Narrowing this category to 20 restaurants would have been challenging enough, but choosing only five of my favorite Thai restaurants is like asking me to chose between my husband and my dog. The five winners here include multi-course dining marathons where each dish wows more than the last and molecular twists on classic Thai dishes that are equal parts modern and traditional. And while Bangkok serves up seriously awesome Indian and Japanese food, no trip to the city is complete without stopping at one or more of these spots. If, like me, your experience with Thai food outside of Bangkok is pad Thai then trust me when I say that eating Thai food in Thailand is an experience that is unmatched in any other part of the world. Come here and find flavors—sweet, salty, sour and no-holds-barred levels of spice—that will replay in your mind for weeks to come.
“Wow.” That was the only word my husband and I could utter as we indulged in the designed-to-share tasting menu (2,000 Baht each). At the helm of Nahm is Australian-born David Thompson, who crafts a menu so full of flavor and tradition that it impresses even the most hard-to-please Thai person.
Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin
The deconstructed Thai dishes at Sra Bua are clever twists on classic street food with a well though out focus on the Thai cooking tenets of sour, salt, spice, and sweet. The service here is impeccable and the tom yom soup is unlike anything else in the city. Be sure to order a bowl.
Bo.Lan is one the hottest restaurants in Thailand. They dish out elevated street food (I mean that as the best of compliments) in a sophisticated atmosphere, but the spice level is unreal and mild-mouthed westerners should be wary. If you’re able to overcome the heat, you’re in for an amazing meal.
I give full credit to Baan Khanitha on Sathorn for starting my life-long love affair with Thai food. Dishes here are authentic, fresh, and best ordered family-style. The mango sticky rice here is one of the best in town so be sure to leave room for dessert.
Blue Elephant Restaurant
Spending an afternoon at their famed cooking school will only whet your pallet. On your return trip, come hungry and order one of the Royal Thai tasting menus for a well-balanced mix of classic dishes and modern interpretations. Flavors here are authentic (read: spicy) and the restaurant is set in a lovely Thai villa.