The hotel: Landmark
Open since: 1997
The congee itself is a landmark at the affectionately known “Joke Landmark” restaurant. Its combination of clear fishbone broth and high-quality jasmine rice is boiled for three hours. Hong Kong chef Mak Kin Fai has been behind the stoves for over 25 years. Choose from toppings that include fish, prawns, marinated pork and even scallops, with a bowl starting at B220. If that doesn’t sound satisfying enough, the restaurant also serves a fancy congee bowl topped with scallops, fresh prawns, abalone, entrail and special selected shiitake starting at B490. Don’t miss the other Hong Kong staples like fried Hokkien noodles (B220) and clay pot baked rice with abalone (B580).
138 Sukhumvit Rd., 02-254-0404. Open daily 24 hours. BTS Nana
The hotel: Montien
Open since: 1977
For 40 years, Ruenton’s khao man gai (Hainanese chicken rice) and raad na “Jakkrapad” (“Emperor’s” rice noodles in gravy) have been made to the same recipe. The rice is neither overcooked nor oily, and goes perfectly with the tender texture of the boiled chicken, served in big chunks separate from the rice (B280). The raad na comes in a big plate of rice noodles topped with plenty of prawns, squid and crabmeat befitting the B380 price tag. Our advice: stick to these two. While the crispy fried mussels (B190) and rare kanhom pak gaad goong (sauteed turnip cake with shrimps, chives and egg, B190) come recommended by others, we find the former not crispy enough and the latter too oily.
54 Surawongse Rd, 02-233-7060. Open daily 24 hours
Florida Hotel Restaurant
The hotel: Florida Hotel
Open since: 1968
Located in the wonderfully retro, slightly haunted-looking Florida Hotel, this restaurant’s Hainanese cook worked for King Rama V. And it’s obvious that this tired old eatery has seen better days. But Florida’s former glories live on in its Thai interpretations of Western staples. Even its bread (B35) is like a burger bun bread crossed with salapao: soft, sticky and slightly sweet, a kind of fusion brioche. The barbecue spare ribs (B235), too, have a distinctly Asian taste. Fall-off-the-bone tender, the meaty flavor shines through the tangy sauce. Most impressive though are Thai-Chinese staples like the bowl of noodles (B110, comforting and with fragrant notes of cilantro root) and the delicious nuea pad nammun hoy (beef in oyster sauce, B175).
43 Phaya Thai Rd., 02-247-0991. Open daily 7am-11:30pm
Malai Coffee House
The hotel: Malaysia Hotel
Open since: 1967
The loss of Sukhumvit’s glorious old Rex Hotel was the gain of Sathorn’s Malaysia Hotel when the kitchen team relocated here, along with their after-party favorite, khao tom (B20). Make sure you also try the nam liab moo sub (stir-fried pili nut with minced pork, B110), yam pu dong (pickled crab spicy salad, B260), ped palo (five-spice duck, B130) and stir-fried kale with moo krob (crispy pork belly, B150). While Malaysia’s recent renovation has knocked some of the charm off the hotel’s exterior, the restaurant’s stuck-in-time blend of granite and orange-lacquered wood remains blissfully unchanged.
54 Soi Ngam Duplee, Rama 4 Rd., 02-679-7127. Open daily 24 hours
Ah Yat Abalone Forum
The hotel: Mae Nam Hotel
Open since: 2004
Founding chef Yeung Koon-Yat, dubbed the “King of Abalone” for his once-Michelin-starred Forum Restaurant in Hong Kong, still provides Bangkok with some of its best Cantonese cuisine. Sets range from B1,880 for five dishes including abalone, way up to B14,800 with Peking duck and lobster, but you can have a lot of fun with its a la carte offerings, too. We love its barbecue in particular, especially the crisp roasted pork belly (B300)—the price and portion might shock you, but its taste will blow you away.
2/F, Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside, Charoenkrung Rd.,02-291-7781-2. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm