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The huge success of this cheap steak specialist’s original Narathiwas branch has triggered two new venues, one in Suan Phlu and the other in Chiang Mai. At Suan Phlu, Arno’s bolder and bigger space is divided between Arno’s Wine Bar and Arno’s Steak, Burgers & Beers. Besides its famously pocket-friendly, 75-day dry-aged tomahawk (B1,400/kg) and 300g, bacon-laden Carnivore burger (B330), you will find the most expensive pad kaprow on this soi, made using Hokkaido sea scallops for B600.
186-190 Suan Phlu Soi 1, 02-286-3008. Open daily 11am-11pm
Sit under the stars and try authentic French galettes (savory crepes), which use real buckwheat flour, such as the tasty fusion Tuk-Tuk (lamb merguez, tomatoes, eggs and emmental cheese, B189), Samui (coconut, lime and chicken breast, B239), Mexico (beef and beans a la chili con carne, B249) and the Tropic (B119), which plays with peach, passionfruit and mango.
459/59 Suan Phlu Soi 8, 02-679-3393. Open daily 11am-11pm
Junker was one of the first places on the scene for the rebirth of Suan Phlu as a hip, low-rent alternative to Sathorn Soi 10-12. Its recipe is part WTF (crowds drinking on the street outside), part Escapade (hefty-sized, no-nonsense burgers), and after 8pm on any given evening you’ll be lucky to get a seat right away. Drop by from 5-6:30pm for the nightly happy hour, when it costs just B99 for classic cocktails like whiskey sour or margarita, or visit first thing in the morning for taro-milk cappuccinos (B75) and elderflower-flavored Americanos (B70) served with Vietnamese street food like banh mi sandwiches (from B80). Australian wagyu burgers start from B220.
454 Suan Phlu Soi 1, 085-100-3608. Open Tue-Sun 8:30am-midnight
“Modern” Japanese with Western influences is the name of the game at this creative restaurant from the same team as Issaya and Pizza Massilia. Crowd pleasers like sushi (starting B490 for chef’s selecion set of three pieces) compete for prominence on the menu with dry-aged Iwate beef steak with ponzu jelly (B1,750) and squid ink ramen with Maine lobster and uni sauce (B1,800). Diners with a sweet tooth are also sated with specialties like mochi with red bean mousse and strawberry jelly (B250), and the yuzu cheesecake (B290).
39/19 Suanphlu Soi 1, 02-679-3775. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-11pm (last order 10:30pm)
This laid-back French restaurant serves up flavors with an exciting Mediterranean touch. Drop by for an easygoing after-work vibe in the glasshouse-like, artwork-dotted interior, or lounge back on a white sofa under patio umbrellas on the terrace. For dishes like the stracciatella salad (B430), the kitchen sources its milky, gooey cheese from a producer in Chiang Mai, while the Royal Projects vegetables ensure crisp, refreshing bite. Elsewhere, the menu highlights cured gravlax salmon (B380) accompanied by homemade wasabi sauce and tangy lemon cream.
459/61 Suan Phlu Soi 8, 095-496-1142. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-1am
Next to the Breizh Crepes, the open-air Nando Kitchen is quite possibly the best street-side Italian in town. Pizzas like the basic margherita (B250) or hot and spicy Romeo Lovely (B310) are hearty and homespun, while the brief menu also goes in for dishes like the must-try cotoletta (B270), Italy’s own version of the schnitzel. It’s all served up on a back-to-basics outdoor terrace that sits alongside the soi 8 street-food dens (see below).
495/60, Suan Plu Soi 8, 02-679-4219. Open daily 11am-11pm
The three stories of nightlife kingpin David Jacobson’s Suan Phlu drinking den offer a clandestine hideaway for Bangkok’s hospitality industry professionals. Prop up the bar, order a round of absinthe from B410 for a shot or a spicy Bloody Mary (B360), and admire Jacobson’s prized collection of contemporary art. To go with, there are fresh oysters (B100/piece) and cheesy, gooey quesadilla with sour cream (B230) on the menu, and they’ll also let you order Gallery Pizza’s pies right to your table. too. Stop by on Wednesday for live jazz and the last Thursday of the month for pho night.
186/3 Suan Phlu Soi 1, 081-819-6808. Open Wed-Mon 7:30pm-2am
Street Food on Suan Phlu 8
While Suan Plu Soi 1 is all about drinking, Soi 8 is a huge hub for food. Starting around 5pm, the long list of street bites range from large portions of Isaan staples like somtam poo maa (somtam with king crab) to pork satay (B40 for 10), guay jub (rice noodle soup), rad na (stir-fried noodles in gravy, B45) and coconut ice cream (B17).
This old-school institution still packs in the punters looking for a cheap, but consistently decent, French meal. Take your pick from the original restaurant, with its open kitchen out front, or the newer dining room about 10 meters further down the soi. It’s rare you find dishes like lobster bisque flambé (B109) and duck with berry and orange sauce (B229) at such down-to-earth prices.
279/2 Suan Phlu Soi 8, 081-373-3865. Open daily 6:30pm-1am