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Top Tables 2017: Bangkok's 100 best restaurants

Our annual Top Tables Bangkok 2017 guide launched on Mar 29 at Attitude rooftop bar, Avani Riverside, in an event that welcomed over 200 guests comprised of chefs, restaurateurs, food industry professionals and BK Magazine partners. Find out which restaurants top Bangkok’s most trusted guide for discerning foodies.

By BK staff | Mar 30, 2017

  • Top Tables 2017: Bangkok's 100 best restaurants
    Thomas and Mathias Suhring
  • Top Tables 2017: Bangkok's 100 best restaurants
    Suhring

Check out the best restaurants in Asoke and Nana | Sathorn and Silom | Ekkamai and Thonglor | Phloen Chit and Siam | Old Town and Riverside | Phrom Phong


Now in its eighth year, Top Tables is Bangkok’s most trusted guide for discerning foodies. Sponsored by Citibank, San Pellegrino, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Singha, this year's Top Tables is compiled by a completely independent panel of 30 foodies, bloggers, journalists and F&B professionals who vote on the guide’s Official Selection (70 restaurants) and Top 30. (See How is Top Tables made?

This year there's a new name taking the number 1 spot: Suhring—German twins Thomas and Mathias’s modernist take on German cuisine. It beats out Gaggan, which is now globally recognized for chef Gaggan Anand's molecular take on Indian cuisine. French fine-dining powerhouse L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, which took top spot in the past two years, slips to third. Elsewhere in the top 10, Thai cuisine is represented by Nahm (#4), Paste (#7), Le Du (#9) and Bo.lan (#10). Familiar names Le Normandie (#5) and Appia (#6) round out the top placings alongside sushi newcomer Masato (#8). 

“If you look at the [Top Tables] Top 10, or even the Top 30, it’s all people who are making an effort to be unique: who go to greater lengths for their produce, who reinvent something, who dig deeper into the roots of a cuisine," says editor in chief Gregoire Glachant. "You could really go through the list and I bet every restaurant would tick at least one of those boxes.”  

This year, the guide has also welcomed a slew of inventive newcomers like 80/20 (#15), who have brought a fresh approach to Thai food while retaining its flavor profile; Freebird (#16), who champion the fresh ingredients of Australian cuisine; and Bunker (Official Selection), whose dishes revel in new American culinary stylings. 

The full list of 100 restaurants is available as a free booklet inserted in BK Magazine issue number 684/Mar 31 (available here) and a downloadable PDF version here. Don’t agree with which restaurants made the guide? Write to us at food@asia-city.co.th. We’d love to hear from you.

Top Tables Bangkok 2017 Top 30:

1. Suhring

This unique blend of German culinary traditions and high-wire contemporary cooking is a restaurant of firsts: the first time Bangkok has seen German fine dining; the first time its chefs have owned and managed their own restaurant; and the first place to topple L’Atelier from the no. 1 spot in three editions of Top Tables. Even before Suhring opened, we heard talk of twin chefs Thomas and Mathias Suhring (formerly of Mezzaluna) setting themselves up for disaster by trying to do German fine dining in Bangkok. Any doubt was quickly put to bed when critics tried the food. Playful, elegant, creative yet never devoid of flavor, the dishes at Suhring entertain and satisfy in equal measure. While dinner starts with whimsical bites like caesar salad turned into an exploding oyster of flavor atop a shard of chicken skin, it quickly gets down to the serious business of Piet van den Berg lamb chops, succulently pink and served with a salad of seasonal beans, or wild, bone-roasted turbot with white asparagus and shavings of black truffle. And though it might be German, the only time you’ll see pork knuckle is as the wafer-thin panini sandwich that kicks off the 12-course tasting menu. 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get 15% discount on 12 servings set menu (Suhring Experience) excluding beverages and priority reservation for dining in the kitchen room for Citi ULTIMA, Prestige, Preferred, and Select Today – 31 Dec 17

 

