada
The beautiful Crispy Duck Panang

At the recommendation of my friend, I finished off my evening with the Crispy Duck Panang ($30.00).

This beautiful dish featured crispy duck topped with a Thai-style red cream curry sauce and garnished with Thai basil.

As with the salad, I was asked how spicy I would like this dish from 1 to 10, and I chose 8.

It’s hard to describe how delicious and colorful the red cream curry sauce was. It was sweet and buttery with a smoky and spicy chili flavor.

While the sauce was spicy, coconut milk’s sweetness balanced everything.

Outside of Asia, mainly China, I rarely eat duck. It’s a protein that is hard to prepare and cook.

Even after trying the first two dishes, which were delicious, I had my doubts. Surprisingly, the crispy duck was perfect. Even covered in sauce, the skin of the duck remained crispy.

When I took a bite of the skin, it melted in my mouth with a rich flavor explosion. The dark meat of the duck, hidden under the crispy skin, was meaty and tender without being oily or greasy.

This meat had a distinct smoky, salty flavor, complementing the sweet and spicy curry.

The rich, creamy sauce and smoky, crispy duck made the Crispy Duck Panang the highlight of my visit to Lotus of Siam.

Service at Lotus of Siam

From the moment I walked in, the service was outstanding, even on a busy Sunday night with every table in the dining room taken. My server was attentive from the second I sat down until I left.

Even though I did not order drinks on my visit, my server constantly refilled my water. Even better, my food arrived quickly and correctly, one after another, as requested.


I can say that Lotus of Siam is the best Thai restaurant in Las Vegas. It might even be the best restaurant in Las Vegas.

I don’t know any Thai restaurants outside of Thailand that serve food as delicious and authentic as Lotus of Siam.

While the dishes can be expensive, you get your money’s worth. Each dish I tried was not only delicious but beautifully plated using unique and fresh ingredients, keeping me going back for more.

The food, service, and décor make Lotus of Siam a must-eat restaurant in Las Vegas.


  • Some of the best Northern Thai cuisine you will find anywhere in the country
  • Efficient service
  • Beautiful and colorful dining room
  • Large bar and lounge area with open seating


  • The wait for a table can often be over an hour


Tuesday - Thursday: 4:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Friday: 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM and 5:00PM - 10:00 PM
Saturday: 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday - Monday: 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM and 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM


953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104
GPS Coordinates: 36.11515,-115.14971




Last Updated on April 20, 2024

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My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.