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Best Restaurants in Bangkok

Foodie Paradise: 10 of Bangkok's Best Eating Options


Bangkok has always been a foodie paradise, with knockout meals on just about every block. While the street food here is still second to none, the city has also reinvented itself in recent years with an outstanding array of fine dining options and great gourmet selections from around the world, and has become one of the world's biggest foodie paradises, and now even has its own Michelin guide. The city now gets visitors coming here solely to fine dine, and while the Michelin choices might be special, don't limit yourself to just fancy, as there are plenty of local places that will wow you just as well.

Indian Chef Garima Arora will dazzle your palate with exquisite takes on traditional Asian fare using the freshest locally sourced ingredients at the award-winning Gaa, while Thai chef "Ton" Tassanakajohn has Michelin stars at both Le Du and Nusara, both of which serve modern takes on classic Thai and have also been ranked near the top by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list. Mezzaluna, set 65 floors up at the Lebua, not only has Bangkok's best view, but it also has 2 Michelin stars and the award-winning cuisine of Japanese chef Ryuki Kawasaki. The same goes for 2-star winner Surhing, which features unique interpretations of homestyle German cuisine. Speaking of Michelin, Jae Fai might be a street food place, but it does have one star and is hugely popular on the foodie circuit. Other truly excellent Thai spots include the outstanding Thai tasting menu at Saawaan, or authentic hard to find Thai dishes from Supanniga and The Local . And for superb Indian cuisine, Indus sets the bar and merits a visit. You most definitely won't be going hungry in this city.


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Indus
Photo courtesy of courtesy of Indus restaurant

With one of the nicest restaurant decors in Bangkok and great food to boot, Indus keeps visitors coming back time after time, and sets the bar for inspirational and delicious Indian cuisine. Inspired by an Indus Valley maharajah's palace, sandstone bricks and and Rajasthan tapestries line the inside of this 1960's art deco wooden house, and in addition to the indoor dining, there is a tropical garden and bar with dance floor upstairs! The food is superb, with standouts such as lamb leg marinated in Captain Morgan rum, papaya, and yoghurt, and definitely try the signature paneer kali roll, cottage cheese with onion, pepper and greens wrapped in a tortilla. Sonya Sapru, author of the noted cookbook Zaika, stands behind the training of all the chefs here, and standards are quite high.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For fine Indian dining in Bangkok, Indus is simply the best.

Dave's expert tip: The various regional dishes (as opposed to the usual northern favourites) are well worth trying here, especially the Hyderabad biriyani, which features chicken, rice, and spices all cooked in a ceramic pot.

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There's a reason why Saawaan has been awarded a Michelin star by the prestigious Michelin Bangkok guide. Yes, the name of the restaurant means "heaven" in Thai, and yes, you are going to feel closer to the stars after a meal here, but you also can count on an intimate fine dining experience that features authentic and creative Thai cuisine that is simply some of the best in Bangkok, prepared by a wildly talented chef.

Saawaan's 10-course tasting menu is divided into dishes that represent all of the concepts and techniques found across the board in Thai cooking. You'll get to sample raw, fermented, dip, boiled, grilled, stir-fried, curry, and sweet here, and the fun starts before you even get to the menu. The complimentary starter, an amuse bouche of "kai luk koei," sous vide egg served with cream, tamarind sauce and chili oil, that comes served as if in a bird's nest. It's small and delicate, but packs such a wildly wonderful array of flavors, and sets the tone for what lies ahead.

Chef Sujira "Aom" Pongmorn, who runs a skilled kitchen team, has an incredible knowledge of Thai cuisine, and has put in time with some of Bangkok's most noted dining establishments, such as Sra Bua, Issaya Siamese, The House on Sathorn, Lord Jim at the Mandarin Oriental, and more recently running the show at the Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded Baan Padthai. Here at Saawaan, she showcases regional dishes found at street level that have been elevated to some of the most delectable tastes you'll find across the country.

Take the "nam pu ma", served as the "dip" dish. This comes from rural Thailand, where farmers would make grilled paddy crab fat into a "nam prik" chili dip and eat it with sticky rice. Here, Chef Pongmorn has mixed the paddy crab fat with Thai herbs and grilled them in the crab shell, and it gets served with coconut steamed sticky rice.

Another total standout is the "gai kati khao luem pua," a chicken curry in which free-range chickens from Nakhon Pathom are flavored with a Central Thai curry sauce and served with pineapple and bamboo shoot, alongside of what is known as "forget the husband" rice, so called because it is so good that the housewife serving it would forget her husband was also at the dinner table while she was eating it! From presentation to the creamy curry and perfect spice balances, this is the final course prior to dessert, and pretty much sums up the entire experience here, one of total dining bliss.

