A few years back, dining in a fancy Thai restaurant that charges ฿300 for a bowl of kaeng som was crazy nonsense reserved for moneyed tourists. No sane Thai would willingly do that. A few years later, a new generation of chefs (many of them from abroad) brings their passion and dedication to Thai flavors and rare local ingredients to the fore, creating gourmet plates that prove that Thai cuisine can be worth the fancy prices. After the delicious goumet meal, catch the breathtaking view of Bangkok at one of the best rooftop bars in Bangkok.
Best Thai restaurants in Bangkok
Paste is probably one of Thailand’s most understated restaurants. Steered by the husband-and-wife duo of Jason Bailey and Bongkoch "Bee" Satongun, this modern dining room offers fine Thai dishes crafted with respect to traditional Sanitwonge recipes, yet also brimming with innovative confidence. Drawing its name from “curry paste,” the centerpiece of Thai cooking, Paste pays particularly attention to the very source of their ingredients. For example, only fleur de sel (that delicate crust of salt that floats on the surface of saltwater) from Nan province is allowed in their kitchen (table salt is not an option). The menu carries a long list of intriguing Thai dishes with an interesting mash-up of ingredients.
The name may sound like a fancy French restaurant but the food at Le Du is stylishly inspired by local Thai fare. Armed with an education from the Culinary Institute of America and working experience in some of the world’s best kitchens—Eleven Madison Park and Jean-Georges, included, Thitid Tassanakajohn or Chef Ton opened Le Du in Bangkok in 2013 with a mission to revolutionize Thai food. As the name “Le Du” (a pun on rue doo, which means season in Thai) suggests, the menu is created around the best local seasonal produce (so expect the menu to change quarterly) and elevates them with modern touches, inventive cooking and refined presentations.
Sydney-born culinary mastermind David Thompson ensures dining at Nahm, the luxurious Thai restaurant he transported from London, remains one of the most sought-after experiences in Bangkok. In the international battlefield of fine dining, this hallowed ground for authentic Thai fare makes Thailand proud by garnering prestigious accolades—it topped the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2014 and is consistently on the list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants. With a passion for Thailand and a comprehensive knowledge of its food culture, Thompson has brought traditional Thai cooking methods to the fore, thanks to extensive research from ancient cookbooks and private recipes written on memorial giveaway at funerals. The well-curated menu at Nahm celebrates nostalgic tastes and fine local ingredients. Expect no frills and molecular gimmicks. Thompson and his culinary cohort, Prin Polsuk, may stick to the roots of Thai cooking but are not afraid to reinvent their dishes with a fine-dining touch.
The hype of upscale Thai food owes so much to Bo.lan. When Duangporn “Bo” Songvisava and Dylan Jones first opened their restaurant back in 2009 to offer old-school Thai flavors, we didn’t have a clue what they were doing and why we needed to pay that much for a meal our moms can cook. We soon learned however that what Bo and Dylan were trying to do was beyond anything that can be created in a home kitchen. The wife-and-husband team embarked on a culinary journey far beyond everyday Thai fare, traveling back in time to rediscover what Thai food was before everything was altered by modern conveniences. At Bo.lan, the finest ingredients, taken from different sources around the kingdom, deserve more praise than imported produce, and hands are valued more than cooking machines. And this is the reason we pay more: We pay for Bo and Dylan’s passion.
A balancing act between traditional recipes and molecular techniques makes Benjarong one of our favorite places for gourmet Thai grub. Don’t let its location in Dusit Thani and old-fashioned interiors fool you (we’re talking a pavilion-inspired dining room and glass cabinets housing intricate benjarong or painted Thai porcelain), the menu at this renowned restaurant has been given a modern twist by Danish chef, Morten Boejstrup Nielsen, the Dusit Group’s head chef who was previously at Nahm in London and Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin in Bangkok. And the result is a list of decadent signatures that still display the authentic charm of Thai flavors.
Nooror Somany Steppe is gifted. Originally a housewife in Belgium, Nooror used her cooking talent to put up the first Blue Elephant restaurant in Brussels with her husband over 30 years ago. Ironically, the restaurant in Bangkok is the 10th branch of the global brand—it was first launched in London, Paris and Dubai before finding a place back home. Nestled charmingly in the monumental Thai-Chine building right by the Surasak BTS station, the Bangkok branch is probably the brand’s most famous and has long been a prestigious spot for hosting members of the Thai royal family, foreign official guests and VIPs. Don’t be surprised, then, if you end up dining alongside ministers from the Indian government, like we did.
Fashion-designer-turned-restaurateur, Khanitha Akaranitikul, has been spicing up the city’s fine-dining scene with her family’s classic Thai recipes. With four branches across Bangkok, Baan Khanitha has become famous among foreign tourists for its delicious home-cooked fare and sophisticated ambience (surprisingly, the restaurant’s subdued flavors appeal to Thais as well). Each location, though slightly different in theme, evokes similar feels set in multi-story colonial-style structures and decorated with wood-paneled furniture, delicate wood carvings and colorful orchids. The restaurant grows their produce at their own organic farm in Khao Yai so you are promised fresh, pesticide-free greens and veggies in every meal.
Made famous by one of the city’s best Thai chefs, Wichit Mukura (who’s now running his own chef’s table restaurant, Khao), Sala Rim Naam remains Bangkok’s premier choice for a fancy Thai meal. (It’s affordable lunch buffet is especially popular.) The dining room is housed in a traditional northern-style teak wood pavilion that evokes the feeling of a mini-palace throughs charming giant wooden gates, ornate wood carving and sturdy wooden furniture. In the evening, traditional stage performances are offered along with set menu courses and old-school à la carte plates. The outdoor terrace affords the best seats in the house along with majestic views of the Chao Phraya River.
An avant-garde dining experience from one of Thailand’s most respected chefs—that’s pretty much enough said for Issaya Siamese Club. Celebrity chef Ian Chalermkittichai leads you through a journey of modern Thai flavors and state-of-the-art, innovative twists while still paying respect to old recipes. Making your way to Issaya is part of the appeal—it’s like a treasure hunt. You’d need to navigate your way through Sathorn’s small maze-like alleys before arriving at this charming, centuries-old house. Set in a lush garden setting, the cozy dining room retains a vintage Siamese charm with vibrant decor and colorful murals, while the club lounge upstairs brings back old-school luxury.
Instead of having star chefs represent its restaurant, Supanniga Eating Room lets its food speak for itself. And it works. Since it’s inception in 2015 in a multi-level shophouse in Thonglor (and later in Sathorn), the kitchens of Supanniga Eating Room have faithfully followed the recipes handed down through generations within its founders’ families. One of the secrets to Suppaniga’s success is the use of only the best ingredients from all over Thailand, including fish sauce and shrimp from the east.
Instead of throwing a grand bash for its first anniversary, Wittayu Road’s much-loved Glasshouse@Sindhorn celebrated by introducing a new member to the luxury dining scene. Tucked away behind a discreet façade and heavy wooden doors, Saneh Jaan revels in the most authentic elements of Thai food culture. The interior design features a reinterpretation of a Thai pavilion during the reign of King Rama V, when Western culture began to reach Thailand. Saneh Jaan’s executives are real foodies who, for decades, have traveled around the kingdom to sample its greatest dishes.