(Thai) Nestled in the charming Old Town, this cooking school-slash-chef’s table adds unique touches to typical Thai comfort dishes, resulting in extraordinary flavors. You must gather a group of 6-10 people in order for the chefs (all of whom come from impeccable Thai cuisine backgrounds, including work at Nahm) to walk you through seven courses showing off sophisticated techniques, as in a nam prik platoo (minced mackerel chili paste) for which the mackerel is grilled and stirfried for extra bite.
503 Phra Sumen Rd., 095-696-1946, 098-829-4310. Open daily 9am-10:45pm.
(Thai) At this riverside shop-house in the shadow of Wat Po, chef couple Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones of Bo.lan curate down-to-earth street-food favorites and one-plate specials, but with quality ingredients and expert culinary techniques. Ignore the tourists and focus on the simple stir-fries, pickles and sausages with organic rice and careful cooking. A bonus are the drinks—original cocktails featuring hard-to-find local spirits—and the kitschy, retro ‘60s and ‘70s vibe.
394/35 Maharaj Rd., 02-622-2291. Open daily 11am-9pm.
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(Thai) Sporting his iconic beard and golden earrings, chef Van Rohitratana prepares authentic Isaan cuisine that doesn’t get bogged down in “concept.” The singlepage, handwritten menu highlights skewers and other dishes made with secondary cuts of meat—think pig velum (soft palate) that’s parboiled in a herb-rice soup or nam tok gaem moo, a spicy salad made with pig cheek. For all the talk of offal, Rarb also does delightfully
approachable comfort food.
49 Phra Athit Rd., 081-406-3773. Open Tue-Sun 5-11pm.
(International) Every once in a while, one comes across a place that feels more like a home than a restaurant. This welcoming kitchen in the heart of the Old Town is a longtime favorite of the UN types who work nearby, thanks to its tasty, Mediterranean-inspired menu and genuinely caring service. The same care extends to the dishes, made from ingredients that are organic whenever possible, and the cozy, light-filled interiors.
22-24 Chakkaphatdi Phong Rd., 02-629-9214. Open Mon-Sat 11am-3pm; daily 6pm-midnight.
(Vietnamese) Low-key yet stylish, this reinvigorated shop-house in the Old Town serves up dishes from Vietnam’s northern and central regions that are bursting with freshness, like the rich and flavorful bun bo Hue (a beef noodle dish described as “the new pho”) or the beautifully bouncy cha tom (shrimp grilled on sugarcane sticks). This is honest food, nicely plated and with no cut corners (that fish sauce; those incredible plates of greens).
69 Maharaj Rd., 093-469-2969. Open Wed-Sun 11am-10pm; Mon 11am-10pm.