The food and the boat are both stunning.
Apr 05, 2016|
Serving what some Bangkokians claim is the “best steak in town,” Arno’s manages to combine a butchery with a restaurant by offering basically any cut you would find at your local market, plus the opportunity for them to cook and serve it to you at no extra cost. Just pick your cut at the counter, tell the chef how you want it prepared, and then take a seat. French butcher/chef Arnaud Carre—aided by his partners Supanit Chaiyawiwat and Siripong Luengvarinkul—offer beef that is dry-aged for at least 45 days, plus lamb, pork, chicken and some seafood.
Olivier Limousin heads Robuchon’s Bangkok atelier. He has worked for the brand for 12 years now, both in Paris and London, personally accounting for four of the stars in Joel Robuchon’s total of 25 across 20 restaurants. The French national’s other credits include guest judging the UK’s MasterChef semi-finals and gaining a Michelin star at Paris’s Le Bellecour. Then there’s the man behind the restaurant, Joel Robuchon, possibly the most important French chef since Escoffier codified haute cuisine, and a recipient of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France title at 31—the highest honor for an artisan. So much more than a fine-dining chain restaurant, the space evokes the feel of an upscale sushi bar while serving up impeccably-executed versions of French favorites. The Bangkok branch offers a red and black-accented dining space where guests get the chance to see their food being made, while the menu is studded by L’Atelier standouts like free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and potato puree.
Rejigged in 2014 by Morten Nielsen, previously chef de cuisine at the Michelin-star Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen (Denmark), Benjarong still offers some of the most old-school versions of “royal Thai” fa-vorites, but gives them a little spin by adding European culinary methods and modern-style plating. Benjarong also has brisk service and a beautiful dining room.
Serious pizza connoisseurs already know of Il Bolognese’s exquisite pizza pies. The restaurant takes great pride in their endless experimentation to perfect their pizza making and it shows in the perfectly crispy, wood-fired crust. Combine the excellent crust with high-quality, generous toppings, such as gorgonzola and speck, and you’ve got a strong contender among Bangkok’s pizza elite.
Reminiscent of a steakhouse for picky gourmands, the Capital offers a beef-heavy menu augmented with great seafood and pasta, along with a stylish setting that leans heavily on brass, hardwood and black-and-white accents. Try the Kamichiku wagyu steak, housemade pasta with crabmeat or the “Capital” beef tartare, which incorporates homemade chipotle sauce with Angus beef.
Ranked 23rd among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants this year, this romantic and minimalist restaurant shows creativity both on the walls (it doubles as an art gallery) and on the plate in chef Tim Butler’s bold and memorable creations. Dishes like the spicy wagyu tartare with a fried quail egg come packed with Northeastern Thai flair, while desserts such as the goat cheese ice cream with red wine poached pear and honeycomb are an equal delight. The kitchens of Daniel and Aquavit in New York provided Culinary Institute of America-graduate Butler with the foundation he needed to go it alone with his own Bangkok catering company. Heading the kitchen at Eat Me since 2010, he’s been responsible for ensuring the restaurant stalwart has never slipped from the minds of discerning diners thanks to his truly globally-inspired recipes that manage to still keep flavors comforting.
This grand old villa reborn as a cocktails and Italian grill restaurant boasts some of Europe's most prized meats, including Galician beef and prosciutto and pork neck from the Ca' Lumaco Estate (between Modena and Bologna). On top of this, fresh seafood is also on the menu, cooked on big wood-fired ovens and then grilled to accompany pasta or risotto. Overall, there's a lightness of touch here that makes this much more than just an ordinary steak house.
Once in a while, a Thai restaurant comes around that manages to fuse classic Thai food with modern Western techniques in a manner that doesn’t feel heavy-handed or forced. Such is the case with Le Du, where chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn turns out an unerringly contemporary menu that changes seasonally. The wine is an equal highlight (Thitid is himself a certified sommelier) thanks to bottles sourced solely from organic or boutique outfits. Ton, 29, was the toast of Bangkok’s restaurant scene in 2015 when Le Du scooped third place in Top Tables in its opening year. Since then the Culinary Institute of America graduate has gone on to open three more restaurants: Taper (brunch staples and Asian breakfast dishes); Baan (home-style Thai dishes); and Baagadin (deconstructed Thai street food). But Le Du and its contemporary reconstructions of Thai classics remain where the chef’s heart lies.
The latest opening by Hong Kong-born Chef Man Wai Yin (also of Chef Man), M Krub takes Chinese cuisine and steps it up several notches by adding Western culinary techniques and modern presentation. Plates are hand-painted with Chinese calligraphy and symbols, while French chef Marc Razurel takes inspiration from China to dream up his fusion-infused dessert creations. Reservations are mandatory.
