The Best Restaurants in Bangkok
From the drunken noodles that Jay Fai (yes, she of the Michelin-starred Raan Jay Fai) stir fries in her scalding wok to the “progressive Thai food” at Le Du to Nahm, named one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Bangkok’s culinary scene is humming. Whether you’re up for a street food kind of day and plate upon plate of sticky rice, noodles, and all of the possible dishes that could top them, or you’ve got high-end sushi in mind, the city’s restaurants and food vendors deliver.
2 N Sathon Road, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Bangkok’s impressive roster of rooftop venues is one of its major selling points when it comes to dining out and cocktail culture. Park Society, at the SO Sofitel Bangkok hotel, is a worthy addition to the sky-high club, benefiting from a prize perch high above Lumpini Park, one of the city’s few sizable patches of verdant greenery. While the views over the park to the chrome-and-glass towers that dominate the skyline are an undoubted highlight, there’s more than just vistas to appreciate. Inside, the restaurant fuses fine dining touches, such as tasting menus, with a pleasantly casual atmosphere and shared dishes that heighten the social feel. Meanwhile, the expansive outdoor Terrace Bar offers fine wines, classic cocktails, and an invigorating breeze.
26 Ekkamai 10 Alley, Lane 2, Khwaeng Phra Khanong Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Tucked away above Mikkeller, a craft beer bar on a leafy backstreet, Upstairs has quietly established itself as one of Bangkok’s most exciting restaurants. Recognition of Korean-American chef Dan Bark’s skill came when French fine-dining bible Michelin granted the restaurant a star. Although functional and pleasant, the minimalist dining room gives scant notice of the elevated gastronomic experience provided by Bark and his team. A ten-course tasting menu changes regularly depending on the whim of the chef, featuring creative, unfussy dishes that Bark labels “progressive American” cuisine. If you are feeling flush, the best way to enjoy the food is to go with the beer pairing, which involves specially selected craft brews, cider, and mead.
113, 9-10 Thong Lo Rd, Klongton Nua, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Bangkok’s culinary scene has recently been enlivened by an influx of talented U.S. chefs who are upping creativity levels at venues around the city. One such addition is Texan Riley Sanders, the head man at Canvas. Sanders cut his teeth at restaurants in Austin and Chicago, as well as on a luxury yacht, and his globe-trotting approach to cooking is evident here. The emphasis is on local ingredients in the six- and nine-course tasting menus, which showcase modern Bangkok cuisine in a freewheeling approach. Recent menu highlights have included shrimp noodles dressed in an intense seafood sauce, and mud crab prepared with lotus root, lotus stem, swamp algae, and rice paddy herbs.
327 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
A kitchen dynamo whose energy belies her age of 77, Supinya Junsuta, aka Jay Fai, is chef-owner of one of the Thai capital’s most renowned shophouse restaurants—the eponymous Jay Fai—and one of the city’s most recognizable foodie personalities. In her trademark heat-resistant goggles, essential protection from a searing inferno of hot oil, she cuts a distinctive figure. And her fame and the crowds have only grown since the Michelin Guide judges gave her eatery Thailand’s first and only Michelin star for street food in 2017 (so much so that she has expressed a wish to give the star back). Her lofty reputation is founded on the alchemy she produces from her scalding wok, with stir-fries such as pad kee mao talay (drunken noodles with seafood) and other dishes like fluffy khai jeaw poo (crab omelet) and a complex tom yum goong (hot and sour shrimp soup) more than justifying the (relatively) steep prices.
85 ถนน เยาวพานิช Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand
One of the longest-standing restaurants in Chinatown’s Yaowarat Road area, Tang Jai Yoo fits the template of many of the dining venues in this part of town. The decor is faded and the harsh lighting would cast a sickly glow on even the most glamorous diner. Unlike glitzy restaurants elsewhere in the city, people come here solely to eat. Superstar TV chef Anthony Bourdain is among those to have lauded its signature whole roast suckling pig. Other choice items on the Thai-Chinese menu include steamed crab with black olives and ground pork, and deep-fried mantis prawns with chili and salt.
