Like Singapore, there’s always something going on in Bangkok’s food scene, and lots of new restaurants have set up shop. We pick seven of our favorites, including one that serves organic salad, a Mexican place and, most excitingly, an offshoot of Soul Food Mahanakorn (beloved by local, expat and tourist alike).
Established about eight years ago on Koh Chang, the Barrio Bonito quickly earned itself Tripadvisor’s no. 1 for the island’s restaurants. Now its Mexican-French owners, Mariana Villalobos Torres and Julien Chardonnet, have brought it to Bangkok at The Commons community mall. Torres, a self-taught chef from Mexico city, controls the kitchen, turning out authentic native dishes from her family’s recipes including guacamole (about $8.80) served in crispy corn tortilla cones and quesadillas (about $8). The short menu rotates daily, but you can usually expect burritos, tacos and queso (cheese fondue) with different fillings and toppings like homemade chorizo, slow-cooked pulled pork, beef and lamb. To drink, their bar stocks a list of tequilas and also rolls out creative margaritas, whether green and spicy (with cucumber and jalapeno pepper, about $10.40) or fruity (with pomelo or mango, passion and strawberry, about $10). Their takes on the Michelada (spicy beer cocktail, about $5.60) lead to funky varieties like the Mangoneada that features mango, chipotle and lime, and the Tamarindo Michelada, made with habanero chili sauce and tamarind (about $7.20).
Italian cuisine courtesy of one of Bangkok’s most lauded chefs, Norbert Kostner, a riverside alfresco terrace and the Mandarin Oriental’s iconic Author’s Lounge in the background make this one of the Chao Phraya River’s most easy-to-recommend spots. It’s more casual than the other restaurants at Bangkok’s oldest, most formal hotel (though they’ll still shoo you away if you turn up in shorts), dishing out Italian staples like pappardelle with tender Ferrara-style spare rib stew (about $15.60) as well as wood-fired pizzas ($12.80-19.60).
D’Ark at Emquartier
Famous for its original in nearby Sukhumvit Soi 49, D’ark has made a name for its quality coffee sourced from Australian roaster Di Bella and a kitchen helmed by two French chefs with Michelin star chops. This second spot feels more grown up with its dark wood furniture paired with the brand’s signature leaf-embossed steel motifs. Executive chef Jeriko Van Der Wolf and pastry chef Joffrey Jacob’s new menu leaves behind some of the more out-there touches of the original while capturing some of its creativity. The brunch menu (available till 6pm) features eggy dish like the Mornay eggs (slow-cooked duck eggs with in-house smoked duck, crispy potato galette and parmesan crisp, smothered in truffle Mornay sauce, $11.20) and breakfast burrito (with scrambled eggs, spicy chicken, tomato, avocado, bell pepper, lettuce and sour cream, $12.80). As for mains, the grilled blue river prawn ($17.20) gets its flavor from Eastern spices, while the duck breast Rossini ($31.55) sticks to classic French cooking. Some old-menu favorites include the smoked beef and burrata ($14.40) and duck-patty Jeriko’s sliders ($15.20), as well as the signature espresso tiramisu ($7.20) and D’Ark opera ($8.80). Other dessert highlights include the simple apple tart ($14.40), baked a la minute. They also sell rotating wines (starting at $10.80 per glass) and craft beer.
Farm to Table, Hideout
If you’re galivanting in the old Charoenkrung part of Bangkok, pay a visit to this Rama 5-era house, where Farm to Table’s new and bigger space may require an effort to find, but the finished result is well worth the effort. Duck behind an old fresh market and you’ll find a cozy, contemporary-yet-rustic cafes that preserves the charm of the original building while playing up to the fresh market location with vegetable baskets and metal food carts. The menu spans simple European dishes like roast chicken salad with housemade dressing ($4.50) as well as Asian desserts such as coconut rice dumpling paired with coconut-butterfly pea ice cream ($4.50). There’s also a slow coffee bar which serves French press and pour over (both $3.50-4) using beans from Chiang Mai.
It’s about time international salad chain Dressed got some local competition. Silom Complex has welcomed a new salad-only joint, hailing from Phuket. Farmfactory is owned by Boonchana Akvanich, who’s also behind the Secret Salad farm in Phuket. The organic veggies are sourced by both locally and from overseas, and matched with the brand’s own range of dressings. Menu highlights include Avocobb, features a full bowl of crispy greens, carrot, sun-dried tomatoes, corn, pecan, avocado, quinoa, garlic bread and avocado dressing ($6.35/$9.55). You can, of course, also customize your own salad from $4.75. Freshly made cold-pressed juices are priced at $5 with options like Super Slim (apple, ginger, mint and pineapple) and Forever Young (passion fruit, pineapple and apple).
Soul Food 555
One of the highlights of The Commons, Thonglor’s new food-focused community mall, is Soul Food 555, a kiosk from the folk behind the perpetually popular Soul Food Mahanakorn. The brief menu spotlights comforting Thai bites, some of which are turned into burgers: the Risky Chicken (fried chicken and somtam with Sriracha mayo on an artisanal brioche bun, $10) came out a little soggy on our first visit, but the Khao Soy Cowboy (pulled pork in khao soy curry with sweet potato and mustard pickles, $10) is ferociously fiery with a satisfying crunch owing to its crispy egg noodles. The third burger option, the Fatso Crab (lightly battered softshell crab with shreddd sour green mango, $14), is another interesting blend of textures and flavors. Also expect variations on moo ping ($4.80), beef satay ($7.20), khao tom ($6) and pad krapao with fancy ingredients like lamb ($10), pork belly (B275) and Australian wagyu ($12). As for drinks, don’t miss the funky and refreshing tequila shot with sour mango pickle ($4).
Supanniga Eating Room in Sathorn
Our favorite Thonglor Thai restaurant is now the latest addition to the hot Sathorn Soi 10-12 hood across town. Three years after first opening, Supanniga has not only kept up its solid reputation for delicate Thai food, but also held strong on its mission to expand nostalgic Thai flavors to more palates. The new joint keeps it cozy and casual with a color scheme that plays on the vivid yellow of Supanniga flowers, along with Isaan-inspired decorative items like silk spindles and fabrics. Expect hard-to-find, regional delights on the menu including pu jah (blended crabmeat and pork, seasoned with pepper and steamed inside crab shell, $10), panang nuea lai (beef chunk in red curry, $7.60) and moo cha muang (stewed pork with herbs and cha muang leaves, $7.60).