Sukhumvit Road is Thailand’s longest, stretching from the capital all the way out to just short of the Cambodian border in Trat province. For its stretch in Bangkok, where it begins just along from Phloenchit and is tracked by the Skytrain route of the same name out to the border with Samut Prakan, it runs through some of the areas of the city most popular with visitors.
As a result, Sukhumvit is packed with great choices for places to tuck into a delicious meal. Here are our pick of some of the best spots to grab a bite to eat – let us know about your favourites in the comments.
The folks behind Supanniga Eating Room now have a second location over in Sathorn, but the Thonglor branch is the original. The concept here is a mix of eastern and northeastern Thai cooking, inspired by the owner’s grandmother’s recipes from the province of Trat in the east and Khon Kaen in Isaan. This modern diner is pulling in the plaudits for dishes that showcase produce from both regions, like the gaeng pa jungle curry, nam prik kai puu chilli dip of crab eggs, and puu jah steamed crabmeat and pork – there are also rotating specials, and a solid cocktail list.
Daily, 11.30am-2.15pm and 5.30-11pm; Sukhumvit Soi 55 (BTS Thonglor); 02-714-7508; www.supannigaeatingroom.com
In a gorgeously restored Sukhumvit house, Quince is a sociable, homey spot for the trendy Thonglor set, where the focus is firmly on pared back, simple yet flavoursome Mediterranean dishes that make the best of local and seasonal market produce. Expect tempting, satisfying plates like aged jamon iberico, avocado, kale and fried duck egg on toast, lamb shanks, and daily rotating risotto, plus an extensive weekend brunch menu ranging from Turkish poached eggs to shakshuka, wagyu ciabatta, and goat’s cheese soufflé.
Daily, 11.30am-1am; Sukhumvit Soi 45 (BTS Phrom Phong); 02-662-4478; www.quincebangkok.com
Bo.lan has long been credited with being among the first Bangkok restaurants to pioneer an elevated form of Thai cuisine that focuses on top-notch ingredients and exquisite presentation. That same dedication to quality continues today, with locally sourced and homegrown produce resulting in a seasonally rotated menu, in addition to a concerted effort to minimise waste and promote environmentally friendly practices.
With a name that’s both a combination of the owners’ names and a play on the Thai word for ‘ancient’, the menu here is a collection of classic Thai dishes reworked with modern flair. An exceptionally short a la carte menu is available at lunch, alongside a set menu of six dishes to share (courses as such aren’t a thing, and just about everything is served together), while one of a number of extensive set menus are available for evening service. Over on the riverside in the old town, Bo.Lan’s spin-off Err serves Thai cuisine with rustic feel.
Saturdays and Sundays, 12-4pm (last orders 2.30pm), and Tuesdays to Sundays, 6pm-1am (last order 10.30pm); Sukhumvit Soi 53 (BTS Thonglor); 02-260-2961; www.bolan.co.th
Cabbages and Condoms is perhaps among Bangkok’s most internationally famous restaurants – yet not for the food, but for the admirable cause behind the venture. Proudly touting the tagline ‘our food won’t make you pregnant’ (and giving away post-meal condoms instead of mints), Cabbages and Condoms supports the Population and Community Development Association’s promotion of sexual health awareness in Thailand. Condoms play a big part here, giving life to the quirky decor, but it’s also more generally a bright and romantic setting. The menu is extensive, and there’s a focus on locally sourced and homegrown produce, though flavours are geared towards the western rather than Thai palate.
Daily, 11am-10pm; Sukhumvit Soi 12 (BTS Asok); 02-229-4610; www.pda.or.th/restaurant
One Skytrain station down from Thonglor, in Bangkok’s equally trendy and increasingly pricey expat neighbourhood of Ekkamai, Bourbon Street is a bright, modern American restaurant serving up immensely popular Cajun and Creole dishes from New Orleans and beyond. Come for everything from seafood jambalaya to freshly shucked oysters, enchiladas, quesadillas, steaks, crawfish, pizzas, burgers, southern-US-style breakfasts, and even a small selection of Thai staples. The restaurant also has guesthouse rooms if you eat so much you can’t make it home.
Daily, 7am-1am; Sukhumvit Soi 63 (BTS Ekkamai); 02-381-6801; www.facebook.com/bourbonstbkk
Who says an American can’t cook excellent Thai food? Soul Food Mahanakorn has taken the outdated idea that Thai food is the sole reserve of Thais, and turned it right on its head. The trendy yet cosy atmosphere and authentic Thai dishes make this a popular spot with the trendy Thong Lor neighbourhood’s Thais and expats alike.
As well as increasingly rare Thai dishes like yum hua plee, a salad of banana blossoms, the restaurant turns out top-notch one-plate dishes. The reason the food at Soul Food Mahankorn is such a show-stopper is that it brings carefully sourced, high quality ingredients to street dishes with centuries of heritage. Think pad krapao and massuman cooked with lamb rather than the usual chicken, beef or pork, a northern gaeng hunglay curry that is the talk of the town, northeastern duck laab salad, tiger prawn satay and khao soi curried noodles made with slow-simmered beef brisket. There’s no stinting on the drinks, either – Soul Food Mahanakorn boasts a serious wine list and a collection of uniquely named and mixed signature cocktails including the Bangkok Bastard, the low-so Mojito (made with lao kao rice whisky from Chiang Mai) and the Jai Yen Yen.
Daily, 6-11pm (Fridays and Saturdays until midnight); Sukhumvit Soi 55 (BTS Thonglor); 02-714-7708; www.soulfoodmahanakorn.com
UPDATE: The majority of street food vendors on Sukhumvit Soi 38 have now closed.
Sukhumvit 38 is, quite simply, a Bangkok street food institution – the words ‘Soi 38’ have become synonymous with the stuff. Set among some of the trendiest of Bangkok’s bars, hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, with a mixed Thai and western crowd that’s here to be seen as much as anything else, this street of humble, affordable and consistently well done street food is a refreshing antidote.
While it’s less likely that you’ll find anything here to completely blow your socks off – particularly if you’ve eaten your way around a fair bit of Thai food before – this is perfect munching ground for those fresh off the plane and looking to sample the delights of the nation’s cuisine in an easily accessible setting where next to know Thai language is seen. Just about every area of Thai cooking is covered – made-to-order stir-fry stalls, pad thai, Hainanese chicken rice, northern khao soi curried noodles and sweets like mango with sticky rice are all on offer here. Evidence of Bangkok’s recent obsession with American-style food trucks, the Daniel Thaiger burger van also has Soi 38 as one of its adopted spots to set up.
Burgers aside, expect to pay somewhere in the 30-50 baht range for most dishes. To get to Soi 38, take exit 4 from Thong Lor Skytrain station.
There’s an endless selection of fantastic food and drink joints all along the length of Sukhumvit Road, and we could never manage to feature all of them. But a few others that come recommended, at least along the Bangkok stretch of Sukhumvit, include:
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Are you visiting Bangkok? Take a look at our expert recommendations for:
Which of these Sukhumvit Road restaurants is your favourite? Which other restaurants on and around Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road should we feature? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by Supanniga Eating Room; Quince Eatery and Bar; Bo.lan; Cabbages and Condoms; Bourbon Street; Soul Food Mahanakorn; Johan Fantenberg; Krista.