Even with the prime Wat Arun view, this isn’t your average tourist-baiting spot.
An exterior licked with the work of Brooklyn-based artist Rostarr, a Grecian bust draped with malai, hanging crystal chandeliers, panels of Japanese ink paintings and vintage touches like a life-size penguin lamp act as clues that this isn’t just a tourist-baiting Thai restaurant—no matter what the prime view of Wat Arun may suggest. Enjoy that view through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the downstairs bar and restaurant or brave the steep staircase to the rooftop deck, where you can munch on ribeye pad krapao (B380), tom yam with grouper (B320) and sauteed cabbage with crispy baby anchovies (B240).
Pair your meal with signature cocktails like the Kalasi (frappe pina colada infused with toasted coconut; B320) and the gin-based Mama Bangkok (B320) with pomegranate and fresh lime juice, or go for a comfortably-priced Singha beer (B120).
The buzz: Located directly across from Wat Arun, this hip Thai restaurant doesn’t bow to tourist tastes with its chili-fueled line-up.
The vibe: An exterior licked with the work of Brooklyn-based artist Rostarr, a Grecian bust draped with malai, hanging crystal chandeliers, panels of Japanese ink paintings and vintage touches like a life-size penguin lamp act as clues that this isn’t just a tourist-baiting Thai restaurant—no matter what the prime view may suggest. Tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows practically overhang the Chao Phraya, which glitters gold with the reflection of Wat Arun, while a steep staircase leads up to the breezy rooftop deck. An on-point playlist of house and electro-funk completes the cool vibe.
The food: It may be a tourist favorite but Rongros’s fiery, traditional rendition of gaeng kiaw wan (green curry with either chicken or NZ striploin and a side of roti; B260/380) does not compromise on spice—nor can it be ordered any other way. It’s moves like this that attract a mixed crowd of Thais seeking uncompromisingly authentic local food and Old Town tourists looking to try the real deal. Those in the know will order the yum woon sen (B240), a spicy, sweet, sour and textured medley of crispy garlic, vermicelli, peanuts, candy-like dried shrimp and ground pork, or the equally flavorsome clear grouper tom yum (B320), served beautifully in a traditional clay pot. For starters, pick on the succulent yet crisp-skinned chicken wings (B180) and the strips of crispy catfish served with nam prik chili paste (B260), before moving onto the Rongros fried rice (B290) with nam prik, raw vegetables, salted egg and a skewer of three juicy chargrilled prawns. In every dish, you can taste the care that has gone into sourcing the best ingredients from across Thailand.
The drinks: Cheekily-named cocktails like the tangy citrus and light rum-based Golden Flower (B320)—a reference to the amicable Thai slang insult “dok tong”— and the refreshing Mama Bangkok (B320) with gin, crushed pomegranate and lime are best enjoyed up on the rooftop deck. Beer drinkers can opt for a comfortably-priced Singha (B120), while wine is available from B350/glass.