A favoured backpackers’ hangout spot, Kanjana offers an extensive menu with regional and national Thai specialties, all perfectly spiced and made with fresh ingredients. Tucked away in side street off Rachadamnoen Road, the inconspicuous restaurant has simple furniture, low prices and no-fuss service. Don’t forget to round off the experience with the sweet mango sticky rice dessert.
Dash! has elevated traditional Thai cuisine to fine dining, serving sumptuous dishes in a charming teak building, reflecting the heritage of Northern Thailand’s Lanna style. The restaurant features a magical garden area as well as an intimate upstairs area, and its open-air set up has a rustic charm. The menu features various Thai dishes and some Western favorites alongside delicious desserts such as passionfruit “carrot cake”. On certain nights, live bands add to Dash!’s low-key atmosphere with relaxed tunes.
38/2 Moon Maung Road, Soi 1, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand, +66 85 347 7445
Housed in a beautiful Lanna style house, Khum Khantoke not only wins over its visitors with its traditional fare but also provides great cultural shows that are far more than a touristy gimmick and include dancing styles from all over Thailand such as finger, sword and candle. Visitors sit on the floor to eat and can choose from different authentic Lanna dishes from the buffet such as Burmese pork curry, fried chicken and minced pork accompanied by rice.
This quirky restaurant stands out thanks to its eclectic décor with colorful furniture, wallpapers, antiques and other artifacts, as well as its outstanding dishes. Ginger & Kafe specializes in gourmet Thai and fusion food, with a great balance between laid-back homeliness and upscale elegance. Friendly service and a notable drinks menu with fine wines and creative cocktails add to the atmosphere.
Brasserie has one of the most atmospheric settings in the city, located on the shores of the Ping River. The restaurant and bar itself features rustic wooden elements alongside colorful lanterns, regular live music and lush greenery. To go with the ambience there’s a menu of Thai delicacies from fresh seafood to curries, steaks and papaya salads. The roast duck in red curry is particularly recommended for its skilful balance of spices.
96 Chaiyapoom Road, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand, +66 53 24 1665
Don’t miss the chance to taste some authentic Northern Thai cuisine at trendy Tong Tem Toh. While many restaurants water down their recipes in order to accommodate foreign tastes, this place will have none of it and serves up fiercely authentic and spicy dishes. The restaurant itself is full of charm, with dark wooden furniture and drinks served in antique metal cups
Nimmana Haeminda 13, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand, +66 53 894 701
The Lemongrass Restaurant serves magnificent Thai cuisine following traditional recipes in a basic setting; as the restaurant’s motto itself states: “no view, but tasty'”. Take your pick then from a menu offering all the traditional favorites as well as authentic Northern meals. The tom yum soup is an extraordinary fusion of flavors.
Loi Kroh Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand, +66 85 757 6337
The vegetarian scene is steadily growing in Chiang Mai, but Taste from Heaven continues to stand out from its competitors. The culinary focus here lies on traditional recipes with some Indian influences; try the feather-light samosas. Skilled head chef Nan spent five years in Australia before returning to her hometown to open the restaurant and cook up creative dishes full of intense flavors.
34/1 Ratmakka Road, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand, +66 91 859 892034
The Dhara Devi Hotel is one of the city’s most impressive hotels and also offers gourmet cuisine prepared by some of Thailand’s most skillful chefs. Situated outside the city center, the Dhara Devi was modeled in the style of Madalay palaces and its Thai restaurant, Le Grand Lanna, has been set up with intricate wooden pavilions and other Lanna features. The food is a mixture of Northern and classic dishes, eaten on the terrace or inside the salon and usually accompanied by traditional music and dance.
The Whole Earth has been a part of Chiang Mai’s culinary scene for more than 40 years, offering outstanding Thai, Indian and vegetarian dishes. First developed as a transcendental meditation centre that also offered vegetarian meals, the restaurant side of things has grown in popularity. It now serves a unique combination of Thai and Ayurvedic cuisine, and a wide range of really creative dishes, in its rustic Lanna-style building surrounded by a lovely garden.
88 Th Si Donchai, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand, +66 53 282 463
This article was originally written by Lena Blos and has since been updated