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BEST RESTAURANTS IN BANGKOK'S OLD TOWN
Old Town (actually Banglamphu) is a very popular neighborhood in Bangkok where you can find famous streets like Khao San Road and Rambuttri Road. Despite the fact that this area is packed with backpackers and the street food and food stalls are very popular, you will also find great restaurants here. China Town is also part of Old Town, but there are so many restaurants that we described them separately in the article about China Town.
Let’s start right away with a very popular location and perhaps the most famous Padthai restaurant in all of Thailand! We are talking about Thipsamai and if you like Padthai then you must have eaten here at least once! In 1939 the founders of Thipsamai started selling Padthai on a boat along the Phasi Charoen canal. Then she moved to the sidewalk of the Mahachai road near the Pratoopee junction. Because of the hustle and bustle and the small number of seats they then moved inside. With a good dose of passion, perseverance and quality control, this family business has grown into what it is today. The result? A number of branches in Bangkok including a modern version at the ICONSIAM shopping mall on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
Thipsamai is known worldwide for the super delicious Padthai of which many visitors say they have eaten the most delicious Padthai ever! Try for example their signature dish the “superb” Padthai also called Padthai Sen-Chan. This is prepared with rice noodles, shrimp oil, fresh deep sea shrimp, tofu, vegetables and a special herbal mixture. It is then expertly wrapped in a thin sheet of fried egg and it is up to you to twist the dish to your own taste. You can do this with ground peanuts, sugar, vinegar, fish sauce and chili flakes.
If you are planning to eat a Padthai at Thipsamai, keep in mind that there is a queue. The location where this restaurant has been located since 1966 is extremely popular. Rather pick it up? No problem, you can also pick it up here so you can enjoy the Padthai on the street or in your hotel/hostel. A well-deserved place in the list of best restaurants in Old Town Bangkok!
Be sure to order a bottle or glass of orange juice and also the “Icy Coconut Juice”. Both of these are delicious and not to be missed!
Coconut and orange juice | Image: Thailand Magazine
Another great location not to be missed in our list of best restaurants in Old Town Bangkok! Khin Lom Chom Saphan is located on the Chao Phraya River and has a beautiful view over the Chao Phraya. The name of the restaurant literally means, good food overlooking the bridge, nothing could be further from the truth! From the terrace you look out on the special Rama IIIX Bridge. A beautiful location with a fantastic view!
At Khin Lom Chom Saphan you can choose to sit inside or outside on the terrace. From the terrace you have a view of many small and large ships passing by. There are more than enough seats and the staff is extremely friendly! They will gladly advise you about the extensive menu on which the many dishes that can be found here show off.
There are many dishes to choose from at Khin Lom Chom Saphan such as fish or seafood dishes but also well know Thais dishes such as curries and soup. Try the golden cups and/or the fried shrimp springrolls as an appetizer, very tasty! You can’t only have an extensive lunch or dinner here, but also just have a drink like a cocktail. Relaxing along the river guaranteed!
Most of us western visitors of Thailand recognize this… At some point you are going to miss that delicious bread from home and therefore this tip! At Konnichipan Bakery you can get very tasty sandwiches, bread and pastries. Everything is freshly baked every day and there is a huge choice of different savoury and sweet goodies.
At Konnichipan Bakery they do self-service so you can compose your own breakfast or lunch. For a good two person breakfast you won’t lose more than 200 baht including coffee and/or tea. So if you book a room near Khao San Road or Rambuttri Road, book it without breakfast! You won’t regret it!
What’s it going to be? An almond croissant, apricot danish, baguette or a pizza roll?
The small but orderly baker is run by a friendly Japanese family. Keep in mind that this bakery is becoming more and more popular and that your predecessor may have already hijacked away the tastiest sandwiches, so don’t be too late! There are a few seats inside, but you can also take them with you.
This restaurant is located on the most famous street in Old Town, Khao San Road. On this backpackers street you will find the cozy and atmospheric Tom Yum Kung. This restaurant owes its name to the famous Thai and spicy soup with shrimp (kung = shrimp). In the past, this location consisted of two parts Tom Yum Kung and Superflow of which the latter was the entertainment venue. Despite the fact that Tom Yum Kung has quite a lot of seats, it is regularly full. It’s mainly the fish and seafood that are eager to go over the counter here, but of course you can also go here for a satay or fried rice.
