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Nov 5, 2009 09:18 PM

Bangkok restaurant suggestions

Hello-we will be in Bangkok for the first time at the end of December for four nights. We are a family of two adults and two teen-aged girls and are looking for a variety of experiences. Lunches will be more casual, and though we don't need fine dining or super-expensive, we would like to dine at places that are fun, interesting, beautiful or just have delicious food. We will have just spent 10 days in Phuket and Chiang Mai, so not all of the restaurants need to be Thai. Also, can anyone recommend something fun to do New Year's Eve?

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  1. Every time I go to Bangkok I eat at Bourbon St. Cajun and Louisiana food done great!! It's on the sky train at the Phrom Pong stop behind the movie theater. Fried oysters!!!!

    1. Have you selected a hotel in Bangkok? It's quite a large city, with some nasty traffic. It might help to know what part of town will be home.

      17 Replies
        1. re: holleygolitely

          You might walk a few hundred meters, east, to the Lumpini MRT (subway) station, then take the train a couple of stops to Sam Yan. This will get you to Somboon Seafood, home to some of the best curry crab and stir frid morning glory. Add some white rice to these two dishes, and you have a great meal.

          Do not flag a taxi and ask to go to Somboon. There are a couple of knock off eateries that pay drivers well to divert you. The food is bad and the prices are astronomical!

          The north end of Convent Road has some great sidewalk offers, weekdays, during lunch. The carts cater to all Silom's office staffs. Mondays are the exception. The ban on street vendors is enforced.

          Convent is across Sathorn, west of the Sukothai.

          1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

            Curt I am also considering this hotel for a trip in February. Would you consider it to be decently located as far as eating? What about location of Four Seasons? I have only three nights; only food "must" is a return to Chote Chitr.

            On another board I read reports of a good new upscale place, Bo Lan. Any comments on this, please?

            Many thanks!!

            1. re: erica

              The Four Seasons is more central. It provides much easier access to the BTS, which will connect you to many of the downtown shopping/dining venues. Yes, taxis are cheap, but they can also be a hassle.

              Here's a map of the Soachingcha area. This is where Chote Chitr is located:

              The few good "reviews" I've read about Bo Lan read like press releases. The real comments haven't been so stellar.

              Bo Lan can't be too bad. After all, the owners are protégés of David Thompson, the Aussie who invented Thai cuisine! ;-)

              1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                Curt: Many thanks! I will have three nights in a hotel but only have two actual nights for eating, due to late arrival on first night. So I have to plan very carefully! You were so helpful before my last visit two years ago!

                What do you mean about the Aussie who invented Thai cuisine??

                1. re: erica

                  For many "refined" diners, David Thompson is a god.

                  1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                    Thank you! So you think the Sukothai is a little inconvenient compared to the Four Seasons? What about the Mandarin Oriental? Also, do you have any ideas for New Year's Eve?

                    1. re: holleygolitely

                      You're talking Four Seasons again. Centralworld, just up Ratchadamri, is Bangkok's Times Square!

                      1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                        My husband and I are arriving into Bangkok tomorrow staying at Intercontinental. Any particular suggestions for dinner NYE? A smaller, restaurant-- we'd like fusion, nice-- It'll be one of our nice evenings out I think.

                        Or any restos in general would be great too. We will hit the stalls! Thanks!

                        PS. Any type of "modern" food, interesting, creative is always of interest to us. We're from San Francisco, Calif.

            2. re: Curt the Soi Hound

              On Mondays in Bangkok there are no street vendors allowed? We are there only two days, I'm glad Monday isn't one of them. Also staying near Lumpini MRT. Hoping for good street food. and bananas freshly deep fried.

              1. re: debbieann

                You're not too far from one of the better street food areass, Convent Road. At the northern end, closer to Silom Road, there are many vendors catering to Silom's office staffs. There is a fried banana cart.


                1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                  Is the duck noodle (kuei tiow phed) place still there on Convent Rd? My fave spot for that dish in BKK!!

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    Never hit a duck stall there. One of my favorites is on Nang Linchi, maybe a kilometer south of there.


                2. re: debbieann

                  Just had a great lunch - managed to meet up with our Bangkok friend and she is known at this place (she says sometimes when you are known, you are considered a "big noodle" at the restaurant, which I think is a great expression). The restaurant is Krua Apsorn - it is packed and there is very little english - to order there is a paper list of items and it is all in thai. Almost every table was having the same dishes. They have a crab, green bean, yellow chili dish that is delicious, also an egg/omelette dish and delicious fried chicken wings. We also had a lotus root dish in a tamarind sweet sour spicy sauce.

