Bangkok is no doubt, a city with thriving culinary scene, from street vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants, all lined up ready to offer you the best Thai culinary experience. Nevertheless, some are caters to visitors might not be outstanding ones, since tourists are easier to satisfy than locals. One thing for sure, you will want to visit the best places to eat while you are in the vibrant city of Bangkok, aren’t you?

We have been living in Bangkok for more than two years now, and of course during our first year here, we tried many ‘trending’ restaurants listed by tourists, both indoors and on the streets. Mostly they were so-so. So, there goes the question,“Where do the local Thais usually eat in Bangkok?”

While we are also still in our mission to compiling our list, below, we have listed top 12 best places to eat while you are in Bangkok, that Thais themselves love to eat. I also listed some of ‘acceptable-you-gotta-try-at least-once’ places down below.

SAEW NOODLE

This is a legendary noodle shop where I am quite sure you won’t see in most viral videos. They have been selling noodles for decades and famous among locals.

best place to eat in bangkok

Located in Klang alley, Sukhumvit 49, they are famous for their Tom Yum noodles with minced pork, fish cake, meatballs and pork liver. If you cannot handle spicy, they have non-spicy noodle as well. Portion size comes in 3 options, I recommend medium size for satisfaction. Their noodles have dried and soup versions and both are scrumptious. (photo credit :lulla)

ADDRESS : 1/5 Sukhumvit 49 (20 Meters from Sukhumvit road, accross the pearl 49)
OPENING HOURS :8.30 am – 3:30 pm . Closed on Sundays.

PHED MARK

Best pad kaprao in town. No debate. If you ask me what is Thai national dish, it is an easy answer :
Pad kaprao (ผัดกะเพรา), nope, not Pad Thai. Pad Kaprao is a stir-fry dish combining of holy basil, minced meat (usually beef or pork), garlic, chilies, and topped of with fried egg. There is nothing more comforting than eating Pad Kaprao whenever wherever (even my son would ask for phed mark every other day).

best place to eat in bangkok

Personally, I like Phed Mark’s pad kaprao because of the hint of smoke from the wok, unlike a common stir-fry home kaprao. Also combined with the runny egg yolk and sauce, makes the rice tastes rich, creamy and thicker taste compared to other pad kaprao.

At Phed Mark there are five level of spicy, no spicy (just pepper) and level 5 (crazy hot). Their signature is level 4 (medium signature), which I cannot handle. I love chili and spicy, and cannot live without sambal. For me, level 3 is my comfort-not-excruciating level with Phed Mark’s kaprao.

Price wise, yes, it is more pricey compared to other local kaprao, but is it value for money? You’ll be the judge.

PRO TIP :

  • They have two locations, one in Thonglo (take-away only) and the main one in Ekkamai bus terminal. I’d suggest you to get your pad kaprao from Ekkamai bus terminal’s branch, as they taste SO MUCH better than thonglo’s branch.
  • If you want to dine in, come as early as their opening hour to avoid long queue or around 3 PM.

ADDRESS : 300 Sukhumvit Rd, Phra Khanong, Khlong Toei, Bangkok (Ekkamai Bus Terminal)
OPENING HOURS :
10 am – 7 pm

ROS’NIYOM

We are proud to say this is our family go-to restaurant every time we go to the mall. They sell Thai street food at very reasonable price. The taste of the food is still very much similar to those in street vendors, simple, comforting yet delicious. Compared to Kub Kao Kub Pla, this restaurant is still favored much by local Thais due to their effort to keep the original taste to real Thai street foods, not fusion.

There are many options to choose from their menu but our favorites are:
– fried chickens (my daughter’s favorite)
– green curry
– crab fried rice (my son’s favorite)
– stir fried rice vermicelli with crispy pork
– thai style omelette

PRO TIP : they have many branches, but our favorite and less busy is the one in emporium mall and emquartier mall

ADDRESS : you can find all their branches here
OPENING HOURS:
10 am – 10 pm

KUB KAO KUB PLA

This is one of the restaurant that you have to try at least once if this is your first time visiting Thailand. I don’t recommend this ‘to die for’, but as a tourist, you gotta try at least once, no? Unlike ros’niyom, Kub Kao Kub Pla is famous with tourist. They serve Thai food but according to my fellow Thais, the taste is more fusion than local.

I went here a few times whenever friends or relatives came over and wanted to try this restaurant. Their famous menu to order is Tom Yum Goong, a little too sour for a normal Tom Yum soup, but it’s still tasty. Deep fried sea bass with chili sauce is also recommended to order. Even though many would recommend you to order curry crab, I would suggest you to save the menu to order at our next stop. However, if you don’t have much time to go to another place, their curry crab here is your hit list.