You'll also want to leave room for dessert, as Bangkok's most noted pastry chef, Arisara "Paper" Chongphanitkul, a graduate of the French Gastronomicom culinary school, lends her expertise to the sweets here, serving up pumpkin and coconut custards alongside durian-flavored chocolate petit fours to close out the evening.

Add to this Bangkok's best wine pairings to be found, attentive service, and the intimate surroundings, which feature just six tables, dim mood lighting, and an open kitchen, and you've got all the trappings of one unforgettable "heavenly" evening.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For outstanding Michelin-starred Thai cuisine, Saawaan is absolutely outstanding.

Dave's expert tip: There are only 24 seats here, so best to reserve in advance. Note that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and that last orders are at 930pm. The closest BTS and MRT stations are Sala Daeng and Lumphini, but you'll still need to grab a taxi for the short ride over to Suan Plu. Saawaan is just on your left as you head down Suan Plu.

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Thomas and Mathias Suhring are identical twins as well as master chefs. They have converted their beautiful old villa home in Bangkok into an intimate garden restaurant where they serve German and European fare inspired by their childhood memories and family recipes. The restaurant has been awarded two stars by Michelin Bangkok, as well as well as making it in the top 10 list by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants. Suhring's interior is comprised of a winter garden glasshouse, which looks out at the garden, along with a "living room" elegant dining area, as well as the kitchen, where diners can sit at a chef's counter and watch the 9 or 12 "Suhring Experience" set menu be prepared. There are also a la carte standouts like spatzle, a southern German egg noodle dish served with black truffle, or Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth), made with crispy potatoes, black pudding and green apples. The tasting menus run from 3500 baht and upwards.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For creative and unique tastes on German home cooking, Suhring excels!

Dave's expert tip: Reservations are essential. The nearest BTS station is Chong Nonsi, but you'll still need to take a taxi from here about ten minutes.

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Pad kee mao, or drunkards noodles can be found at many street stalls for 30 baht a plate, but for an experience that has been written up by food critics around the world, and now even has a Michelin star (Bangkok's only street food restaurant with such an honor) head over to the Saochingchao District of Bangkok to Jay Fai. Stuck in one of Bangkok's last timeless neighborhoods, where skyscrapers and designer malls don't exist, Jay Fai is a small no frills shophouse eatery, but what sets it apart are the drunken noodles that come with ultra fresh monster prawns made by an auntie who has been serving the faithful for 60 plus years. Jay Fai is also renowned for its rad na, which is a close cousin of pad kee mao, made with a gravy that is thicker and nowhere near as spicy as the drunkard's noodles. It also is served with giant prawns, as well as squid and scallops. The crab omelettes here are also not to be missed. Some complain about the long waits here, or even not being able to get a table without a reservation, and yes, the price certainly is steep for street food, but hey, you're getting to watch the master auntie at work, and the seafood sure is fresh.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For Michelin-starred street food, the one and only Jae Fai should be on everyone's Bangkok gourmet dining list.

Dave's expert tip: Saochingchao is not well served by public transport. Best to take the Skytrain to Ratchathewi and then take a taxi along Petchaburi heading west. Or if visiting Khao San Rd, you can walk down Tanao south of Democracy Monument to reach the neighborhood. You better come early as the wait here can be really long with huge queues outside.

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Chef Thitid "Ton" Tassanakajohn is a fixture on the Bangkok gourmet scene, the man behind the renowned Le Du and Baan restaurants. His newest venture, Nusara, pays homage to his late grandmother, and features classic Thai family recipes that are prepared in 12 course set tasting menus which run you through a gamut of different Thai cuisines. The setting is in an intimate dining room that only seats 10 guests (yes, you'll need reservations), and you'll get to tantalize your tastebuds with dishes like crab curry served on crispy betel leaf with caviar or a traditional pad krapao (Thai holy basil stir fry) done with the most tender wagyu beef. Nusara, like Tassanakajohn's other restaurants, has received many prestigious awards, including a Michelin star, and a listing in the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants (currently ranked at 20 in 2021). Tasting menus here run 1990 baht, and if you're still hungry, you can head downstairs to Chef Ton's Mayrai Pad Thai, a chic wine bar with good old pad thai to go with your drinks.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For an intimate classic Thai menu, Nusara is a real winner.

Dave's expert tip: Get here by taking the MRT subway to Sanam Chai, walking down to Maha Rat and turning right, then walking 5 minutes up to Tha Tien alley. Otherwise, hop the river ferry on the Chao Phraya and get off at the Tha Tien pier.

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Innovative, elegant, and delectable fine dining has reached new heights in Bangkok with the 2nd edition of the Michelin Bangkok guidebook's 2019 release. Heading the list of newcomers awarded one star is Gaa, which features unique and eclectic takes on both Indian and Thai fare, served up with exquisite presentations and creative techniques by head chef Garima Arora, who is the first Indian woman to receive a Michelin award.

