Four Bangkok dining institutions were recently named some of the best on the continent at Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2016
. One of the city’s restaurants, Gaggan, even came number 1 for the second year in a row. It all points to a fact which people living in Bangkok have known for a long time: that this city is one of the top culinary players in the region not just for its incredible street food, but also for its amazing, inventive restaurants which are trying new things and pushing Thai food down unchartered directions. Here are some of our favorite spots in town.
One of a vanguard of restaurants that seek to tweak tried-and-tested street food favorites, Baa Ga Din presents a modern twist to roadside specialties like chicken wings and oyster omelets. The brainchild of Thitid Tassanakajohn of acclaimed fine-dining eatery Le Du, the restaurant also serves an inventive cocktail menu in a friendly, bistro atmosphere that lures large groups who want the casual experience of Thai street food without all the hassle.
26 Sukhumvit Soi 33, 02-662-3813. Open Wed-Mon 11:30am-2:30pm; 6-11pm
Specializing in “homestyle” dishes utilizing organic rice and veggies and free-range meat and eggs, Baan—which means “home” in Thai—is another of the growing constellation of restaurants in chef Thitid Tassanakajohn’s dining empire, and features recipes cooked up by his very own family. Standout dishes include a kai palo-tom sap hybrid (Chinese-style five-spiced egg soup flavored with Isaan-style spices) and deep-fried sun-dried pork.
139/5 Wireless Rd. (between Japanese Embassy and Lumphini Police Station), 02-655-8995, 081-432-4050. Open Wed-Sun 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm; Mon 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm. MRT Lumphini
The chef duo behind Bangkok’s Thai fine dining institution Bo.lan have brought their expertise to a new genre of modern, casual Thai cuisine. Their latest project, Err, is set in a retro shop-house just down the street from Wat Pho, where they’ve trained their chefs to whip up rejuvenated versions of Thailand’s best drinking snacks. The menu comprises dishes intended to be shared among friends alongside cocktails.
394/35 Maharaj Rd., 02-622-2291. Open Tue-Sun 11am-9pm
One of the few Thai “chef’s table” restaurants out there, Khao is the brainchild of Vichit Mukura, the former head Thai chef at Mandarin Oriental hotel. His take on the local cuisine features the finest imported produce incorporated into classic Thai dishes, like a spicy salad of premium Matsusaka beef. Space is limited, with room for only small groups of 4-12 people a night. Khao shares space with Japanese restaurant Yuutaro.
64 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 098-829-8878. Open daily noon-2pm, 6:30-11pm
Once in a while, a Thai restaurant comes around that manages to fuse classic Thai food with modern Western techniques in a manner that doesn’t feel heavy-handed or forced. Such is the case with Le Du, headed by Chef Thitid Tassanakajohn, a Thai chef with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and stints at 11 Madison Park and The Modern. The menu changes seasonally and the wine list is sourced solely from organic or boutique outfits
399/3 Silom Soi 7, 092-919-9969. Open Mon-Sat 6-11pm. BTS Chong Nonsi
After Suk 11’s legendary nightclub and restaurant Bed Supperclub closed down in 2013, the avant-garde spaceship building was reborn on Sukhumvit Soi 13 as Chi Ultralounge by designer and Bangkok party mogul Darryl Scott. Now, the fine-dining portion of the project has opened as Mana Dining, in collaboration with Blue Elephant restaurant. Chef Anthony Bish (formerly of Blue Elephant Phuket) helms the kitchen, going in for contemporary Western presentation of Pan-Asian dishes. Meals are served over four-course sets which rotate every month and come in three options: meat and poultry (dubbed Fire), seafood (Water) and vegetarian (Earth). Highlight dishes on the current menu include the beef salad that sees four cubes of well-cooked premium local beef tenderloin served with nam jim jaew sauce and confit quail egg, while more fusion tastes make their appearance in the Eastern European borscht soup made with beetroot and red cabbage and chicken roulade (sous-vide chicken rolls) served on organic black rice risotto. A team of Diageo World Class contestants has created the cocktail list, playing around with classics, adding Thai spices and sticking to premium base spirits like Johnnie Walker Gold Label.
32/8 Sukhumvit Soi 13, 02-102-0013. Open Tue-Sat 7-10:30pm
Two of Bangkok’s most highly-regarded modern chefs, Bongkoch Satongun and Jason Bailey, have joined forces with the aristocratic Sanitwong family, descendants of Rama II, to open this second branch of Paste. Its specialty is recipes from the Sanitwongs’ ancient cook books, with a particular emphasis on curries. Try the gang gai gorlae (Southern Thai-Muslim curry with grilled chicken), made using sous-vide, coconut-husk-smoked grilled chicken
3/F, Gaysorn Plaza, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-656-1003. Open daily noon-2pm, 6:30pm-midnight. BTS Chit Lom.
This kiosk focuses on comforting Thai bites and slightly Western variations of local street food, including the Risky Chicken (fried chicken and somtam with Sriracha mayo on a Conkey's brioche bun), Khao Soy Cowboy (pulled pork in khao soy curry with sweet potato and mustard pickles or Australian wagyu pad krapao (fried rice with basil). If the whole thing screams Brooklyn, it may come as no surprise that Soul Food also supplies some of these dishes to hip New York hangout Baby’s All Right.
G/F, The Commons, 335/1 Thonglor 17, 02-101-4526. Open daily 11am-midnight
One of Bangkok’s favorite Thai restaurants has built its reputation on delicate traditional plates bursting with strong, authentic flavors. The casual decor plays with the vivid yellow of Supanniga flowers, while other references to Eastern Thai culture abound. Dont miss the pu jah (blended crabmeat and pork, seasoned with pepper and steamed inside crab shell), panang nuea lai (beef chunk in red curry) and moo cha muang (stewed pork with herbs and cha muang leaves).
28 Sathorn Soi 10, 02-635-0349. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11:30pm. BTS Chong Nonsi
160/11 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02 714 7508. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11:30pm