Food is one of the most important elements of any city break. Pick the perfect place, and you can get a day of exploring off to a great start, keep your wanderlust fuelled, or bring the evening to a close in delicious fashion. Whatever your tastes, here are some of the best restaurants and cafés to visit - for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - during a city break in Bangkok:
There's nothing more frustrating during a stay than making a cross-city journey for an indulgent breakfast, only to be let down by the quality of food or service. We've picked out a few fantastic eateries in Sukhumvit, where The River - our luxury apartment in Bangkok - is located, which means you won't have to travel far for the most important meal of the day:
For the best food: 'Gastro ⅙'
While many breakfast cafes and restaurants in Bangkok have a penchant for buffet bars, Gastro ⅙ bucks this trend, offering diners a chance to indulge in some of the finest breakfast dishes in the city. Immensely popular among locals, the prices at Gatro ⅙ are noticeably higher than elsewhere; but as with so many restaurants, you really do get what you pay for.
The ambience is unique, with the dining area nestled in a charming outside garden, replete with foliage and natural aesthetics. Dishes are beautifully presented, and include everything from gourmet offerings (Iberian ham and Tasmanian salmon) to outstanding classics (including a full English with their homemade Cumberland sausages). There are few other places in the city where you can order organic poached eggs with truffle oil and asparagus, and if you're looking for something special to kickstart your day, this is the place.
For the best Coffee: 'Roast'
For many travellers, coffee is an integral part of the itinerary. If the most important thing to you during breakfast is that all-important shot of caffeine, then Roast could be the ideal place. With a quaint, newspaper-style menu (dubbed, rather sweetly, 'The Daily Roast'), the baristas here are at the top of their game, and their in-house coffee roasters (hence the name) ensure that every blend hits the spot perfectly.
Serving up brews from a wide variety of coffee beans and blends, Roast also offer some more unusual and memorable ways to give customers that early-morning boost. A particular highlight is their 'reverse' iced espresso latte, which is comprised of frozen ice cubes made from espresso, topped with textured milk, and served with a milk bottle on the side. Roast also offer simple but exquisite food, and can be found just off the BTS Skytrain Station Thonglor.
For the best sweet treats: 'Chu Chocolate Bar & Café'
Bangkok has something to suit all tastes. If you're partial to something slightly sweeter to get your day started, then breakfast at Chu Chocolate Bar & Café is a fantastic choice. Regarded by many as Bangkok's best dessert café, Chu Chocolate is famous for its chocolate confectionery and patisserie, but also offers a superb breakfast menu.
Using the finest ingredients to create only the best sweet treats, Chu is a favourite breakfast and brunch haunt with Bangkokians, and is known city-wide for its French toast, homemade pancakes, and unforgettable hot chocolate, made with the best quality French baking chocolate. Their eggs benedict and other savory options are delicious, but one look at their open kitchen - that resembles something akin to a cutting-edge chocolate factory - tells you all you need to know.
In Bangkok - a city synonymous with street food and its broader cuisine - the amount of choice for lunch can be overwhelming. Whether you're looking for a quick, on-the-go meal to tide you over as you explore, or an authentic, sit-down Thai experience, here are a few standout establishments:
For the best street food: 'Wattana Panich Beef Stew'
The range of options means it's extremely hard to narrow down Bangkok's street food offerings to one suggestion. If you'd like your experience to be memorable and delicious rather than purely convenient, however, then Wattana Panich Beef Stew is a Bangkok culinary institution that's well worth experiencing.
Serving Kuay Teaw Neua Toon (stewed Thai beef noodles) to customers for over 60 years, this humble eatery in the Ekkamai area has become one of the most well-known vendors in the city. This is largely because they employ the practice of using a 'master stock' as a poaching base - an ancient Chinese technique that involves maintaining and reusing the same base stock again and again, rather like a sourdough starter.
The technique deepens and enhances the body and flavour of the resulting stew. Incredibly, Wattana Panich have been using the same stock for over 60 years - subject to very careful health procedures, of course. A meal at this street food vendor is more than just a delicious lunch: it's a little bowl of history.
For some luxury indulgence: 'Nahm'
For travellers with a taste for the finer things, lunch presents an opportunity to break up a day of cultural experiences with a little luxury indulgence. During a city break in Bangkok, a handful of establishments stand out for their quality, but few can compare to Nahm - the only Thai restaurant to be included in Restaurant Magazine's Top 50 Restaurants in the World.