999 Phloen Chit Road, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Head chef Bee Satongun and co-owner Jason Bailey, a husband-and-wife team, are dedicated to bringing back lost recipes and techniques of heirloom Thai cooking. Paste is one of Bangkok’s most exciting Thai restaurants, and the Michelin judges have duly noted that fact by gracing it with a star. The cuisine is based on century-old family recipes served with innovative twists and an attention to detail that make it as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious. Signature dishes include black cod poached in duck lard and larb salad with pheasant, hog plum leaves, and edible flowers, but really everything is good.
2 Phiphat, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
One of Thailand’s most loved dishes, som tam (green papaya salad) is ubiquitous in Bangkok, with vendors across the capital pounding together the essential components of shredded fruit, garlic, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lots and lots of chili. One of the best places to sample a truly delicious version is this friendly venue tucked away in the backstreets of Silom. Besides serving their versions of som tam, a gargantuan barbecue produces beautifully smoky grilled chicken wings. While these are the stars of the show, the restaurant also does a winning line in other classics from northeast Thailand such as kor moo yang (grilled pork neck).
46 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Gaa is located directly opposite Gaggan, Bangkok’s most famous eatery, which was named the best restaurant in Asia in 2017. The brains behind the venture is Garima Arora, former sous chef at Gaggan and chef de partie at Noma. A native of Mumbai, Arora doesn’t shy away from her Indian roots. They are balanced, however, by international influences, including prominent Thai flavors. As you would expect from someone with her pedigree, Arora gives full rein to her creativity throughout the tasting menus (10 or 14 courses), with dishes such as grilled pork ribs marinated with split-pea miso and served with chopped shallots, spring onions, and pomegranate seeds showcasing her talent.
Siam Kempinski Hotel, 991/9 Rama I Road, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
The kitchen at this elegant Thai restaurant, complete with lotus pond, at the Siam Kempinski Hotel makes everything fresh and by hand, including the fish sauce and prawn crackers. Interestingly, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin was founded by Henrik Yde-Andersen, whose Thai eatery in Copenhagen, Kiin Kiin, has earned a Michelin star. And so did the Bangkok restaurant for its creative approach to modern Thai cuisine and ten-course tasting menus that use Thai flavors and modern gastronomic cooking techniques in tastes such as basil foam and frozen red curry.
27 โรงแรม เมโทรโพลิแทน Sathon Tai Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10210, Thailand
Though he is originally from Australia and then studied French cuisine, chef David Thompson’s passion for Thai cuisine has helped make Nahm one of the world’s most critically acclaimed restaurants. Top dishes include fragrant coconut-and-turmeric curry with blue swimmer crab and banana blossoms; a refreshing kingfish salad with pomelo, lemongrass and lime; and crab wafers with coconut, coriander and galangal (similar to ginger).
503 Thanon Samsen, Dusit, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand
Krua Apsorn is an award-winning, royally patronized everyday Thai food restaurant. Expect a clientele made up of fussy families and big-haired, middle-aged ladies, and a cuisine revolving around full-flavoured, largely seafood-and vegetable-heavy central Thai dishes. This is one of the most famous restaurants in Thailand and is a must for every visitor to The Siam. At a minimum you must order: Green Curry With Fish Balls, Stir fried Crab Meat with Yellow Chili and String beans, Crabmeat omelet, fried giant river prawns, mushroom larb. I recommend taking the Siam boat (5 minutes) to the Wat Rachathiwat Pier and making the short walk through the beautiful old Bangkok neighborhood. After lunch head back down to the river and walk back to The Siam stopping at the 199 year old Chinese temple just before you walk under the bridge.
24 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Two of the cooks who worked with me at Nahm in London opened a dinner-only spot named Bo.lan. Bo and Dylan prepare traditional but often hard-to-find dishes, such as stir-fried chicken thighs with bamboo shoots, and red curry of pork hock. —David Thompson