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The 22 best restaurants in Thonglor and Ekkamai

BK's annual Top Tables guide lists Bangkok’s 116 best restaurants. Here are the top picks from the city's glamour strips. 

By BK staff | Apr 07, 2016

  • The 22 best restaurants in Thonglor and Ekkamai
    Bo.lan

See also: The new restaurants, bars and shops making Thonglor cooler than ever


Bo.lan (THAI)

Featuring fine Thai cuisine made using traditional methods and the best ingredients, Bo.lan—an amalgam of the chef-couple’s names—has made a splash in the global dining world with its aromatic curries, beautifully plated salads and artfully conceived menu. Adding to the allure is a striking dining room, set in an old house replete with tropical garden and close to hipster thoroughfare Soi Thonglor. When chef couple Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones opened Bo.lan in 2009, they gave Bangkok its first devotedly authentic fine-dining Thai restaurant. Today, the pair not only continue to drive Bo.lan down increasingly uncompromising roots, waving goodbye to the a la carte menu altogether last year, but they’ve also expanded with the street-food-and-cocktails focused Err, near the river. Do try the “Bo.lan balance,” a menu that changes along with the seasons.

 

La Bottega Di Luca (ITALIAN)

Styled like a deli/restaurant but more evocative of a fine-dining hotspot, this upscale Italian eatery run by chef Luca Appino offers Italian classics made with fresh—and, when possible, homemade—ingredients. Daily specialties change in accordance with what’s fresh in the market, but typical standouts include the beef tomahawk steak and burrata salad.

 

El Gaucho (STEAKHOUSE)

El Gaucho moved from newcomer to Bangkok steakhouse institution in record time, and now has several locations around town. The most impressive of the sequels to the Sukhumvit Soi 19 original is this spacious Thonglor location where you can enjoy the terrace while being spoiled for choice with a menu of beef cuts ranging from Australian and American USDA prime, black angus, and certified angus beef.
Other branches: Sukhumvit Soi 19 and Sukhumvit Soi 11
 
 

Harvey (AMERICAN)

You may not be able to get a seat upstairs at Harvey, where Thonglor’s high society frequent, but we know the real party is downstairs anyway. Here, the bright dining room becomes romantic at nightfall and young couples smile coyly while tucking into the kitchen’s international (but mostly French and American) bistro cuisine. Don’t be caught out of fashion by ordering your beef cheeks or chicken consomme without a selection from Harvey’s reasonably priced wine menu. 
 
Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get 10% discount on food from the a la carte menu only for Citi Ultima, Prestige, Preferred, and Select. Get 5% discount on food from the a la carte menu only for other card types through Mar 31, 2017.
 
 

Kappo Hanako (JAPANESE)

Delish Japanese food and a round of karaoke? When in Thonglor, take your cues from the locals and pop into Kappo Hanako for a satisfying meal at their teppanyaki bar before belting out your best tunes at the adjoining karaoke bar. The menu, which ranges from smoky broiled eggplant to tempura and specialty seafood, is a real crowd pleaser.
 
Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get 10% discount on food only through Feb 28, 2017.
 
 

Karatama Robatayaki (JAPANESE)

Robatayaki may be known as “Japanese bar-becue,” but it has a distinctly upscale reputation back in Japan, where it is easily one of the most expensive types of food available. Little surprise, then, that the ingredients offered by Karatama Robatayaki are top-notch, imported twice a week from the homeland. Choose from awabi (Japanese abalone), kinki (rockfish), Kagoshima beef and Hokkaido corn, and whether you want them grilled, fried or steamed.
 
Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get 15% discount on food only for Citi Ultima. Get 10% discount on food only for other card types through Jun 30, 2016.
 
 

Khao (THAI)

One of the few Thai “chef’s table” restaurants out there, Khao is the brainchild of former Sala Rim Naam head chef Vichit Mukura, serving up his takes on the local cuisine using premium ingredients like Matsusaka beef. Not surprisingly, space is limited, with room for only small groups of 4-12 people a night. Khao shares space with Japanese restaurant Yuutaro.
 
Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get complimentary Thai drinks for everyone at the table when spending via Citi credit cards through Jun 30, 2016.

 

Khua Kling + Pak Sod (THAI)

The occasionally surly service and crowded premises are no hindrance to the many Thais who cannot get enough of the authentically Southern (read: rip-roaringly spicy) cooking here. Named after one of Southern Thailand’s most popular dishes (the minced meat palate-rouser known as “kua kling”, traditionally served with a basket of greens), this longtime favorite serves a great pork iteration, as well as a delicious stir-fried stink beans with shrimp paste.
Other branches: Ratchakru and Sukhumvit Soi 23
 
Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get complimentary dessert when spending 800 Baht or more /sales slip or get complimentary kua kling pork when spend 1,500 Baht or more /sales slip (Limit 1 dish /card /table /sales slip, applicable only at Sukhumvit 23 branch) through Dec 31, 2016.
 
 

Kitaohji (JAPANESE)

Testament to the size (and spending power) of the Japanese expats in Bangkok, this kaiseki specialist—founded in Ginza more than 70 years ago—has opened its very first branch outside of Japan on Thonglor. Although this restaurant specializes in kaiseki (meticulously prepared multi-course meals made with seasonal ingredients), it still accepts walk-in customers and offers some a la carte dishes, too.

 

Little Beast (AMERICAN)

“New American” can be a slippery concept, but Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Rangsima Bunyasaranand manages to send out a menu’s worth of dishes bristling with brio. Favorites include the jerk chicken hearts with pineapple salsa, homemade charcuterie plate with pork rillette and head cheese terrine, and seared duck breast. A creative cocktail menu awaits, too.

