2 nights only in Bangkok
staying at SOFITEL CENTARA GRAND for only 2 nights, we've never been to Thailand and want to get some great street food and maybe a great place for authentic thai food. We dont need fancy places, looking for hole in the wall type places. thanks for any input! oh also if you know of any good places to get some drinks. let me know your opinions, thanks.
don't worry, it's not a bad location at all. you're right near siam square and there are some very hole-in-the-wall spots there and some good mall food courts if you don't feel like braving it. plus it's the skytrain interchange station so you can go anywhere pretty easily.
there are hundreds of eating and drinking places in bangkok! right near your hotel there are not lots but if you go to siam square and head towards the back (away from the skytrain) there are some shophouses. i think most are only open during the day for the college students. otherwise there are some cute studenty cafes in siam square. i'd avoid the touristy looking places if you don't want that type of experience. if you do head towards sukhumvit (your hotel is on the road that will become sukhumvit in about a mile) just be preparedf for many, many other foreigners.
thanon thanao in the old city and thanon nakhon chaisi are my favorite local food neighborhoods. you'd have to take a taxi or the river boat (only runs during the day) but i think it's worth the effort. silom (very easy to get to by skytrain from your hotel) has lots of shophouse restaurants. mostly noodle shops but some roast duck, etc. also charoen krung road close to silom road has good places.
for high end drinks and a view of the city, stop at the Sky Bar at Lebua Hotel (take the skytrain to Saphan Thaksin). or tuk sa ra on thanon thanao for a hip, art student type place. otherwise... bars to fit every description from totally sketchy to luxury to jazz bar to local watering hole. if you're more specific about what you're looking for can make some better recs.
for great seafood go to savoey seafood at the suan lum night bazaar, must order the chili crab! i really don't care much for th sky bar in lebua but a lot of people seem to like it. where you;re staying the centara grand has quite a nice roof top bar.
there's a great great great coffee place with the best cookies in the world on the little street outside the shangri la hotel. there's also a noodle place right around the corner.
probably too late for your trip but in case others find this in an internet search. Two good bets for street food are Sukhumvit Soi 38... this is a late-night soi and starts up later in the evening for post clubbing Thais (big set of Thai clubs on Thonglor and Ekkamai roads which are nearby). You'll see people roll up in expensive sports cars and order som tam to go :)
My personal favorite is a street stall that has moved indoors. Soi Polo Bangkok has great "Issarn" (Northeastern Thai) dishes. Great fried chicken, larb, sausages, som tam and more.