Marcel offers two restaurants rolled into one: tapas dishes like brie croquettes, mussels mariniere, and duck rillettes; plus gourmet mains like wild king mackerel in bouillabaisse sauce or chicken breast with polenta foam. Not surprisingly for a restaurant in this neigh-borhood, cocktails are also very good—ask the bartender for the special of the day, made with fresh fruits.
Still considered the “must-go” destination of every aspiring foodie in Bangkok, Nahm does Thai food made with the very finest ingredients using the most traditional methods. The most popular offerings at Nahm are the set menus, which usually feature dishes like blue swimmer crab curry with fermented rice noodles and the salad of fresh river prawns and Asian pennywort served in communal, Thai-style fashion. David Thompson might be the name people know around the world (he just won a lifetime achievement award at Asia’s 50 Best 2016), but head chef Prin Polsuk is the one who has ensured Thompson’s Bangkok flagship has remained right at the top of its game. Ask the people who’ve worked for him and they’ll tell you Prin is fanatical about three things: authenticity, balance of flavor, and using the right ingredients at the right time of year.
A joint effort from owner/manager Alex Morabito and chef Davide Calo, Opus boasts a well-thought-out menu offering excellent pastas and main dishes, plus an extensive wine list of over 400 Italian labels housed in a walk-in cellar. The setting, a stylish house-turned-restaurant, boasts a masculine vibe rich with leather and red accents.
Starting out as a way for seafood importer Bill Marinelli to woo potential customers, Oyster Bar quickly morphed into one of Bangkok’s most popular oyster bars, serving sustainable seafood flown in twice a week from the USA and Canada. The menu changes regularly depending on what’s the market has available, but regular items include the oysters Rockefeller and impressive seafood tower.
The concept here is simple but disarming: a breakfast-heavy menu in a welcoming, Scandinavian-style setting and coolly efficient service. All the dishes on the menu—from the eggs to the sandwiches and salads—are well-executed and fresh, often utilizing organic ingredients. As with any great breakfast venue, the coffee is good, but so is the cold-brew coffee and cocktails.
The most popular of The Sukhothai’s outlets, La Scala, offers elegant Italian food in a stylish setting rife with shimmering glass blocks and dark wood accents. From the central open kitchen, order the ever-popular pizza, the 48-hour Tuscan pork belly with apple puree, or the seafood risotto of clam, mussels, lobster, scallop and crab.
This restaurant may seem off the beaten track, but the menu—designed by Chef Christian Martena—promises approachable innovation in a relatively unassuming form. The a la carte menu (which offers generous portions) does twists on “grandma’s memories” such as a homemade strozzapreti served with Canadian lobster, while the degustation menu (highly recommended) changes on a weekly basis.
While Smokin’ Pug may specialize in the blue-collar low-and-slow style of smoked barbecue, the restaurant—set up by the American couple behind the Lazy Pug in Chengdu, China—betrays enough nice touches (homemade salad dressing, well-made cocktails) to set it apart from other barbecue pretenders. Regulars go for the smoked buffalo wings, pulled pork sandwiches and baby back ribs.
Upscale tapas bar or restaurant that happens to serve great cocktails? However you view Vesper, you can’t leave without splashing out on some serious drinks as well as Mediterranean cuisine designed in partnership with chef Luca Appino (La Bottega di Luca). The marble bar, helmed by an in-house team which comprises Scotland native Colin Tait and a bevy of Diageo World Class contenders, serves cocktails focused on barrel aging and botanical ingredients.
At the flagship restaurant of Water Library’s ever-expanding empire, German chef Mirco Keller dishes out contemporary fine dining in a venue more reminiscent of a five-star hotel than a shopping mall on the outskirts of Chinatown. Keller cut his teeth in Berlin’s Michelin-lauded kitchens of Tim Raue (two stars), Uma (formerly one star, now closed) and Restaurant 44 (formerly one star). He puts his classical European training to inventive new purposes at Water Library, not shying away from his Asian surroundings both in terms of terroir and seasonality. While there are nice a la carte choices like seared Canadian scallop with green apple and Bresse chicken in a barbecue sauce, the tasting menus are especially well-regarded, with diners able to choose between “classic” and “seasonal” options.
Authentic Piedmontese cuisine whipped up from top-quality ingredients make it a favorite haunt among powerbrokers and visitors from Hong Kong and Singapore. Founded in 1998, it's no longer the most buzzing place, but its refusal to follow food trends and fads does make it a highly dependable address. Chef Gianmaria Zanotti still makes his pasta fresh every day and the selection of wines is impressive.
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