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The 10 Best Local Restaurants In Chiang Mai, Thailand

A creamy bowl of khao soi | © Jason Hutchens/Flickr
A creamy bowl of khao soi | © Jason Hutchens/Flickr
Chiang Mai has made a name for itself with its food scene; delicious northern Thai cuisine that ranges from creamy green curries to traditional tangy soup, Khao Soi. Sample the best, whether on a backpacker’s budget or fine dining, with our list of the top 10 local restaurants.
Khao Soi © Takeaway/WikiCommons

Kanjana

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! Restaurant and Bar

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.

Dash! Restaurant & Bar © Courtesy of Dash! Restaurant & Bar

Khum Khantoke

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.

Khum Kantoke © whyyan/Flickr

Ginger & Kafe at The House

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

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.

Brasserie © Courtesy of Brasserie

Tong Tem Toh

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

The Lemongrass Restaurant

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.

The Lemongrass Restaurant © Courtesy of The Lemongrass Restaurant

Taste From Heaven Vegetarian Restaurant

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.

Le Grand Lanna

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.

Le Grand Lanna © Courtesy of Dhara Devi

The Whole Earth

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.

This article was originally written by Lena Blos and has since been updated