Awarded their first Michelin Star in the 2017 Guide, Nahm - located at the COMO Metropolitan Hotel - originally only served dinner, but expanded their menu to lunch offerings between 12 and 2pm, Monday to Friday. Valuing the strong, fresh ingredients of Thai cuisine, the chefs at Nahm expertly combine robust flavours to create an elegant, perfectly balanced menu.
Lunchtime diners can choose from the extensive lunch menu, which features traditional rice noodles, curries, stir fries, salads, and soups. If you're feeling a little more peckish, the set menu may be more to your liking, with its 3 canapes, 3 mains, and a dessert. Highlights include the coconut and turmeric curry of blue swimmer crab with banana blossoms and asian pennywort, and the steamed coral trout with bang rak yellow beans and pickled garlic.
For a healthy bite: 'Rasayana Retreat'
While a fine-dining lunchtime excursion might be appealing, the priority for some visitors lies more in health and wellness. Whether you plan to use your time in Bangkok as a chance to visit some of the best luxury spas in the world, or are planning to indulge in a little health and fitness, lunch provides a great opportunity for a supplementary pick-me-up. There are a number of great eateries in Bangkok for those with health in mind, but few can compare to the raw foods cafe at Rasayana Retreat.
Rasayana means 'rejuvenate' in Sanskrit, and the retreat takes the concept of health and wellness to another level entirely. Specialising in holistic rejuvenation programs, detoxification, and naturopathic remedies, the food served in the cafe here is carefully tailored to the retreat's wider concept. Rest assured, however: you don't need to go whole hog (which definitely won't be found on the menu) to enjoy the delightful cuisine here.
Serving a wide range of organic meals in a delightful setting, the cafe at Rasayana Retreat is known for everything from wheatgrass juices to enzyme tonics. The menu includes dishes like zucchini pasta and eggplant lasagna, but the raw burger - made with sunflower seeds, shoyu, flax seeds, celery, and other raw veg - is something really special.
For foodie travellers, dinner provides the opportunity to cap the day off with an unforgettable culinary experience - and during a city break in Bangkok, there are a few restaurants that are a cut above the rest. Arguably two of the finest eateries in the city include:
For the Best authentic Thai food: 'Baan Khanitha'
As the famous saying goes: 'When in Bangkok, do as the Bangkokians do' (or something pretty close to that at least). Thai food is a wonderful cuisine, and experiencing it at the source is without doubt the best way to enjoy it. And if you're looking for the most immersive and authentic Thai restaurant, then it's hard to overlook Baan Khanitha.
Having been awarded more than 10 consecutive awards for 'Bangkok's Best Thai Restaurant' from Bangkok Dining & Entertainment Magazine, Baan Khanitha embraces every aspect of Thai culture, and provides diners with a chance to experience the very best this beautiful nation has to offer. Open for more than two decades, Baan Khanitha even features a gallery of fine local artwork, perfectly complementing the stunning menu.
Dishes such as stir-fried sea bass with chilli, eggplant, and hot basil leaves come recommended, and their curries and tom yum soup shine. In Thai, baan means 'home', and this is exactly how Baan Khanitha makes diners feel: not just that they've found one of the best places to eat in Bangkok, but a true home of exceptional Thai cooking.
For the best Michelin experience: 'Gaggan'
The Michelin Guide has, for decades, been the international benchmark for the very finest food in the world. From the best Michelin 3-starred restaurants in Europe to the legendary sushi houses of Japan, Michelin stars are the shining light by which the most exemplary restaurants are judged. During a city break in Bangkok, if you're looking to experience the absolute pinnacle the city has to offer for an evening meal, then Gaggan is a must visit.
Gaggan Anand, the owner and Chef of Gaggan, serves Indian cuisine quite unlike any other establishment in the city - and it's clear why Michelin have awarded him not one, but two of their coveted stars. His approach is more akin to gastronomic art, and his dishes are delightfully creative. Textures, flavours, spices, and aesthetics are all balanced in a harmonious alchemy of culinary precision.
The kitchen employs 30 chefs to ensure every element of every dish is nothing short of perfect. For what might be the best experience, guests can order the 'Counter' - a rapid delivery of a series of the best dishes from Gaggan's repertoire, served by the expert front-of-house staff.