17 Best Places To Eat And Drink In Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand, otherwise known as The Land of Smiles, has so much to offer the world — not least of which is the country's beautiful cuisine, which has seen an explosion of popularity in recent years. And what's not to love? Thai cuisine is adept at meeting the needs of various eaters; it's easy to go gluten-free or vegetarian, and Thai cooking is notoriously dairy free. If you've become as consumed by Thai tastes as us, you probably hope to one day get right to the source and experience this amazing cuisine in its home country.

And that's just what we did. During a recent tour of Thailand, we went right to the country's capital to explore all of the street food stands we could find. Bangkok is famous for its night markets and a wide array of food courts that offer both traditional Thai dishes as well as foods influenced by immigrants from neighboring countries. Along the way, we made sure to peek into some exceptional cocktail bars and dig for as many hidden gems as we could find. Enjoy this guide to eating and drinking in Bangkok.


From the World's 50 Best to the Michelin Guide, there doesn't seem to be a culinary awards organization out there that has yet to recognize the Sukhumvit-based Sorn restaurant for its exciting, innovative approach to revitalizing Southern Thai cuisine. The restaurant is at the top of its game when it comes to creating renewed expressions of traditional Thai dishes, which it does by bringing inventive, sometimes completely undiscovered ingredients to the dining table.

Through 22 courses, diners at Sorn may try completely new varieties of guava, cultivated from years of breeding that culminate at the moment when the tangy, florally sweet fruit hits your tongue. They may be exposed to sandfish, a small sea creature the size of an anchovy but with less of a fishy flavor. A meal at Sorn starts with an individual focus on small plates but gradually ascends to a shared affair, merging artistic exploration with a shared sense of cultural values.

Or Tor Kor Market

All fine dining establishments considered, more likely than not, you're going to end up eating most of Bangkok's meals from street food vendors in various markets and stalls across the city. Not only is it affordable, but it's the easiest way to get right to the heart of what local Thai people eat on the daily. Few places offer as robust and reliable choices as Or Tor Kor Market, located off Kamphaeng Phet Road in the Chatuchak neighborhood.

That said, what locals informed us about, Or Tor Kor is considered a higher-end market. However, take that with a grain of salt, as even a premium food hall cost is worth it when you factor in the exchange rate. Or Tor Kor mostly serves as a fresh farmer's market for fruits and produce, seafood, meat, and spices (among other things). There is a well-organized and very clean food court in the heart of it all, where duck noodles, curries, and som tam are plentiful. Along the way to it, you'll pass other prepared food sections serving Thai crepes, various satays, and other usual street foods. Most importantly, regional Thai foods from farther north and from the south are easier to find here, which is especially good to know if your travel doesn't include destinations other than Bangkok.


Ranking at number 79 on the World's Best Bars, and number 19 in Asia, Vesper is one exceptional place for cocktails when dining and drinking in Bangkok. The establishment is apparently named after James Bond's favorite martini cocktail, and, true to that claim, the interior is swanky enough to make you feel that you, too, are one of cinema's suavest characters. Despite the vibe (and a moderate, "Smart Casual" dress code), Vesper couldn't be a more welcoming place if it tried. Here is a place that recognizes that gathering people is its purpose for being. That's not always the case with high-end bars making international waves.

The current rotational menu at Vesper is a case study in contrast. Classic cocktails, like The Libre, are treated with reverence through well-thought bases, like Appleton's 12-year rum, before being imparted with the harmonious disparity of sweet and sour tamarind cordial with Frenet and cola. For North Americans traveling to Thailand, you'll find that the heat and humidity turn up the craving for familiar, thirst-quenching tastes that are actually oceans away. Like a margarita, for example. Vesper delivers. Featured beverages transcend borders, such as the Grilled Babycorn Margarita (jalapeño, grapefruit, lime, and grilled corn-infused Don Julio Blanco). Likewise, a non-alcoholic menu transcends the idea of what a bar can be.


