Subscribe to BK Weekend and BK Privilege and get a free PDF copy of Top Tables
Chef Herve Frerard’s classic French cuisine is simply the best in town. But Frerard didn’t grab Top Table 2014’s top spot just for doing perfectly executed, traditional food. He’s managed to stay relevant through his tireless promotion of the Royal Projects, using local produce whenever possible, while continuing to import the best of what France has to offer. He’s not afraid to invite visiting chefs, something more commonly seen in hotel restaurants. And he recently developed his terrace into a conservatory doing bistro food and tapas a la Francaise. So although you can always get a heavenly bouillabaisse with garlic bread and rouille sauce or Anjou pigeon in its jus, Le Beaulieu stands out for more than just its fine cuisine, handsome décor and polished service. Frerard also gets top marks for bringing his burning passion for food to the table.
G/F, Athenee Office Tower, 63 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd., 02-168-8220-3. Open Mon-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30-11:30pm. BBBB
Truth be told, the city’s many Italian restaurants were starting to feel a bit samey before Paolo Vitaletti showed up, Roman mama and rotisserie in tow. Suddenly, we were reminded of why Italian food is so amazing: the familial atmosphere, bright flavors and jovial chefs who don’t shy away from the dining room. The place’s
warm colors and generous use of wood match the rustic Roman family cooking. On your plate, you can expect the best pasta in town, an incredible porchetta and unforgettable appetizers like the veal tartare with goat cheese cream, grappa-marinated pears and wild greens. Moreover, you can tell there’s a real passion for wine here, whether you’re choosing a bottle off the menu or from the wine dispenser delivering a solid selection by the glass.
It looks like a pop-up restaurant with its uncomfortable bench seating and secondfloor location behind what looks like a backdoor. Top Table? Really? Our panel voted a resounding yes. Jess Barnes isn’t just whipping up perfect pulled pork buns or baked eggplant salads. He’s been a driving force on the city’s restaurant scene, leading the charge for locally sourced ingredients and against unsustainable foods. He’s also the fave chef for a generation that no longer equate fine dining with starched tablecloths and a grumpy maître d’. Communal and low-key, Opposite is firmly focused on flavors, instead, such as in the smoked bone marrow dumplings in ox tail broth with fermented daikon and mustard. Make sure you try the cocktails, too.
27/1 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02-662-6330. Open Tue- Sun 6:30pm-midnight; Sun 11am-2:30pm. BBB
Chef Jason Bailey, who has over 10 years’ experience cooking Thai food, is doing Thai cuisine with just enough personal twists and artful presentations to make this a truly chefdriven kitchen, not just traditional comfort food. Herbal rather than just sweet and zingy, the flavors are bright and clear, allowing the carefully-selected produce to shine. Every mint leaf, every pickled green chili, is bursting with flavor. You can tell everything is homemade, whether it’s in the braised beef ribs with ginger or the stock-poached pork neck with chili, red grapefruit, local flowers and toasted sticky rice. The results are flavorful, well-balanced dishes which are, in some cases, simply stunning to look at.
120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (opposite Samitivej Hospital), 02-392-4313. Open Wed-Sun noon-2:30pm; Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight. BBB
This fun and energetic restaurant brings robata (Japanese hot coal grilling) to town. There’s no menu, here; rather the ingredients are displayed like at a fresh market. You’ll even have to ask the staff to translate the signs and prices as they’re all in Japanese; but your reward is exotic fare such as isaki (chicken grunt sea bass), kinki (rockfish) and Hokkaido crab. The vegetables are also imported and definitely worth a try, such as the tomato and taro, despite the hefty price tags.
46/10 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (across from Terrace 49), 02-662-4237. Open daily 6pm-midnight. BBBB
Run by Chef Zra Jiraratana, this modernist kitchen has moved into a hipper neighborhood in the form of a very striking building that’s a chaotic blend of concrete beams, ferns and steel cables. Head up to the second floor, sit down at the counter in front of the large kitchen and witness the fancy kitchen tools in motion whipping up molecular tricks that are only served up as set menus. The chef’s menu changes regularly but features dishes like egg, bacon and wild mushroom in potato foam.
68 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 02-102-2323, 084-551-5559. www.astonbkk.com. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-1am BBBB
The beloved project of well-traveled chef Luca Appino very nearly made it into our Top 10. The deli-cum-restaurant sticks to traditional recipes but stands out thanks to
its distinct emphasis on fresh and, when possible, homemade ingredients. A range of authentic dishes takes you on a tour
of different cities in Italy as indicated on the menu: grilled scarmonza cheese roll wrapped with Sudtirol speck ham, Alps cottage salad with blue goat cheese and red wine poached pear or classic Piedmont ossobuco.
Terrace 49, Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-204-1731. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-3pm, 5:30pm-midnight; Mon 5:30pm-10:30pm. BBBB
Overlooking the Chao Phraya River and Krung Thonburi Bridge, Chon is the signature Thai restaurant of The Siam. To match the classic views, Executive Chef Jane Therese Mulry promises authentic Thai recipes like the tender grilled chicken served with somtam. We recommend you sit in the beautiful Thai teak house brought down
from Ayutthaya and take in the owner’s stunning collection of curios and antiques. Getting there is half the fun; grab the free shuttle which cruises from Saphan Taksin pier to the hotel in 20 minutes.
3/2 Khao Rd., 02-206-6999. Shuttle boat from Saphan Taksin Pier. Open daily 11am-10:30pm. BBB
Le Du is powered by two young Thai chefs, Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn and Worathon “Tae” Udomchalotorn, with degrees from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and some experience in Michelin-starred restaurants, like the renowned Red Medicine in California. Both have returned home to dazzle us with creative cooking that mixes modern techniques with bold Asian flavors, while the drinks side of things is headlined by a solid wine list. Make sure you sample the khao tom pla (porridge with fish) that comes in the form of puffed rice, compressed celery, celery emulsion, poached grouper and bacon XO sauce.
This enoteca (tavern) is cut from a traditional cloth, with its wall of wines and a bar groaning under the weight of various dried meats, cheese wheels and platters of antipasti. It’s a charming little place, especially at night as there are tables set inside which overlook a brightly-lit front yard, through a wall of arched windows. Bold dishes like the risotto with licorice and saffron or oxtail in tomato and red wine sauce with celery and raisin are testament to Enoteca’s ambitions to be more than just another Italian joint.
39 Sukhumvit Soi 27, 02-258-4386. MRT Sukhumvit. Open daily 5:30pm-midnight. BBB
Zuma’s interior exudes a Zenlike sexiness, with its granite, and massive, roughly-hewn logs providing a backdrop that’s simultaneously warm, luxurious and exotic. The food is suitably impressive with the authentic Japanese dishes finished with modern flair courtesy of Head Chef Satoshi Onuki. Make sure you try the seared Wagyu gunkan maki with garlic crisp and caviar and the heavenly dessert of jasmine cream with sake poached apple.
