Bangkok Food Guide: Top Places to Eat in Thailand’s Capital
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Eating out is one of the joys of visiting Bangkok, especially when you're filling up on authentic Thai cuisine. From simple street food stalls where you can get a good feed for next to nothing to fine-dining restaurants, the choice of where to eat in Bangkok can be bewildering. And of course, the city is also home to countless places serving international cuisines, so if you're looking for home comforts or your favourite fast food, Bangkok’s got it covered.
To whet your appetite, here's our guide to what to eat in Bangkok and where to find it.
Situated in a side alley close to the backpacker hub of Khao San Road, Jok Pochana serves affordable Thai fare. It's loved by visitors for its friendliness, as well as dishes served fresh from the wok: think crab curry, seafood on fried rice, tom yum, pad thai, and papaya salad. It's a small place, so get there early if you want a table in the evening.
This restaurant near the Si Lom MRT station specialises in food from the Isan region of northeast Thailand, and serves no fewer than 10 variants of som tam (papaya salad). Somtum Der has even received a Michelin Plate, with The Michelin Guide picking out the homemade grilled sausage and spicy herbal soup as other highlights of the menu.
Tucked away in a corner of the commercial Sathon district, Issaya Siamese Club inhabits a beautiful century-old villa surrounded by pretty gardens. Led by internationally renowned Thai chef Ian Kittichai, the kitchen serves dishes from across the country — standouts include the slow-cooked lamb shank massaman curry — and has a farm-to-table ethos, even using herbs grown in the garden. For extra romance, dine on the veranda.
This growing restaurant chain serves mid-priced traditional food from the south and northeast of Thailand. Its Tha Tian branch has a riverside terrace with views of Wat Arun, and is close to the Grand Palace. There's also the flagship branch at Thonglor in the east of the city centre, and both sites have received a Michelin Plate. The many interesting dishes include mara toon yud sai (a broth containing bitter melons stuffed with seasoned ground pork), khai jiew pu (crab omelette), and Son in Law Eggs (fried boiled eggs, served with shallots and sauce).
Situated within the COMO Metropolitan Bangkok hotel, just south of Lumphini Park, Nahm is a smart, sophisticated restaurant that has received plenty of accolades. It recenly gained a Michelin star for the fourth consecutive year, and also featured in Condé Nast's 2021 Gold List for The Best Bars and Restaurants in the World. Chef Pim Techamuanvivit puts a modern twist on authentic Thai cuisine, and makes full use of the country's wide larder of ingredients — many of which you probably won't have heard of. Dishes include stir-fried young fiddlehead fern, southern yellow curry of blue swimmer crab with betel leaves and calamansi, and steamed leopard coral grouper with pork, pickle, and plum sauce.
There's usually a queue outside this restaurant in the historic Pratu Phi area, because for many people it serves the best pad thai in Bangkok. It has even cashed in on this reputation by producing its own brand of packet pad thai. The restaurant serves several varieties, including omelette-wrapped pad thai, and squid and deep-sea prawn pad thai. If you don't want to wait for a seat, Thipsamai also offers takeaway.
Yaowarat Road, Chinatown
You'll probably smell Yaowarat Road long before you arrive. The main thoroughfare of Bangkok's Chinatown is packed full of street food stalls and restaurants. You'll find a mix of Thai and Chinese dishes including satay, barbecued seafood, pad thai, and crispy duck, as well as myriad soups, and rice and noodle dishes. For the best atmosphere and selection of places to eat, head there in the evening.
Namsaah Bottling Trust
This restaurant hidden away off Silom Road is set within a historic pink-walled villa with sumptuous interiors. Fusion cooking is the theme here, with inventive takes on dishes from Thailand and across Asia. Slow-cooked beef red curry, salmon tartare wonton tacos, tuna ceviche, and steamed Himalayan-spiced vegetable dumplings in peppercorn sauce are among the offerings on the menu. The cocktail list in the downstairs bar is pretty extensive, too.
Blue Elephant in Sathon is an upscale Thai restaurant whose kitchen is led by world-famous chef Nooror Somany Steppe. Housed in an old Chinese building dating from the early 1900s, the venue has a pleasant interior full of dark wood, from the tables and chairs to the shutters, wall panels, and ceiling fans, giving a relaxed old colonial feel. It's the place to go if you want beautifully cooked Thai dishes paired with refined service. There's also a cookery school if you want to attempt to recreate the dishes back home.
If you're looking for something that's not Thai — and contains no meat — head to this inexpensive southern Indian restaurant on a leafy street in Bang Rak. You can try simple vegetarian-friendly pleasures like potato-and-onion-filled dosa or a hearty thali, which you can wash down with mango lassi, masala tea, or fresh lime juice.
This busy restaurant in the Watthana area has a fantastic variety of dishes to satisfy your carnivorous cravings. Expect snails, serrano ham croquettes, and ceviche for starters, then steaks, rotisserie chicken, pork belly, burgers, and camembert with truffle among the main courses. You can also head to the deli and make up your own plate from the cheeses and cold cuts on display. All of this is backed up by an extensive wine list.
Mae Varee Fruit Shop
Head to this little store next to Thong Lor BTS station to give your tastebuds a sweet treat. As you'll see from the piles of them out front, mango is the order of the day — you can buy the fruit whole or chopped up. However, the one thing you really have to try is the scrumptious mango sticky rice (khao niao mamuang), consisting of mango, rice, coconut milk, and sugar.
If you're looking for a fast-food fix, Bangkok offers everything from doner kebabs to crepes, burgers to falafel wraps. There are joints all over town, and sometimes you'll find a whole variety under one roof, such as at the Siam Paragon mall, which has branches of Subway, Burger King, McDonald's, and KFC. Other chains include Thai-based The Pizza Company, which has outlets throughout the capital, while for Michelin Guide-listed fast food, head to the family-run Polo Fried Chicken, opposite the eastern edge of Lumphini Park.
For more inspiration about where to go and what to do in Thailand, read our ultimate Thailand travel guide. You can also discover more about Bangkok’s attractions, including the Grand Palace and the city's best floating markets.
Nick Elvin contributed to this post.