Chiang Mai is the best place to experience northern Thai food, I visited a Friday buffet with tables of eclectic bites to try, vegetables, loads of meats, firey dishes but the best thing is the way you cook the food on the gas cooker on your table, it has a little tray where the juices flow into and you have your own soup!
A mix of good food, nice surroundings and a friendly greeting. Asian, Western and everything in between. Prepared with only the freshest of ingrediants. The ambiance is antique, with classical music to sooth the soul as one enjoys a delicious breakfast or dinner. A garden area is avialable if you would rather sit outside, complete with a waterfall. The owner will make you feel comfortable and right at home. Prices are incredibly inexpensive. Open for breakfast 8am to 11am and again for dinner from 5pm to 10pm
Favorite Dish: Every dish on the menu is a favorite, staying in Chiang Mai for a month I am able to sample most of the delicious foods
The Wall is a bar dedicated to the rock music of Pink Floyd, although they also play some Stones and Bowie, with Pink Floyd posters and LP's hanging on the walls along with photos of previous visiting punters on the "Wall of Fame". I came here a couple of times, once for lunch and once for dinner where I had a good Thai green chicken curry, rice and a large portion of prawn crackers plus, of course, a beer. Beer is more expensive here than the Sports Bar place across the road.
Located away from the usual tourist areas in the old city section of Chiang Mai is Fai Bakery. Fai Bakery sells very tasty and cheap Thai pastries as well as local Thai dishes in the restaurant that is connected to the bakery. The food at the restaurant was very good and good sized for the price. Dishes here are around 35-40 baht plus they also do deserts. I had a sweet & sour chicken, rice, fresh orange juice and a banana split ice cream for 83 baht. Not bad!
This is a rather rough and ready looking British pub with dirty, cracked floor tiles that wouldn't be out of place in the east end of London. I had an English breakfast here which was very good, especially the sausages which the owner said he spent a while sourcing from a local butcher. I came back here one evening and watched a game of football on TV along with a small crowd and ate a steak & kidney pie which then made me sweat buckets and dash off back to my hotel. Let’s just say it made me rather ill so it's best to avoid the pies!
Bake & Bite have about 3 outlets in CHiang Mai now, one just east of Ta Phae Gate, one in Nimminheiman Soi 6 and the other in Chang Klang night bazaar area.
They do a good coffee, and comprehensive menu of pastries, etc, but really come into their own with a brilliant brunch selection. Sunday mornings, that's me sorted ...
They kick off at 7am till 5pm, except Sundays which is 8am till 3:30pm
Favorite Dish: Eggs Florentine ... really creamy cheesy sauce smothered over the eggs. Mmmmm!!!
I was taken here by a Thai friend, and what a find (yes, the friend as well as this noodle place!)
It is basically street food served in the most unassuming surroundings, so it's all about the food. And even though it's right in the heart of the touristic Night Bazaar area you never or rarely see any other farangs there.
Basically it's noodle soup, choice of spicy or non-spicy tom yam with pork or mixed meats. Just point at whatever looks good. Believe me, it's all good!
Favorite Dish: Tom yam noodle soup. Level of spiciness just right. Filling meal all on its own, but on a hungry night I've been known to have a couple of bowls to myself.
Ai Sushi is a fairly small Japanese restaurant, with a fairly extensive menu of sashimi, sushi, some soups, etc.
The key thing here is FRESHNESS as CM is a long way from the sea, and I've had bouts of food poisoning from bad sashimi elsewhere in CM.
Favorite Dish: The mixed sashimi platter of about 10 pieces of fish, squid, etc, for only 150 baht (the set includes rice and miso soup for about 30 baht more). Enough for a small eater. But I need a little extra, so add California maki for 80 baht.
Their Japanese tea is also unique: burnt rice floats on top giving it a very earthy taste.
On a nice corner block, The Riva is a very stylish restaurant ... all white and silver shiny with funky mod decore, ie picture frames on the ceiling and outrageous wallpaper! ... open on two sides so you can watch all the action on the street and moat outside.
Run by a fun Thai lady owner, it serves western and Thai although one friend told me it's not the sort of place you'd go to eat Thai. So that's what we did, and it was really good Thai food.
150 baht got me three or four dishes, enough to fill me. Wine 100 baht a glass. Not bad.
They have live music every night, the night I went was a really groovy blues duo who played very listenable unobtrusive music.
Suitable for couples or even a large group.
Favorite Dish: Fried fish fillets, dressed in probably basil and other Thai veggies.
A year old (as of Aug 09) the Steakhouse has earned a reputation among locals and expats as the place to go for a REALLY good steak. You get what you pay for.