G/F, St. Regis Hotel, 159 Ratchadamri Rd. T. 02-252-4707 Restaurant opens daily 12-3pm, 6-11pm; Lounge & Bar Mon-Thu 12pm-midnight; Fri-Sun 12pm-1am
Japanese restaurant Kisso at THE WESTIN GRANDE SUKHUMVIT, BANGKOK has recently returned after a complete makeover. On top of its elegant design, it boasts of hard-to-source fish from the suppliers that Chef Shinsuke Yonekawa was cozy with before coming to Bangkok. Expect a fairly classic menu, despite the requisite twists, with signature dishes from the tender wagyu beef salad with sesame and ponzu sauce to chef’s original sashimi carpaccio and eel and foie gras with balsamic teriyaki sauce.
Chef Charles Christiaens previously worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Belgium and France, as well as long-term stints in Thailand at Harvey and Pathumwan Princess before recently joining Hansar. He continues his focus on European cuisine with fresh produce flown from around the world and the added bonus of more colorful presentation and some appealing modern textures like jelly.
Hansar Hotel, 3 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-209-1234. BTS Ratchadamri. Open daily 6:30pm-midnight. BBBB
Even though Genji is over 30 years old, the renovation three years ago has reinvigorated the place—making it more earthy and cozy, matching the kitchen’s new mission of dishing out traditional cuisine. Another result of the change is apparent in the fresh and seasonal produce the owners source from Japan. A stellar example is the kamo nanban soba (buckwheat noodles), which has a homemade and chewy texture—pure bliss.
Swissotel Nai Lert Park Bangkok, 2/4 Wireless Rd., 02-655-4265. www.genji-restaurant.com. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 6-10pm. BBBB
Run by the high-rolling investor behind Water Library, this Chinese restaurant is another place stirring people into a dim sum delirium. While the food demonstrates a decidedly Cantonese bias, the decor is quite lively and, unlike most typical Chinese restaurants, features Shanghainese accents like dark red and black lacquer and basket ceiling lamps. The service is equally impressive. Noon is the best time to visit as their expertly prepared dim sum packs some serious wow factor and other dishes are also very well executed.
Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02-662-3565. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10pm; Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm, 6-10pm. BBB-BBBB
Those who see Indian food as a culinary adventure could find a reassuring guide in Indus. Not only is it an ambient spot where beautiful people flock to be seen, the kitchen does a good job serving up much lighter versions of the usual favorites like biryani, kebabs, tikkas and seafood. They also have a beautiful backyard where you can enjoy your appetizers with cocktails. The Saturday and Sunday buffet is also a fantastic deal if you want to sample it all.
71 Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-258-4900, 02-661-5279. Open daily noon-3pm, 6-11pm. BBBB
Brought to you by the same people behind Four Garcons, Joe’s Table is an altogether more fun and casual affair, from the yellow and white striped canopy to the
sky blue Eames chairs. Chef Van and his team studied the local cuisine served at down-to-earth eateries in Vietnam before setting out on this new venture. The result is pork belly with Vietnamese shrimp paste and fried rice that tastes incredibly authentic. Or cha ca, fish fillets marinated with dill and turmeric, that will have you licking your plate. There are also some Italian and French dishes taken from the owner’s childhood memories.
2/F, The Promenade, 587,589, 589/7-9 Ramindra Rd., 02-947-5691. Open daily 10am-10pm. BB
The Local was opened by the second generation owner of Thai eatery Naj, who has transformed a 100-year-old house in the heart of Asoke into a fine-dining restaurant
serving Thai local dishes—both familiar and hard-to-find—and regional products. The khao soi (noodles in Northern-style curry) is brilliant thanks to its thick and flavorful curry. Another lovely dish, the platu sordsai with sang-wa (deep-fried mackerel stuffed with minced pork in a mango salad) is very refreshing, with its sweet-and-sour mango and lime marrying well with the salty mackerel.
32-32/1 Sukhumvit Soi 23, 02-664-0664. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11:30pm. BB-BBB
Located in the middle of Asoke, this barcum- restaurant aims to satisfy all your cravings, from pastries and lunch to molecular tapas and chef’s tables. The restaurant showcases the work of the kitchen team led by Chef Jerome H. Lagarde, who used to work with the Pourcel Brothers and promises authentic flavors with very sophisticated presentation. The chef’s table is even more exciting—boasting of even higher quality ingredients and up-close action.
G/F, Ocean Tower ll, Asoke Soi 3, 02-665-2772. www.maverickbkk.com. Open Mon-Sat 9am-11pm. BBB-BBBB
Inspired by the long list of primarily Napa Valley wines served here, the kitchen serves full-flavored dishes that stand out for their perfectly cooked meats and seafood. The food is fairly simple and down-to-earth, such as the Caesar salad Napa-style with crispy Parma ham and tomato, or braised pork belly in Zinfandel wine served with cabbage and crispy leek. The décor is masculine and heavy on the wood—perfect for those expense account dinners. The Sunday brunch is great value for money, too.
2/F, Nihonmachi (behind K-Village), Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-258-2622. Open Tue-Fri 4-10:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-11:30pm. BBBB
Owned and managed by Alex Morabito, who used to run Vino Zanotti, Opus has a similar emphasis on wine—there are over 400 Italian labels to choose from in the impressive walk-in cellar. But that’s not to dismiss the food created by Davide Calo, from Lecce (Southern Italy), who has a passion for simple classic dishes and a real love for seafood. Don’t miss the wonderfully light and flavorsome seafood platter as you soak up the understated but distinctly opulent atmosphere.
Enjoy classic French fare and good wine while rubbing shoulders with the local bigwigs. The food is just as classic as the stately decor: foie gras, escargots and plenty of truffles. The affordable three-course set lunch, which changes weekly, is another reason to pay a visit, as is the knowledgeable, friendly staff.
20/15-17 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02-259-4577-8. BTS Phrom Phong. Open daily 11am-2pm, 6-10pm. BBBB
Young Chef Daniel Bucher is now at the helm of this long-running French restaurant, as Chef Thibault Chiumenti acts as the head honcho for all the hotel’s eateries. Apart
from the well-executed, boldly flavored, if fairly classic, French food, Reflexions stands out for its commitment to serving great wine, including some rarer boutique labels. The restaurant also hosts regular wine events such as pairings and tastings that tend to be more laidback than at other hotels.
3/F, Plaza Athenee, Wireless Rd., 02-650-8800. BTS Phloen Chit. Open Mon-Sat 6-10pm; Sat 6-11pm. BBBB
Owned by expat couple Liu Xi and Richard Emden, Rock is a breath of fresh air on the culinary front, serving up a range of Asian flavors created with ingredients and techniques inspired from different countries such as China, Burma and India. The menu was designed by Chef Nhoi Ouypornchaisakul, who holds a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in Colorado, USA, with one-to-watch Chef Baimohn Tanataveetram, who trained at Nahm, running the kitchen on a day-to-day basis.
