A year is a long time in Bangkok restaurant world. 

BK Magazine’s Top Tables 2018 is officially out with this issue. But we’ve got more for you to digest than just dinners at Bangkok’s 100 best restaurants. Here, we break down the trends, the upsets, the winners and the losers of this year’s guide. Tuck in!
 
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1. Top Climbers

We’re calling 2018 the year of Thai food, and nowhere is that better illustrated than in this year’s Top 30, where plenty of local-flavor specialists climbed the ranks. 80/20 (1052-1054 Charoenkrung Soi 26, 099-118-2200) saw the biggest ratings jump, from 15th last year up to fifth spot this year—just one behind Gaggan! Paste (120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-392-4313) also saw its ranking rise, while Isaan offcuts specialist Rarb (49 Phra Athit Rd., 081-406-3773) and chef’s-table-meets-cooking-school Bangkok Bold (503 Phra Sumen Rd., 098-829-4310) both also broke the Top 30 for the first time.  But it wasn’t all about Thai restaurants. Suhring (10 Yen Akat Soi 3, 02-287-1799) only cemented its place at the top this year, winning over the panel with double the number of points from its debut year. And of course, there was this year’s highest debut, Gaa (68/4 Soi Lang Suan, 091-419-2424), whose entry at no. 14 means that three restaurants in the Top 10 come with backing from His Royal Foodie Excellence Gaggan Anand. We’re not worthy. 

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2. Top Losers

Weirdly for a city so obsessed with Japanese cuisine, the land of the rising sun was this year’s biggest casualty, with nine Nippon all-stars falling by the wayside (sorry, Misaki [G/F, Rain Hill, 841/11 Sukhumvit Rd, 02 258 1783], Yuutaro [64 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02 662 6070]: it’s nothing personal). There were 25 names that dropped out altogether in 2018. While we’re not going to lose any tears for the loss of Ari’s Salt (36/2 Phahon Yothin Soi 7 [Ari], 02-619-6886) or Prime at Millennium Hilton (123 Charoen Nakhon Rd., 02-442-2000), we do think Tempura Kanda’s (1/F, No. 88 Mall, 88 Thonglor Soi 5, 095-720-0557) cutlets should have stayed. This year also marked some huge changes up top, with some of Bangkok’s culinary big guns seeing their rating slip. For the first time since it opened, Supanniga (160/11 Soi Thonglor, 02-714-7508) didn’t make Top 30—yet more proof that competition for Thai restaurants is getting seriously fierce. And then there’s Appia (20/4 Soi Sukhumvit 31, 02-261-2056), which this year drops out of the Top 10 for the first time since it brought pork roasts and pasta to Sukhumvit five years ago. And on the subject of Italians, Zanotti (1/F, Saladaeng Colonnade, 21/2, Silom Rd., 02-636-0002), who made 17th place last year, failed to make this year’s guide at all.

3. Top Newbies

One of the most exciting bits of making Top Tables every year is seeing which new places get the nod. This year, 14 old favorites got ousted for this lot, whose offerings range from nose-to-tail Isaan to handmade pastas. Which of your top new restaurants did we miss? Email editorial@asia-city.co.th.
 

100 Mahaseth 

Nose-to-tail dining is back with big, bold Isaan flavors.
100 Mahaset Rd., 02-235-0023
 
 

Arroz

Sensational seafood paellas and a deliciously homey, Med-inspired dining room.
112 Sukhumvit Soi 53, 02-258-7696
 
 
 

Birds

Simply Bangkok’s best roast chicken (with some fine potatoes, too).
Nang Linchi Soi Amon, 095-594-6675
 
 

Canvas

Swanky surroundings, (seriously) small plates, and a polished-but-relaxed vibe. 
113/9-10 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 099-614-1158
 
 

Jua 

Charcoal-grilled Japanese bar bites in an effortlessly cool part of town.
672/49 Charoenkrung 28, 061-558-7689
 
 

Gaa

Asia-meets-new-Nordic tasting menus from Gaggan’s former sous chef. 
68/3 Soi Lang Suan, 091-419-2424
 
 

La Dotta

Pasta and more pasta in a popping, aquamarine environment. 
161/6 Thonglor Soi 9, 02-392-8688
 
 

Le Cochon Blanc

Low-and-slow barbecue with a flamboyant French edge.
26 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 02-662-3814
 
 

Penthouse Bar + Grill

Prime cuts in a big-balled hotel steak joint.
34-36/F, Park Hyatt, 88 Wireless Rd., 02-012-1234
 
 