Arora hails from Mumbai, and left a career in journalism, opting instead for enrolling in Le Cordon Bleau, France's prestigious culinary academy, and then working at the esteemed Noma in Copenhagen as well as a stint with chef Gordon Ramsay at Verre in Dubai. She then came to Bangkok to work alongside of Gaggan Anand, whose 2-star Michelin Gaggan provided a launching pad for honing her unique and uber-creative techniques which she has put to full use at Gaa.

Set in a leafy side street in a beautifully refurbished house, where comfortable rooms have soft lighting, dark wood, and large windows, diners have their choice of tables. Several rooms are suitable for private groups, while the main dining area looks out into the trees and foliage. One room features a table set under a painting of the home's former owner, who appears to look out in watchful gaze at the fabulous feast appearing in front of her.

Gaa offers both a 10 and 14-course tasting menu in which modern techniques pair with age-old recipes, all of which are made using only fresh locally-sourced ingredients. While the entire evening is a real visual and tactile knockout, there are a few dishes that really stand out. The duck "donuts" are a play on Japanese takoyaki; small pastry balls that are stuffed with duck meat and vindaloo sauce, and just incredibly melt-in-your-mouth succulent (you'll want to see a daily food cart of these outside your house once you try them). Another winner is the signature young corn, in which baby corn is grilled with lime and chili and presented here with its charred skin, that peels away to some of the sweetest corn you'll ever have. The corn is served with a sweet corn and ghee emulsion dip, and Arora took inspiration for this from the grilled and spiced "bhutta," a popular Indian street snack.

While many Michelin restaurants serve up fine Wagyu beef or try to bowl you over with foie gras presentations for their main courses, Gaa again bucks the trend, instead opting for unripe jackfruit, served here with jackfruit roti and a variety of pickles. As opposed to the sweet fruit, the unripe version is thick and meaty and will make a believer of any carnivore. And for those who can't live without their flesh, the caramelized sous vide pork belly served with a tamarind glaze, shallots, coriander, and pomegranate, is not just the best piece of pork you'll have in Bangkok, but possibly in all Asia if not elsewhere.

For the finale here, several desserts seal the deal. One is a deconstructed banana bread, a bite-sized morsel that will have you thinking you are in a fine patisserie, and then another great take on Indian habits, that of chewing a stuffed betel nut leaf (known as "paan") after eating, although here at Gaa the leaf is half covered in 85% dark chocolate, with the other side having crumbled cardamom dust.

In addition to the amazing culinary creations, there are superb wine pairings to go with the dinner, and even juice pairings for those who want to remain completely sober for one of Bangkok's most outstanding feasts.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For creative culinary excellence, Gaa is a Bangkok masterpiece!

Dave's expert tip: Reservations are a must at Gaa. To get here, the closest BTS station is Ratchadamri (not Ploenchit). You can cut across Mahatlek Luang 3 Alley from the station directly to Langsuan, then turn right, and Gaa is just down the street on your right side.

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Mezzaluna is Bangkok's most swank restaurant, and dining up here 65 floors above the Chao Phraya River and the Bangkok skyline is one of the top experiences one can have while in town, especially as the restaurant has been awarded two stars by the Bangkok Michelin guide, and features the palate-boggling cooking of chef Ryuki Kawasaki, who has manned Michelin kitchens in France, the U.S., and his native Japan, and was named Chef of the Year by the Escoffier Society while working at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire in Las Vegas.

Taking over the helm at Mezzaluna in 2015, Kawasaki has combined his superlative French cooking techniques with some of the most exclusively sourced ingredients to be found in Asia. Take the Niigata Murakami Wagyu beef for example, which Kawasaki brings exclusively to Thailand from Japan. The beef comes from a small breed of carefully selected, high-quality calves from Niigata Prefecture, which are raised on rice straw, hay, and premium compound feed, giving the beef a silky texture and absolutely melt in the mouth taste. It is served here at Mezzaluna with black truffles and grilled over binchotan charcoal, and is the signature dish headlining an incredible seven-course tasting menu

Everything about the dining experience at Mezzaluna is done to utmost perfection. A bevy of staff hovers around your table, never failing to notice whether you need more bread or water, constantly bringing palate refreshers before dishes, and giving detailed explanations of all the captivating creations. An expert sommelier comes out to explain each wine pairing served with the food, not only giving the origins of each bottle, but complimenting its highlights and flavor profiles, and the cellar here is one of the finest in all Bangkok, with several of the wines served being exclusive to Mezzaluna.

