Welcome diners, to our annual Restaurant Issue. This year we’ve highlighted 40 of our favorite places to eat. We chose them by digging through our notes, reviews, blog entries and photographs from the last year and combined them with our best food memories. We also consulted various experts, spoke to chefs and revisited a bellyful of venues over the past few months.
What we’ve tried to do is compile a list of places where you can get a great meal, places that have raised the bar or continue to maintain a high standard of quality and/or places that are somehow special.
Now let’s be clear: These are 40 of Bangkok’s best restaurants—but they’re not Bangkok’s best 40 restaurants. We’re good at what we do—and we’re better at it than any other publication in town (fight! fight! fight!)—but we’re not Michelin, either.
This list is subjective, and far from definitive. We’re sure there are a number of good restaurants that are not on this list that we’ve never been to—and probably more than a few we’ve never even heard of. It’s not perfect, but it’s honest, and if it helps you with your dining choices (or provides you with some entertaining reading), then we will have done our job.
We don’t expect you to agree with us every time. Your experience may not be the same as ours. If it isn’t, or if you agree or disagree with us, or if you have suggestions or other comments, we in vite you to post them on our website (www.aziacity.com/bk, where you can comment on all of our restaurant reviews—or any other story, such as this one) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few other points:
- Yes, we originally said 50, but we’d rather be safe than sorry.
- Remember: Restaurants have good and bad nights
- Prices change, chefs change, your tastes change.
- It’s just food.
Nuttaporn Srisirirungsimakul / Food Editor
The name is common among Korean establishments, but this Arirang is far from common. Where most Korean barbecue restaurants are smoky, greasy, cacophonous affairs with service straight out of Pyongyang, at this bright and modern venue you’ll enjoy not just delicious but also beautifully presented cuisine made with top quality ingredients. Traditional favorites like zesty bibimbap and delicate salt-to-your-own-taste chicken ginseng herbal soup aside, grilled meat is the focus. The portions are small, but the beef here is terrific, and sauces are simple, as they should be with such prime meat. The charcoal grills built into the tables are ably attended to by waitresses with the dexterity of doctors (but better bedside manner), and, thanks to a super ventilation system, you won’t go home smelling like your dinner. Starters: B200+; mains: B300+; meat (for grilling): B200+. Corkage: B300.
1/F Sukhumvit Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 12, 02-653-0177/8
It’s worth braving the long queues, surly receptionists (and management) and impatient naew servers for the unlimited thinly sliced, juicy meat, some of it so marbled with fat that it practically melts in your mouth, plus accompaniments like noodles, tofu and veggies and excellent sauce for dipping. The quality of the ingredients is amazing considering the price: B360 for their version of “shabu shabu” (in a pot filled with soup broth) or “sukiyaki” (in a shallow pan)—or both ways for B400—per person. You’ll be thirsty, of course: Mon-Thu all-you-can-guzzle beer and sake is just B199 more. Three things to remember: book in advance—the waiting area is hell; show up on time or you’ll likely lose your table; and never, ever order off the a la carte menu. Especially the garlic fried rice.
1521/1 Sukhumvit Rd., Taisin Square Bldg., 02-714-0791, 02-381-2267
With a slick menu that reflects Australia’s diverse cultural heritage, Alex’s dishes up sophisticated bistro food to a mostly Sukhumvit crowd of expats and inter Thais. Highlights include Mediterranean “tapas,” barbecued imported steaks, and “Lighter Style” mains that combine refreshing salads with hearty grilled meats. Starters: B100+; pasta: B300+; mains: B400+; desserts: B300+. Corkage: B400.
253/2 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 02-258-6919
How many restaurants have you visited lately that also host flower arrangement classes and have on-site yoga studios? Named after its Cordon Bleu-educated owner, this intimate eatery is heaven on earth for the health-conscious. Cast aside any preconceived notions you might have about bland earthy-crunchy vegetarian food. The organic vegetarian dishes served up at Anotai are packed with flavor, such as crispy deep-fried tofu with tangy dressing. Even the brown rice, which can be dry and boring if not properly cooked, is tender and flavorful. End with the sinfully rich warm banana cake with vanilla ice cream. Note: No credit cards. Starters: B110; mains: B100+; desserts: B80+; tea: B85.
