Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
Khrua Aroi Aroi
“Famous for nam yaa, a curry eaten with fresh rice noodles prepared the old fashioned way; delicious indeed.”—Suthon Sukphisit, food columnist, Bangkok Post. Meaning “Kitchen Delicious Delicious,” this hole in the wall is true to its name. Emphasis on regional Thai cuisine prepared using only ingredients from the original recipes—no carrots here; plenty of dishes that are hard to find elsewhere. Opposite Wat Khaek. Th Pan, off Th Silom.
“Don’t expect atmosphere, but you’ll get probably the best biryani (famous Thai Muslim spicy rice-based dish) in town.”—Austin Bush, author, Lonely Planet Bangkok. Nondescript shop-front restaurant specializing in Thai Muslim cuisine; ask about the curry of the day. Near Central Post Office. Th Charoen Krung Soi 43.
“These people have been serving the same classic Bangkok cuisine for decades; try the mii kraob—deep-fried noodles cooked in a tamarind sauce.”—Suthon Sukphisit. Busy, local place that is a Bangkok institution. Former New York Times columnist R.W. Apple loved it. 146 Th Phraeng Phuton, off Th Tanao; tel. 66 (0) 2221 4082.
“Excellent Thai and French bistro food and remarkably well priced given the view.”—Philip Cornwel-Smith, editor, Time Out Bangkok. On three levels of deck on the Chao Phraya riverbank directly opposite Wat Arun. Unbeatable sunset views. 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, off Th Maharat; tel. 66 (0) 2221 9158. www.arunresidence.com
One of the only fully vegetarian restaurants in Bangkok; delicious international cuisine with a Thai bent. Classy atmosphere with attached Gallery F-Stop exhibiting photographers and painters. Sukhumvit Soi 20; tel. 66 (0) 2663 7421. www.tamarind-cafe.com
“Diverse mix of Thai food in one of the most atmospheric streets in Bangkok.”—Austin Bush. On a historic street full of old Chinese shophouses (ground-floor shops with upstairs residences), several converted into bars and restaurants. 56 Th Phra Arthit, Banglamphu; tel. 66 (0) 2282 7507.
Upscale café-cum-restaurant in expansive, split-level rooms of dark wood surrounded by glass. Relaxed feel, popular with locals and ex-pats alike. Range of freshly ground coffees and a delicious mix of international cuisine, from curry to fish and chips and including arguably the best roast beef sandwiches in Asia. 39 Sukhumvit Soi 16; tel. 66 (0) 2663 0450.
“Don’t be distracted by the opulent appearances, the food here is meticulously prepared—not just for tourists.”—Austin Bush. Set in the imposing century-old mansion that was the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce; serving internationally renowned royal Thai cuisine, with some twists. Offers well-regarded cooking courses. 233 Th South Sathon; tel. 66 (0)2673 9353. www.blueelephant.com/bangkok
Spring Summer Winter
“Like a 1960s jet set house party—with beanbags on the lawn.”—Philip Cornwel-Smith. Predominantly seafood menu mixes classic Asian recipes with some unexpected ingredients—crispy morning glory salad with river prawn. Served inside or out front of this fifties and sixties-era tropical art deco house; best in the cool season when there’s no chance of rain. Trendy Thai crowd. Delicious chocolate crème brulee. 199 Soi Suk 49; tel. 66 (0) 2392 2747. www.springnsummer.com
Lan Na Thai
“Authentic Thai food in evocative, classic Thai surrounds; it’s like eating in an antique shop.”—Austin Bush. One of two restaurants in the Face Bar complex of wooden buildings and steep curving tiled roofs. Stuffed with antiques. Fine Thai dining. 29 Sukhumvit Soi 38; tel. 66 (0) 2713 6048. www.facebars.com
“Power tables in the front room alcoves perfect for deal making; finish with a tipple in the wine bar.”—Philip Cornwel-Smith. Fine Italian food and wines served by the glass to match your meal. Popular with businesspeople. 16 Soi Sukhumvit 23; tel. 66 (0) 2258 4321. www.giustobangkok.com
Bangkok gallery restaurant set in an indoor-outdoor space flanked by foliage. International menu mixes Thai and Mediterranean favorites, complemented by subtly attentive service. Popular with an artsy crowd, and romance-seeking couples. 20 meters off Convent Road, Silom (in sub Soi pipat 2), tel. 66 (0) 2238 0931. www.eatmerestaurant.com
“The place where chefs come to eat.”—Austin Bush. Uber-stylish, minimalist setting complemented by world-class modern cuisine with a Mediterranean theme—the tapas starters are sublime. Metropolitan Hotel, 27 Th South Sathorn; tel. 66 (0) 2625 3333.
“Perhaps Bangkok’s most innovative and delicious Thai food.”—Mason Florence. Modern Thai food by a Thai chef influenced by years working in Australia; think baked eggplant stuffed with pan-fried scallop, chili, and Thai sweet basil. Red leather couches and contemporary art give it a lounge bar look and feel. 41 Sukhumvit Soi 16, Klongtoei; tel. 66 (0) 2258 1783. www.wyndhamthai.com
“Innovative French haute cuisine in glam penthouse surrounds, from the Michelin-starred Pourcel brothers.”—Philip Cornwel-Smith. Gourmet cuisine, faultless service, panoramic views of city and Lumphini Park. Dusit Thani Hotel, 946 Th Rama IV; tel. 66 (0) 2236 9999. http://www.dusit.com/dusit-thani/en/dusit-thani-bangkok-restaurants-a-bars/dsens.html
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