7/1 Paholyothin Soi 9, 082-688-8200. Open Tue- Sun 5:30pm-midnight. BB-BBB
Classic Thai restaurant Sala Rim Naam might have been sat on the river bank for over 20 years but it’s only in the last couple that its finally shed its “Thai food for tourists” stigma. The chef’s table, cooked by Chef Vichit Mukura, is one of the best ways to appreciate the authentic Thai cuisine. Most of the quality ingredients either come from
his own rice fields or farmers he knows personally—and he’s always ready to share these stories. His Thai dishes bring out the natural flavors of these carefully curated ingredients, and by dining with the chef you also get a personalized master class in what you’re eating.
Mandarin Oriental, 48 Oriental Ave., Charoen Krung Rd., 02-659-9000. Open daily 12-3pm; 5-10:30pm. BBBB
Together with a few partners, Italian Chef Christian Martena, who previously worked at Opus (in Lower Silom), opened this Italian fine-dining restaurant, meant to be even
more sleek and luxurious. Seat yourself at the wooden communal table and witness the lively open kitchen. Chef Martena’s primary focus is on authentic flavors, modern techniques plus high-quality ingredients, mainly sourced from France and Italy, such as the stracciatella cheese from Andria and foie gras from France. If you don’t know where to start, opt for a set menu.
Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Soi 17, 02-117-1618. www.sensibangkok.com. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-midnight. BBBB
Shunbo is known almost exclusively to a Japanese clientele and serves up simple dishes that are brilliantly prepared in sometimes unexpected ways—and at prices lower than you would expect, too. Though named after its specialty, charcoal-grilled food (sumibiyaki), Shunbo has a wider selection of small items that could classify the venue as an izakaya (a tavern with drinking food). The décor—pure Japanese minimalism and understated elegance—is certainly no pub, though.
33/5 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-254-5885. BTS Nana. Open daily 6pm-midnight. BBB
Located in the small community mall No. 88 in Thonglor, Sushi Kanda’s opening caused a splash due to its Japanese chef Takahiro Hato, who is particularly strict about sourcing only the best quality ingredients from his home country. As its name suggests, this place focuses only on sushi so you might as well opt for the omakase option where the chef chooses your dinner, but do ask to sample the decadent uni (sea urchin) sushi.
2/F, No. 88, Sukhumvit Soi 55, between Thonglor Sois 5 and 9, 02-712-6639. Open Mon 5:30-11pm; Wed-Sun 11:30am-1:30pm, 5:30-11pm. BBBB
Set in the same small dead-end soi as Casa Pagoda and Quince, is Cabochon, a purpose-built colonial-style hotel with more than a touch of the English country house
about it. Despite these design themes, the restaurant (Thai Lao Yeh) is resolutely Thai, serving up dishes from the Northeast (with a few forays into Phuket and the North). The food isn’t dumbed down for tourists, and even if these are hotel prices for food more commonly seen at roadside restaurants, the service and décor warrant the expense.
Cabochon Hotel, 14/29 Sukhumvit Soi 45, 02-259-2871-3. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 6-11pm; Sat 11:30am-3:30pm, 6-11pm. BB
Since it’s hidden away in a strange location, many tend to overlook the first branch of Water Library which is now led by the talented chef Mirco Keller. The mall might not look cool but the place itself is really beautiful and elegant. The use of steel, glass and grey wood is striking without being cold, thanks to cozy corners that conjure a library atmosphere. The menu delivers remarkable and high-quality dishes like the foie gras served with cauliflower, avocado, and perigord truffle and carpaccio of Maine lobster with celeriac and brown butter. In fact, some judges even preferred this restaurant to its Thonglor sister, which placed 5th in this year’s top 10.
2/F, Chamchuri Square, Phyathai Rd., 02-160-5188. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-9:30pm. BBBB
If no longer a contender for Bangkok’s best Italian restaurant, Zanotti’s dining room retains its buzz with the neighborhood’s businessmen, Hong Kong tourists, and affluent fashionistas headed to Silom Soi 2. Here, authentic Piedmontese cuisine is whipped up using top-quality ingredients. Lunch is incredibly affordable, while dinner can be just the opposite particularly if you start ordering the specials.
1/F, Saladaeng Colonnade Condominium, 21/1 Soi Sala Daeng, Silom Rd., 02-636-0002. MRT Silom, BTS Sala Daeng. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 6pm-midnight. BBBB
Aoi has been the launch-pad for many Thai chefs into Bangkok’s Japanese restaurant industry and it continues to excel with its authentic Japanese cuisine. Located in the office area of Silom, the vibe reflects the food—traditional and cozy, with a preponderance of woods. The best kept secret of this restaurant is probably the very delicate and well-balanced Japanese rice, cooked to perfection. Our heart lies with the Silom branch, as we’ve found the others are not quite as consistent.
Silom Soi 6, 02-235-2321-2. Open daily 11:30am-1:45pm, 5:30-10pm.
One of the more solid steakhouses in town, Prime is surely worth crossing the river for. The menu features beef sourced from the USA, Australia and Japan (Miyazaki) and it’s cooked up by talented Thai Chef Sethasak. It feels very classic, with the big leather chairs, large wine cellar and open kitchen but they get extra points for also serving up an alternate view of the river and Bangkok.
Millennium Hilton, Charoennakorn Rd., 02-442-2000. Shuttle Boat from Saphan Taksin Pier. Open daily 6-11pm. BBBB
David Thompson first made his name in London, where Nahm became the first Michelinstar restaurant doing Thai food. His return to Bangkok triggered heated debates—an Australian doing Thai food, shocking!—but in a couple of years he’s gone from controversial figure to institution, winning multiple awards and even begrudging nods of approval from the early skeptics. It’s well earned. The food at Nahm is an opulence of flavors: fiery chilies, creamy coconut sauces, ripened tropical fruits bursting with sweetness and tartness, fresh, salty delights from the sea. Nahm’s food is subtle, it’s balanced, but it’s no chamber orchestra; a jazz band would be a more appropriate comparison. Make sure you have the coconut and turmeric curry of blue swimmer crab with calamansi limes and the minced prawn simmered with shallots, young chilies and coriander—both are just superb.
G/F, Metropolitan, Sathorn Rd., 02-625-3333. Open daily 7-11pm. BBBB
Last year, Water Library Thonglor ranked fourth in our Top 10. This year, panelists were split over whether this branch of the growing Water Library empire was the best one or whether its more approachable, and equally delicious, sister in Chamchuri Square deserved the honor. The Thonglor branch remains the most spectacular, though. Seating is at a long bar, which can hold 10 people maximum, and dishes are served to all diners simultaneously, meaning dinner starts at 7:30pm sharp for everyone. There’s an element of theater to being seated right across from your own personal brigade of chefs, who can explain dishes as they prepare them. Produce is imported from all four corners of the globe, the menu changes constantly, the techniques are thoroughly modern, and the service never fails to impress, whether it’s the friendly resident mixologist or the knowledgeable waitresses.
