For travelers looking to combine their culinary and artistic interests, this is a perfect place to pause. The Gallery offers diners a relaxing environment, which features an art gallery showcasing work created by local artisans, including paintings, sculptures and carvings. Diners can sit outside and enjoy tranquil views of the river or choose to enjoy the dining room, with a classically Thai interior décor. The menu includes a selection of Thai signature dishes, including the universally loved Phad Thai, and flavorsome varieties of the enticingly spicy Tom Yam soup. Rice lovers should enjoy the kao phad fried rice, prepared according to the restaurant’s own recipe.
25-27-29 Charoen Rat Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 53 248 60 1/2
Ginger & Kafe at The House
The House is a stylish, colorful venue that hosts a selection of bohemian curiosities, including Ginger & Kafe. Ginger is a shop selling artistic, quirky accessories, with some of the proceeds going to a children’s HIV charity, while the cafe lounge is full of antiques and unique furniture, including squashy sofas and restorative recliners. The menu consists of coffees and cakes mainly, both of which are good.
199 Moon Muang Road, T. Sriphum, A. Muang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 53 419 01 1/3
The Tea Tree Cafe
The Tea Tree Cafe is best described as an artistic retreat. Customers can while away the hours with music performed by nomadic musicians, cozy film evenings and even yoga lessons, depending on when they visit. The cuisine is simple and satisfying, with dishes that are primarily vegetarian and vegan. Try tantalizing tofu combos and smoothies sitting side-by-side with the humble and wholesome omelet. The teas from which the cafe takes its name are worth a visit alone: the tea menu is long and diverse, with different flavors, homemade variations and soy/rice milk alternatives.
Free Bird Cafe
Another restaurant with charitable aims but the only 100 percent social enterprise in Chiang Mai, the Free Bird Cafe sends all of its profits to the Thai Freedom House organization, which assists Burmese and other ethnic minorities in Thailand. Describing itself as a ‘cafe with a cause’, the main fare at the Free Bird Cafe is organic vegetarian. The food is fresh, local, and homemade. As well as the sublime food and high quality service, visitors can browse the in-house charity shop, full of funky pre-loved goods to buy.
116 Maneenopparat Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 81 028 5383
The Good View Bar & Restaurant
The Good View Bar & Restaurant offers delicious cuisine and romantic views along the Ping River, and has gained a reputation as one of the best evening venues in the area, with regular live music performances. The menu offers a vast selection of meat and seafood snacks, including a salad selection with a slight twist, as pork, prawns and catfish are served alongside herbs and spices. For diners wishing to ‘go local’, they also serve dishes native to the region, including the rich fermented pork fried in egg, and the mysterious minced beef served with curry powder. Chinese-style dishes including noodles, rice delicacies and soup bowls are also on the menu.
13 Charoen Rat Road, Watgate Muang Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 53 302 764
Fresh juice, Arabica coffee, cheap tasty food and free wifi: what more does a traveller on a budget need? Angel’s Secrets specializes in delicious homemade cuisine and, in particular, stunning cakes, delicately handcrafted and baked daily. These sit alongside the savory, European-inspired meals and Thai favorites. The fresh Tom Yam noodles come in a large bowl and contain a bursting array of colours, textures and flavors, while the best brunch award goes to the butter croissant with sliced smoked salmon. For something sweet, the passion fruit cheesecake served with freshly diced fruit is wonderfully balanced.
Khum Kaew Palace Khantoke
For guests staying at Chiang Mai’s Vista Hotel, or for those who simply wish to dine like a royal, then there is no other option than the Khum Kaew Palace Khantoke. This palace was built by the ninth King of Chiang Mai in 1897, in the architectural style of the Kingdom of Lanna, present in northern Thailand from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The restaurant prides itself on introducing visitors to Lanna cuisine as part of a bigger display of Lanna culture. Khantoke’s menu includes traditional mushroom and chicken soup, sticky rice, crispy fried pork skin and fried vegetables, among other culinary delights. During the meal, diners will enjoy the enchanting performances of traditional Lanna dance and music.
252/19-23 Phra Pokklao Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 53 210 66 3/4
Located in Chiang Mai’s old town, the Bamboo Bee is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that serves large, yet healthy portions. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner options, the cuisine is primarily Thai, but western dishes are also available. Those with a sweet tooth will love the exotic selection of pancakes, many made with bananas. Alternatively, take a trip over the curry rainbow, with green, red, and yellow curries waiting to be tried. Another exciting aspect of this restaurant is the opportunity for visitors to take part in a number of cooking classes. Each training session covers a different aspect of kitchen essentials, including Thai food, special drinks, shakes, fake meat, and even restaurant training.
177 Ratchaphakhinai Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 90 463 6583
The Whole Earth
This intriguing restaurant is on the corner of the night market street and has been open for over 35 years. Originally founded on the ideas of transcendental meditation and eating for enlightenment, The Whole Earth is still a very spiritual venue. When it first opened, it was the first vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai, and remains vegetarian-focused, but diners can now also enjoy inspired chicken and seafood dishes. Specialising in Thai and Indian cuisine, The Whole Earth is housed within an old teak Thai-style house, complete with a beautiful garden area.
88 Sri Donchai Road, Changklan, Muang Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 53 282 463