Bangkok's Best Waterfront and Riverside Dining Options



The Chao Phraya River is one of Bangkok's most atmospheric spots to dine at, with cool river breezes and the swaying and creaking of the surrounding piers accompanying the slow flowing river barges that make their way down the river. There is a wide selection of cuisines and spots for all budgets here as well. One can opt for elegant French at the longstanding Le Normandie in the Mandarin Oriental, recently awarded two Michelin stars, or break the bank at the also two Michelin-starred sky high Mezzaluna, which isn't on the river, but gives some of its most sweeping views, high above the city. Back down on the water, the deservedly popular Steve Cafe and Cuisine has Thai cooking in an atmospheric 60 year old traditional house, and other superb romantic spots along the water include The Eatery, right opposite Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), where the riverfront tables take waterfront dining to new heights, and the unique Sheepshank Public House, which serves organic creative American cuisine in an old boatyard. For the best combination of outstanding authentic Thai cuisine, creative drinks, and tables set right opposite the iconic Wat Arun (best when the sun goes down and the night lights get turned on), head for yet another award-winning branch of the well known Supanniga, in its latest incarnation as Supanniga X Roots, combining great food with Bangkok's best coffee roasters.



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Sambal Bar & Grill has a prime position overlooking the Chao Phraya River, and its ambience alone, set out on a deck next to the water, is worth a visit. However, the food is no slouch either, with skilled chefs churning out some nice twists on western cuisine along with plenty of seafood on the menu. Chicken tortilla rolls, grilled chicken with lemongrass, suckling pig spring rolls, and grilled salmon with saffron are some of the more tastebud tantalising options, and the bar creates signature cocktails like the Aphrodisia, which mixes vodka, passion fruit, pomegranate, palm sugar, and fresh lime. It's a great spot to watch the sunset and enjoy the breezes coming off the river.


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While Trader Vic's at the Anantara Bangkok Riverside is a bit far down the river on the Thonburi side of the city, it certainly has a great waterfront setting and is one of the better riverside dining options in town. There's an indoor seating area, but the best spot is on the waterfront terrace or garden where there are romantic tables and comfy chairs set up to enjoy the passing barge traffic and river breezes. Menu standouts include the Ahi Poke sashimi tuna with avocado and chill-soy dressing, and the Jamaican Jerk spring chicken with sweet potato mash, chili asparagus, sherry ginger jus. There are plenty of other Pacific Rim specialties available, and like other worldwide Trader Vic's, there are signature Mai Tai cocktails at the bar.


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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 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.


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Sala Rim Naam
Photo courtesy of courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok


 

Sala Rim Naam is one of Bangkok's classiest dining options. While the food may be spiced down for foreign palates, it is still a great spot to enjoy a wide range of royal Thai cooking, with classics such as tom yam goong spicy seafood soup or khao soy northern style noodles in yellow curry. The location of Sala Rim Naam is its big draw, set on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, and the restaurant is housed in a traditional Thai pavilion in the northern Lanna architectural style. Additionally, classical Thai dance performances that are featured with dinner here each night are an excellent accompaniment to an elegant night out.


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If you want a truly romantic Bangkok meal, forget about going to a restaurant with a river view, better to actually go out on the river itself and eat like a king! Supanniga Cruise, run by the Laorauvirodge family, who operate Supanniga Eating Room, a charming Thai eatery with traditional recipes (that now boasts three branches including its riverside one also reviewed on this list), along with the Michelin-starred New York Thai restaurant Somtum Der, now have a dinner cruise with the same knockout cuisine that has made the restaurants so famous, serving up fresh giant prawns, along with the Supanniga staple, moo chamuang, a thick pork stew made with flavourful chamuang leaves, a specialty of Trat on the Eastern seaboard. Other items included in the sumptuous six course feast include hor mok puu steamed crab in curry paste, and mangoes with sticky rice. Supanniga has also teamed up with Vesper, one of the city's best cocktail spots, for some outstanding signature drinks. You can choose a sunset cruise with cocktails or champagne served with savouries, which lasts an hour, or go for the six course meal and champagne dinner set, which goes for two hours. The venue is intimate, as the boat can only accommodate 40 guests, and it feels far more like a private dining experience out on the water than a large cruise. The combination of cuisine, locale, and presentation make this one of Bangkok's most romantic options.


