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Restaurant review: Spoilt for choice as Royal Thai delivers mouth-watering meals

Running for over 30 years, it is clear the Royal Thai restaurant in Aberdeen knows how to deliver on flavour and choice.

Panang red Thai curry at Royal Thai in Aberdeen
The Royal Thai restaurant has been running in Aberdeen for over 30 years. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

I first heard the name Royal Thai during Aberdeen Restaurant Week.

A good friend organised a get-together with a group of girls in January to meet and chat over great food.

We started by asking the usual questions before we quickly descended into talking about our favourite cuisines, meals to make and what we really wanted to try.

Royal Thai is situated on Crown Terrace in Aberdeen.
Royal Thai is situated on Crown Terrace. Photos by Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

It was only while we were eating our dessert amidst a discussion about what makes a Filipino-style lasagne that we realised we had spent the last three hours talking about pretty much nothing but food.

It was clear we had found our people.

After that, I walked away with two determinations: one, we really needed to organise a potluck and I needed to visit Royal Thai after a recommendation from one of my new foodie friends.

Royal Thai Aberdeen

For being Aberdeen’s first-ever Thai restaurant, I am ashamed to say I had never visited before.

Royal Thai is nestled away on Crown Terrace, which for those unfamiliar, may know it for the daunting flight of stairs leading from Bridge Street that appear to lead straight up.

When my husband Chris and I arrived outside on a Thursday evening, we were surprised to discover the small front of the restaurant led into a blue-lit long and quite large dining area.

Inside the Royal Thai restaurant
Inside the restaurant is surprisingly spacious.

Once inside, we were promptly greeted with a smile and led to the back of the restaurant where our table waited.


The white and blue table settings along with the burgundy tall and slim chairs dotted in amongst a series of white columns created a rather grand setting.

Hanging plants and corner decorations added to this and ornamented the high ceilings and white walls.

Of course, once given our menus, our full attention was pulled elsewhere.

First impressions

The beautifully folded design was crammed full of options. The range of classic dishes and also more unique choices silenced us as we took our selection process seriously.

Ten minutes later we were ready and handed back our menus with glee as we sat back and waited with anticipation.

Mai Tai cocktail
The Mai Tai cocktail was a highlight. Image: Lottie Hood/ DC Thomson.

As we sat sipping our drinks – a large Coke for Chris (£4.50) and a creamy and caramelly Mai Tai cocktail for me (£12) – we became aware of the quiet atmosphere.

When we arrived earlier, two families were finishing up their meals but half an hour in, we were the only ones left.

This quietness was further highlighted by the halt in background music which made the only sounds in the room our loud crunching from the complimentary prawn crackers.

Let’s just say it was not the most attractive look for either of us.

By the time our lovely server brought out the hot plates lit by tealights for our food, the music – which featured a broad range of genres – had thankfully been again stirred into action.

Barbeque ribs at Royal Thai Aberdeen.
The spare ribs with barbeque sauce for £7.45.

The Food

Just in time for our starters.

I must admit, we got greedy after seeing the options and agreed to order three between us. Something I was fine for my stomach to regret later.

We were presented with three beautiful dishes: spare ribs with barbeque sauce (£7.45), chicken spring rolls (£6.75) and monkfish skewers (£7.95).

The ribs, chosen by Chris, were tender and well-seasoned. I am usually not a massive fan of barbeque ribs but I found myself going back for another much to Chris’s dismay.

The meat was slightly crispy on the outside without being dry and there was a lot of it on the bone which is not always the case.

Next up, the four chicken spring rolls.

The chicken spring rolls
The spring rolls were hot and deliciously crispy.

Crispy, hot and with an excellent filling, they were everything you could want from a spring roll. The sweet chilli dipping sauce also enhanced the taste and was not too vinegary or sweet.

My favourite however had to be the monkfish skewers.

The monkfish was covered in lightly spiced marinade and had been grilled until it was tender and easily pulled off the skewer.

I had been warned the accompanying sauce was quite hot but the shape and tangy spice made for a great combo and did not detract from the other flavours.

All the dishes were fresh and piping hot, helped along by the hot plates, and the side salads were also thoughtfully presented.

The Monkfish skewers
The Monkfish skewers were tender, tasty and my favourite starter.

Mains and dessert

In between our starters and mains and buoyed by great food, we enjoyed some of the more classical music being played and watched as another few tables were filled. It was nice to hear as other chatter filled the room.

However, we did not have too long before our main meals arrived.

In the mood for a classic, I opted for the panang beef curry (£11.75) with coconut rice (£3.50).

The red Thai curry is a favourite and it did not disappoint. The thick creamy sauce was rich and sweet and was well-filled with beef, peppers and green beans.

The two main dishes being carried on a tray.
The panang beef curry and stir-fried chicken with chilli and basil did not disappoint.

While the beef was slightly chewy at points, the green beans and peppers were crisp and crunchy bringing a fresh lightness to the dish.

Meanwhile, Chris had been enjoying his choice of stir-fried chicken with chilli and basil (£11.35) with a side of fried egg noodles (£3.50).

The chicken and vegetables cooked in a sweet and lightly spiced sauce with punchy Thai basil made for a warming and delicious dish and a well-satisfied Chris.

If the silence that followed did not reflect this enough then the spec-free dishes left at the end certainly did.

By the time we finished, I was very full but when asked if we would like to see the dessert selection, it was clear Chris was not yet ready to leave.

I caved and ordered the mango sorbet (£5).

The banana fritters with ice cream.
Chris certainly chose well with his dessert of banana fritters.

It proved to be a much-needed cooling and light end to the meal but Chris’s choice of the banana fritters (£5) was the clear champion.

Accompanied by a creamy vanilla ice cream, the fritters were piled artfully and drizzled with syrup.

Battered and crisp on the outside, the hot pockets of smooth, bananery sweetness were a dream. The pairing of the cold ice cream with the warming sweetness was an absolute win.

The verdict

It is clear to see why Royal Thai is Aberdeen’s longest-serving Thai restaraunt.

The regal setting, warm service and great selection of well-presented and delicious food are timeless.

We left feeling very satisfied and in agreement, that we would be back. Especially as there are still so many mouth-watering dishes left to try.

The chicken with chilli and basil main
The choice of dishes is not an issue at Royal Thai.


Address: 29 Crown Terrace, Aberdeen, AB11 6HD

T: 01224 212922


Price: £78.75 for three starters, two mains, two desserts, a soft drink and a cocktail.

Disabled access: Yes but please be aware that there are a few stairs on entering the premises

Dog-friendly: No


  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Surroundings: 3.5/5