976/17 Rim Klong Samsen Rd., Soi Rama 9 Hospital, 02-641-5366
Le Beaulieu is modest in size but cost a small fortune to build, with its magnificent cathedral-like foyer/bar, intimate sky blue ceiling-ed dining room with original art hanging from the walls and gleaming show kitchen visible through a wall of glass. The menu is similarly ambitious and grand, featuring bold French dishes with a Mediterranean slant made with the finest imported ingredients money can buy. At the helm is Chef Herve Frerard, a talented perfectionist who anxiously watches diners through that huge glass window. Eating here is easy (if you can afford it), but, like the décor, a lot of work goes into creating such intense and concentrated flavors. Signature dishes include grilled scallops with a sea urchin emulsion, slow-cooked veal cheeks and exquisite artichoke cream soup. For dessert, the kitchen does superb soufflés and chocolate fondant. Starters B400+; mains: B500+; desserts: B300+. Corkage: B500.
Sofitel Residence, 50 Sukhumvit Soi 19, 02-204-2004
Head to Bangkok’s premier German restaurant, which is actually a complex that includes a bar and bakery, and join blond-haired diners for a taste and feel of old Deutschland: pretzels and beer, wiener schnitzel, farmer sausages, pig “knuckles,” smoked, pickled pork chops and potatoes and cabbage prepared in every imaginable way. Depending on whether you love or hate big parties, look out for their annual Oktoberfest. Starters: B150+; mains: B250+; desserts: B70+. Corkage B300.
1 Sukhumvit Soi 20, 02-262-0892, www.beiotto.com
We weren’t exactly thrilled when Marco Cammarata and his partners decided to open his restaurant in Siam Paragon, but if any chef is worth making a trip to the mall for, it’s Marco. Only 37, he is one of Bangkok’s most talented culinary artists, able to create stunning dishes with bright, perfectly balanced flavors and exquisite presentation. The setting—cool and minimalist with glass walls on three sides, a long open kitchen and a second-floor wine bar—is an ideal canvas for his dishes, which are based on classic recipes but have the benefit of modern techniques. Though he might not look (or act) it, Marco knows how to be subtle, which really comes out when he’s working with delicate leaves, fruit, herbs and oils. A native of Torino, he also makes some of the most delicious risotto you’ll taste anywhere. Starters: B300+; pastas: B300-500; mains: B500+; desserts: B250+. Corkage: B500.
991 Siam Paragon Center, S15, G/F Siam Paragon, 02-610-9380/-1. www.belguardo.com
It’s the buzz as much as the food that makes Biscotti one of our favorites. The Tony Chi design is still handsome after all these years, and the service, even when the restaurant is full, is justifiably legendary. The current chef, Canilo Aiassa, is from Piedmont, so he’s a whiz at risotto. Nice gnocchi, too. Starters: B260+; mains: B350+; desserts: B150+. Corkage: B500.
Four Seasons Hotel, Bangkok, 155 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-255-5443
At Bangkok’s best Swiss restaurant, the food is as reliable as a Swiss watch. In a converted house decorated in red and white (which matches the uniforms of the waitresses), mostly European diners dip into traditional fondues and bite into a satisfying assortment of grilled and braised meats. Justifiably famous is Chesa’s roasted venison served with pears, cranberries and walnuts and several side dishes: tangy red cabbage, slightly browned homemade spaetzle, thick gravy, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts with bacon. Of course you can also get your schnitzel and raclette but also trout from the Royal Projects, pastas, salads and salmon tatare. Starters: B100-500; mains: B400+; desserts: B100-300. Corkage: B500 (B900 for spirits).
