Finding a good, cheap seafood restaurant in the center of Bangkok can be a real headache, let alone one close to the BTS. But Lek Seafood on Narathiwasratchanakarin Road ticks all those boxes. A few steps from BTS Chong Nonsi, right opposite the newly opened Joel Robuchon
, this small restaurant gets packed from the moment it opens at 5pm, and stays so until the end of service (midnight).
The menu here is nothing fancy, filled with typical grilled, stir-fried and boiled seafood dishes, most of which really hits the right standard. For starters, try the fresh cockles (B90). The sweet flesh is boiled just perfectly—fresh and firm with no residual blood. The stir-fried crabmeat with curry powder (B250) is stuffed with big chunks of meat with no shell to get in the way. The sauce tastes like a thicker version of the delicious one at Somboon Pochana, with a nice balance between salty and sweet, and a strong kick from the curry powder.
The fried shrimp cakes (B180) are also above average; the shrimp meat still discernible and not overly floury like most places. On the downside, their tom yam poh taek (seafood spicy soup, B180) is let down by a lack of spiciness. Perhaps a result of Lek Seafood’s popularity with tourists, but nonetheless, it still has a tangy, lime-rich flavor.
Less impressive is the stir-fried baby clam with chili paste (B120), which looks great but, on our last visit, was ruined by the saccharine chili paste. Likewise, there’s no need to pair their wonderfully fresh deep-fried sea bass (B380) with something so strong as a mango salad, which just compromises the flavor.
Service can be hectic during peak hours (6-9pm), but they seem to handle it well. Keep this place in mind when you’re craving budget seafood in the center of town.