All their meats are imported from Australia, USA, etc, although if you want a cheaper option you can go for a local Thai beef steak.
Khun Meow and his team are charming hosts (they also run the renowned Le Crystal restaurant) who do things with style. Excellent English spoken.
A tip: ask for the set menu, which gets you three courses and a glass of wine a lot cheaper than if you order a la carte (they keep this option low key).
There's also a bar area up the back well stocked with the usual drinks you'd be looking for and quite an extensive wine list. And the area itself comes to life later with Thai beer bars PACKED with young revellers.
Open 11am till 1am daily, so you can make a night of it.
Favorite Dish: Eac to their own in terms of preference for cut and how you like it.
Dalaabaa is a really cool place to enjoy the best of Chiang Mai's laid back ambience, while enjoying some (ok, make that a lot!) of drinks, and a nice Thai meal.
Situated on a large block of land on the 'other' side of the river, it's a surprising oasis, beautifully landscaped with lanterns, walkways over water, etc, and then the wooden Thai-style architecture of the restaurant and verandah area itself.
Lots of red silks and mood lighting set the tone. My favourite section is the comfy bench style seating outside, where large groups of hi-so Thais make merry. Not a backpacker haunt, but of course farangs are very welcomed by the hostess, Soo.
Open 6pm - midnight daily.
Favorite Dish: Simple slices of grilled beef. Delicious.
The Writer's Club is run by ex- Fleet Street journalist Bob Tilley and Thai partner Tong, ably assisted by a friendly team including some of her children. Chiang Mai being home to many writers (such as myself), journalists, screenwriters, novelists, and filmmakers, this is a firm favourite with local and visiting scribes. Friday night in particular is when they're particularly out in force telling whopping lies around the bar!
Wine is expensive in Thailand, but the Writer's Club have a number of 1 litre carafes of red and white wine from France, Italy, South Africa, etc, which start at 120 baht. Not bad value.
The food is a good mixture of local favourites and hearty western pub grub. You can sit around the bar or take a cafe style table under cover out the front.
All are welcome for a drink or a meal here ... you don't have to be a writer or a member, just roll on in. Open midday to midnight-ish. Note: closed Saturdays.
Favorite Dish: Thai beef salad. Cooked to tender perfection, with just enough spiciness to give it a kick along.
Kad Kafé features Thai, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, European and Mediterranean specialities. It has three different buffets: the weekday quick lunch, dinner, and Sunday BBQ.
Now here's the thing. Don't be frightened by the 5-star tag. As a new hotel it's got to make itself known and accessible to the local community, so its pricing at Kad is VERY aggressive (read; CHEAP). The lunch spread, featuring 5 different stations of pizzas, pastas, soups, Thai specialties, etc, will run you about US$6. Yes, you read that right. Eat your heart out for that measly sum.
The choice at dinner is bigger, ie including seafood, and a few dollars more, and the Sunday BBQ a little more again, but you do get access to swim in their gorgeous pool the rest of the day and get to feel how the other half live!
So, treat yourself without trashing your budget.
Favorite Dish: The pizzas and pastas are great, but try the northern Thai local delicacies such as Khao Soi.
This place is NEW as of 2009 ... look for its jaunty pinky and white tables on the roadside overlooking the moat.
Run by American Doug and his Thai wife Naree (who spent 25 years in USA) they offer a bunch of Thai items for between 30-50 baht a plate. Family friendly.
But what's really good is their western menu for when you're in the mood for the closest thing to a home cooked meal ...
Steak - pork or chicken 59 baht
Steak - beef or fish 69
Spaghetti - 40, 50
Macaroni - 30,40
Mains are served with mixed veggies, bread roll and fries so it's excellent value.
They also have fruit shakes done in a little blender out front. Fresh! Or try a freshly squeezed beer ;)
OPEN 10am - 22:00
Favorite Dish: Try Naree's spaghetti. It's sort of Thai, sort of Western. I had the chicken which was served in lashings of basil in the sauce.
This restaurant, which has no English name or sign -- but it translates roughly to a pun on the Thai words for Beef Noodle Stew -- serves only one dish ... beef noodle soup.
The proprietor, O, spent many years living in New Zealand, but his English is quite good and he's very friendly despite that ;)
The place is open on two sides so nice and airy, nice heavy dark wooden tables, and free Thai iced thai in jugs on the tables. Frequented by local Thai families and students.
Favorite Dish: The only dish they do is Beef Noodle Soup. You can choose size, small or large. It's most like a Vietnamese Beef Pho ... a salty broth with chunks of boiled beef, some kind of beef dumplings, some greens, some sprouts and noodles.
You're out of there for 30-50 baht per bowl.
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