“Tried and true” is the best way to describe the fare at this long-standing eatery and its crowd. Stepping into this old-fashioned European-style restaurant, you might feel a bit out of place since every diner is two or three times older (and definitely wealthier, judging from the Mercedes and BMWs in the parking lot) than you are. This tourist-free restaurant is a favorite rendez-vous of grandpas and their big-hair wives, who drop by for a relaxed, lingering dinner. Mathavalai Sorndaeng has good and unique vibes, particularly in the evening when a jazz band takes center stage delivering classic Suntaraporn songs—some of which you might have heard from your parents’ record collection. The singer might not be young and slender, but she definitely has a charming and soothing voice. The chunky menu offers hundreds of Thai and Chinese dishes, which can be overwhelming, but fret not. The waiters, clad in traditional white ratchapatan jacket, are on hand with recommendations. We are glad to report that every signature dish lives up to its name. To kick off the meal, there are rare appetizers like khao tang na tang (rice crackers with minced pork and prawn dip) and mee krob. We particularly love kratong thong since the crispy tartlets are freshly fried-to-order and non-oily. Deep-fried dry bean curd stuffed with minced shrimps was just as tasty thanks to its soft and chewy texture. If you can take the heat, don’t miss kaeng som pak tai, the yellow southern-style soup that comes pleasantly spicy with generous portions of crisp lotus stems and succulent slices of fish. To finish off the meal, there is a small selection of Chinese and Thai treats, but compared to the food, the desserts are forgettable and a bit overpriced. It’s better to save room for neighboring Mon Nom Sod afterwards. All in all, the food here might not be gourmet, but it’s definitely very good. The service is also efficient. If you are looking for a place to take your grandpas and grandmas or simply want to relish in the good old days, Mathavalai Sorndaeng does the trick.
|Mathavalai Sorndaeng, Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
|Rattanakosin (Old Town)
|Reservation recommended, Live music, Parking available
|Report a correction