The menu at Mezzaluna is seasonal, changing every three months, although dishes like the Wagyu beef are always featured. Chef Kawasaki says, "My passion is to create experiences that inspire and leave lasting memories for the people I share them with, and our culinary journey at Mezzaluna consists of various textures, flavors, artisinal seasonal products, and cooking techniques."

This is an entire dining experience at its finest, from chef to server to table to the ambiance. At this point, the sky (and possibly even a coveted third star) is the limit for Mezzaluna and its all-star chef.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For Bangkok's most elegant sky high Michelin-awarded excellence, you can't top Mezzaluna

Dave's expert tip: Reservations are essential here, and it is worth coming early for a sunset drink at the Distil Bar, located just below the Mezzaluna.

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The quaint three story shophouse on Thong Lor is easy to miss it looks so small from the outside, but once through the doors, it is a relaxing and homey spot, probably a recreation of what grandma's kitchen was all about, and indeed, the owner serves up his grandma's hard to find recipes that he grew up with in Trat, a town on Thailand's eastern seaboard. The menu is extensive here, and has many hard to find old school recipes that will have you ready to come back before you've even left! The absolute standout that one can see on just about every diner's plate is the moo chamuang, a stewed pork stew dish made with leaves from the Guttiferae tree and Thai herbs, so tender and flavour filled that you'll be begging for more rice to soak up all the juice. Even more amazing is the most plain looking dish you'll ever come across, ka lum tod nam pla, which although it might sound fancy, is basically a plate of cabbage. But oh what a cabbage it is, stir fried up with a super high grade fish sauce from Trat Province that makes it taste unlike any other cabbage you've ever had. Note that Supanniga also has branches in Sathorn Soi 10 as well as on the river at Tha Tien, and all of them are superb spots and highly recommended.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For hard to find authentic recipes at a fair price with a great atmosphere, Supanniga covers all the vitals for a superb night out.

Dave's expert tip: Try the cabbage. Yeah, that's right. You'd never think a dish of plain cabbage could be so good, but this old recipe with high grade fish sauce will change your opinion on cabbage and keep you coming back for more! There is also a second branch of Supanniga over on Sathorn Soi 10, as well as an atmospheric location near the Tha Tien pier on the Chao Phraya.

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Owner Kan Markawat and his sister Ploy come from a family of traditional foodies, and they have put their love of traditional and hard to find dishes from all over Thailand on display at the lovely new eatery, The Local, where one can dine in a 70-year-old traditional teak home, outfitted with antiques, wooden bird cages, old paddles from the floating market, and bookcases full of Thai cookbooks from throughout the ages. The menu is large and varied and standouts include gaeng lun juan, which comes from the Rama V Royal Court and is made with beef or pork laced with aromatic Thai herbs and shrimp paste, highly aromatic and bursting with flavor. Another menu winner is the gaeng kua pla bai som pan kee maa, a spicy yellow curry fish with hard to find orange leaves from the south, and don't forget to save room for the homemade ice cream and perhaps one of the signature cocktails such as the Safflower, made with Mekong whiskey, safflower, and kumquat juice, and a perfect complement to the food. The restaurant was named as a Bib Gourmand choice by the new Michelin Bangkok guide.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For traditional hard to find Thai recipes, The Local is an outstanding choice.

Dave's expert tip: The Local is a good 15-minute walk up Soi 23 from its intersection with Sukhumvit. Best to hop on a motorcycle taxi (20 baht) from the corner. It's located just after the first intersection.

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Chef "Ton" Thitid Tassanakajohn heads up this Thai influenced relaxed fine dining experience, putting his skills honed at New York's Eleven Madison Park to work as he does contemporary takes on Thai classics. The restaurant name is a take on the Thai word " ru du" meaning seasons, and indeed the tasting menus here get a heavy dose of seasonal produce and ingredients, all sourced from local farmers, fishermen, and more. The presentations are exquisite, and as Chef Ton is a professional sommelier as well, needless to say the wine pairings from around the globe are world class. Le Du has received endless awards, ranging from a Michelin star from the Bangkok Michelin Guide to being ranked 4th on the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2021. Four and Six course tasting menus are offered here, with exotic dishes like squid and ink, pork blood pudding, and even the most humble variety of Thai bananas getting the most creative and delectable treatment. Tasting menus run from 3,000-3,600 baht and are a highlight for any foodie visit to Bangkok.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For creative takes and exquisite presentations of classic Thai, Le Du is special.

Dave's expert tip: To get here, take the BTS skytrain to Chong Nonsi, head out Exit 4, and make the short walk up to Silom Soi 7. Reservations are a smart idea.

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Meet Dave Stamboulis

Dave Stamboulis is a travel writer/photographer based in Bangkok. Born in Athens, Greece and growing up in the U.S., Dave first discovered Bangkok while on a 45,000-kilometer bicycle trip and...  More About Dave

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