Bangkok's dining scene in 2018 was flavorful. We're excited to see all kinds of drool-worthy openings, from Michelin-worthy fine-dining Thai to the city's first Thai-Nordic eatery to a casual pizzeria that blows our mind. Here, let's take a look back at our most favorite new openings of all 2018.
Best new restaurants of 2018
Alexander’s German Eatery is a casual revelation to the hip Ekkamai, serving a splendid procession of home-style German fare. Tucked on Soi Ekkamai 12, the modern Instagrammable joint one part beer bar, one part restaurant. Owner Alexander von Wnuk-Lipinski is probably the city’s best ambassador for authentic German fare. His schweinshaxes are roasted to reveal crispy skin but tender and juicy meat — it’s one of the best we’ve had in Bangkok, served alongside white cabbage salad.
Neo Nordic cuisine is the specialty of Thai chef Rungthiwa “Fae” Chummongkhon who worked for more than ten years in Michelin-starred kitchens in Scandinavia and Europe. Chef Rungthiwa is trying to combine her culinary knowledge with the use of premium seasonal Thai ingredients at Front Room, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok’s signature dining room. The results: a creative and memorable dining experience that will excite even the city’s most seasoned gourmands. Select between ten-course degustation menu or à la carte menu.
Nightlife king Sanya Souvanna Phouma props up his Lao roots with his usual brand of quirky cool at Funky Lam—the city’s best introduction to Lao cuisine. Australian-born chef Andrew Cole, who has had a decade’s worth of experience preparing Thai and Lao cuisine, rolls out uncompromising recipes indigenous to Northern as seen in dishes like the kaipen (crispy dried seaweed) served with three types of jaew relish, and the heavily spiced larb ped with minced grilled duck and toasted rice and Sanya’s very own hoy sai oua, a thick, punchy soup with clams and pork balls.
After establishing the crowd-pleasing pasta joint La Dotta in Thonglor, husband-and-wife restaurateurs Choti and Debby Leenutaphong have given birth to their restaurant’s little sister. La Dotta La Grassa is another ode to pasta, but this time with a swankier look and a menu that explores beyond beloved stringy carbs. We are talking about protein-heavy seafood and meat dishes like the Sardinian suckling pig with crispy skin and tender meat served with flavorful red wine gravy.
Motsuyaki specialist Nihon Saisei Sakaba opens its first foreign outpost in Soi Sukhumvit 26. The restaurant welcomes guests with an eye-popping wooden façade adorned with dark blue noren (fabric divider) and white paper lanterns. Instead of listing down izakaya staples the menu reads somewhat like a medical textbook on the anatomy of a pig. But fret not, the cooks are well-trained and were sent to work in Nihon Saiseisakaba’s Japanese outlets for months to ensure that these organs are perfectly prepared and lack any unpleasant smell.
Varatt Vichit-Vadakan, part-owner of cool eatery Roast and hip coffeeshop Roots explores unfamiliar territory with the launch of a new fine-dining restaurant called Ocken. The establishment takes a different direction in decor from Varatt’s other hipster-friendly outlets. The low-lit dining room is a study in dusky hues, with teal and brown tiles grounding dark wooden tables. In contrast, the open kitchen is a bright space manned by busy chefs and line cooks. Chef Johnny Liu, formerly of Horse Says Moo, has created an outstanding menu that revolves around five categories (snacks, starters, salad, mains and dessert).
New York-born Jonathan Spearman opens Pizzeria Mazzie, the pizza place that’s got everyone talking. Tucked inside shopping and dining complex Park Lane, Pizzeria Mazzie tosses the flavors of New York and more into amazingly delicious pies and evokes the cozy and boisterous vibe of pizza shops scattered throughout NYC’s neighborhoods. Take a seat at the white marbled bar and witness thin-crust rounds being cooked in a gigantic woodfired oven.
The latest addition to Fred Meyer’s restaurant empire is taking you on a ride to culinary heaven. Saawaan (which means “heaven” in Thai) serves up a procession of Thai cuisine that elevates humble recipes with innovative, modern-day techniques. The restaurant is all spruced up with somber black walls and elegant wooden tables, set off by the floral wallpaper applied by its former occupant. Bringing together her experiences in traditional French fare and in modern gastronomy chef Sujira “Aom” Pongmorn reinterprets traditional Thai bites into contemporized masterpieces that still retain an attachment to their roots into The 13-course meal.
The man behind popular southern Thai eatery Baan Ice, Supaksorn “Ice” Jongsiri, is hoping to change southern Thai fare’s reputation and prove that the feisty flavors of the deep south also deserve attention from epicures by showcasing the cuisine’s more refined aspects at his new restaurant Sorn. Chef Yodkwan U-pumpruk familiarized himself with southern cuisine for more than two years by making trips down south to meet with local suppliers. His efforts have resulted in a five-course menu (B2,700), that brings together more than 20 ingredients that showcase the diversity of the region.
Yao is the new Chinese restaurant and bar that crowns the newly opened Marriott Hotel on Surawong Road. Set on the 32nd floor of the hotel tower, the restaurant provides commanding views of downtown Bangkok and the Chao Phraya River. Modern Shanghai-inspired decor in dark, seductive hues, along with elaborate Chinese ornaments and brass sculptures reflect the dining room’s name, which means “glory” in Mandarin. Yao prides itself on being one of the few diners in Bangkok to offer Shanghainese cuisine along with Cantonese delicacies—all of which are churned out by a kitchen team led by Chinese chefs.