                  I was very happy they were open on NY day and our friend could make reservations.

                  1. re: debbieann

                    After passing by, often, we finally stopped in Krua Apsorn. Although we do have some reservations, the food is quite tasty.

                    The staff was a bit sparse. The owner was downright rude.

            3. I will be in Bangkok for 4 nights with friends. We are staying at the Peninsula Bangkok. Does anyone have thoughts on the hippest or best Thai restaurants near the Peninsula (or a reasonable cab ride away)? Only looking for Thai food since it is my first time to Bangkok. Is it worth spending a night eating in the markets?

              20 Replies
              1. re: downtowntorontofoodlover

                I stayed there last time, about 2 years ago. ON my first night I took a cab to Pen and it was not a bad cab ride. Pen is no frills place with great seafood. I was the only foreign person that evening. I liked the place a lot and would recommend.

                1. re: downtowntorontofoodlover

                  Yok Yor Marina and Restaurant is another no-frills dinner spot. It's quite popular.

                  It a short ride north of your hotel, just north of the Hilton. You might be able to take your hotel's ferry to River City, then Yok Yor's ferry from there. That would be fun!

                  1. re: Curt the Soi Hound


                    I will be staying at Four Seasons next month. Can you recommend a seafood place not too far from the hotel? I've never tried Somboon Seafood--would that be ok for a solo diner? I did stop by Lek on my last trip but it was in the afternoon between mealtimes...
                    how would you compare that to Somboon?

                    Many thanks for all of your help here---this will be my second (short) visit to BKK in 3 years and I relied on you for so much food info!

                    1. re: erica

                      Somboon does some of the best pu pad pong kari, aka curried crab. Add some stir fried morning glory (quite spicy) and white rice, you have a great meal. Beyond that, we have found the rest of Somboon's menu inconsistent (at least the Surawong branch's).

                      The easiest Somboon for you might be the Sam Yan branch. It's located in Chimchuri square, at the Sam Yan MRT stop. Flag a taxi and ask to go to "Sam Yan MRT". Asking to be taken to "Somboon" can be asking to be taken for a ride. There are many Somboon clones that pay drivers to divert customers.

                      Up Ratchadamri, and then making a right turn, you'll come across Amarin Foodhouse, just after the little mall. It's a sleepy little restaurant that puts out some pretty good Thai/Chinese/Japanese.

                      If you like a big lunch, The Erawan has what I think is one of Bangkok's better buffet values. Quite a mix, from lamb chops to chicken curry! It will run about 800 baht, weekdays.

                      1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                        Curt that is a great tip about the taxi! I will put it on the list if you think that that branch will be equal or better than the Surawong branch. If you think I would do better at Surawong (provided I order the recommended dishes) I don't mind a longer taxi ride...

                        I am curious if you have ever been to Ran Jay Fai and if so, if you would recommend.....

                        1. re: erica

                          Sorry, never been to Ran Jay Fai

                          Never been to the Sam Yan Somboon either. It's the newest store. But the curry crab is their signature dish. It should be fine. Sam Yan would be an easier access.

                          The Surawong store is at the intersection of Surawong and Narithiwat. The Plaza Hotel, Surawong, might be an alternate landmark for a taxi. The Plaza is across the intersection from Somboon.

                          1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                            Thanks, Curt. You are a goldmine for all of us.

                            1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                              Hello Curt! My turn to pick your brain, if you don't mind? We are staying at the Peninsula for 3 nights (Feb 18-21). We have 2 kids (6 and 4) in tow with us. So we are looking for great dining but in a family friendly enviro. No snootiness or stiffness if you get what I mean! Any recommendations for the area around the Peninsula?
                              Also me and the wife want to go out one night for a special dinner for our 5th anniversary. Kids staying in the Peninsula with a babysitter. What do you say for Sirocco? For the atmosphere? Or do you have a better idea in mind? Thanks in advance!

                              1. re: tegia

                                Sorry to get back to you so late. The thread seemed to get buried in the switch.

                                Right across the river, Just north of the Hilton, is Yok Yor Marina and Restaurant. They feature good Thai/Chinese seafood. The entertainment varies, but is usually Thai pop singers.

                                Your hotel may offer a cross river shuttle, or Yok Yor operates a ferry from River City, after 5 pm.


                                Most of the rooftop venues are overpriced, and not much more than a view.

                                You might consider Supatra River house.

                                Loy Nava Dinner Cruises are nice.