 

Mikaku (JAPANESE)

Founded over 80 years ago in Kyoto’s Gion district by the Mita family, this world-renowned teppanyaki restaurant has opened its first branch outside of Japan on Thonglor Road. Offering some of the most highly lauded beef in the world, Mikaku uses only A4-5 graded Kobe-sourced wagyu. Besides what’s cooked on the teppan (an iron plate where the chef works his magic), Mikaku also offers a couple seafood options including king crab and tuna steak.

Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get 10% discount on food only through Dec 31, 2016.

 

Roast (AMERICAN)

The business that had a big hand in kick-starting Bangkok’s brunch craze serves all-day dishes like crab cakes with eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, and a sinfully rich strawberry waffle. Other meals are represented on the menu too, such as lunch (burgers) and dinner (steak frites, roast chicken). Thanks to carefully-sourced beans roasted in house, the coffee here is excellent.

 

Soul Food Mahanakorn (THAI)

Thought of as a “Thai-style izakaya” by owner Jarrett Wrisley, this perennially popular Thai hotspot does Thai street food with thoughtful, arty flourishes: think housemade watermelon rind pickles with the Hat Yai-style fried chicken, or a smoky bacon garnish on the grilled eggplant salad. Specials, written up on a chalkboard on the ground floor, change on a regular basis and the cocktails are potent and tasty.

 

Supanniga Eating Room (THAI)

Based on old-style dishes drawn from the owner’s grandmother’s recipes, Supanniga (named after a flower that flourishes in the northeast) trafficks in food hailing from the family hometown of Trat, on the eastern seaboard, and the Isaan city of Khon Kaen, where the family now lives. Much-vaunted dishes here include the moo cha muang (pork with Guttiferae tree leaves) and the nam prik kai poo (chili dip with crab eggs).
Other branch: Sathorn Soi 10
 
 

Surface (FRENCH)

In a town filled to the brim with fickle restaurant-goers, Surface manages to toe the line with simple French dishes crafted from chef Chalee Kader’s creative point of view, like the spinach salad with Roquefort cheese and peaches, and the popular crispy snow fish hijiki angel hair pasta. Adding to the ambience are the garden seats and attractive, “shabby chic” wine bar.

 

Sushi Kanda (JAPANESE)

Japanese chef Takahiro Hato is especially finicky, choosing only the best quality ingredients from his home country. Obviously, the thing to get here is sushi, so why not choose the omakase route, where the chef chooses your dinner? Lucky diners will get a sushi tutorial from Takahiro himself, as well as extra rolls of uni (sea urchin), which is of such good quality that it earns rave reviews across the board.

 

Tempura Kanda (JAPANESE)

Owned by the same people behind Sushi Kanda (and in the same location), Tempura Kanda deep-fries an assortment of premium ingredients in an airy net of batter, winning over lovers of tempura as much as its sister sushi restaurant draws lovers of raw fish. Try the omakase of tempura, where the chef fries up whatever is fresh in the market that day.

 

The Raw Bar

Diners who want to sample fresh oysters in a dining room with the feel of a ship below decks need look no further than this reno-vated shophouse on Soi Thonglor, where a wide variety of fresh oysters, carpaccio (thinly sliced raw meat), ceviche (Peruvian-style sea-food salad) and tataki (seared slices of meat) dishes crowd the menu alongside a selection of cocktails and wine.

Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get 5% discount on food only for Citi Ultima, Prestige, Preferred and Select through Feb 28, 2017.

 

Yashin by Tenyuu (JAPANESE)

Another restaurant that offers up a wide-ranging Japanese food experience, Yashin—backed by the owners of Tenyuu Grand on Sathorn—offers diners everything from sushi omakase (where the chef decides on what’s freshest to serve on that day) to shabu shabu, a type of stew in which thin slices of meat are cooked by dipping them briefly in boiling broth before they are dipped in sauce and eaten with rice and boiled vegetables. 

 

Yuutaro (JAPANESE)

As with many a fine Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, su-shi is considered the specialty here, but Yuutaro (which shares space with Thai restaurant Khao) also features a striking dark wood setting, Zen garden, and efficient kitchen led by Thai chef Uthit Jittrong, who has more than 30 years’ experience cooking Japanese food in Thailand and Japan. Other recommendations include the kampachi with ponzu jelly and wagyu toro maki. 
 
 

Joushitsu Sushi (JAPANESE)

Located in “Japanese expat central,” Joushitsu Sushi offers a menu brimming with imported ingredients such as engawa (flounder fin), uni (sea urchin), unagi (sea eel) and hotate (scallop). Adding to the authenticity is the understated decor dominated by a sushi bar. Recommended are the self-named sushi set, the unagi don (grilled eel over rice) and the value-for-money lunch sets.

Exclusively for Citibank credit cardmembers: Get 20% discount on food only through Dec 31, 2016.
 
 

Upstairs at Mikkeller (AMERICAN FUSION)

This fine-dining addition to hipster craft beer bar Mikkeller boasts a “progressive American” menu created by a chef who once worked at Chicago’s three-Michelin-starred Grace Restaurant. What you get is unlike anything else in Bangkok: a nine-course beer-pairing experience. As a result of the limited space available, Upstairs only opens on Friday and Saturday nights, and 3-4 days’ advance reservation is recommended.


The Top Tables guide is available online or as a downloadable PDF: bit.ly/toptables2016.
 

 

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