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The sala rattanakosin eatery and bar brings the concept of "waterfront dining" to a whole new level. Reserve one of the front tables by the window here and you will face directly out to the Chao Phraya, with Wat Arun, the iconic "temple of dawn," directly in front of you. It's a hopelessly romantic setting and the intimate dining room in the classy sala rattanakosin Bangkok hotel delivers not only on the atmosphere, but on the food as well. The menu has a melange of both Thai and western dishes, with superb seafood dominating the list. Dig in to some tiger prawns with chorizo, tikka spiced salmon filet, or soft shell crab in yellow curry. Healthy western or fusion dishes often fall flat on their face in Bangkok, but not here. The roasted quinoa salad with black olives and feta cheese is divine, as is the ahi tartare, in which ahi tuna gets marinated in fresh herbs and lemon juice and served up with avocado relish over sesame wonton crisps. There is an excellent selection of wine and signature cocktails to go with the food, and if you get here early, the vistas and vibe continuously change, with the orange sunset hues out the window giving way to blue hour, and then the temple lighting up in gold as the night arrives. Just make sure to score one of those coveted up front tables if you really want to wow your date.


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Housed in an old boatyard, with pulleys, buoys, and plenty of industrial design, Sheepshank Public House feels like a spot where you're going to be served up some greasy fish and chips or pub food, but actually, it's fine organic dining here, with ultra fresh ingredients, fusion twists, and hearty American comfort cuisine wowing the diners who stumble on to this somewhat hidden away gem that sits right next to the Phra Athit pier and offers waterfront dining at its finest. Sheepshank is run by Chef Joke Pairojmahakij, who worked at the excellent organic focused Seven Spoons restaurant prior to coming here, and the menu is full of mouthwatering creations such as organic sausages with mashed blue cheese potatoes, slow cooked octopus and creamed corn risotto, and artichoke and lentil tart with watercress pesto, to name just a few of the unique goodies.


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Decorated in a colorful retro style, this 60 year old traditional Thai house is the setting for one of Bangkok's hidden gems, and is an excellent spot for a romantic sunset dinner. It is tough to find and a bit far out, but well worth the effort, as Steve's Cafe and Cuisine serves up good Thai food in a great setting, right out on the Chao Phraya River in a spot well away from the crowds. The menu is Thai, and in fact "Steve" the owner is a Thai too. While the dishes are toned down for tourist palates, they are still tasty, and you can try some harder to find southern dishes like kua kling (spicy minced pork with herbs) or the fragrant gaeng luang sai bua gung (lotus stem soup with shrimp), as one of the owners is a southerner. It's a relaxed place in a quiet setting, and one of Bangkok's more enjoyable riverside spots. The fabulous views of the Rama VIII Bridge at sunset and the lovely traditional old Thai home that the restaurant is housed in also enhance the experience.


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This classy French restaurant on the top floor of The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is a Bangkok institution. Recently awarded two Michelin stars, this is one of Bangkok's top culinary spots. 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. A three course set menu goes for the steal of 1050 baht and introduces you to some world class cuisine.


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If you are looking for the perfect mix of authentic cuisine, creative drinks, and the absolute perfect riverside chill out location, Supanniga X Roots has it all. If you've perused the 10Best side for Thai eating options, you've undoubtedly come across owner Thanareuk Laoraowirodge's other Supanniga branches, eateries that have been on just about every Bangkok food critic's list for the past several years. Laoraowirodge opened Supanniga in order to pay homage to his late grandmother's home recipes, which feature many dishes that come from Trat, on Thailand's eastern seaboard, not easily found in most Bangkok establishments.

The latest branch is set right opposite Wat Arun, incredibly romantic come sunset and evening, and really is the perfect riverside date spot. The menu is downright authentic, with popular favorites like moo chamuang, a succulent long-stewed pork curry, flavoured with garcinia leaves, or poo ja, ground crabmeat and pork that has been seasoned with pungent Chantaburi pepper and steamed inside a crab shell, heading a list of unique and flavor-filled bites. What sets this Supanniga apart from others besides the view is its teaming up with noted local cafe gurus Roots Coffee and creating an extensive Thai desserts menu to go with the coffee. You can eat the popular street food-favourite coconut rice cakes or deep blue butterfly pea custard served with steamed bread, and accompany the sweets with a cappuccino, or perhaps something more adventuresome such as the Hanuman Cold Brew, where cold brew gets infused with dehydrated jackfruit and an oolong and chrysanthemum tea blend, a Roots creation that is totally unique and found only at this location.


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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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