For many hungry eaters, Thai cuisine and street food are inseparable. But there is a finer side to the nation's food as well, and establishments like Saawaan urge diners to consider the bold, innovative ideas that talented chefs can deliver from Thai techniques and ingredients. The thoughtful touches begin with the ambiance. Unlike the country around it, the interior is dark; severe wood panels deck the floor. But the black walls are hung with gold clouds, floating parallels to the shining, gold-wrapped buildings of Bangkok's Grand Palace.

From this lead, the quality of the food follows. The Michelin 1-star Saawaan offers a tasting menu that rotates with the Thai seasons but always follows disciplined principles of fresh sourcing and informed Thai cooking. A recent menu offering explores numerous preparation methods: a melange of raw oyster, scallop, and yellowtail tuna precedes tangy fermented Surat Thani river prawns atop well-crafted rice noodles. Further down the offering list, native torch ginger offers a botanic complement to charcoal-grilled guinea fowl. The luminous colors of khao yum salad explode beneath it all, calling the vibrant tropical environment of Thailand right into the dining room.


In today's world, finding a quality café has never been easier. But locating a place that takes matcha as seriously as MTCH isn't so simple. Several locations can be found across Bangkok, each one offering a profound take on green tea. During a recent visit to Bangkok, we stopped at the Ari location, where hōjicha green tea was also available for sale.

White walls, wooden benches, and long fluorescent lights wash the matcha counter in neutral tones, making the stark green of your chosen tea all the more vivid. Dried matcha choices vary between cafés. Each pour is carefully measured in quantity and temperature, which helps even the uninitiated matcha drinker recognize the fruity, herbal, floral, mineral, or grassy notes that blossom from a well-poured cup of matcha. Iced and hot lattes are available, but we highly recommend taking the chance to try the bold tastes of matcha fully realized.

The Bamboo Bar

Another World's Best inclusion, The Bamboo Bar, is the hotel cocktail lounge at Mandarin Orange Bangkok. While you won't find fresh fruit hanging from every tree in the hotel lobby, at the bar, bamboo is in more than name. Furniture, walls, and even the serving area are embedded with bamboo. Tiger print accents adorn couch pillows and push your eye line toward gilded lamps. With such a bold approach in such a historic venue, you might think the tasteful jungle design is doing the heavy lifting here.

Let's just say this: Cocktails at The Bamboo Bar would be as good if the bartenders served them out of the back alley. Signatures are available, but we recommend going with the Elements menu. It's a clever play on the varied climates of Thailand, from the rivers to the mountains to the cityscape — and yes — the rainforest. There are innovations in every biome; Under the Sea highlights Matusalem Platino white rum and a vegetal seaweed framboise brightened by pineapple and balanced with cucumber bitters; One Cloud Nine (Bulliet bourbon, mountain herbs, and white port) and simultaneously grounded and heady. Your love for this bar will grow faster than bamboo shoots.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

If there is one market that captures the fully vibrant energy of Bangkok, it's Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest in the entire country of Thailand. It doesn't qualify as one of the city's famous night markets (it's only open until 6 p.m.), but Chatuchak has all you need to make a visit to BKK feel complete. Despite being roof-covered, an extensive grid of shops sells everything under the sun. While you explore, there are plenty of stalls to order food or (especially) coconut ice cream.

Among our favorites at Chatuchak Market are Hey Garlic, a stand selling skewered pieces of grilled garlic bread that taste like clouds of buttery, salty, piquant goodness. If you need something to cool off with, look for the "ice stick" vendor, who's taken your favorite childhood hobby of freezing random beverages into popsicles and made a full career out of it. Tom yum is a common staple among the stalls, and if you can find it, the shop selling moo yang (honey-roasted pork) is the hidden gem of the market.

Krua Apsorn

Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Krua Apsorn is part of a contemporary class of older, less fine dining-focused establishments, which are being recognized more by the organization in recent years. For folks who appreciate Thai food cooked in a homey atmosphere, one of the several locations of Krua Apsorn will be a perfect pick. The restaurant has been open for two decades, and in that time, chef Pa Dang and her family have served everyday folks and the Thai royal family alike.