2. Gaggan Progressive Indian

For three years, Gaggan and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon have been battling it out for first place. But Gaggan Anand probably won’t mind being blindsided by Suhring, in which he’s an investor. He’s had a busy year back in his namesake restaurant, too, firming up his focus on edgy molecular cuisine with the opening of an annex to the original venue. It offers an omakase-style counter, where the chefs’ high-tech magic can take place right before your eyes. Dinner opens in a rapid-fire fashion with 10 small bites, each one recreating one of Gaggan’s food memories from the streets of India: his signature yogurt sphere inspired by El Bulli’s olive creation; a miniature packet of dehydrated nuts and beans that is swallowed whole, its plastic-like film dissolving on the tongue; and Japanese-style grilled eel on a khakra cracker, a staple of Western Indian cuisine. Throughout the 18-course meal, Gaggan’s creativity and passion never waiver.

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get up to 24 hours priority booking for Citi ULTIMA and Prestige (subject to availability) Today – 31 Dec 17

 

3. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

When L’Atelier first opened in 2014, we welcomed it as a branch of the fine-dining empire by the man with the most Michelin stars in the world, Joel Robuchon. Over time, its chef, Olivier Limousin, who never fails to praise his mentor, has emerged as his own man. It’s Limousin who works with the Royal Projects to find an ever-increasing amount of high-quality, seasonal local produce. He’s the one keeping a watchful eye on the open kitchen, ensuring Robuchon’s standards are upheld on any night of the week. He’s the friendly guy who pops out of the kitchen to have a quick chat with his well-heeled regulars. The novelty of eating incredible French cuisine at a bar counter may have worn off, but what remains is a top-notch­­ team—­­­­­front of house included. His food, meanwhile, provides a master-class in elegance, be it a compressed salmon tartare topped with caviar and flecked with lotus root, or a whole roasted quail piped full of foie gras and accompanied by the creamiest of potato puree—seconds allowed.
 

4. Nahm

Since our last edition of Top Tables, David Thompson has been very busy back in his native Australia, opening street food-focused Long Chim outlets in Perth and Sydney (there’s one in Singapore, too). Not unlike Robuchon for French gastronomy, Thompson has become a kind of patriarch of Thai cuisine, bagging a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards last year. He was the first to so extensively study ancient recipes in the memorial books handed out at aristocratic funerals, an attention to historicity since carried on by Bo.lan and Paste. With Thompson so busy across Asia-Pacific, Nahm owes a lot of its staying power to head chef Prin Polsuk, who continues to make everything from scratch, the traditional way, be it a tart Kingfish salad with pomelo and lemongrass or an unctuous coconut and turmeric curry of blue swimmer crab with calamansi lime.
 

5. Le Normandie

Open for business since 1958, Le Normandie is still the definitive home of French fine dining in Bangkok. But between the dripping chandeliers and billowing gold fabrics, you’ll actually find a rather intimate space of just a handful of tables, most sitting in prime view of the river. French chef Arnaud Dunand-Sauthier has headed the kitchen for several years now, carrying on a legacy of refined French classics with the occasional contemporary flourish which was so cemented during the tenure of Bangkok chef personality Norbert Kostner. A native to the Normandie region of France, Sauthier has also brought the menu in line with the restaurant’s northwestern French name thanks to dishes such as Brittany lobster with native buckwheat, apple, cider and Brittany seaweed. A visit to Le Normandie is never complete without taking your pick from the selection of elaborate sweets which stare temptingly at you all dinner long from the formidable brass dessert trolley—the kind of old-school flourish that nowhere does quite so well.
 