5 Sukhumvit Soi 20, 02-261-6650. www.chesa-swiss.com
This out-of-the-way wooden shophouse restaurant has become something of a Bangkok institution in recent years, having been written up in a number of major international newspapers and magazines. Owner Auntie Tim does triple duty as cook, cashier and server, while her beloved (and amiable) lap dogs stand constant guard over the place and often surprise uninitiated diners—especially when one jumps on a table. What you can also expect from this six-table joint is consistently delicious, inexpensive (B30-150) and authentic Thai dishes with an often flawless blending of sweet and sour flavors and a subtle herbal spiciness. With over 300 dishes on the menu, there are bound to be some misfires, but there are many more hits than misses. Don’t miss legendary mee krob and yum thua phuu (angle bean salad).
46 Phraeng Phutorn, Tanao Rd., 02-221-4082
Crepes & Co.
This long-standing Bangkok favorite makes the list for its brunches. The bad news: It’s almost impossible to find a parking space or to nab a table here on weekends. If you’re likely to feel irked by this, or by family units and their ubiquitous and often highly vocal offspring, this is not your cup of tea. The good news: You can order crepes in any form you fancy, from appetizers to savory mains to desserts, along with apple cider or pitchers of sangria (to calm your nerves). The friendly waitstaff are more than happy to serve you as you nosh your way through a selection of freshly baked breads and pastries as well as yogurts, cereals, eggs toast and 100 kinds of tea. Starters: B125-210; mains: B140+; desserts: B130+. Corkage: B250.
18/1 Sukhumvit Soi 12, 02-653-3990-1, www.crepes.co.th
Cy’an’s charms are many: the sunny Mediterranean mood that turns cool and sophisticated at dusk, dining-conducive lounge music, friendly staff and high-art dishes prepared with some of the city’s highest quality ingredients. Chef Daniel Moran is still finding his way a bit after stepping in to fill Amanda Gale’s huge shoes (she got a promotion), but Cy’an is still one of the best restaurants in the city—and without question the most overlooked of Bangkok’s top venues. The kitchen particularly excels when it comes to lighter starters, in which the true flavors of the ingredients shine through. The raw snapper with ginger, citrus, avocado oil, fennel and flowers is superb. You won’t get away cheaply, but you won’t feel cheated, either. Set lunches are a great option: B580 for a two-course, B680 for three. Starters: B300+; mains: B400+; desserts: B200+. Corkage: B700 for wines, B1,200 for spirits.
The Metropolitan Bangkok, 27 South Sathorn Rd., 02-625-3388
While its chic original is housed in Singapore’s funky nouveau-retro Hotel 1929, the Bangkok offshoot is as stylish as an ice cream parlor. Fortunately, the food far transcends the lame atmosphere. Ember is an ace with seafood—particularly fish, serving up terrific dishes like crispy pan-fried snapper or Chilean seabass with truffle-yuzu butter sauce. Portions are small and prices high, though, so don’t come here when you’re starving. (But you can always skip starters and fill up on complimentary baskets of delicious naan.) Or take advantage of Ember’s luxe set lunch (B345 for two courses, B370 for three). Starters: B200+; mains: B400+; desserts: B200+. Corkage: B300.
99/11-12 Lang Suan Balcony, Ploenchit Rd., 02-652-2086
Open for business for more than 11 years now, Gianni Ristorante is an institution. If there is a flaw, it might be the setting—in terms of design, there’s an extremely high standard for Italian restaurants here, after all. But the priority for Gianni Favro is the food, not fashion, and on most nights he’s running a packed house (so reservations are a good idea). The menu is more “homestyle” than haute cuisine, but following a bit of empire building, Chef Gianni is back in the kitchen full-time again. He’s returned with a newfound passion and joy for cooking, and his creative juices are flowing. See what he does with Wagyu beef cheeks—slow-cooking them at low temperature and served in an Amarone sauce with glazed vegetables— or sardines, which are draped over grilled white polenta and dressed with pickled onions, pinenuts, raisins, microgreens and a balsamic reduction. Even mainstays like fritto misto and cannelloni feel “new.” The food has always been flawless, but this year look to Gianni to raise the bar even higher. Starters B300+; pastas: B300+; mains: B400+; desserts: B200+. Corkage: B300 (B500 for spirits).