When visiting Krua Apsorn, we suggest going for the stir-fried crab with yellow chilies. The mud crab meat has even more seaborne sweetness than the blue crabs we're used to eating, but the tingling peppers make for a well-rounded plate. If you can't shake the heat from this dish, order up a coconut sorbet. In fact, order one regardless of whether or not you've had something spicy. There are many vegetarian options as well, and you will be hard-pressed to find a better deep-fried tofu anywhere in the world.

Tropic City

A bartending duo from Sweden may have founded Tropic City, but that doesn't mean that the watering hole is any less in-touch with its home city of Bangkok. In fact, located in the artist sector of Charoen Krung, Tropic City couldn't fit anywhere better than its current location. The creativity on display at TC has helped it ascend even higher in the eyes of the international cocktail community. The regular events hosted at the bar are also a good draw for locals, as well.

Inquiries about the cocktail menu at Tropic City reveal that the creative vision for the bar is in flux, though we'd guess that the overarching theme (everything you would expect to taste in a tiki cup) will remain the same. The Change of Air (Thai parsley-infused Beefeater gin, mezcal, Fernet Branca, egg white, lemon, and elderflower) is a good example of what to expect at this buzzing, neon-pink hot spot.

Nang Loeng Market

Visiting Nang Loeng Market in Bangkok serves two purposes during a trip to The Big Mango. Not only is it a well-known place for some of the best street eats around, but it is also a historical landmark of the city. The market opened in 1900. It was intended as a food-products market that could serve a wide diversity of residents who were settling in Bangkok from all across Asia. As such, the delicacies that you'll find here — from China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and further — do more than keep you full; they display the diasporic history of Bangkok.

With iron-crusted fans struggling mightily to cool things down and tall, overarching wooden beams that seem to sag under humid weight, eating at Nag Loeng is an atmosphere that promises a true experience. The outer rim of vendors sells more traditional Thai dishes, like braised beef noodles, pink soup, and pad Thai, while deeper in the market, a wider range of influences becomes the norm. Thanks to food court seating, there are plenty of places to sit while sampling dish after dish.

Kor Panich

After a few decades in business, it's safe to say we can't be the first to recommend Kor Panich. Nor will we be the last. Ours is just one more recommendation in the already mountain-high stack of tributes and suggestions that urge each and every traveler in Bangkok to visit this monumental institution.

What's so special about Kor Panich? There's some amazing taro root or banana coconut rice, but the mango sticky rice is world-renowned. It's certainly not hard to find good sticky rice in Bangkok, but there is history in how it's served at Kor Panich. Family has passed down the recipe for this dessert for over 80 years. Cooking with it results in a nutty, equatorial, and texturally perfect plate of coconut-soaked rice. Just-ripe mangoes offer a pleasant amount of tangy sweetness, and once it's all topped with coconut cream, it's impossible not to react with a strongly-worded expression, "Wow."

BKK Social Club

Maybe it's the rush of being in such a large capital city, the incredible fashion sense of so many people walking the streets, or the energy of sightseers wanting to make the most of their time here; Bangkok has an undercurrent of excitement rolling through it. One that makes you want to out the Bat Signal to your friends for a night out on the town. But since most wayfarers don't travel in packs, that can be sort of hard if you're far from home. It was in this sort of circumstance that we found ourselves at BKK Social Club.

Placed in the Four Seasons Bangkok, walking into BKK Social Club is like jet-setting to another place without ever hopping on a plane. The atmosphere is modeled to give you more of a Buenos Aires vibe. White-jacketed bartenders sling cocktails with international influence, like the Abierto (Cynar, pink peppercorn-basil-grapefruit cordial, basil, soda), while maintaining service so friendly it's like they saw the signal lighting up the sky.

Chote Chitr

Chote Chitr is another of the capital's historic staples and has been serving food for close to a century. The restaurant is slightly hidden in an area called Old Bangkok or Prang Phuthorn. Here, the preserved architecture gives you an idea of what the city looked like in a more historic era. Despite the retrograded Rattanakosin-period environment and the fact that Chote Chitr has been serving victuals for so long, the food doesn't feel antiquated. Instead, it's authentic in a way that is fresh for our modern times.

