Wherever you look in Bangkok, someone is serving up something that looks, smells and undoubtedly tastes absolutely amazing.
While street food has long been a mainstay of culinary culture in the Thai capital, the planned release of Bangkok’s first Michelin dining guide by the end of 2017 underscores the growing sophistication of the city’s dining scene.
From street fare to fine dining, here’s a list of ten great places to eat in Bangkok.
Cheap and cheerful
P.Kitchen on Sukhumvit Soi 18 will satisfy your Thai food cravings quickly and without fuss. Sit out on the deck under the fans or there’s an air-conditioned room at the back. The whole steamed sea bass with lemon, chilli and garlic is served with soup that’s left for you to pour over the fish while it’s still simmering above coals at your table. Hold the spice if you don’t want your mouth to burn. Or better still, order a large Singha Beer to wash it down.
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Okay, so you wouldn’t generally head for your local supermarket to chow down, but Took Lae Dee (meaning ‘cheap and good’) restaurants are scattered throughout Bangkok in Foodland supermarkets – and offer great value. The menus pick out classics from around the globe and the food is true to its namesake. The sukiyaki broth combines the perfect amount of bite, with a sweet and sour finish that actually borders on perfection. Being open 24 hours, Took Lae Dee restaurants make for the perfect pit stop at any time as you wander around the city.
Across Asia the ‘concept mall’ has taken food court dining to a whole new level, and Bangkok’s newest retail food spaces deliver highly innovative dining options in super sophisticated surroundings. If you haven’t discovered Groove at ultra-swanky Central World yet, it features a range of hip restaurants and glitzy bars spread across two alfresco levels.
Yodpiman River Walk stretches for 300m along a bend in the Chao Phraya River, which was actually the gateway for merchants visiting the city for centuries. Built in colonial style, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Yodpiman River Walk is housed in a restored heritage building. It’s not, but it is extraordinarily well done. There are around 40 retail outlets and restaurants. Try Mango Tree on the River with its excellent menu of modern Thai.
Search Paste Bangkok online and you’ll read numerous rave reviews for this artisanal Thai restaurant on level 3 of the Gaysorn shopping complex in the heart of Ratchaprasong – Bangkok’s dining and shopping hub. The project of Australian and Thai husband and wife team Jason Bailey and Bee Satongun, Paste offers a sophisticated fusion of classically inspired Thai recipes and locally sourced ingredients. Preservatives and chemicals are avoided where possible.
If you only have one night in Bangkok, you should seriously consider Issaya Siamese Club in Thung Maha Mek for dinner. It offers a diverse modern Thai menu and lots of surprises. The presentation is superb; the flavours bold and masterful. Everything is served up with great aplomb in contemporary and sophisticated surroundings in a beautifully restored 19th century villa. The cocktail list has to be seen to be believed.
Not all of these great places to eat in Bangkok actually serve Thai. The roast lamb sandwiches at Kai New Zealand are like eating grandma’s Sunday dinner stuffed between two slices of crunchy, crusty bread. Sit outside on the deck with an ice bucket stocked with your favourite wine and try and eat your sanger without it falling everywhere. For late risers, Kai New Zealand’s all day breakfast will satisfy your craving for good old bacon (their home-smoked bacon is heavenly!) and eggs.
If you like meat on your plate that originated from happy chickens and cows, head to Cocotte Farm Roast and Winery. Organic produce is at the heart of this rustic dining gem. As the wafting aroma of rotisserie roasted chicken draws you in, your taste buds will certainly keep you there. For seafood lovers, the delicate subtlety of Cocotte’s caviar linguini with lemon zest is a must. So simple and so delicious!
The simple and elegant dining room at J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain bears witness to an open kitchen where the chefs create edible works of art to adorn your table. The attention to detail is exquisite and their five course tasting menu is a culinary journey for the senses. Add the wine pairing to perfectly complement the meal. J’aime does special holiday menus (Easter, Christmas etc) like nowhere else. Skip the festive buffets and book here instead.
Set menus at Bangkok’s top eateries allow guests to experience cuisine that might otherwise break the bank. At Savelberg the ‘Savelberg Experience’ comes in four, six or eight courses and under the guidance of Michelin-starred Dutch chef Henk Savelberg you’ll discover tastes from land and sea that you’ve never imagined. The scallops with organic tomato, pineapple and Gazpacho ice cream will blow your mind.
And last but certainly not least, if you are lucky enough to be staying at the historic Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, don’t miss the chance to dine at Le Normandie – highly acclaimed for its contemporary French cuisine. Enjoy the extraordinary service and presentation, along with amazing views of the bustling Chao Phraya River. There’s possibly no finer way to push the boat out on a special night in the Thai capital.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of ten great places to eat in Bangkok? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
As a travel blogger and photographer, Neil Brook travels the world looking to meet interesting people, taste great food and find different angles from which to cover his adventures. He is privileged to have lived in Australia, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore and London. Currently living in Bangkok, Neil splits his time between Thailand and London. He would be in heaven joining the Bizarre Foods team, having tried horse meat tartare in Tokyo, lobster sashimi in Manila and the perfect ceviche in Havana. More a traveller than a tourist, he prefers to mix it with the locals, learn their history and culture and walk the back streets to uncover hidden gems worthy of praise on the global stage or quiet moments of private reflection.
About the writer
Adam Ford is a Melbourne-based travel presenter, producer, writer, blogger and photographer, and has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam lived in London for six years and worked as a travel consultant for three years before taking up the opportunity to travel the world as host of the Tour the World television series on Network Ten. Adam loves to uncover everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Piza or a home-stay in Hanoi. He regards himself as a flash-packer – a little bit of extra comfort goes along way!