34/1 Soi Tonson, 02-252-1619
Great American Rib
Following a traumatic experience, we advise you to avoid the hamburgers, but otherwise we’re huge fans of the food—southern-style ribs, steaks, nachos, curly fries, jalapeno corn bread, pulled pork and “butt-kickin’” chicken—at this backyard-barbecue eatery, which is much more stylish (“cute,” even) than you would expect. Eating in the air-conditioned area is not much fun, so dine elsewhere on especially hot days. Starters: B95+; mains: B300+; desserts: B75+. Corkage: B300.
33 Sukhumvit Soi 36 (Soi Napasup), 02-258-5942, 02-661-3801, www.greatrib.com
We agree that this venue seems a bit out of place here. And in fact we’re talking about two outlets. We sit in the Greenhouse, which has an Asian menu that includes tasty congee and noodle dishes, and order sandwiches from the Garden Court Restaurant, which is located downstairs but a bit too far from natural light. Nowhere else in town can you enjoy a bowl of joke alongside a sandwich as perfect as their awesome Brown Bread Reuben. Starters: B60+; pastas: B200+; mains: B200+; desserts: B120+. Corkage: B600 (B1,200 for spirits).
The Landmark Bangkok, 138 Sukhumvit Rd., 02-254-0404
Kitted out as a charming colonial home, the setting alone makes Indigo worth a visit. (We especially like its garden tables, weather-and mosquito-permitting.) French specialties, from a textbook cheese soufflé to yummy escargot, are impressive; and there’s a good selection of wine by the glass at wallet-friendly prices. The best items by far are from their butcher shop: various patés, rillette and saucisson and their amazing cuts of local beef—veal, steak tartar and huge cote de boeuf for two (or three). Starters: B190+; mains: B390+; desserts: B190+. Corkage: B400.
6 Soi Convent, Silom Rd., 02-235-3268
Indus is unique among Indian restaurants in Bangkok in that as much attention is paid to the atmosphere and service, which is outstanding, as to the food. It’s a beautiful setting—multiple rooms in the restaurant, cool lounge and expansive patio and yard—for a meal of northern Indian food made without yucky stuff like MSG and ghee. Some have dubbed it “India Lite,” but there is no shortage of Indian patrons dining here on any given night. Snack on Indies Fries, tikka and samosas washed down with Kingfisher beer, then move on to herbal curries and daal. Starters: B120+; mains: B260+; desserts: B100+. Corkage: B400+.
971 Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-258-4900
There are now 13 branches of this well-regarded seafood establishment, though the two-building original on Siphraya Road is still the best. The décor is a bit aged with pale green walls and big, round family-style tables, and you’ll still see waiters crossing the busy street with food, but you don’t go to Je-Ngor for the atmosphere. Go instead for fresh, well-prepared seafood like stir-fried crab with black pepper sauce and charcoal-grilled salt-coated sea bass. At dinner, you’ll want to call ahead for a table. Starters: B100+; mains: B300+; desserts: B50+. No corkage.
541/9 Soi Charoenkrung 39 (New Road), Si Phraya Rd., 02-235-8537, 02-234-8275, www.jengor-seafoods.com
The Pan Pacific’s 22nd floor Japanese outlet really feels like Japan. Not only is the décor reminiscent of some 1990s (or even 1980s) luxury Tokyo hotel, the food also has a real “Japanese taste.” This is one reason why the restaurant is not all that popular: Many non-Japanese would find the food bland and boring, and the kaiseki-ryori style of cooking that it specializes in is particularly understated. Keyaki doesn’t try to be stylish or hip—no models nights—which is just the way we like it. Teppanyaki sets B400-1,000; bento boxes: B500-1,600; set lunches: B300-700. Corkage: B350 (B800 for spirits).
Pan Pacific Bangkok, 952 Rama 4 Rd., 02-632-9000, www.panpacific.com
If you’re looking for something in the way of a culinary adventure, you are better off elsewhere. If it’s comfort and consistency that you seek, Kuppa fits the bill. This airy loft is the place to see and be seen and is a favorite lunchtime spot for young executives, embassy wives and the hiso set. The menu has changed very little over the years; beef short ribs and Thai sirloin served with jaew sauce and sticky rice are our firm favorites. Dessert is definitely a high point. The blueberry cheesecake and hot fudge brownies are worth a special trip. Starters: B150+; mains: B250+; desserts: B100+. Corkage: B400.