Among the most championed dishes from the chalk-written menu at Chote Chitr is mee krob, a form of sweet and sour crispy vermicelli that comes with chicken or prawns. Another highly praised dish is the banana flower salad with toasted chilis. It has a botanic, herbal spiciness uncommon among the tingling capsaicin-loaded profiles of other Thai salads. The service and experience match the home-cooked tastes. There are some roaming house dogs that might direct a hopeful sniff toward your tabletop and were only a pair of people working the joint during this trip. That said, patience and curiosity pay off at Chote Chitr.

Jay Fai

What culinary figure has had a more inspiring rise in the past half-decade than Supinya Junsuta of the self-named Jay Fai restaurant? Once regarded as a well-known street food cook but now treated with the respect of a Michelin-starred chef (which she is), Junsuta is a banner example of how a less pretentious approach to culinary accolades can develop into justified grassroots growth.

But what is Jay Fai these days? Street food? A full-service restaurant? Depends on your definition of either. One thing that hasn't changed is that even with the attention, the chef is still in the kitchen, goggled against the brash heat of roaring forges and flipping the wok as she personally cooks every dish.

The signature golden-fried crab omelet is just as decadent as the word says; it's also the priciest street food dish you're likely to buy in Bangkok. We heard a lot of complaints about this. But stopping to consider that the sizeable quantity of lump crab meat would fetch just as much or more at a Western seafood restaurant — while potentially being cooked by less talented senses — should remind diners to check their privilege. It only takes one taste of the tom yum — acidic, sour, and umami-laden with each spoonful — to make it clear that Jay Fai's taste and passion for food deserve the five-hour waitlist. In the meantime, get there early, see some sights, build up your appetite, and don't miss your number being called.

Tanee Khao Moo Daeng

Khao moo dang is a simple dish of rice and barbecued pork. It is essentially Thai char siu. However, there is a unique aspect to this dish that sets it apart. A red gravy sauce, which is a little sweet and a little savory, often dresses the pork cutlet. Oh, and in Thailand, char siu also comes with some of the best crispy pork bellies you'll ever try.

And few do this crackling piece of meat like Tanee Khao Moo Daeng, a hawker stall just south of the Lat Phrao suburb. It's a long process to get this pork belly to the divine texture it will exhibit when your crunch down on it. The vendors at Tanee Khao Moo Daeng cook the bellies all night long, rendering fat into a crust so gold it might sneak into Fort Knox. The meat beneath the layer is sublime in flavor and feel. In place of rice, consider ordering your char sui with egg noodles dyed pink from bean paste, along with a half-boiled egg.

Jek Pui

Jek Pui has had a pop in fame with food travelers recently, thanks to a feature in the Netflix food show "Street Food: Asia." Yet the hawker stand, known for its several curries, is beloved by locals who know it as "Musical Chairs," thanks to the lack of tables outside. Instead, you'll order your curry from the cooks, who ladle it out of large stockpots, and then try and find an open stool. The plastic seats open randomly as diners finish their food and carry on with the day.

Eating a Jek Pui is a quick affair. In fact, most are coming for takeaway meals. While visiting the stall, we sampled the green curry rice with chicken, which was smooth and mild. The red curry with beef was a touch spicier. A braised egg was plated for a smothering effect over that heat, and all in all, this was a delightfully fuss-free meal.

Yaowarat (Chinatown Market)

Many tourists visiting Bangkok do so for an opportunity to walk through one of the oldest, largest, and most well-known Chinatowns outside of China. Yaowarat Road is the main thoroughfare through Bangkok Chinatown, and it is studded with shops, stands, and hawkers stalls of all sizes and flavors.

We won't recommend any particular stalls to visit in Yaowarat as there are too many to count, and, honestly, we were too dazed by the food to take notes. Instead, there are a few foods, in particular, you should look for. Patonggo, a Thai-style Chinese donut, can be found in many grilled and fried forms and shouldn't be passed up. The dim sum choices you'll find on Yaowarat are unparalleled and make it hard not to stop every 30 seconds. You should also keep your eyes peeled for whole grilled crabs, Chinese fish balls, and a peppery-broth rice noodle soup called guay jub.