If there’s one thing that Thailand is famous for, it’s excellent food at affordable prices. Believe the hype: Bangkok’s culinary prowess must surely rank among the most delectable in the world, and although a fine dining scene has sprung up in the last decade to cater to more well-heeled travellers, there is still plenty to delight those on a shoestring budget.
In no particular order, here are 10 of the best restaurants in Bangkok for those looking to tantalise their taste buds and satisfy their appetites, without breaking the bank or spending over the odds.
1450/3 Charoen Krung 42/1
As a small and cosy restaurant, visitors to Zabbanglove might want to book a table in advance to avoid missing out. The incredibly warm welcome extended to customers by friendly staff is complemented by a menu chock full of traditional Thai dishes which come in sizable portions at wallet-friendly prices.
8 Tha Tian Alley
Ideally situated next to the Grand Palace in the heart of Bangkok, this unassuming lunchtime locale offers simple, unpretentious fare at great prices and with excellent hospitality. Try the papaya salad, seafood stir-fry or mango sticky rice to sample some of the delicious offerings that have made them a firm favourite with tourists and locals alike.
1-6 Prachathipatai Road
+66 97 173 3954
As the name suggests, the overarching theme of this family-run restaurant is one of inclusiveness. Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian, a fan of Asian or Western cuisine or have any particular food allergies, The Family will welcome you with open arms and their extensive menu is sure to have something to tickle your fancy.
168, 9 Samsen Road
Located at just five minutes’ walk from the Khao San Road, Jeng Noodle offers a welcome respite from the hectic pace of life on that thoroughfare and some authentic noodle dishes to boot. With a wide selection of vegetarian options available, Jeng Noodle caters to all comers and the owner really goes the extra mile to make sure everyone feels at home.
96-98 Soi Samsen 2
+66 88 890 5263
Tucked away in a quiet alleyway off the Khao San Road, Jok Pochana is a modest little place with an open-air kitchen and plastic furniture packed together by the roadside. Don’t be fooled by its underwhelming environs, however; there’s a reason why it’s such a hit with locals – the Tom Kha Kai (Thai coconut soup) is to die for.
10 Tha Tian Alley
+66 2 622 1936
A mere stone’s throw from Wat Pho, the Home Café Tha Thien really does feel like a home away from home. Again, it’s a snug affair, meaning you might find yourself rubbing shoulders with your neighbour, but such cosiness only adds to the atmosphere and the food is infallible – the Tom Yum Kung (hot and sour soup) comes especially recommended.
119 Ban Kluai Nuea Alley
+66 2 020 6116
You’ll need to command all your map-reading skills to find this restaurant, since it’s well off the beaten track down a maze of windy side streets, but it’s well worth the effort to do so. Authentically spicy, it’s a real treat for the taste-buds, especially for those who like a little fire to accompany their foodstuffs. Great selection and unbeatable prices.
511 Rong Mueang Road
+66 81 559 8222
For people-watching enthusiasts, the city’s main train station just across the road offers a smorgasbord of human activity to feast your eyes upon. Speaking of feasts, the lengthy menu and excellent coffee are sure to satiate your appetite, while they also offer a service to look after your baggage for the day if you have a late train to catch.
302 Maharaj Road
+66 2 222 7072
Come for the Thai green curry and coconut ice cream, stay for the friendly conversation and impeccable hospitality from the owner and his team of friendly staff. It’s another central location right by the Grand Palace, making it a great stop-off refuelling point before or after your trip to one of Bangkok’s most famous tourist attractions.
9th Floor Novotel Bangkok
+66 2 209 1700
Located on the 9th floor of the Novotel Hotel, this gem of a place offers a picturesque vista of the city from on high, alongside affordable and delicious cocktails (especially during the lengthy happy hour) and an eclectic mix of cuisine on its menu. That includes many Western options for those looking for something a little different from the rice and noodle fare that makes up the base of Thai cuisine.
Alternatively, if you've only got a short time in the city, why not let an expert local guide lead you on one of these daily food tours? You'll taste some of the finest street eats in the city while looking about its history and origins without a sky high price tag.
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