                                1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                  Curt I have another question: Last year I had the good fortune to eat at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, which I thought was quite good. One of my favorite dishes was beef in a tamarind sauce. I would like to try this sauce in Bangkok--on whatever it is served with. (Does not have to be beef--maybe even crab) Is this a dish I might find there and if so, what is the Thai name?

                                  1. re: erica

                                    I believe this is her creation. My wife can't really translate "NUA SAO RENU" into something common.

                                    In general, I would advise that you avoid beef and stick with poultry, pork and seafood. Beef isn't Thailand's strong suit!

                                    1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                      Although Yum Neua or Laab Neua can be exquisite when done well.

                                      1. re: prasantrin

                                        There are exceptions. But, we've found beef to be a real toss-of-the-dice, with very heavy house odds!

                                        1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                          Thanks--I just wanted the sauce--I don't care which protein it is heaped on! It was quite a revelation to me at LOS. I am leaving in a little more than a week and am getting very excited about the food that awaits!

                                          1. re: erica

                                            Have you tried 'gaeng som". It is a tamarind based soup. I always get gaeng som cha oam, the soup with Thai omelet.

                                            1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                              NO! But I will! I really know next to nothing about Thai food despite having made a few trips there over the years. But am willing and ready to learn. And to eat! Many thanks, Kurt. Maybe this time I will make it to Lek Seafood; I know you recommended it to me last time, two years ago.

                                      2. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                        Agree here -- we ordered beef a couple times and it was super-chewy! After that, didn't order beef again in our trip.

                                      3. re: erica

                                        This replay will be way too late.

                                        However, the sauce you had in Las Vegas was almost surely sauce Makhaam (Tamarind). It is not popular in Bangkok, but I have seen it and had it on occasion.

                                        I actually cook this sauce myself. It has tamarind and palm sugar... and then garlic, shallots, and dried chilis that are fried in oil ahead of time, then sort of crushed into the sauce.

                                        It is most commonly served with prawns. Sometimes on fried fish pieces. I can;t recall what restaurants makes it. On Sukhumvit soi 11 is a popular and touristy Thai restaurant in a very beautiful setting with traditional wooden architecture. There are various small rooms. The food is surprisingly good and not inauthentic. They just choose the types of dishes that are popular with foreigners. They have a good fried fish with Makhaam (Tamarind) sauce. It's good, but sauce is served on the side and not in the traditional way. Also, it's not exploding with strong garlic, onion, and chili as in the original version.

                                        Ruaan Mallika far down Sukhumvit Soi 22 may have this item (or should be able to make it on request) as well.

                                        1. re: chrisdds

                                          You may be thinking of Rosabieng on soi 11.

                              2. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                The Erawan Bakery in the basement also has excellent palmiers. I know most people don't go to BKK for French pastries, but the palmiers are just as good as they were 40 years ago (according to my mother), and they haven't changed the recipe at all.

                        2. Taling Pling can be a good place to get in touch with authentic Thai food. Their restaurant is very clean, tidy and has an atmosphere that makes most foreigners feel comfortable.

                          Sometimes I take people right into the streetfood experience, and they have a hard time with it because new foods, new flavours, and new eating experience is too much. But after Taling Pling, they always were delighted, loved it, and were ready for further exploration at "wilder" places :-) Many people also are concerned about hygiene, food poisoning, etc. when they just arrived in Thailand, but Taling Pling runs their restaurant in a way that these thoughts won't even come up.

                          The food at Taling Pling is quiet good, the prices are expensive by normal Thai standards, but still cheap when you come from a 1st world country. Overall, it's good value for your money.

                          It's not a place I visit myself, but for new arrivals, specially if they have kids, I often go there with them, and it's still authentic food, just slightly adjusted to Western taste buds.

                          GETTING THERE: Take BTS to SalaDaeng or MRT to Silom. Get out on the side of the street where you can see the Dusit (if you get out from MRT), or CENTRAL Department store (if you get out from BTS).
                          Grab a cab/motorcycle taxi/tuktuk and tell them "Taling Pling", they know the place. It's in "Soi Pan", right after Soi 13 of Silom road. (There's a small Hindu temple in that soi). The restaurant is located on the right side of the street when you get out from the cab.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: RaminAssemi

                            Taling Pling is actually a chain, with many outlets around greater Bangkok.

                            1. re: RaminAssemi

                              Agree. It was very tasty and tastefully served. A bit pricy, but much better than just any old curry joint.

                              1. re: edhazer

                                I would recommend Krua Apsorn...thought it was quite good last year. Also, if you really want authentic Thai food, go to My Choice, a little home spun restaurant down sukhumvit soi 36...order the southern curry and grilled Thai eggplant salad...heaven in the City of Angels...