With its vibrant capital, mazes of jungles and awe-inspiring islands, Thailand never fails to delight the senses. Its food is no exception and, with the Michelin guide debuting in Bangkok for the first time this year, there is no better time to explore some of the best restaurants and prix-fixe options in Bangkok.
Bangkok serves up an eclectic mix of street foods and Michelin-starred restaurants, all at a fraction of what you would pay in cities like London and Paris, all without compromising quality. While we will never pass up mango sticky rice along Soi 38, there is no better time to splurge one night and have something transformative.
Cassie Leventhal, a New York City-based fashion executive, considers Thailand to be her second home. She can often be found in Bangkok, and while she’s there, enjoys sampling the latest and greatest of the city’s cuisine. We got her take on the best restaurants in Bangkok.
“Bangkok is known worldwide for its eclectic array of street food, but its fine dining scene has been slowly percolating since 2010,” she said. “I’m excited to share a few of my favorite with you.”
3. Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Bangkok: Bo.Lan
Husband and wife team Dylan ‘Lan’ Jones and Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava (voted Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2013) bring traditional Thai cuisine to Bo.Lan. Drawing influence from a mix of spicy street food, home-cooking, and palace-style cuisine the two bring fine cuisine to Bangkok.
The chefs use only locally sourced, organic products, and strive to maintain a zero carbon footprint kitchen. Doing so entails a vegetable garden, an elaborate waste-recycling system, as well as a water-filtering system.
Dinner is only served in set menus, sharing style, with the option to choose from three degustation menus. The plates are “course-prohibited”, meaning all dishes are served at the same time as opposed to by course. Favorites include Stir-fried Prawns with Paddy Oat Leaves, Red Curry of Phang Nga Chicken with Young Jackfruit, and Salad of Phang Nga Chicken.
Ms. Leventhal counts it on her list of best restaurants in Bangkok and suggests getting an 8:00 PM reservation so you can first enjoy the sunset. “Bar Octave is located just down the street and has the most charming rooftop bar. Start there, savor in a happy hour sunset, and then make your way to Bo.Lan,” she says.
Saawan, which means “Heaven in Thai, is new to the Bangkok restaurant scene, having just opened in 2018. While new, it’s already one of the best restaurants in Bangkok. Co-owner and Chef Sujira “Aom” Pongmorn provides a ten-course tasting menu that combines old world Thai recipes with a new, modern twist. An a la carte menu is also available.
Chef Aom’s goal is to bring Thai street food to the restaurant table. “Despite having experience with molecular gastronomy, I have chosen not to use it at Saawan. Saawaan is all aboutthe real food and real taste, not using anything to enhance the food,” she said. “I want to ‘wake up’ food that is slowly dying or hard to find.”
She counts the Nam prik among her favorite creations. With paddy field crab as the main ingredient, she added it to the menu after being introduced to it by a group of farmers. “I want to bring the very local style and way of eating to high-end restaurants,” she said.
Ms. Leventhal recommends the tasting menu, but advises skipping the wine pairing and trying the Thai teas instead. “Sawwaan was out of this world,” she says. “Something totally different for a blend of fine dining and Thai cuisine. The regional teas were so unique and not at all like the usual Thai tea found on the street.”
German twins Thomas and Mathias Sühring bring their native cuisine to their adopted country at Suhring. They offer a tasting menu of German-inspired dishes with a twist. Additionally, backed by chef Anand of Gaggan fame, the restaurant has quickly risen to become one of Bangkok’s best, landing at number 13 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Set in a restored glass townhouse with picturesque views of a tropical garden, Suhring provides a romantic setting ideal for special occasions. Moreover, diners can observe the chefs in action at the open kitchen as they prepare signature dishes like Himmel und Erde, crispy potatoes with black pudding and green apples, and Spätzle, a traditional German pasta dish.
While a la carte options are available, Ms. Leventhal recommends indulging in the 8 or 12-course option, saying “it won’t disappoint.”