While Bangkok has always been renowned for its fabulous street food and authentic, spicy Thai cuisine, its reputation as a food lover’s paradise has become even more enhanced in the past year, as Michelin-starred chefs, San Pellegrino listed top tables, and a vast array of world cuisines have made their way to Bangkok as its stature as a top foodie destination has grown. Great restaurants can be found throughout Thailand’s capital, but the best ones tend to be concentrated in various gourmand-loving neighbourhoods.
Silom and Sathorn
Silom Road often gets much maligned as home to the naughty nightlife area of Patpong. However, these are just a few small streets, while the rest of the Silom area has one of the greatest concentrations of fine restaurants and bars in the city. The gourmet gamut can be found here, ranging from sky-high dining on the roof of the famed Lebua State Tower, to packed noted street stalls along Soi Sala Daeng or Convent Road, small side streets, which also have several tucked away upscale gems. Sathorn Road, just south of here, gets even glitzier, home to soaring hotels that teem with sophisticated dining spots. Here you can find noted luminaries like Nahm, which consistently tops the San Pellegrino list as one of the top tables in Asia, as well as the Namsaah Bottling Trust, gourmet Iron Chef Ian Kittichai’s latest happening venture.
Sukhumvit is one of Bangkok’s longest streets, home to some of the most popular tourist hotels and the Terminal 21 Shopping Mall. But the prime food action is concentrated around the ultra-trendy Thonglor and Ekamai districts. Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor) and Soi 63 (Ekamai) are home to Bangkok’s largest Japanese expat community, and are famed for the hundreds of Japanese restaurants, sushi bars, and happening new eateries and clubs that seem to spring up daily. Also nearby is the Phrom Phong area of Sukhumvit, one of Bangkok’s most expensive stretches of real estate. The recently opened District EM/ EmQuartier luxury mall is the icon of this fashion-rich neighbourhood, and the glitzy mall even features an entire wing called the Helix, where everything from Boston lobster to Pacific fresh oyster and Mexican haute cuisine are available from a dizzying selection of high-end restaurants. Even the world’s renowned macaron and chocolate maker, Pierre Hermé, has its only Southeast Asian shop here.
Chao Phraya Riverside
The Chao Phraya River is where Bangkokians head to escape the city heat and congestion and reminisce about the Bangkok of old. Swaying bridges, barges languidly making their way up and down the river, sunsets over Wat Arun, and evening dinner cruises all add to the atmosphere here. While the Chao Phraya has always been noted for its five-star dining in some of Asia’s top hotels like the Mandarin Oriental or The Peninsula, these days you’ll find plenty of smaller and scenic independent venues, not to mention some excellent waterfront dining at the popular Asiatique Night Market that feature hundreds of stalls, shops and a glut of restaurants and bars. It’s no longer just fancy restaurants clustering around the Sathorn Bridge area, but all along the river, with even bohemian Phra Athit up near backpacker-famous Khao San Road going more upscale and sporting several stylish dining venues on the water.
Siam – Ratchaprasong – Chidlom
Siam – Ratchaprasong – Chidlom is considered the heart of downtown Bangkok. This area is all about shopping and dining, with some of the city’s top malls like Siam Paragon, Gaysorn and Central World located here. While Siam Square remains the realm of youngsters looking for fashion deals and home to several hi-tech malls, delectable food options are creeping in. Several gourmet offerings have sprung up in the food heavy shopping meccas like Groove, a new part of the Central World devoted entirely to trendy eateries, and the area is also home to some of the most innovative cooking you’ll find in Asia with molecular gastronomy techniques getting shown off at places like Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin in the swanky Siam Kempinski Hotel or the 2015 winner of the Best Restaurant in Asia, Gaggan. Central Embassy offers trendy cafés and restaurants such as Paul Bakery Restaurant, Harrod’s Tea Room, Issaya La Patisserie, Dean & Deluca, Din Tai Fung and Eat Thai.