6. Appia

Since 2013, Paolo Vitaletti has steered Bangkok diners towards a simpler, more home-style definition of Italian cuisine. At Appia, the man who is also behind Peppina, the pizzeria which serves Thailand’s only certified Neapolitan pizza, demonstrates even greater attention to detail in order to capture the essence of true trattoria dining. Last year Vitaletti was joined by a new head chef, Rome-hailing Roberto Cimmino, who brings Southern Italian cooking and passion for seafood to the table of what was originally a staunchly Roman restaurant. While you can have Appia’s classic menu of in-house rotisserie meats, rich stews and incredible homemade pastas, Cimmino has also rolled out a seasonal rotating menu, highlighting premium ingredients like Icelandic cod fish and mazara prawns. What hasn’t changed one bit is the restaurant’s mix of class, warmth and charm, typified by excellent service and a killer wine list. 
 

7. Paste

Chef couple Jason Bailey and Bee Satongun define their menu as “royal, creative Thai cuisine based on recipes from between 1870-1930.” While this may sound in line with the other two establishments in Thai cuisine’s big three (namely, Nahm and Bo.lan), Paste is a lot less shy about trying out original recipes. Don’t expect molecular or fusion flourishes, as Bailey and Satongun stick to local terroir for the myriad herbs, fruits, flowers and vegetables used in their dishes. But do expect hummingbird flowers in your smoky Southern yellow curry with red spanner crab, or crispy young Mhon Thong durian and shaved coconut apple in your lamb massaman. While Paste occasionally looks to Bailey’s homeland of Australia when it comes to finding the perfect beef cheek or ocean trout, it otherwise sticks to the authentic textures and flavors of Thai cuisine, while offering something new and beautiful.
 

8. Sushi Masato

At 29 years old, while working in the kitchen of Jewel Bako in New York, Masato Shimizu became the youngest chef in NYC to ever win a Michelin star. Now, he works in Bangkok. While our city counts some 3,500 Japanese restaurants, Masato sits at the very top of the pile of an increasingly competitive niche for uncompromisingly high-quality omakase dining (this year Top Tables welcomes five new omakase specialists), a meal where the chef selects the courses. You won’t see any signage outside the eponymous Masato beyond a single lantern, no more than 15 inches wide, on which is written two syllables: “su shi.” Walk inside, through a cosseting network of compact corridors and an indoor rock garden, and you’ll find yourself at a sushi counter at which people wait months for their seat. Six nights a week, a team of three chefs serve 20 or so courses to just 20 lucky customers split over two sittings. 
 

Le Du

Since claiming third spot in 2015, Le Du has been an immovable fixture in the Top Table’s top 10. Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn here applies techniques picked up at Michelin-star restaurants in the USA to Thai food in a way that’s complex and yet somehow feels natural. Still in his early 30s, the Culinary Institute of America graduate and certified sommelier is not standing still. The 2015 opening of Baan, a place that flips the script to celebrate Thai comfort food executed traditionally, has recently been followed by Backyard by Baan, a suburban iteration of that same winning recipe. But it’s back at his original restaurant, where the menu changes heavily with the seasons, that the chef’s restless creativity truly shines. Newly introduced dishes that reinvent Thai staples like khaosoy and massaman are not the only reason to pay Ton a revisit, either, thanks to a stunning renovation of Le Du’s second floor that’s all bricks and dark lattice-work, as well as a clean-lined spruce-up in the original dining room. 
 

10. Bo.lan

At Bo.lan, the gap between Thai fine dining and Thai comfort food really hits home. Since 2009, chef couple Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones (“Bo” and “Lan”) have constantly raised the bar for genuine royal Thai cuisine, researching recipes, tracking down former palace chefs, continuing their path towards a zero-carbon footprint, and pushing diners to increasing extremes. With no a la carte menu offered, tables sign up for a degustation menu where all the dishes are served simultaneously for an experience that’s like a Thai home-cooked meal. But this is something else altogether. The best ingredients and the most complicated, labor-intensive techniques combine in aromatic curries, artfully plated salads that burst with the depth of untold herbs and flowers, and other seasonal wonders. Underlining the experience is a strikingly rustic dining room, set in an old house surrounded by tropical greenery. Even without the regular pop-ups abroad, from Hong Kong to New York, it’s time Bo.lan was recognized as a true cultural treasure.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get 10% discount on food only for lunch or get 2 glasses of complimentary mocktail valued THB 600++ for dinner Today – 31 Dec 17