39 Sukhumvit Soi 16, 02-663-0495
Lim Kwong Meng
The bare-bones décor and furious shouting from the kitchen at this unassuming two-story shophouse can easily scare away any couple looking for a romantic rendezvous. Your visiting friends might also be intimidated by the moody servers who hardly speak English. But if you are in for consistently good Chinese food replete with some Thai oomph and tasty seafood fare plucked fresh from the sea, here is the place. Suckling pig and steamed crab are musts. It’s a good idea to snatch a table downstairs, which doubles as the living room of the owner and her family, so that you’d be in earshot of better-informed staff. No credit cards. Starters: B100+; mains: B200+; desserts: B40+. No corkage.
294 Chula Soi 15, Rama 4 Rd., 02-215-4171, 02-215-4260
At night, with its expansive views of the Chao Phraya River, the setting is wonderful, the service is impeccable and the Brazilian jazz duo creates a pleasant aural backdrop. But we include the aquatic-themed Lord Jim’s more for its peerless buffet brunch than its dinner menu. Starters: B750+; mains: B950+; desserts: B450+. Corkage: B1,000.
The Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Avenue, 02-659-9000
Prices are at first glance on the high side, and the portions are tiny. But most of the clients at this Bangkok outlet of the Japanese chain are Japanese businessmen with expense accounts. If you can afford it, Nanjya Monjya offers high-quality ingredients, pleasant atmosphere and helpful service by jean-clad waitresses. Teppanyaki is the focus here, but you won’t see grinning cooks flipping your dinner in the air, nor will you hear occasional bursts of applause from the diners—they’re too serious for that. What makes Nanjya Monjya really special is their monjyayaki, a lighter take on okonomyaki (a.k.a. “Japanese pizza). A warning: Small tables and big grills means don’t wear your best shirt. Starters: B160+; mains: B200+. Corkage: B500 (B800 for spirits).
Ascott Bangkok Sathorn, 187 South Sathorn Rd., 02-676-7190-1
New York Steakhouse
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 different countries; tableside Caesar salad and steak tartar; and sides you pay extra for that are inevitably disappointing. But for an over-the-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 pause when the couple next to you are talking, and a stuffiness that’s more Monaco than Manhattan. The steaks are pretty good, too. Starters: B300-1,000; mains: B500-2,200; sides B100+. Corkage: B500.
JW Marriott Bangkok, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 2, 02-656-7700
The Oriental Hotel’s showcase restaurant needs no introduction. For years it has set the standard for service and cuisine, an it’s the place for well-off elites to close business deals, pop the question, or celebrate anniversaries. Dinner can easily break the bank, especially if you’re drinking (their) wine. For those on a budget, take advantage of Le Normandie’s little-publicized annual summer (through September 30) degustation menus. They’re a steal at B1,000 net for lunch and B1,900 net for dinner—with a free bottle of wine for you and your date. Starters: B800+, mains: B2,000+; desserts: B450+. Corkage: B1,000.
The Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Ave., 02-659-9000
Time has stopped at Pen. The tables and chairs made of dark wood have been there for decades, as have the mirrored walls, the hanging objets d’art made from stained glass and covered with gold-colored leaf and the plastic flowers. The menu is basically the same, though it’s a continuing commitment to sourcing quality ingredients—mostly seafood—as much as it is to cooking skill that make Pen such a great restaurant. It’s all about the food here, which is why trendy young Thais can only be found here when they’re dragged along by their wealthy Chinese-Thai parents. Our favorites include a spicy herbal beef soup, fried parrotfish, sea asparagus and crab baked in glass noodles, then wrap things up with mango and sticky rice or sesame balls in ginger. Starters: B100+; mains: B200+; desserts: B50+. No corkage.