The Grass, 264/1 Sukhumvit Soi 55, 02-714-9292-3. Open daily 6pm-1am. BBBB
Upon its opening in 2012, Little Beast ticked the boxes of practically all of Bangkok’s dining trends, with its nods to nose-to-tail eating, creative cocktails and emphasis on
rich, homely French-tinged New American cuisine. The décor, too, kept to the moodily lit, industrial 1920s New York style that had well and truly inundated the city. But the reason it stood out then—and continues to impress our panel now—is the way it takes what’s cool and imbues it with a personal warmth. The menu, courtesy of Chef Nan Bunyasaranand, who trained at the respected Culinary Institute of America, comes from the group of owners’ favorite dishes when they lived in New York and combines inventiveness with serious know-how. That means refined comfort food you can get dressed up for: homemade charcuterie plates, tender and juicy slow roasts, rustic tarts and indulgent desserts.
44/9-10 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-185-2670. Open Tue-Sat 5:30pm-1am; Sun 11am-4pm. BBB
Four men with respectable day jobs in the high-flying fields of law, medicine and finance opened this restaurant in the depths of Thonglor. Although cooked by a Thai doctor, this is classic French fare, such as Burgundy escargots with garlic and parsley and their in-house pate de campagne. Mains are hearty affairs, involving dishes like agneau de sept heures (seven-hour roasted lamb with potato gratin) and poulet à la crème et porcini (grilled chicken thigh with porcini cream sauce and rice pilaf). A great alternative to many of the stuffy, expensive French restaurants in town.
1/F, Oakwood Residence, 113 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-713-9547. Open daily 11:30am-11:30pm. BBBB
Drawing inspiration from a grand Parisian apartment, L’Appart’s interior decoration is glamorously done by famed interior company PIA, who achieve an ambiance that’s both elegant and cozy. The food comes courtesy of Chef Jeremy Tourret who used to work in the kitchen of three-Michelinstarred New York restaurant Daniel by wellknown chef Daniel Boulud. But Tourret’s focus is French cuisine with Thai touches, meaning you can expect side dishes like mee krob (deep-fried noodles).
32/F, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Rd. (between Sois 13 and 15), 02-126-9999. Open daily 5pm-1am. BBBB
A long-standing and elegant Italian finedining restaurant with a chic but comfortable ambiance, varied menu, well-rounded wine list and “we aim to please” staff. This place works to make sure every diner feels like the experience was created especially with them in mind and the menu changes its mains, pizzas and pastas frequently enough that you never tire of the offerings. The almost-affordable lunch menus with the heaving antipasti buffet are a good introduction.
G/F, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, 155 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-251-6127. BTS Ratchadamri. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm. BBBB
The first Chef Man opened at the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn where it generated instant buzz as the new go-to place for dim sum (lunch only). Reservation is an absolute must if you’re hoping to sample a steamed cream bun with salted egg or a pork dumpling with abalone. As for the piece de resistance, Chef Wai Yin Man likes to boast about his B2 million kiln made especially for the peking duck and his Beijing-native cook who serves up the dish.
3/F, Eastin Grand Sathorn, Sathorn Rd., 02-212-3741. BTS Surasak. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10pm BB-BBB
The District’s real draw is their claim of cheaper prices (compared to other high-end steakhouses in town) with classic carnivorous dishes ranging from the 240-day grainfed Australian Angus or juicy tenderloin to the fresh seafood platter. It may help you impress your date, too, as the setting features a very trendy New York-style décor.
2/F, Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, 2 Sukhumvit Soi 57, 02-797-0000. Open daily 6-11pm. BBBB
Another one to nearly make our Top 10, the décor here is a cool yet cozy melange of industrial, natural and artistic in the form of rotating exhibits by edgy artists. Chef
Tim Butler focuses his menu on fresh, tasty produce and the result is simple, delicious salads like the ripe heirloom tomatoes with olive oil ice-cream mint, basil and parmesan. It’s also one of the only places that can tap into global influences—Indian kedgeree, lamb with harissa, duck confit—without falling flat on its face. Make sure you book ahead.
1/6 Phiphat Soi 2, Convent Rd., 02-238-0931. BTS Sala Daeng. Open daily 3pm-1am. BBBB
Much-loved by celebs and its stylish patrons, Mugendai claims that their produce is imported five days a week (most places only get two deliveries), making for the best quality sushi. If it’s your first time, the perfect way to get acquainted is to order their signature Aburi Seven comprising seven sushi varieties like Matsusaka beef, otoro and engawa and unagi foie gras (grilled eel sushi stuffed with foie gras), each served with refined and beautiful toppings.
Sen-Ryo opened up right in the sushi loving center of Bangkok, Thonglor, boasting that everything is imported from Japan, from the chef to the crockery and, of course, the top-quality ingredients. Here, they only do classic sushi dishes with plates placed on a conveyor belt providing for an exciting new experience. The recommendations include the creamy sea urchin and tuna cheek sushi. Wash it down with some sake or a glass of Asahi draft.
Room RG01, G/F, Nihonmura Mall, Thonglor Soi 13, T.02-712-9688 Mon-Thu 11:30am-2pm, Fri-Sun 6-10.30pm
Located on the G/F of Park Ventures Ecoplex, Ogu Ogu is an obvious pick for office workers in the area looking for casual Japanese bites and affordable lunch sets in a trendy place. Seat yourself amid the raw, slightly industrial decor, with its modern-revisited furniture, and enjoy the impeccable service. Do drink hard, though, as the sake is a big part of the experience here. If you don’t know where to start, try the recommended President Sake or Hakutsuru Daiginjo— light, fragrant and easy to drink. They also have happy hour from 5pm-9pm, serving sake and snacks.
G/F, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd., T.02-108-2255 Open Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sun 11:30am-midnight, BTS Ploenchit.
Here, classic Italian recipes are mixed with just enough modern touches to suit the locale clientele. The location atop the Mini Showroom and the modern lofted ceilings allow for plenty of light while a very long white table in the center of the room is the scene for cooking demonstrations and some tableside cooking. Try the carpaccio of chilled beef and Angus T-bone, cooked to perfection.
6/F, Mini Showroom, 99/99 Ekkamai Soi 7, 02-711-6999. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm. BBB-BBB
“Gianni’s,” as it’s affectionately known, has earned a reputation for consistently outstanding food, an elegant atmosphere and polished service. The fritto misto, with baby squid, tiny shrimp and fish fillets on a bed of polenta is head-and-shoulders above the mundane deep-fried starters served elsewhere, and the slow-cooked wagyu beef cheeks served with an Amarone wine are also wonderful. The ever-changing specials frequently knock it out of the ballpark, too.
34/1 Soi Tonson, Phloenchit Rd., 02-252-1619, 02-652-2922. BTS Chit Lom. Open daily noon-2pm, 6-10pm. BBBB
Former interior designer turned cocktail connoisseur and the man behind Flow, Chanond Purananda, and Chef Ian Kittichai, of Issaya and New York City’s Kittichai, came together to share their love of food, drink and detail at Hyde and Seek, a chic gastro bar with a playful edge. The renovation makes for an altogether brighter atmosphere through colorful Portuguese tiles and paintings of exotic birds. The menu features traditional pub food with a high-end twist, like baby back ribs in a chili and chocolate glaze, but we go mostly for the cocktails, which are still some of the very best in town.
