Pad kee mao, or drunkard's noodles can be found at many street stalls for 40 baht a plate, but for an experience that has been written up by food critics around the world and now even given a Michelin star as Bangkok's only starred-street food eatery, head over to the old city neighborhood of Saochingcha to Jae Fai (also spelled as 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 400 baht drunken noodles that come with ultra fresh monster prawns made by an auntie who has been serving the faithful for 60 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.
This classy French restaurant on the top floor of The Oriental Hotel is a Bangkok institution, and the second Michelin Guide to Bangkok made it one of only four restaurants to get two stars. Fois gras and roasted Sisteron rack of lamb are just some of the menu highlights prepared by the visiting French master chefs in residence here, all taken in amidst elegance with views of the Chao Phraya River to boot. While dinner here is an absolute bank breaker, the set lunch provides a way for paupers to dine like princes and indulge in Bangkok's most sophisticated restaurant. An appetizer, entree, and dessert set menu goes for the steal of 1500 baht and introduces you to some world class cuisine.
It might be more like going to a magic show than a restaurant when you see what comes out of the kitchen at Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin. Modeled on the award winning Kiin Kiin restaurant in Denmark, created by chef Henrik Yde-Andersen and Lertchai Treetawatchaiwong, a Thai engineer-cum- gastronomist, Andersen's protege, Chef Chayawee Sutcharitchan at Sra Bua sets out to overwhelm patrons with dishes of amazing taste, texture, and presentation, and the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star for its culinary efforts. The tasting menus here are the way to go, offering a gastronomic road trip through all the best of Thai cuisine. The dishes don't look anything like what you are used to in Thai restaurants, yet all the flavors have been preserved and enhanced to the utmost. The tom yum soup is served as a broth with prawn noodles accompanied by a bowl of the ingredients like galangal and lemongrass which have been made into cold foams and powders. Mix the two together and you get one of the most amazing renditions of the dish you will ever experience. Another signature dish is frozen red curry with lobster, in which the red curry has been made into frozen ice cream and is served topped with lychee foam and comes on a plate that is smoked with liquid nitrogen. Mango and sticky rice for dessert comes disguised as a cotton candy ball, which explodes when syrup is poured over it, revealing the mango inside. Food presentation and taste doesn't get better than this, and Sra Bua is truly a Bangkok experience not to be missed.
Classic Thai food is renowned world over, yet rarely does one find it presented in such an innovative way as at Paste. Paste Bangkok is the brainchild of Australian award winning chef Jason Bailey and his Thai partner Bongkoch "Bee" Satongun, who received acclaim for their Thai restaurants in Australia and now have received a Michelin star for their authentic high end Thai dining. Bailey now focuses on the business end and projects for Paste, while Satongun, named Asia's Best Female Chef in 2018, runs the kitchen, focusing on original Thai flavors and textures, with ingredients sourced fresh from the grower and best markets in the country. Traditional Thai food is done here with beautiful creative twists and a total attention to taste combinations enough to wow the most discerning diner. Try the exquisite Andaman lobster with crispy fish skin or the watermelon and ground salmon with betel leaves and shallots, both are heavenly.
Thomas and Mathias Sühring 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. Upgraded from one to two Michelin stars in the 2nd edition of Michelin Bangkok, the restaurant 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 "Sühring 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 3000 baht and upwards.
The accolades keep pouring in. Named Best Restaurant in Asia in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Gaggan was also listed as the 7th Best Restaurant in the World in 2017, and the only Indian restaurant mentioned in the top 50. Now Gaggan has received two Michelin stars from the prestigious guide's Bangkok edition. While some say that Gaggan isn't really Indian, and some call it "molecular masala," this amazing restaurant is certainly worth experiencing. Started by Gaggan Anand, the Kolkata native who interned with Michelin-starred molecular whiz Ferran Adri� at his famed El Bulli restaurant in Spain, Gaggan turns out wonderful creations such as chicken tikka topped with aromatic cilantro chutney foam or mutton bhuna ghosh pot roasted in a copper vessel then vacuum packed and simmered in a water bath for 24 hours, creating outrageous flavors. For fans of innovative and progressive cooking, Gaggan dazzles the senses, and the classy colonial home the eatery is housed in compliments the wonderful food. Better come now though, as Gaggan will close the restaurant in 2020 to pursue other culinary endeavors.
Canvas, awarded a Michelin star in the latest (2nd) edition of the Michelin Bangkok Guide, highlights locally sourced Thai ingredients, many of which diners may not even be familiar with, serving up superb six and nine-course tasting menus of local favorites that have been given an international twist using progressive cooking methods. The restaurant also showcases the fantastic culinary skills of Chef Riley Sanders, who together with a stellar and well-organized team, runs a dazzling open kitchen, treating diners to one of Bangkok's finest gastronomic experiences.
Sanders hails from Texas, and after a stint at the popular Uchiko Japanese fusion restaurant in Austin, went to work with 3-star Michelin Chef Laurent Gras at the renowned L20 in Chicago. But following this he eschewed climbing the traditional ladder and instead got a position cooking on a private yacht, where he was given free creative range in the kitchen, allowing him to hone his craft even more. More importantly, the job gave Sanders both the time and money to travel, his other passion, and he embarked on a trip around the world, tasting his way through markets, street food, and fine dining establishments all over the globe.
Canvas is the product of Sanders being drawn to Bangkok and its amazing culinary culture, and he's elevated local and often unique ingredients to new heights. Take the soy-smoked king mackerel prepared sous vide and served with an orgasmic paste made of ant eggs, dill, and horseradish. Sanders says that this was inspired by Western "surf n turf" menus, only here turning the mackerel into the "surf" combined with one of Thailand's most unusual inland ingredients, the ant eggs.
Sitting at the open counter here is a joy, as you get to watch Sanders and his team in action, as well as being given the story behind each dish and its ingredients as they are served. You learn that the divine frog comes from a farm in Khao Yai and that the edible flowers served with it are from Samut Prakhan (a province neighboring Bangkok), and that the most succulent honey you've ever tasted (served on fresh gooseberries in season over sorbet) comes from stingless bees that are from Chantaburi, and produce a highly concentrated sweet honey.
Dinner here is a magical event where you never know what's coming next. Take the "rice bread." Served as a humble appetizer, this is actually one of the menu knockouts and will leave you wishing you had a loaf to take home. Made from organic rice from Surin Province, it's served with a brown butter and yellow chili emulsion, and topped with salted egg yolk and toasted sticky rice. Light and ever so flavorful, Sanders says the idea behind it was to serve the Thai staple of rice as a version of the Western staple of bread.
Most appropriately named, Canvas features a chef whose artist's palette is melange of colors, guaranteed to leave your palate begging for more, and is a most deserving entry into the Bangkok Michelin guide and foodie dining scene that has swept the city.
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 absolute 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 hover 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 ambience. At this point, the sky (and possibly even a coveted third star) is the limit for Mezzaluna and its all star chef.
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," a 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 flavours, 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 of 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.
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 beautiful 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 caramalized 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 bitesized 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.