 

11. Chef Man

 
The original opening from Hong Kong-born Chef Man Wai Yin, whose growing empire also includes Chairman and M Krub, is Bangkok’s most reliable name for dim sum, trumping the big imported chains with its dutiful preparation, fresh ingredients and perfect timing. Some dishes add interesting Thai touches and require ordering days in advance, like the Peking duck which comes with slices of ripe mango, while the oozing lava buns are unrivaled.
 

12. Ginza Sushi Ichi

The name Sushi Ichi comes from the one-Michelin-star omakase sushi restaurant of Masakazu Ishibashi in Ginza, Tokyo. Masakazu personally sources ingredients every single morning and sends them here within 24 hours. Further ensuring Bangkok standards match those in Tokyo, the four-man kitchen team (roughly one chef for every five customers) rotates with the ones in Japan and Ichi’s Singapore branch to ensure uniform performance. Artistic, delicious, refined and subtle, Sushi Ichi’s food competes for attention with the very theater of omakase, where chefs wield elegant knives and scrape fresh wasabi on shagreen boards.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get a complimentary dish valued from THB 250 when spending THB 2,000 or more /sales slip (limit 1 dish /card /table /sales slip) Note: the dish may vary according to available ingredients Today – 28 Feb 18

 

13. Eat Me

Now a regular in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Eat Me has managed to remain relevant for over a decade as a buzzing spot for cocktails and dinner. Chalk it up to its mid-century decor bordering on brutalism or the sexy staff, but Tim Butler’s reliably delicious brand of Pacific Rim and Mediterranean cuisine deserves credit, too. Just enough of the menu feels inspired by Asia, while other dishes draw from North Africa and Southern Europe.
 

14. Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen

Chef Francesco Lenzi has quickly gone from upstart to institution, serving up rustic-style Tuscan food in a warm classical setting courtesy of Italian designer Ermanno Scapin. Lenzi’s pride and joy is his wood-fired oven, churning out Norwegian cod fish cooked with capers, anchovy and tomato sauce or a “drunken” sausage stew with borlotti beans and tomato sauce. Do also order cold cuts straight from Lenzi’s uncle’s small-scale organic ham company, Antica Norcinera.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get a complimentary tiramisu valued THB 280++ for 2 persons when spending via Citi credit cards (limit 1 dish /card /table /sales slip) Today – 31 Dec 17

 

15. 80/20

At this Charoenkrung newcomer, executive chef Napol Jantraget and his Canadian accomplice Andrew Martin use local ingredients and made-fromscratch elements for a daringly different take on Thai cuisine. The lamb tartare is a complex medley of herbs and spicy Northeastern Thai dressing, while the tea-smoked duck breast with charred young pumpkin and pumpkin puree is further proof fusion is no longer a dirty word. The desserts by Saki Hoshino (try the chocolate mousse with chili ice cream) and cocktails are equally on-point.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get a complimentary coconut and lemongrass panna cotta with daily ice cream valued THB 200 when spending via Citi credit cards (limit 1 dish /card /table /sales slip) Today – 31 Oct 17

 

16. Freebird

This polished operation comes from an all-star cast of restaurateurs who first made their mark in Singapore. Chic yet relaxed, on-trend yet original, the restaurant sits in a mid-century modern house and introduces Bangkok to what it calls modern Australian cuisine. Get the 10-course tasting menu for a blend of Western and Asian cooking methods and umami-packed ingredients in dishes like organic sea urchin and sea grapes with whipped parmesan on dehydrated flaxseed cracker, and slow-roasted ocean trout with wakame butter, trout roe and pennywort.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get a complimentary dessert from selections valued from THB 340 when spending via Citi credit cards (limit 1 dish /card /table /sales slip and for dinner hours only) Today – 31 Oct 17

 

17. Zanotti Il Ristorante Italiano

Founded in 1998, the grand dame of Bangkok’s Italian restaurants is frozen in time, which is exactly how its patrons (many of whom fly in from Singapore and Hong Kong) like it. The kitchen whips up authentic Piedmontese dishes inspired by its founding chef, Gianmaria Zanotti, as well as a great selection of pastas and the dependably tasty Florentine-style beef steak. There’s also an impressive wine list populated by venerable Old World domains.

