The Oyster Bar, 395 Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Soi 24, Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest Train:BTS Chong Nonsi
Opening Hours:Tue-Sun 6-11pm; Sun noon-3pm
Reservation recommended, Parking available
Simplicity looks easy, but it’s amazing how many get it horribly wrong. Fortunately, The Oyster Bar is simply great—a place to enjoy fantastic seafood, beautifully presented and perfectly cooked. We won’t deny that it lacks frills, with its slightly functional bare concrete floor, basic white furniture and piece-of-paper menu. But the essentials stand out all the more: the constantly changing offerings, the fresh seafood, an in-depth knowledge of how to cook it and just as much expertise from the legion of serving staff. It’s clear that the owner, seafood importer Bill Marinelli, has handpicked them with the same care with which he picks his oysters and that chef Brad Borchardt (now most often found at the Seafood Bar, on Suhkumvit 16) has ably trained his successors in his contemporary American cuisine. The star item is the oysters, the majority imported twice weekly from Canada and the US. Prices vary, but range from B75 for an olympia and go up to B120 a pop for a fine de claire. All come on a bed of ice with a side of lemon and vinaigrettes and all are wonderfully fresh. Still, don’t get too hung up on mollusks, as there are other intriguing seafood dishes. Despite some regulars like the creamily decadent oysters Rockefeller, the menu changes regularly to reflect what the chef can get his hands on—ultimate freshness guaranteed. Last time we visited, there was a Cajun theme to celebrate Mardi Gras, offering treats like the caramel-crusted catfish with Creole sauce, a delicious, moist piece of fish with a crunchy, sweet outer coating or the black bass Cajun spice with hoppin’ Joe a hearty mix of white beans, garlic and rice, that complemented the meaty fish. (We particularly recommend the Sunday brunch option where B1,500 gets you free rein of the menu and a glass of wine; no coffee available though.) If we had a quibble, it would be the repetition in the starchy sides—polenta, pasta and rice—but we’re really searching for faults. Do concerns about our carbon footprint count?