2068/4 Chan Rd., 02-287-2907, 02-286-7061
Tucked away in a back alley off Chakrapet road in Pahurat, Royal India’s faux brick walls, cramped tables and harsh lighting are hardly inviting to the uninitiated. Yet for years the restaurant has been serving some of the most consistently delicious no-frills Northern Indian food in Bangkok. The murgh malai, chicken in a heavily spiced sauce of yogurt and cream is a stand out, as is the chicken tikka masala. Vegetarians fear not: there is plenty of rabbit food on the menu as well. If you’re an okra fan, go for the perfectly spiced bindi. Freshly made naan, chapatis, puris and the like are in the offing as well. Starters: B70+; mains: B170+; desserts: B25+. No corkage.
392/1 Chakrapet Rd.., 02-221-6565
Scoozi has scored with a winning formula of pizzas and pastas, reasonable prices and courteous service. Though not the most authentic in town, high marks go to its consistently good pizzas and good-value pastas. There are over 30 kinds of pizza on offer, with a combination of tangy sauce, excellent cheese, premium toppings and smoky crust. Appetizers: B40-300; mains: B200+. Corkage: B300.
Fenix Thonglor Bldg., near Thonglor Soi 1, 02-391-5113, www.scoozipizza.com
Brave your way through late-night vendors, foreigners in Islamic and African attire, and wafts of sweet-smelling shisha and you’ll find Shahrazad. It’s hard to miss actually as there will be lamb carcasses hanging on hooks in front and a display case full of animal parts. The atmosphere is informal and the decor is nothing to write home about, except for maybe the waitresses in hijabs. The menu can be perplexing, so usually we stick to tried-and-true staples like hoummos (pureed chickpeas with sesame seed paste), mutabbal (pureed eggplant with sesame seed paste) and freshly baked naan. Anything lamb here is also excellent. Starters: B80+; mains: B80+; desserts: B70+.
6/8 Sukhumvit Soi 3/1, 02-254-7392-3, 02-251-3666
Named after the Mandarin word for food, Shan brings together Japanese aesthetics and bold Mongolian tastes to create Bangkok’s best Chinese hot pot. The setting is a bit odd with a piano at one end of the dining room and a corner of what looks like a Chinese herbal shop at the other, but the food is terrific. You can order a la carte, but the trick is to go with sets (B500 for lunch, B900 for dinner) that include everything from tasty bite-sized starters, a plate of stuff you dump in the pot, a basket of veggies, to desserts and coffee. Two kinds of soup—“spicy” and “non-spicy”—bubble away in a divided hot pot like the yin and yang of broth, and eliminate the need for sauce. Yes, they are that good. Corkage: B300.
United Tower, Thonglor Soi 17, 02-712-6612-4
Japanese salarymen in the know head to this discreet eatery for its excellent food that is priced far lower than you might expect. They usually head for a private room, while we prefer the dark and stark downstairs dining area. With a combination of premium ingredients, skilled preparation (sometimes in unexpected ways), and exquisite presentation, simple Japanese dishes are brillantly whipped up and elevated above the cheap and common. Don’t miss the grilled saba, which is cooked with a blowtorch at your table. Absolutely amazing. Appetizers: B150+; mains: B150+; desserts: B150+. Corkage B500.
33/5 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-254-5885
This new, shophouse-wide eatery has quickly attracted a loyal following with its authentic Spanish cuisine, wines and sherries served in a comfy and lively setting. The young Spanish chef has done an admirable job of adjusting to local ingredients while keeping the overall standard relatively high. Must-try dishes include Manchego cheese, platters of sliced meats and garlicky prawns. The menu changes regularly, so keep your fingers crossed lest your favorite Most dishes are B150. Corkage: B400.
Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-651-2941, www.tapasiarestaurants.com
Tsu’s Chef Akihiro Izumi is a loud, biker-loving, hotdog-eating giant of a man who can’t drink a drop of sake (it’s tequila or nothing). He also presides over one of Bangok’s most Wallpaper*-worthy Japanese restaurants that serves some of the best sushi you’ll eat anywhere. Where other venues in Thailand order through the same few seafood suppliers, JW Marriott’s status as a licensed importer gives Chef Aki access to truly superior ingredients. He even has the phone numbers of fishmongers in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market and rings them regularly for tales about the freshest cuts. Quality like this doesn’t come cheap—we suggest you sign up for a Marriott member card before visiting Tsu for a dinner of super-fresh fatty tuna, melt-in-your-mouth seared matsuzaka beef, tarabagani nabe with juicy Hokkaido king crab and scallops straight out of the shell. Starters: B200+; sashimi: B300-2,500; desserts: B150+; set menus: B450+. Corkage B300.