Despite their ‘too fusion’ and expensive price, the food quality is superb and I find their effort to keep up the service is remarkable. They have 21 branches all over Bangkok, so avoid busy branches like terminal 21 Asok and Icon Siam.

PRO TIP : try to order their pandan wrapped chicken, the menu is almost always sold out. it’s marinated chicken fillet wrapped with pandan leaves then deep fried.

ADDRESS : you can find all their branches here
OPENING HOURS : 10 am – 10 pm

SOMBOON SEAFOOD

photo credit (openrice)

The MICHELIN and legendary curry crab of Bangkok first opened in 1969. Many tourists and locals still eat at this restaurant which specialize in serving seafood delicacies.

Their famous menu is of course Fried crab meat in curry sauce. They actually have options whether you want the crab with or without shells, trust me you will want only the crab meat. The other menu that we usually order is raw shrimp salad, steamed grouper in soy sauce, and last but not least their tom yum goong is the best we’ve had so far in Bangkok.

Bear in mind that Somboon has many branches. We have tried 4 branches and disappointed with the taste and quality but ONE BRANCH only. In that specific branch, the food taste is consistently good and the service is perfect, unlike the other branches we visited.

PRO TIP : Go to Surawong Branch for the best experience.

ADDRESS : 169 / 7-12 Surawong Road, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak, Bangkok
OPENING HOURS :
11 am – 21.30 pm

HOM DUAN

Lets try Northern Thai Food at a canteen-style restaurant just a short-walk distance from BTS skytrain Ekkamai. This place is always packed and busy during lunch because of its tasty food offered at affordable price.

Their famous menu is Khao Soi Kai. Khao Soi is a Northern Thai noodle soup that uses egg noodles and is served with coconut milk curry broth in it. Kai means chicken. The soup is similar to yellow curry, savory and spicy. It brings back my memory of Indian and Malay dish combined together. Khao Soi Kai is usually served with deep fried egg noodles on top for texture. Squeeze in some lime and you’re good to go!

They also served other dishes to eat with rice, which you can just point to the waitress which dish you’d like to add to your rice. Typically the waitress will ask if you’d like to take away or dine in, then you’ll tell her if you’d like to eat rice and the dishes-of-the-day OR choose from their ala carte menu from the card.

MUST TRY : stir-fry bai liang (find: green leaves seaweed-color with scrambled egg) and Kaeng Hung Lay (Pork Curry)

PRO TIP : If this is your first time, just order ONE Khao Soi Kai and another one you can have rice-mixed, so you can taste other dishes. Also, beverages are self-service, just get yourself one from their fridge. Ice cubes are also free.

ADDRESS :70/2 Soi Ekkamai, Sukhumvit 63, Klong Tan Nuea, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
OPENING HOURS :
9 am – 10 pm . Closed on Sundays.

HERE HAI

Another Bib-gourmand Michelin restaurant since 2020 with high-quality seafood to try in Bangkok. The restaurant is actually famous for two things : crab and mantis shrimp.

Here hai is located between Ekkamai soi 10-12, quite a long walk from BTS Ekkamai, so I’d suggest you to take grab car/motor bike taxi. This is another restaurant that you at least have to try once, but you can get the same taste and quality elsewhere with much cheaper price.

MUST TRY :
– Insane lump crab meat fried rice (they have size S to XL)
– Signature Omelette Crab with Rice
– Stir-fried Mantis Shrimp with Garlic and Pepper

All those dishes wouldn’t be complete without adding the nam jim seafood (green) sauce. The spicy and tangy taste will add some more kick and flavour to the dishes.

PRO TIP : if you’re a walk-in customer, WRITE DOWN your name immediately on the book prepared “walk in, queue” IMMEDIATELY. Otherwise, your name won’t be called even though you lined up in the queue.

ADDRESS : 112/1 Soi Sukhumvit 63, 1 Ekkamai Road, Khlong Tan Nuea, Bangkok, 10110
OPENING HOURS : 10 am to 3 pm / 4 pm to 5.30 pm. Closed on Mondays.

WATTANA PANICH

The famous 50-years beef broth is located in busy road of Ekkamai. There is nothing fancy about the rustic old restaurant but the gigantic cauldron in the front, ready to serve you with its most famous kuay teow neua (Thai beef noodles).

best place to eat in bangkok

It is true that the pot has been simmering for 49 years (this year 2024), it is the method that passed down from one generation to another, keeping the taste alive at Wattana Panich.