Athenee Residence, 65/1 Soi Ruamrudi, 02-168-5152-3. BTS Phloen Chit. Open daily 11-1am. BBB-BBBB
Having learned her art at Chicago’s Green Tea sushi bar, Karuna Sangaroon came back to Thailand and named her small, friendly, restaurant after the sushi master who
taught her everything she knows. In fact, 80 percent of her innovative-yet-affordable sushi dishes, prepared with international ingredients and American twists, come from the Green Tea’s menu. Expect the unexpected: like the crunchy sushi sandwich (spicy tuna and salmon in sushi rice and crispy tempura flakes) or the crowd-pleasing Volcano (spicy, baked scallop served in a shell and featuring Karuna’s secret sauce). It’s proved a hugely-popular combination with locals.
5 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 02-258-0645. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm. BBB-BBBB
Despite its elevated, fine-dining sisters, The Library by Water Library is a new modern brasserie serving food that’s extremely comforting and down-to-earth. The place is already packed with hi-so locals and the main draw of the place is the breakfast dishes, like eggs benedict crab cake, that are both delicious and reasonably priced. In the evenings, things become more serious but still stick to simple dishes like the gnocchi with meat ragout, tomato, basil and parmesan or braised Kurobuta pork belly with homemade sauerkraut and deep-fried sweet potato.
Nippon national Yuya Okuda has worked at Taillevent Robuchon in Paris and Niki Club in Tokyo. His French cooking is light, fresh and subtle, with a focus on presentation and some discreet Japanese touches. Thai architectural firm August has created a space that flows yet offers privacy thanks to the striped marble floor flowing up into wide columns and the dark bookcase partitions. The use of noble materials like wood, leather and marble suffuses Ma Du Zi’s clean-cut modernism with a palace-like lavishness. The dining room’s highlight is a gunmetal latticework on the sweeping bay windows.
9/1 New Ratchadapisek Rd., 02-615-6400. BTS Asok. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; 6:30-10pm. BBBB
This elegant establishment sat right by the Chao Phraya River offers one of the best dim sum experiences in town. The food is authentic Cantonese fare, while the service is knowledgeable and courteous. There’s even a cool display of tea on the counter and specially-trained staff so you can have your very own mini tea ceremony. Abalone is the other big specialty here, although they also make a mean Peking duck, too.
The Peninsula Bangkok, 333 Charoennakorn Rd., 02-861-2888. Shuttle from Pier Saphan Taksin. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm. BBBB
The competition is fierce among Bangkok’s steakhouses, and to be honest we don’t find them all that different: Sinatra; martinis; gorgeous waitresses; meat from at least four countries; and sides you pay extra for that are inevitably disappointing. But for an overthe- top experience, there’s nothing quite like NY, with its huge handlebar platters and knives, oversized chairs at tables that are so close you can’t help but pause when the couple next to you start talking, and a stuffiness that’s more Monaco than Manhattan. The steaks are pretty darn good, too.
2/F, JW Marriott Bangkok, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 2, 02-656-7700. BTS Phloen Chit. Open daily 6-11pm. BBBB
Set up by oyster importer Bill Marinelli as a space where he could wine and dine potential customers, this place quickly developed a life of its own, pulling in people from all over town keen to sample the range of fresh oysters flown in twice a week from Canada and the USA. The modern American menu has touches of New England and Creole, and lets the produce do the talking. The good value Sunday brunch is another must-try.
395 Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Soi 24, 02-212-4809. Open Mon-Sat 6-11pm; Sun 11am-3pm, 6-10pm. BBBB
Another one that nearly made it into our Top 10, Quince has stayed true to the concepts it first pioneered in Bangkok when it opened two years ago: casual European food that’s light, fresh and bright (meaning local and seasonal) served in portions that encourage sharing. Chef Blair Mathieson, the Australian chef who was Executive Chef at The Siam, carries this concept through in the rustic, pan-European-slash-Mediterranean food and it’s given an added boost by the well-curated wine list. The space is also truly handsome with the faux-vintage brasserie meets idyllic country home atmosphere.
Sukhumvit Soi 45, 02-662-4478. Open daily 11:30-1am. BBB-BBBB
The bird’s-eye-view of Bangkok’s skyline is sure to impress, as is the discreet, dimly-lit dining room on the 31st floor of the hotel. Bigger parties can book the glass-encased private room, which nestles between the open cooking station and the meat room. Occasional wine dinners offer particularly good value, usually with plenty of Japanese beef and strong Tuscan wines on offer.
31/F, The Landmark Bangkok, 138 Sukhumvit Rd., 02-254-0404. BTS Nana. Open daily 6-11pm. BBBB
Rossano’s looks like your typical Italian restaurant, but stands apart thanks to its attention to detail, immaculate presentation, lightness of touch and the freshness of its ingredients. You do pay for the privilege but there are some more affordable dishes— whether it’s a raw tuna carpaccio with a citrus dressing, homemade ravioli with ricotta cheese, or even a pizza—that shine just as bright. The decor is not grand, but it is cozy, with its distressed yellow walls, lowbeamed ceilings and brick archways.
167 Asoke Soi 3, 02-260-1861, 02-661-7449. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 6-11pm. BBB
With its dark hues and clandestine corners that evoke 1920s prohibition era New York, it may surprise you that this Italian kitchen is actually both extroverted and inclusive—you can even help shape the pasta or just sit back and enjoy watching the loud and lively Italian chefs cooking up dishes like the stellar paccheri pasta with duck ragout, black truffle and pecorino cheese.
Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, 11 Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-620-6666. Open daily 6-10:30am, 12-2:30pm, 6-11pm. BBB-BBBB
Seven Spoons just moved to a bigger and yet somehow cozier space, but its kitchen retains its focus on healthy, homey and hippie American meals such as a delicious
quinoa salad with grilled vegetables and feta or fresh razor clams with tarragon butter. With a few affordable wines and a list of signature cocktails, Seven Spoons’ decidedly healthy food doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too.
22 Chakkrapatipong Rd, 02-629-9214, 084-539-1819. Open Mon-Sat 11am-2:30pm; Tue-Sun 6pm-1am. BB
Throw together an industrial chic décor (corrugated steel façade, a scattering of old tools and unadorned loft-style ceilings), the tried-and-trusted Hyde & Seek team (star chefs Peter Pitakwong and Ian Kittichai, and Flow mixologist Chanond Purananda), and you’ve got an achingly hip venue. The menu here focuses on two things: locally-sourced ingredients and nose-to-tail cooking. Try the head cheese terrine or the simple hanger steak and wash it all down with the fine selection of craft beers on offer.
