Top 5 Bangkok Dining Destinations
By: Candice Rafferty
Follow her travel adventures and tips about Bangkok here:www.siambuzz.blogspot.com
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1) Seek and You Shall Find...
There has been unending hype about this place of late; with anyone who is anyone in the city of Angels stopping by. Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar is undeniably the playful new “it” dining destination in Bangkok, frequented by the cities pretty, powerful and privileged in their droves. The setting is Victorian gentleman’s club mixed with Soho chic; with an imposing bar taking centre stage. At Baht 280 a cocktail and around Baht 350 for a main dish, this place draws in a trendy crowd and is packed to the rafters nightly. The food is classic European/American comfort food but with attitude. And, it’s damn good, thanks to a kitchen watched over by the world famous Thai chef, Chef Ian Kittichai. Highlights include the popular 6oz wagyu yankee burger with roquefort cheese, caramelized shallots and shoestring fries. Other successes include the addictive twice fried malt vinegar potato crisps and the quirky, crisp ginger-ale batter calamari.
2) Sexy Dining
A free vasectomy from the clinic next door is one of the perks for males dining at Bangkok’s Cabbages and Condoms. Here all diners get a condom with coffee, instead of an after-dinner mint because this is the only restaurant in the world dedicated to birth control. Luckily, so as not to put more prudish diners off, they also serve delicious and innovative Thai food in a lovely inner-city garden. Proceeds from the restaurant are given to the Population and Community Development Association, a non-profit organisation founded in 1974 by Mechai Viravaidya, the former Thai Minister of Health. Prices are fairly good too, mains go for around Baht 90-120 and are generously portioned. All the local “classics”, like crab cakes, spring rolls, green curry, spicy papaya salad, phad thai and mango with sticky rice, are worth a go. For the more adventurous, the spicy condom salad is an exotic and tasty mix of Shanghai noodles, chilli and herbs.
3) Minimalist Feasting
It might seem like a trek, but this hipster dining hotspot is not so far off the well-beaten Sukhumvit/Silom tourist trail as to make it unappealing. If you like the sound of fusion Thai food served in minimalist (think sleek concrete walls and bare walls) setting then this Pla Dib (“raw fish”) is the place for you! The restaurant has something for everyone as it serves Japanese, Italian (wood fired pizzas are of special note) and traditional Thai fare. Highlights include the soft-shell crab salad with wasabi mayonnaise dressing, hand-rolled sushi, tuna tartar and salmon with larb sauce. Most dishes are priced around the Baht 100-150 mark and are scaled to a size suitable for sharing and not going solo. If you can get your bum on a seat (book ahead!), this is the perfect weekend retreat encapsulated by funky decor, great food and a lively atmosphere. But, if you are not much a foodie and are just interested in having a good time, don’t despair, come around on a Saturday night and you will be treated to some throbbing hip-hop doled out by the resident DJ.
4) No Fuss Noshing
The concept of Soul Food Mahanakorn is neatly summed up on its website: “Wholesome ingredients.Honest cooking. Serious drinks.” This homey restaurant and bar in an unassuming shophouse is making waves with its delicious and honest Thai fare. The kitchen revolves around what’s fresh in the markets – seafood from Sam Yan one day or meats from Or Tor Kor another. Healthy organic food stuffs, such as rice, meats and some vegetables, are sourced from organic farmers in the north-east, namely Surin and Yasothorn. Chef recommendations include the Burmese-style hang lay curry (Baht 150), Chiang Mai sausage, khao mok gai (chicken biryani), crispy samosa (Baht 110), Isaan grilled meats and crunchy papaya salad. The emphasis on homespun originality extends to the cocktail list as well, some of which will leave you floored (all doubles). Highly recommended is the spicy Bun Bang Fai (Baht 190), which will set your lips on fire!
5) Fish ‘n’ Fun
Last but not least is Bangkok’s newest kid on the block: Fat Gut’z Saloon, a fish and chips saloon for sexy peeps. This two-storey, narrow Amsterdam-esque space specialises in oysters (Baht 850 / dozen), salt and pepper squid (Baht 280), fish and chips (Baht 450 baht) and a small menu of other items (a notable example is the drunken brownie pudding (Baht 290), which could actually qualify more as a drink, considering its 17% alcohol content!). If the food is not enough to pique your interest, the place has a unique drinks menu (created by the New York wizard mixologist Joseph Boroski) of 16 unique cocktails all named after famous WWII shipwrecks. Whilst the fish and chips more than hold their own against other establishments around town, the food is arguably just an accessory here, the place is all about hanging out, drinking and enjoying a decidedly non-Bangkok ambience.