The Ratchathewi district of Bangkok in Thailand is popular for its shopping, but you’ll also find a wide variety of dining options. Whether you’re seeking quick, cheap street food, or a traditional sit-down setting, check out our list of the best spots.
Restaurant, Thai, $$$
With a smiling, friendly staff, ceiling fans to provide a welcome breeze, and wood panels inlaid with colored glass, Tida Esarn offers customers a fun, retro feel and an affordable menu great for lunch or dinner. Serving mainly Thai and Isan cuisine, this kitchen whips up a wide range of options, from traditional signature dishes like their Som Tum (papaya salad) to more unusual items like snake head fish, frog, and pork liver. Be sure to pair your plate with an ice cold Chang beer to complete your meal.
Located inside the former royal reception room of the Phayathai Palace, Café de Norasingh is easily the most elegant place to drink coffee in Bangkok. In business for a full century now, this restaurant still has its original wood wall paneling, hand-painted ceiling frescoes, and beautiful polished wooden floors, which combine to create a classically romantic atmosphere. Aside from great espresso drinks, the cafe also serves a range of tasty snacks, pastas, salads, and sandwiches for a satisfying lunch. The most noteworthy dishes are the salted pork and toast and pot pies, while the standout on their drink menu is the green tea latte. For something sweet, grab a chai thai cake to go.
While Jakkee’s noisy setting and fast-paced environment may not be ideal for a romantic date or serious meeting, the quality of the food here compensates for any lack of frills. This makes its fare a must-taste for any traveler who’s serious about sampling great Thai cuisine. With a short menu of traditional Thai and Thai-Chinese food that many devoted regulars know by heart, this generations-old restaurant is renowned for its rad na nau (stir-fried noodles in beef gravy sauce), and also serves excellent kaho pad, dumplings, and an impressive range of deep-fried appetizers.
Offering some of the best seafood in Bangkok, Kuang Sea Foods Restaurant has a menu of incredible dishes for bargain prices. However, make sure that you ask for the local menu when you first arrive, as there’s a separate one for foreigners that’s significantly more expensive. This restaurant exhibits its fish in glass tanks so you can meet what you eat, and serves its fresh fare in a no-nonsense setting of granite-covered tables and metal chairs. Their exquisite dishes stand out even more against these spartan settings: try the boo pad pongali (crab yellow curry), and the pla kapong neung see ew (steamed fish in soy sauce). Don’t forget to order the crab fried rice on the side.
Perhaps the very fastest of Thailand’s ‘fast food’, this is one of several street stalls set up along the busy Ratchawithi Road right before Soi 6. Although not exactly elegant, the service is impeccably quick and its outdoor seating is kept relatively sheltered from the noise of the adjacent street. The best dishes to order here are the Kuay Jab (rolled rice noodles in soup), and Kao Moo Daeng (BBQ pork on rice with porky red sauce). Open until late, this is the perfect place to grab a quick, delicious late-night bite. If you’re hungry enough for a full meal, be sure to order more than one dish because their servings are definitely snack-sized.