1/8 Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-261-0515-6. Open Tue-Fri 5pm-midnight, Sat 11am-3pm, 5pm-midnight. BBB
Sra Bua is a sister of Copenhagen’s Michelinstarred Thai restaurant Kiin Kiin (one of just two Thai restaurants in the world to have received this distinction) by Chef Henrik Yde-Andersen. Chef Chayawee Sutcharitchan whips up Thai food with a very contemporary twist: frozen red curry with baby lobster, green curry shaped as freshly harvested vegetables covered with edible “soil” or spicy salad with orchids and sangkhaya ice cream. All this in an atmospheric setting that’s part soaring, glittering palace and part fairy tale lotus pond.
Lobby level, Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, 991/9 Rama 1 Rd., 02-162-9000. BTS Siam. Open daily 12-3pm, 6-midnight. BBBB
With the sexy space on Langsuan, Triplets has retained its serious dedication to locallysourced produce. The food is a lighter take on French cuisine and remains fairly affordable. Made to order by Chicago-returned Royal Projects enthusiast Chef Nate, her produce-centric dishes let her fresh ingredients do the talking, without superfluous frills or foams, such as their recommended grilled chicken with rosemary or seared tuna with strawberry and rocket.
92/3 Soi Langsuan 6, Langsuan Rd., 02-684-1684. Open Tue-Sun 11am-2pm, 6-11pm. BBB
Located in Nihonmura Mall, the Japanese restaurant Yashin has the backing of Tenyuu Grand on Sathorn, from the owners to the chefs. In fact, it is led by the head chef of Tenyuu Grand, so you can expect a wide variety of excellent dishes to choose from. Opt for the shabu that’s accompanied with tender Iwate beef and a succulent soup. Otherwise, they also have the omakase option so you leave it up to the chef to decide on your sushi fix.
3/F, Nihonmura Mall, Thonglor Soi 13, 02-712-6868, 087-508-9395. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm. BBB-BBBB
Growing culinary empire Water Library recently gave birth to this gastro bar inspired by a 19th-century steam power plant. Unlike other venues in their portfolio, 1881 is all about comforting dishes. You’ll be familiar with most of the international dishes, which ranges from a classic burger and angel hair pesto to eggs benedict—all cooked up by Swiss Chef Urs Lustenberger. You can also join the crowds for the affordable lunch set menu. And do note that the cocktails, by top mixologist Mirko Gardelliano, are among the best in town.
Groove, CentralWorld, Rama 1 Rd., 02-613-1778, 02-613-1774. BTS Siam. Open daily 10am-2am. BBB
This tiny kaiseki restaurant is arguably one of the best in town. According to the Japanese omakase style of eating, most diners entrust their entire meal to the able hands of the chef, who prepares a lavish succession of small, beautiful dishes for them. In fact, chefs from other restaurants can often be seen on the other side of the bar, too,
rubbing shoulders with Japanese expats for Maru’s fresh, perfectly cut sushi. Beware, the quality here comes at a price.
95/5-6 Thonglor Soi 3, 02-712-5001-2. Open daily 5pm-midnight. BBBB
You could say every restaurant is an experiment, but nowhere is it more apparent than at Gaggan, where the kitchen combines both a laboratory and a tandoor oven. Gaggan Anand is becoming globally recognized as one of the very few Asians successfully bringing El Bulli’s modern cooking techniques to our continent and cuisines. As such, expect spherized yogurt that feels like an egg, or a cookie that’s cooked (frozen, actually) before your very eyes on a cold stone. But Gaggan is not just challenging our preconceptions about food, he is also tapping into his own memories of India, repackaging humble street food into bite-sized flavor jolts or deconstructing a classic curry to highlight the essence of the dish. The result is a thrilling high-wire act that handsomely rewards foodies with open minds.
68/1 Soi Lang Suan, 02-652-1700. Open daily 6-11pm. BBBB
From the moment your drive up the long, palm-fringed road to architect Kerry Hill’s Sukhothai Hotel, there’s a sense of occasion building. And even if Top Tables increasingly favors standalone restaurants, this elegant Italian restaurant designed by Ed Tuttle delivers everything special occasion fine-dining should be, from the impeccable five-star hotel service to the delicate Italian flavors by Chef Maurizio Menconi. Dishes may look simple, but every ingredient is carefully selected, such as in the soft center organic yolk and buffalo ricotta with brown butter and sage, parmesan cheese and shaved black truffle. It’s also one of our favorite lunch spots, thanks to the crispy pizza and antipasti buffet.
The Sukhothai Bangkok, 13/3 Sathorn Rd., 02-344-8888. Open daily noon-3pm, 6:30-10:30pm. BBBB
Supanniga’s culinary objective is surprisingly modest for a restaurant that’s been so unanimously lauded as one of the best for Thai food in town. Owner Thanaruek Laoraowirodge simply set out to reproduce his grandmother’s cooking. Originally from Trat, but having moved to Khon Kaen, her food was influenced by Eastern and Northeastern traditions, meaning the menu is equally at ease with a perfectly fried plate of chicken wings as it is with a mackerel cooked in fish sauce. Nothing is jazzed up, tweaked or personalized. Instead, flavors are resolutely homemade, such as in the delicious moo cha mueng (pork stew with guttiferae leaves) or the savory beef tendon salad. The décor, despite being set in a narrow shophouse, also possesses a charmingly warm, homey quality.
160/11 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (between Thonglor Sois 6 and 8), 02-714-7508. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11:30pm. BB
Sat in Niu’s Concerto’s old space, 661 Silom is run by the team behind Le Beaulieu, meaning you now have another fine-dining restaurant to try. Climb up to the second floor to try Meat, which serves up high-quality New York-style steaks prepared by Chef Chatin Dienel, who previously worked at Rocket (Sathorn) and a few Michelin-starred restaurants in Australia and London. Expect top-grade beef and Chef Dienel’s modern touches and creative presentation. The space is also home to a bar, Meet, and a Dom Perignon Champagne lounge.
Baan Silom, Silom Soi 19, 02-266-8661. Open daily 11:30am-midnight. BBBB
After running some very successful hotel restaurants, Artur decided to pack up all his secrets and opened up his own place. The result is a steakhouse that offers the same kind of tableside carving, high-end beef and hearty sides as the hotel places, but with a personal touch they simply can’t compete with. The meat, too, is often superior thanks to Artur’s unerring eye in selecting only the best produce.
9 Soi Tonson, Phloenchit Rd., 02-658-6288. BTS Chit Lom. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 6-10pm. BBBB
Chef couple Bo and Dylan worked at David Thompson’s Michelin-starred Thai restaurant Nahm at its original London location. And they were the first to bring the promise of authentic, uncompromising food with fine dining service back home to Bangkok. The Bo.lan Balance set, which changes every two months, makes for a colorful and intense experience. It starts with yaa dong (traditional Thai spirit) served with pandanus juice and sour fruits to shake up your palate. The menu then covers curries, stir-fries, etc., all made from scratch using the best ingredients.
42 Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-260-2962. Open Tue-Sun 6:30-11pm. BBBB
This is one sexy place with its tiny aquamarine bar, deep red and black lacquers and art films playing in the toilets. While there are cheaper places with greater reputations, we still think China House is a winning blend of style and substance. Classics like sweet and sour pork can be truly masterful, while the shrimps in a creamy wasabi sauce never fail to elicit oohs. Our tip: go for the well-priced Sunday brunch.