Phed Phed 

Bangkok’s best somtam according to the class of Bangkokian who eat at hipster Ari joints.
Phahon Yothin Soi 8, 097-918-1175, 098-263-5715
 
 

Sri Trat 

Eastern Thai flavors in an upmarket Sukhumvit location. 
90 Sukhumvit Soi 33, 02-088-0968
 
 

Sushi Zo

Sushi from L.A. with a Michelin star back home and the guts to stray from Edo tradition. 
G/F, Athenee Tower, 63 Wireless Rd., 02-168-8490
 
 

Tonkin Annam

Vietnamese dishes from the guy who brought Bangkok the Kinfolk Table series. 
69 Maharaj Rd., 093-469-2969
 
 

Via Maris

Mediterranean-meets-Moroccan flavors in one half of the old Vesper.
Convent Rd., 02-236-5558 
 

4. Top Omissions

We’ll be the first to admit that the Top Tables voting system isn’t perfect (which restaurant awards is?), and every year there are a few venues that have us crying out, “Where are they?!” Top Tables 2018 is no exception. How could our panel have overlooked that duck dish at Aldo's, or the wonderfully succulent charcoal-grilled chicken of Tori Tama? Here are all the places that didn’t make the cut but should have! 
 
 

Aldo’s

There was a time when foodie circles whispered Herve Frerard’s name in hushed awe. His former restaurant Le Beaulieu was Top Tables’ no. 1 entry in 2014. Today, he’s still making arguably Bangkok’s most decadently rich and flavor-packed French sauces at Aldo’s, together with old Le Beaulieu bistro classics like coq au vin. 
7/F, The Ascott Sathorn Bangkok, 187 Sathorn Rd., 02-676-6969
 
 

Sushi Ichizu

Can anyone say “saturated market”? With so many omakase restaurants in Bangkok nowadays, all charging over B5,000 a head and all touting fish straight from Japan, it’s little wonder so many fell off the list. Still, we reckon this new contender should be considered in the sushi premiership.
Sukhumvit Soi 39, New Petchaburi Rd., 065-738-9999
 
 

Tori Tama

While sushi might be well represented, the guide made space for just one yakitori specialist this year: long-timer Jidori ya Ken. Sadly, we feel that Jidori’s glory days are behind it. Anyone who’s tried Tori Tama’s juicy offerings would surely also agree.  
Park Lane, 18 Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekkamai), 02-382-0141
 
 

Vietnamese & More

Le Dalat might have the swagger, but this Vietnamese restaurant has the flavor. What the tucked-away Vietnamese & More lacks in polish it makes up for in a succulent beef brisket banh mi and rare specialities like dill and turmeric laden fried tilapia. 
Rompo Mansion, 99/9-11 Thang Rotfai Khao-Saipaknam Rd., 02-671-9955

 

5. Top Neighborhoods

The undisputed daddy of fine-dining neighborhoods is Sathorn-Silom, home to over one-quarter of the guide’s venues. However, if you go by the neighborhood with the most Top Tables per square kilometer, then it’s the area surrounding Phrom Phong station (Sukhumvit Soi 31-49) with 13 Top Tables. Charoenkrung is another winner of this year’s guide, with its own dedicated section (together with Charoen Nakhon) for the first time. Places like Jua, 80/20 and 100 Mahaseth have added a young streak to the established hotel haunts. 

 


How is Top Tables Made?

BK remains Bangkok’s only magazine that conducts independent, anonymous food reviews. Every year, we also put together a panel of 30 Bangkok-based foodies to select the city’s top 100 restaurants. Here’s how the process works.

In January,  BK Magazine creates a shortlist of some 200 restaurants:

Last year’s Top Tables restaurants
Major new openings
Select advertisers

BK then selects 30 panelists:

4 BK food writers and editors
26 foodies we know to eat out a lot. Some of them may be involved in restaurants (more on that later).

The panelists are given the shortlist. For each restaurant, they choose:

•  Keep it.
•  Cut it.
•  I don’t know.

We then keep only the places with the best Yes:No ratios. 

How do you select the Top 30? 

Each panelist selects their top 10 restaurants. Every restaurant they rank #1 gets 20 points, down to 11 points for a #10 position. (So if a restaurant gets picked in two lists as #10, that’s better than getting picked by only one judge as #1.) We tally all that and we get the Top 30 list. We always ignore any and all votes cast for venues that panelists are involved with. 

Is your list of panelists public?

No. We don’t particularly want them getting courted by award-savvy PRs.

Do advertisers get preferential treatment?

Beyond the fact that they’re included in the shortlist, no. The panelists vote on the Official Selection and the Top 30 and we keep only the top ranked places.