JW Marriott Bangkok, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 2, 02-656-7700
Named after the famed Tokyo fish market, Tsukiji is one of the better restaurants on Soi Thaniya. Still, we wouldn’t go out of our way to eat there for dinner. But lunch is another story. Here’s what you do: Get there early. Order the sushi set. It’s a lot of food for B180. Hungry? Order the special sushi set. It’s not on the menu, though, so if they look at you funny, insist. It’s B297—don’t ask us why. Say “Thank you, BK.”
62/19-20 Soi Thaniya, Silom Rd., 02-238-4146
We must admit that we preferred the cool, cozy darkness of the old restaurant, with its kitchen facing the center of the room. But from a business standpoint, it makes more sense for it to be in its present location, a two-story house with purpose-built kitchen, shaded garden and pool, and posh private rooms for big-spending VIPs. Chef Nicholas Joanny is still creating sublime food to an appreciative clientele of not just wealthy Thais and expatriates but also a steady stream of visitors from Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East. From langoustines and Canadian lobster to foie gras and baby lamb chops, various elements of his intricately designed recipes are given only a kiss of heat so that the true flavors shine through. A tip: Suppress your controlling tendencies and leave the a la carte menu alone—let the chef cook what he wants to cook. The degustation menu (B1,900/B2,200) is not just a steal; it’s an experience like none other in town. Appetizers: B100+; mains: B300+; desserts: B790+. Corkage: B700.
267/2 Sukhumvit Soi 31 (Soi Sawasdee), 02-662-0530-1, www.levendomerestaurant.com
This small 10-table space has won over the pickiest connoiseurs with its refreshing interpretations of Vietnamese favorites. The restaurant won’t win any awards for interior design, but the food is simply fantastic. You’ll relish gregarious owner Meyung’s fresh spring rolls, palate-cleansing pickled vegetables, flavorful pho, and dishes like cha ca, grilled catfish that arrives in its own wok, with handfuls of fresh dill and homemade fermented shrimp paste. The former FBI agent makes regular trips to Vietnam, so the ingredients are always fresh—and no MSG. Appetizers: B100+; mains: B200+; desserts: B100+. Corkage: B200.
32 Sukhumvit Soi 13, 02-251-8389
The second branch of this leading Japanese ramen chain offers the same small menu as its original on Thonglor, minus the noisy crowds and grumpy servers. There are seven kinds of Kyushu-style ramen on offer along with a few starters. Its signature Yamagoya ramen is served with boiled egg, seaweed and tender slices of BBQ pork and comes in a thick and opaque tonkatsu broth that is rich and hearty with deep pork flavors. Starters: B100+; noodles: B150+.
98-102 Suriyawongse Rd.,02-637-0588
Drop in for a taste of Tuscany created with some of the freshest authentic Italian ingredients to be had anywhere in town. Weekday evenings you can rub elbows with investment bankers and well-heeled expatriates guzzling a unique selection of wines from some of Italy’s finest estates. If your corporate expense account has been temporarily frozen, drop in for a value-for-money set lunch. Water is free if you ask for it, as is the bread. Starters: B200+; mains: B450+; desserts: B200+. Corkage: B420 (B600 for spirits).
921/1 Silom Rd., 1/F Saladaeng Colonnade Condominium, 02-636-0002
In this cozy bistro wrapped in yellow walls with dark wood décor and tanks filled with tropical fish, chef Art serves hearty European fare to neighborhood regulars and the occasional group of women who remember his TV cooking show (or perhaps his days as a championship swimmer). Braised meats and roasted meats are among the highlights. Starters: B200-700; pastas: B300+; mains: B400+; desserts: B100+. Corkage: B300.
40/25 Ekamai 12, 02-391-9946