If you’re looking for the best Thai restaurants in Bangkok then there are options at every budget level. If you’re also looking for a luxurious dining experience in Bangkok, you need not be put off by the city’s reputation for back-to-basics street food – the Thai capital has its fair share of high-fliers serving up top-notch Thai cuisine that is worth paying for. Here are our picks.
Perhaps the greatest authority on Thai food – and certainly from outside Thailand – Australian chef David Thompson is the man behind both Nahm restaurant in Bangkok, named as Asia’s best restaurant, and its now-closed predecessor of the same name in London, which was the world’s first Thai restaurant to earn a Michelin star. The branch at Bangkok’s Metropolitan Hotel serves up anything except the bland, gentrified food some expect from a foreign chef putting new twists on old Thai classics – instead Nahm delivers the kind of full-on flavour experience that makes for a truly memorable meal. As well as à la carte dining, the set menu offers canapés followed by a relish, salad, soup, curry and stir-fry. Dishes consistently raved about include the yum takai lemongrass salad and a brilliantly executed tom yum hot and sour soup.
Metropolitan Hotel, 27 South Sathorn Road; 7.00-11.00pm daily plus 12.00-2.30pm weekdays www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm
One-time street food vendor Ian Kittichai’s Issaya Siamese Club almost steals the show for its setting alone, in a hundred-year-old house in a lush garden that makes it feel miles from downtown Bangkok, when really it is a stone’s throw from chaotic Khlong Toey market, Bangkok’s major wholesale food trading spot. Luckily, the food is the real attraction here – though the interior of the house is just as stunning – and the menu serves up a modern take on Thai cuisine. Vegetarians will also be pleased that there is emphasis given to a comprehensive meat-free menu. The yum hua plee salad of banana blossoms gets a particular thumbs-up, along with a lamb massuman curry and khao yum southern rice salad, as do Kittichai’s selection of Thai desserts that he seems to have a particular knack for.
4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Phloeng Road, Sathorn; 11.30am-2.30pm and 6.00-10.30pm daily www.issaya.com
The product of an Australian and Thai husband-and-wife chef combo who met while working at London’s Michelin-starred Nahm, the recently relocated and expanded Bo.Lan retains a focus on organic and locally-produced ingredients; it is pleasing to see ingredients on the menu labelled by their Thai province of origin. The restaurant grows many of its own vegetables on-site and has the aim of becoming waste-free. Though à la carte dining is available at lunchtime, of an evening it’s a set-menu-only affair, with the six-course selection featuring dishes that change with the seasons to suit ingredients that are currently in abundance. Rave-worthy dishes include a quail curry from Chachoengsao province to the east of Bangkok and a red curry with rabbit and winter melon, while the drinks offering also changes with the main menu to achieve the perfect pairing with your meal.
24 Sukhumvit Soi 53; Tuesday to Sunday 6.00pm-1.00am plus Thursday to Sunday 12.00-2.30pm www.bolan.co.th
Nahm photo by Krista; Issaya Siamese Club photo by Zuphachai Laokunrak/Issaya Siamese Club; Bo.Lan photo by Franklin Heijnen
Have you tried any of Bangkok’s top-end dining options? Where do you recommend?