Riva Surya boutique hotel’s Babble & Rum
restaurant is a regular fixture on lists of Bangkok’s best riverside venues. Now its sister hotel, Riva Arun, has popped up in Tha Tien (the area right opposite Wat Arun), offering this rooftop bar and restaurant with equally scenic views of the Chao Phraya River.
The decor: Head up the four floors—stairs only—and you’ll be greeted by a nearly-entirely alfresco terrace where simple white tablecloths set a tone that’s classy but relaxed. Up here, it’s all about those views, and practically every table in the place has a prime front seat. Casual drinkers can sit at the bar. And don’t worry if it starts to rain—a fully retractable roof ensures your dinner will remain dry.
The food: They describe it as a twist on Thai cuisine, combining local flavors with international ingredients and dishes. The same team as Riva Surya leads the kitchen, serving up the likes of squid and salted eggs presented as crispy calamari tossed with ebiko (Japanese prawn eggs) and served with salted egg yolk aioli sauce and yum tua pu (B380), a shellfish and wing bean salad featuring langoustines, Mediterranean mussels and deep-fried avocado. Bigger plates resemble Western protein-centric dishes with Thai touches, like grilled halibut choo chee (B630), a chunk of grilled halibut served with creamy red curry—and the Italian-style osso bucco (braised veal shank, B720) in massaman curry, both served with truffle mashed potato. For something sweet, try the dense creme brulee cheesecake (B180).
The drinks: The thick menu covers most moods, from whiskey (B200-B260) and beer (B180-B320) to signature cocktails like "One More Please" (B275). There are also smoothies (B160) and mocktails like the Berry Sunset (cranberry juice, strawberry juice and sour-mix, B160) for teetotalers.
Why you should care: Finally, this part of the river has somewhere other than The Deck and Sala Rattanakosin to offer. With the year-end set to bring with it that short-lived winter breeze, make your reservations early.