18. Upstairs Mikkeller

 
In a crisp, white room perched above craft beer house Mikkeller, Korean-born chef Dan Bark puts to work skills honed at Chicago’s three-Michelin-starred Grace Restaurant. Paired with beers from the Danish brewery, the 10-course tasting menu is unlike anything else in Bangkok, showcasing the chef’s self-proclaimed “progressive American” cuisine and proving fine dining is not limited to wine. Do note, Upstairs only opens on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and 3-4 days’ advance reservation is advised.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get a complimentary mocktail welcome drink and a complimentary canape valued THB 500 for every diner when spending via Citi credit cards Today – 31 Dec 17

 

19. Supanniga Eating Room

Without resorting to any trendy tweaks, the Trat-meets-Isaan dishes of this elegant bistro have captured the hearts and stomachs of Bangkok foodies. Delicate flavors with powerful claims of authenticity come served in a space that’s grown-up and convivial, as comfortable for lunch with friends as for a romantic dinner date. The quality of produce means that dishes as simple as cabbage in fish sauce taste sublime.
Other branch: Sathorn Soi 10, 02-714-7508

20. Umi

One of the few omakase specialists with a Thai chef at the helm is favored for its seasonal ingredients, whether it’s nama-sujiko (fresh salmon roe), ankimo (monkfish liver) or shinko (small gizzard shad). Umi uses two types of rice (seasoned with either white or red vinegar) for nigiri sushi and also prepares delicate appetizers like the big piece of grilled saltwater eel with crispy skin and tender meat. Come lunchtime, the set menus are a real steal.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get a complimentary daily special dish valued THB 350 when spending via Citi credit cards (limit 1 dish /card /table /sales slip) Today – 31 Oct 17

 

21. The Dining Room

Head chef Fatih Tutak presents his frenetic burst of culinary ideas from all around the world—a taste of Tokyo’s Michelin-star kitchens here, a nod to Istanbul street food there—for a menu that matches its ambition with creativity, fun and beautiful flavors. All this comes served in a 19th century dining room that’s one of the most beautiful spaces in town—all rich bordeaux leathers and parquet floors.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get 15% discount on a la carte menu (food and beverages) Today – 31 Dec 17

 

22. La Monita

 
Vivid decor and a fit-to-bursting after-work following make La Monita one of the most colorful Mexican restaurants in the city. And from first bite (probably into a homemade corn tortilla chip dipped in guacamole), it becomes clear La Monita is more than just a place for comfort food and a beer. Super-flavorful quesadillas and fish tacos are matched by burritos packed with well-seasoned meats, powerful sauces and plenty of fresh onion and cilantro.
Other branches: Siam Paragon, 092-272-8003; EmQuartier, 02-003-6238.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get 10% discount on food only when spending THB 1,000 or more /sales slip (applicable only at EmQuartier and Siam Paragon branches) Today – 31 Jul 17

 

23. Baan

 
Le Du’s Thitid Tassanakajohn here retreats from modernist culinary techniques in favor of homey, everyday Thai meals which prove chic, high-quality dining can be delivered at pocket-friendly prices. The menu underscores the importance of traceability: the eggs are from Udomchai Farm, the beef from dry-aging king Company B, the seafood from sustainable fisheries in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Standout dishes include a kai palotom saep hybrid and deep-fried sun-dried pork.
Other branch: Jas Urban Srinakarin, 02-386-7339
 