Mandarin Oriental, 48 Oriental Ave., Charoen Krung Soi 40, 02-659-9000. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 7-10:30pm. BBBB
This French-imported eatery by the Pourcel brothers is one of the longest standing in town with a serious connection to a Michelin-starred restaurant. Its chef, Wilfred
Hocquet, has some work experience with big chefs like Alain Ducasse (and briefly worked at Quince). The result is colorful and authentic French cuisine that truly dazzle—and the view of Lumpini Park doesn’t hurt either.
22/F, Dusit Thani Hotel, 946 Rama 4 Rd., 02-200-9000. BTS Sala Daeng. MRT Silom. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 6:30-9:45pm; Sat 6:30-10pm. BBBB
Element’s new American chef de cuisine, Henry Jordan, draws inspiration from his previous experience in famous hotels around the world, from Rhode Island to the Seychelles. The restaurant proclaims to serve “modern logical cuisine,” combining modern techniques and seasonal produce with many special ingredients imported from Australia, Japan, Brittany and beyond. The venue is exciting, too: charcoal wall partitions, timber furnishings and blue LED lighting at night. There’s a terrace that offers a sweeping view of the skyline, too.
25/F, The Okura Prestige Bangkok, 57 Wireless Rd., 02-687-9000. BTS Phloen Chit. Open daily 6-10:30pm. BBBB
Honmono is one of the go-to places for sushi lovers. You’ll find both Thai and Japanese customers under the same roof—they are here for the high quality sushi that justifies the high prices and a casual atmosphere that isn’t a bewildering experience. Still can’t make up your mind? Sample all the freshness of the sea is by ordering the omakase option and letting the chef choose your dinner.
19 Thonglor Soi 23, T. 02-185-1447, 4/F Siam Paragon Rama 1 Rd., T. 02-610-9240, 3/F Central Chidlom T. 02-254-9137, 5/F Central Bangna T. 02-745-6256,
1/F Park Lane Ekamai., T. 02-382-1640, Thonglor soi 23, T. 02-185-1447, Seen Space thonglor 13 T. 081-922-0748 Open daily 11:30am-12pm
Teien is a popular spot for those who crave fusion rolls but still can’t quite live without classic nigiri sushi. Overlooking Piman 49, the kitchen is run by Japanese-Thai Chef Akira Khemavuthanon who rolls out classic bites plus colorful and elaborate presentation in the form of fusion options. Get there before 8pm to take advantage of their happy hour with top deals like Hitachino craft beer at only B200.
4/F, Piman 49, Sukhumvit Soi 49, T. 02-662-5757 Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 6-10pm
As its name suggests, sushi rules the menu at Sushi Masa, which has been much-hyped since its opening a few years ago—and for obvious reasons. With very reasonable prices, the place serves sushi at a quality on par with other Japanese-frequented bars across town. If you like chatting with the kitchen team like us, do dine at the bar where you can discuss the produce and watch the staff blowtorch some rare cuts. Reservations are recommended as this laidback place is quite small.
Siam Swana Hotel, 359/1 Phayanak Rd., T. 083-701-7627. BTS Ratchatwei. 56/1 Thonglor Soi 5 Tel.0-2185-3800,0-2185-3795 BTS Thonglor Open daily 10:30am-10pm
Refined yet rustic, it’s not the kind of place where you’d find an actual gaucho (cowboy) but there are masculine textures like brick, wood and oxidized bronze throughout. The meat-heavy menu includes signature dishes like homemade chorizo (beef or pork) and salchicha (sausage) while the beef ranges from a simple rib eye to a wagyu filet mignon. Seating is a combination of regular and high tables, plus lounge chairs, divided into more intimate areas by large columns and wine racks. You can run up a big bill here, though.
8, 8/1-7 Sukhumvit Soi 19, 02-255-2864. Open daily 7:30am-midnight. BBBB
The upstairs private rooms at Harvey are often fully booked by the rich and famous, and the downstairs dining room and bar is usually buzzing with beautiful people and bossa nova. The trained staff glides between tables in the slightly minimalist glass and concrete dining room. As for the food, billed Californian, it encompasses interpretations of American, French and Italian, including clam chowder, beef cheeks and double chicken consomme.
129 Thonglor Soi 9, 02-712-9911. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 6:30-11pm. BBBB
The restaurant is housed inside a beautifully restored L-shaped colonial-style home, and the setting alone makes it worth a visit. The music is modern and mellow, and there is a good selection of wines by the glass (a dozen or so) at reasonable prices. The menu has a sizeable fish section, with traditional French offerings like sole and mullet. But Indigo has always been better with meats, and beef in particular. Just one look at their boucherie next door, Gargantua (02-630-4577), and you can see where their interest and expertise lie.
6 Convent Rd., 02-235-3268. BTS Sala Daeng. Open daily 12-11:30pm. BBBB
Run by the “prodigal son,” Ian Kittichai, Issaya is a vibrant and exciting take on traditional Thai cooking. It begins with the décor, which is bright and bold, all large floral wallpaper and vivid blue walls somehow combining perfectly with this charming heritage building. The food manages the same high-wire act of being resolutely traditional and thought-provoking in equal measure. You’ll recognize most dishes on the menu (which pleasantly, includes pretty thorough homegrown and organic vegetarian options). Yet most are given a little twist, notably through the artful presentation and use of high-quality ingredients. But do make sure you leave room for dessert, where Kittichai is at his most inventive.
Located in bustling Soi 11, this is a bright house nestled at the end of a small sub-soi. As the sister of the well-regarded Zanotti, Limoncello offers tasty pizzas as well as other authentic Italian dishes. But why order anything else but the pizza—perhaps the best in Bangkok in the thin-crust category thanks to their perfect crisp and the superior ingredients used in the toppings.
17 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-651-0707. BTS Nana. Open Mon-Fri noon-2pm, 6-11pm; Sat-Sun noon-3pm, 5:30-11pm. BBB
Bright and open, Madison was tastefully designed by the renowned Tony Chi. This contemporary, high-end restaurant foregoes the traditional steakhouse feel, unless you book one of the booths. A meat-eater’s paradise, the extensive menu features imported beef from Australia and Japan and comes with exceptional service. Also note that the Four Seasons has the best brunch in town, held here.
G/F, Four Seasons Bangkok, 155 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-250-1000, 02-251-6127. BTS Ratchadamri. Open daily noon-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm. BBBB
In almost every respect, barring the tourism posters, this is a fairly elegant place with competent service and a kitchen (and Lebanese chef) to match. Each table is brightened by a bowl overflowing with pickled and fresh vegetables which are served with some pleasant dips—yogurt, garlic puree and hot pepper. The mains cover all the usual suspects like shawarmas, shish kebabs and the national dish of Lebanon, kibbeh. There’s also a more spacious and laidback second branch on Sukhumvit Soi 24 that has alfresco seating and a good brunch on Sundays.