Wattana Panich is famous for its beef, so you can either with noodles as kuay teow nuea or you can order the beef with soup and get a bowl of rice on the side (gao lao neua). The broth is insanely good and comforting, paired with tender slow braised beef. You can taste hints of chinese spices like star-anise and cinnamon there.

PRO TIP : they will ask how you’d like your type of noodle, there are sen yai (large size), sen lek (medium size), sen mee (small size). I would recommend to go with sen lek. Also ask for “pisayt” means special, if you want more meat and more soup.

ADDRESS :336 338 Ekkamai Rd, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110,
OPENING HOURS :
9 am to 7.30 pm

THONG SMITH

Boat noodle is one of must try Thai food when you are in Bangkok. The best boat noodle I’ve tried is in Ayutthaya (you can read my Ayutthaya trip here). However, since you are already in Bangkok why don’t you give it a try a famous restaurant that serves boat noodle.

Thong smith is very popular among tourist, many locals still eat here, yet also most locals still prefer boat noodles else where since the price here is quite steep. Thong Smith serves boat noodles with high quality marbled beef and kurobuta pork, that explains their premium price.

best place to eat in bangkok

Here at Thong Smith you can choose the type of noodles that you want, the type of meat (pork or beef), whether you want dry or soup, and to the level of spiciness.

PRO TIP : ALWAYS eat your noodle with the pork cracklings, it adds more textures and flavors.

ADDRESS : they have many branches, you can look up here.
Thong Smith hotpot has opened at Emsphere Mall
OPENING HOURS : various depends on mall opening hours

THIPSAMAI

Before you eat your padthai, you gotta learn the history of padthai here, because we are about to head to the first original recipe of Padthai Pratopee. (below is the picture of thipsamai iconsiam branch)

(photo credit : thipsamai)

Thipsamai Padthai first opened in the mid 1960s and I think this is the right place to eat the RIGHT Pad Thai. You haven’t visited Thailand if you haven’t eaten Pad Thai, right? There are many places that sell Pad Thai, but this place is the only place to get the correct taste and noodle’s texture of Pad Thai.

best place to eat in bangkok

MUST TRY :
– fresh orange juice, it has chunks of oranges which is super refreshing
– prawn spring rolls

PRO TIP :For first timer, you would like to order the fancy almost-500 baht Pad Thai, just to get the gist (#iykyk). However, the portion is quite small, so you’ll want to order the 169 baht without the giant river prawn. I promise you the taste is the same. This way, you’ll save a lot of Thai Baht.

ADDRESS : you can find out their branches here (their main branch pratopee is very crowded, however their iconsiam’s branch hold the taste standard)
OPENING HOURS :
various based on the location

POLO FRIED CHICKEN

This is one of many staple food that normally I delivered to my house as my kids love it so much. Soi Polo Fried Chicken is always busy and packed during meal times, especially with locals. The store has been running over three generation and is one of the MICHELIN Bib Gourmand awardees since 2018.

(photo credit : michelin guide)

Located only short walk distance from Lumphini Park, this place is famous for its moist and flavorful deep fried chicken, topped with generous amount of crispy fried garlic. Everyone who comes to this place is ordering the same thing :  kai tod (fried chicken ไก่ทอด) and sometimes probably their som tam (thai papaya salad).

(photo credit ; michelin guide)

ADDRESS : 137/1-2 Soi Sanam Khli, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
OPENING HOURS : 7 am to 8.30 pm

P’AOR (PEE AOR)

Joining the hype of tom yum noodle, this is one of the “must eat at least once” food when you are in Bangkok.This place is located behind BTS phaya thai at soi petchaburi 5 and I would recommend you to visit this place rather than the famous Jeh O and wait for hours. This one is definitely a hidden treasure.

(photo credit : lemon8)

P’Aor offers a premium Tom Yum Noodle, which promise you a tummy filled with seafood goodness after you leave the place bowl is good to share with two to three persons and is packed with high quality seafood such as lobster, crabs, mussels, squids, egg and of course noodles. The creamy rich tom yum soup worth paying over 1,000 baht, I guess (or you tell me?)

ADDRESS : 68, 51 Phetchaburi Rd, Thung Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400
OPENING HOURS : 10 am to 9 pm


Living here in Bangkok as an expat allow us to explore more corners as locals, from fun places for the kids to local eating places. Bangkok is one food heavens on earth, whether it’s Michelin-starred restaurant or street-food vendors. I believe this list will soon be updated!

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed our picks for the best eating places in Bangkok!

Until next time!

mommysammy

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