24. Enoteca Italiana

Since 2004, Enoteca has been among the top of Bangkok’s Italian restaurant pile. Salamis and cold cuts sit alongside big, well-hacked-into wheels of cheese, while bottles of red wine line the walls, tucked between brick pillars and Tuscany-referencing ceiling arches. Don’t let the rustic decor fool you, though: Enoteca’s set menus are an elegant showcase of refined flavors—from braised quail stew in the shell of a salt-cooked onion to roast pigeon with foie gras. New chef Stefano Borra (formerly chef-owner of the one- Michelin-starred Ristorante VO in Italy) has brought on board full-on, meaty and rustic Piedemontese flavors.
 

25. Khua Kling + Pak Sod

The crowded and boisterous premises, and occasionally surly service, are a fine match for the unapologetically fiery food at this Southern Thai institution. Among the heady highlight dishes are pork and beef iterations of kua kling, the minced meat palate-rouser served with a basket of greens from which the restaurant takes its name, and the perfectly pungent stir-fried stink beans with shrimp paste.
Other branches: Ratchakru, 02-617-2553; Thonglor Soi 5, 02-185-3977
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get a complimentary khua kling moo sab valued THB 150 when spending THB 2,000 or more /sales slip or get a complimentary moo hong valued THB 180 when spending THB 3,000 or more /sales slip (applicable only at Sukhumvit 23 branch) Today – 31 Jul 17

 

26. Water Library Chamchuri

At the flagship restaurant of Water Library’s empire, German chef Mirco Keller dishes out contemporary fine dining with the occasional Asian twist. Bress pigeon is paired with smoked eel; foie gras meets mango and miso; duck gets a khao tom treatment. This all coexists with a perfectly traditional menu for the less adventurous. You’ll have to walk through a mall to get there, but the soaring space clad in floor-to-ceiling bay windows more than makes up for it.
 

27. Il Fumo

This grand old villa reborn as an Italian grill restaurant boasts some of Bangkok’s most prized beef. The on-site dry-aging cabinet brims with premium European cuts, from the meaty and tender flesh of French Limousin to the bold flavors of rubia gallega, sourced from San Sebastian’s legendary Txogitxu farm. Simple Italian-influenced dishes cooked on wood-fired ovens complete the menu—along with potent, spirit-forward classic cocktails.
 

28. Indus

 
Time has done nothing to dim the sparkle of this longestablished Indian food favorite. The beautifully converted residential location feels both relaxed and special, while dishes pack a reliable flavor punch despite the kitchen’s effort to cut down on ghee and heavy oils. Recent introductions of more contemporary dishes and a tasting menu have sparked new interest, not that Indus’s dining room was ever lacking customers.
 

Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Get 15% discount on a la carte menu (applicable on Monday -Friday lunch hours) Today – 3 Sep 17

 

29. La Scala

Bronze and terracotta discreetly reference regional architecture of old while the leather banquettes and glass cubes exude ‘90s Tokyo luxury. Everyone here orders the crispy schiacciaatina pizza but those watching their carbs can settle for the equally decadent 24-month “Riserva” Parma ham with bufala mozzarella campania, a beautiful globe of gooey, creamy goodness. Top it all off with some grilled meat, like the tender Australian lamb cutlets served with potato mousseline and mushrooms.
 

30. Issaya Siamese Club

 
Set in a beautifully restored house, Issaya is all about updating tradition. The turn-of-the-century decor is spruced up with vibrant colors while celebrity chef Ian Kittichai’s authentic Thai cuisine makes classics fresh again. The salad of tender, imported beef comes piled into dainty little towers. The yum hua plee is an elegant pillar of crisp heart of palm and bamboo flower salad. And the delicious chili-glazed baby back ribs sit atop their own banana-leaf-wrapped grill.
 
The full list of 100 restaurants is available as a free booklet inserted in BK Magazine issue number 684 (Mar 31) and a downloadable PDF version here.
 
 

See Top Tables 2016

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