Baan Silom, Silom Soi 19, 02-266-9081. BTS Surasak. Open daily 11am-11:30pm. Also at Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-261-9816-7. Open daily 11:30am–midnight BB-BBB
The Mandarin Oriental’s flagship restaurant needs no introduction. For years it has set the benchmark for service and cuisine with river views as an added bonus. Dinner can easily break the bank, but if you’ve ever wondered what bourgeois French families have for their dejeuner, order yourself their three-course lunch set menu. A sample set: homemade meat pie, duck and pork belly casserole with garlic confit and creme brulee. Le Normandie is ideal for any occasion. Then you can throw your empty wallet into the Chao Phraya.
Mandarin Oriental, 48 Oriental Ave., Charoen Krung Rd., 02-659-9000. Open Mon-Sat noon-2:30pm, 7-10:30pm. BBBB
While most know Park Society for its impressive al fresco bar area, complete with soaring columns, killer views and cocktails to match, the dining option inside has been a little overlooked. That’s a shame because it’s an experience in its own right. The décor is a mix of steel, mirrors and mood lighting to give a sophisticated backdrop to the wall-to-ceiling windows that run the length of the place. Under Chef Paul Smart the food is equally sophisticated, a modern take on international classics with a French leaning. That means dishes like roasted pigeon, pan-seared sea bream with ratatouille and oysters, as well as a themed monthly menu.
29/F, Sofitel So Bangkok, 2 Sathorn Rd., 02-624-0000. Open daily 6pm-10:30pm. MRT Lumpini. BBBB
The slightly stuffy grandaddy of Indian restaurants in Bangkok, Rang Mahal serves royal Indian cuisine in a maharaja themed décor (gigantic artifacts and gold, gold and more gold). If the huge choice of dishes requires too much effort to peruse, opt for a set menu. A traditional Indian band keeps you entertained throughout the meal and the service is impeccable. Don’t miss the mouth-watering butter chicken.
26/F, Rembrandt Hotel, 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18, 02-261- 7532. BTS Asok. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; daily 6:30-11pm; Sun 11am-2:30pm. BBBB
The convivial Roast captures the feel of a café and casual restaurant under one roof. You can get a serious cup of coffee with beans sourced from many regions in the world or enjoy dishes that are both artful and comforting. The brunch dishes and well-executed tapas are particularly popular and make a refreshing change from the standard options found elsewhere. Look out for specials, too, such as braised pork belly with apple and potato hash.
2/F, Seenspace, Thonglor Soi 13, 02-185-2865. Open Mon-Thu 10am-11pm; Fri-Sat 9-12:30am; Sun 9am-11pm. BB-BBB
This century-old, two-story house packed with antiques is an unlikely presence in the area, one that evokes a bygone era and aristocratic households. The kitchen serves up traditional Thai dishes which stand out for their presentation and attention to detail. Comforting options include the green curry, yam som o (spicy salad with pomelo) and nam prik. Prepare to be impressed by the sauces and pastes as everything is made from scratch with high-quality ingredients and with no concessions to overseas guests when it comes to spice and flavors.
Alongside European dishes, tapas and panoramic views from the 37th floor of the Pullman Hotel G Silom, you’ll find ample lounging areas—plush sofas, communal high wooden tables and a central bar—and even DJs on weekends. Scarlett also boasts an extensive wine list of more than 150 labels and a notable consulting chef in the form ofManuel Martinez, who is the owner of two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Relais Louis XIII. The menu is a mix of classic dishes and affordable tapas creations such as the lobster and foie gras ravioli or roasted rack of lamb with butter braised potatoes.
37/F, Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, 188 Silom Rd., 02-238-1991. Open daily 6pm-1am. BBBB
The waitresses in kimonos, glass tower stocked with Bordeaux Grand Cru and windowless dining room flanked by two massive tepanyaki grills create a hushed atmosphere. We often come for lunch (great sets) but in the evening, both the sets (Kobe beef, seafood or US beef) and the a la carte menu are on another plane entirely. But it’s also the superb food’s supporting cast—the beautiful crockery, the stern waitresses that never miss a beat—that makes Serina not just a great meal, but a great experience.
9/26 Soi Jim Thompson, Surawong Rd., 02-235-8382. BTS Sala Daeng. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm; daily 5:30-10:30pm. BBB-BBBB
Soul Food excels at dishing out very strong (double pours, actually) original signature cocktails like the spicy Bun Bang Fai (a mix of tequila, lime, chilli, almond syrup and egg white), as well as a brief menu of well-executed Thai regional dishes like khao mok kai, tamarind ribs and pad krapao made with Australian lamb. The combo has a heady, infectious effect as the place is packed almost every night of the week—unfortunately not with many Thais, though.
56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 085-904-2691, 02-714-7708. BTS Thong Lo. Open daily 6pm-midnight. BBB
Ten-Sui is one of the city’s most upscale Japanese eateries. Its magnificent grounds and handsome patios and interiors alone make it worth a visit. Then there’s the wide array of food—fried, grilled, hot stone, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, sushi, noodles and rice dishes—which is made from premium imported ingredients, expertly prepared and served up by waitresses in striking traditional dress. The bad news is that the prices place it beyond the means of most of us, making it more of a special occasion kind of place than your regular sushi-ya or izakaya.
33 Sukhumvit Soi 16, 02-663-2281. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm. BBBB
La Vue’s got some of the most stunning views in the city, you can even spot places like the Golden Mountain and Chitlada Palace, and it delivers French cuisine under the team led by Chef Jilles Poitevin, who used to work for Joel Robuchon. And it all pays off with the rotating menu featuring ingredients sourced from many countries around the world and an equally impressive line-up of wine labels. Try dishes like duck liver with vanilla, benedictine, fig jelly and toasted brioche.
25/F, Siam@Siam Hotel, 865 Rama 1 Rd., 02-217-3000. BTS National Stadium. Open daily 6:30-11pm. BBBB
Designed by New York’s Rockwell Group, YTSB (Yellow Tail Sushi Bar) stands out as one of the most handsome Japanese restaurants in town, right up there with Zuma and Mugendai. It’s a bold investment for VIE Hotel, whose run-down surroundings continue to contrast with the hotel’s high aspirations. But the kitchen team’s skills are definitely up to par, and overall YTSB makes for a fantastic combination of style and substance, classics and signature recipes.
3-4/F, VIE Hotel Bangkok, Phaya Thai Rd., 02-309-3939. Open daily 6:30-11pm. BBBB
The arrival of Chef Omar Ugoletti a few years ago really brought this aging hotel restaurant back into the spotlight, the result being it’s packed almost every night. Ugoletti honed his craft during stints at two-Michelin-starred establishments Uliassi and La Madonnina del Pescatore in Italy, and his Italian dishes combine modern techniques and beautiful presentation. The service is also a bonus and a river view is never a bad thing.
Shangri-La Hotel, 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, Charoenkrung Rd., 02-236-7777. BTS Saphan Taksin. Open daily 6-10:30pm.