The front of the restaurant is completely open giving you a view of the lively Khao San Road. In the evening it is very cozy here where you can enjoy a beer or cocktail with the visitors in a relaxed atmosphere. Tom Yum Kung is therefore a nice place to start your evening and linger for a long time.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2020
Since October 2020 Alley Cat has a new owner. We can’t guarantee the quality because we haven’t been there ourselves yet.
Alley Cat Restaurant & Bar is a great place to relax and feel right at home! They have an extensive menu and if you order three drinks you get the fourth one for free, this applies to all drinks by the way. Alley Cat has also thought of lovers of special beers. Besides drinks and delicious Thai food like Penang or Massaman Curry you can also easily order a pizza. If you sleep in the neighbourhood and you are hungry for a hearty breakfast, the English owner will prepare a nice hearty English breakfast for you from 08:30.
The interior of Ally Cat is homely and green, because the front of the restaurant is completely open you have a nice view of the atmospheric Rambuttri Road.
Raan Jay Fai should of course not be missing from this list of the best restaurants in Old Town! The restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star (2018). The just as famous owner Supinya Junsuta, is still every day with fire and passion behind the wok herself. She has been doing this almost every day for more than 60 years! Of course it is rude to ask her age, but it is clear that she must have passed her 70th birthday already.
We have incredible respect for this woman! You can easily recognize Supinya Junsuta /Jay Fai by the goggles she wears to protect her eyes from the sparks of the wok. You can also see Jay Fai on Netflix in the Street Food documentary series.
The famous specialty of Jay Fai is the crab omelet, this is richly filled and very tasty but the Tom Yum soup and the Drunken Noodles are also highly recommended. It is not for nothing that it is always very busy here!
If you want to go to the Jay Fai restaurant you will have to make a reservation not weeks but months in advance! This can be done via email. If you are stubborn you can also queue up from 12:00. Visitors who queue up after 14:00 will most likely be fishing behind the net. And if you are tired of waiting, you can always see if the queue at the neighbors will hurry up a bit. A few meters further you will find the famous Padthai restaurant Thipsamai which we mentioned earlier in the list of best restaurants in Old Town!
Close to Khao San Road and Rambuttri Road is Sheepshank Public House! Just next to the Phra Arthit pier where you can easily take the Chao Phraya River Express to the Wat Arun, Grand Palace, ICONSIAM and ThreeSixty Rooftop Bar of the Millennium Hilton. We not only love the location of this restaurant and bar but also the whole style! The atmosphere at Sheepshank is cozy and feels like you’ve been coming here for years!
At Sheepshank you can eat delicious dishes such as pasta with crab or risotto with scallops. Or how about a large cheeseburger with fries? And if you have already eaten, you are also welcome at Sheepshank for a tasty craft beer of which many come from the tap! Prefer a good cocktail? That’s also possible here!
If you are mentioned in the Bib Gourmand (Michelin guide) for two times in a row, you must also obviously mentioned in our list of Old Town’s best restaurants! For the sweet tooth and/or Mango Sticky Rice fans among us we present Kor Panich! THE place in Old Town for the best Mango Sticky Rice in the area! By the way, the Thai call this dish Khao Niao Mamuang (then you know that). Kor Panich has been a household name and a must visit since 1947! Kor Panich uses a mango that is available all year round, but the best is in the months April to July.
Besides Mango Sticky Rice Kor Panich also sells all kinds of packaged biscuits and other sweets. Kor Panich is about a 10 minute walk from Khao San Road and you can recognize the shop by the unmissable baskets and tables with mangos in front of the door.
Take, for example, bus line #2 that stops right in the middle of Old Town and not even a 5-minute walk from Khao San Road.
By MRT (subway):
Nowadays it’s a lot easier to get to Old Town than before. This is via the MRT Blue Line. Get off at Sam Yot station and then it’s only a 10 minute walk to Thipsamai.
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