Beyond the sizzling woks and plastic stools that famously dot the city’s sidewalks, Thailand’s capital boasts one of the most sophisticated food scenes this side of London and New York City. And while neighbourhoods like Sukhumvit, Sathorn and Silom were once the go-to spots for fine dining, Bangkok’s Old Town is increasingly the destination of choice for the city’s most acclaimed Thai chefs. From innovative offal-forward eateries to high-end hipster hangouts, here are our top choices for Thai dining in style.
Since taking off a few years ago, nose-to-tail dining has proven to be more than a passing trend and this Isaan-inspired eatery demonstrates how the ‘everything goes’ mantra can conjure remarkable results. By transforming offal and often-overlooked cuts into the stars of the show, 100 Mahaseth is one of Bangkok’s most daring dining destinations. All ingredients, sourced from local farms, are given the rustic Thai treatment, which is complemented by bare wooden tables and the barnyard decor. Leave your inhibitions at the door and delve into a menu featuring grilled pig’s heart, beef entrails in spicy soup and charcoal-roasted bone marrow. Less-adventurous eaters meanwhile will be satisfied by the Thai-style tomahawk steak, grilled ox tongue and pork shoulder jerky with Sriracha.
Where to go: https://goo.gl/maps/PBDPHL4oJHN176Q39
When to go: Open daily from 5-11pm and 11am-11pm over the weekend
What to eat: Go big and order the pig’s heart. The spiced northern hotdog is also a hit
How Much: Mains range from about THB250 to THB2,500
This fermentation-forward foodie favourite is another establishment to successfully embrace a recent culinary fad. Unique ingredients and unusual cooking techniques clash to acclaim on a seasonal tasting menu that showcases the likes of poached squid, pork belly and gobi fish all accompanied by bold, fermented sides and sauces courtesy of the in-house fermentation lab. Fermented ingredients subtly drift into drinks such as the sato (Thai rice wine) as well, but don’t get yourself into a pickle if that’s not your thing — the wine menu and cocktails are also top-notch. While the food here is undoubtedly serious, the atmosphere remains playful thanks to the blend of colourful wall murals, causal seating and industrial chic.
Where to go: https://goo.gl/maps/orSiNxxCPLSXoq9GA
When to go: Tuesday through Sunday from 6-9pm
What to eat: The nine-course tasting menu
How Much: From THB3,000
One of the latest additions to Bangkok Old Town’s Thai fine-dining scene, the highly-anticipated Samranraj Cuisine takes inspiration from the neighbourhood’s culinary heritage. Home to street-food stalwarts including Michelin-starred Jay Fai and Pad Thai Thip Samai, Sam Yot is not short of must-visit spots on the city’s food trail. Chef Bank pays homage to these local legends with his own take on their signature dishes, whilst also harking back to the area’s original Cantonese inhabitants — and the Villa de Pranakorn owners’ ancestry — with creations that artfully combine traditional ingredients with contemporary techniques. Upon entering the dining room, you’re greeted by a minimalist interior that subtly nods to the neighbourhood’s notable Sino-Portuguese architecture — providing an understated environment in which the food commands centre stage.
Where to go: https://goo.gl/maps/tXgvAmFdcqLTjDXx9
When to go: Dinner from 5-10pm
What to eat: The Lamb Massaman Curry is a must
How Much: Mains from about THB1,000
Supanniga Eating Room
After gaining an enviable reputation as one of tastiest Thai joints on Bangkok’s swanky Thong Lor strip, Supanniga branched out to the city’s CBD before recently opening its doors in the Old Town. Taking a left turn from the usual Thai menus, this intimate eatery tucked away in a renovated Chinatown shophouse excels in introducing patrons to speciality dishes from the country’s north and south — namely the Khon Kaen and Trat regions. Expect unexpected delicacies, such as coconut curry with lotus stems and mackerel, salak and shrimp chilli dip with deep-fried nue-aon fish, many of which hail from decades-old cookbooks written by the owner’s grandmother. Vegetarians are also extensively catered with a dedicated menu packed with inventive recipes like deep-fried and dry-sautéed tofu with Thai sweet & spicy curry and Chinese bamboo shoot stewed with Thai herbs and cha-muang leaves.
Where to go: https://goo.gl/maps/tXgvAmFdcqLTjDXx9
When to go: Open daily from 10:30am-1:30pm; and 4:30-9:30pm
What to eat: Go with a group and order as many dishes as you can eat
How Much: Mains from about THB240
Err Urban Rustic Thai
A casual dining room concept from the team behind Michelin-starred Bo.lan, Err Urban Rustic Thai is free of pretension and full of bold flavours. Although the interior heavily references yesteryear with its mishmash of vintage posters, graffiti and retro kitchen accessories, the food is anything but dated. The playful approach extends to dishes such as the whole chicken’s skin (we won’t spoil the surprise) and unusual veggie skewers of pickled garlic, turnip and mustard, while standouts include the Chiang Rain-style sausage and braised mussels. The cocktail list is also worth investigating. Largely crafted using local liquor and fresh, seasonal ingredients, they’ll help ease you into the evening spirit after a long day’s sightseeing on the nearby river.
Where to go: https://goo.gl/maps/Ydy5paPWmRAad86R9
When to go: Tues-Sun from 11am-4pm and 5-9pm
What to eat: Order whole chicken’s skin for the novelty factor
How Much: Mains from about THB2460