Best for: Home-style recipes and photo ops to match
It may look a little rough around the edges, but this Thai restaurant situated beneath an antique wooden house comes brimming with exciting flavors. Baannual paints a quaint picture of life in Samsen, offering only two tables set amid decorative flower arrangements, rattan birdcages and a soundtrack that mixes old Thai songs of the ‘70s and ‘80s with the crowing of nearby roosters. The owners seek out their ingredients at Trok Mor Market each morning to whip up home-style family recipes: moo pad kapi (stir-fried pork neck with shrimp paste from Chumporn, B100) and yum dokkajorn (Thai-style cowslip creeper salad with minced pork, shrimp and boiled coconut cream, B150).
372 Samsen Soi 2, 081-889-7403. Open Tue-Fri noon-9pm; Sat-Sun 4-9pm
Best for: Phayao recipes and drinking
This bright-pink Nang Linchi shop-house whips up traditional recipes from Phayao province with the occasional premium ingredient or fusion flourish. Signage boldly proclaims this to be the home of “the best khao soi in town” and the headliner of rich and flavorful Northern-style curry noodles (available with chicken, beef, crabmeat, B80/120/280) isn’t far off that. Other mainstays include nam prik noom (green young chili dip, B100), and the delicious gaeng hang lay (spicy pork belly curry, B120).
95/3 Nang Linchi Rd., 094-303-5833. Open daily 11:30am-11pm
Best for: No-frills Thai feasts
Taking over a Thonglor shop-house with pillow-strewn couches and billowing fabrics, this cozy nook of a restaurant does straight-up Thai comfort food (along with the odd fusion pasta). Sharing dishes like gaeng tai pla (Southern-style curry with fermented fish entrails, B160), while the kai palo (pork and egg stew, B160) comes in a well-rounded and nicely spiced brown sauce.
63 Sukumvit Soi 53, 086-811-1191. Open daily 11:30am-10pm. BTS Thong Lo
Best for: Pad kaprao
This Silom diner serves more varieties of pad kaprao than you could dream of. In fact, the menu does nothing but spicy basil stir-fries (15 types in all), though they shake things up with premium ingredients, whether it’s minced kurobuta pork in the kao kaprao moo sub (B79) or Company B’s dry-aged Australian beef in the kao kaprao nuea (B129).
Silom Soi 20, 065-509- 9693. Open Mon-Sat 11am-8:30pm. BTS Chong Nonsi
Best for: Nostalgic vibes
The Phaya Thai restaurant belonging to the family of classical music legend Luang Pradit Phairoh has brought its comfort food to Silom-Sathorn. The cozy two-story house gives nods to family history through traditional Thai musical instruments and black-and-white photos from Luang’s hey-day. The recipes spotlight familiar fare like pad Thai goong sod (stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp, B280) and moo ped sood khun yar (stir-fried pork with turnip pickles and young green peppercorns, B160).
163/2 Narathiwat Rajanagarindra Soi 5, 063-184-7928. Open 11am-10pm. BTS Chong Nonsi
Best for: Authentic Northern flavors
Originally a delivery service, Kruajiangmai serves Northern Thai food made using ingredients the Chiang Mai-native owner sources directly from the North. These she turns into delicious staples like the intense khao soi gai (B95), nam prik noom (green chili relish, B120) and gaeng hang lay with pork knuckle (B150). You’ll also find some rarer dishes like khao ngiao (steamed rice with pork blood and herbs in banana leaf, B55).
Thonglor Soi 7-9. 099-196-2464. Open Tue-Sun 11am-11pm. BTS Thong Lo
Best for: Southern food in a beautiful setting
What was once the stately setting of R.E. 234 on Sukhumvit Soi 24 is now Na Chalong, which promises real-deal Southern Thai food made almost entirely from ingredients sourced from that region. Menu highlights include gaeng som pla gudsalard (yellow curry with red-banded grouper and catfish roe, B690), whose tangy curry paste is said to be a mix of Pangnga and Songkhla styles, gai rod kamin (fried marinated chicken thigh with turmeric, B200) and pad sam kler (stir-fried glass vermicelli with garlic, sataw and climbing wattle, B200). The Rama V-inspired house’s high ceilings and grand central bar remain, though the new owners have taken a more European direction with decor.
45 Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-117-2829. Open Mon-Fri 11am-12am; Sat-Sun and public holiday 8am-12am. BTS Phrom Phong
Best for: Slightly sweeter Southern specialties
Koh Samui’s two-decade-old Southern dining institution has arrived in the capital. This mall spot promises the same tried-and-trusted family recipes, as well as produce like kapi (shrimp paste) and curry paste flown in straight from the island. Try their highly-touted moo pad kapi (stir-fried kurobuta pork with shrimp paste and a heady mix of sliced shallots, lime and bird’s eye chilies, B180) or goong pad kapi sataw (stir-fried prawns with bitter bean, B180) for a mellower take on Southern cooking. Do also leave room for the khua kling (minced pork fried in spicy paste with turmeric, B150).
I’m Park, 355 Chula Soi 5, 063-465-6565. Open daily 11am-10:30pm