I lived in central Bangkok for 7 years, and here are all the places I recommend to visitors and frequented myself. Most of the places I list here are shop-houses, restaurants and market areas, as the recent crackdowns on street vendors have made finding particular mobile food vendors difficult in central Bangkok. The majority of these places also will have an English or picture menu available if the staff doesn't speak English. Finally, almost all of these are businesses that offer consistent and delicious dishes at reasonable price points.
If you'd like to see the entire list on Google Maps, use this link: Google Maps List
Northern Thai (Lanna):
If you're craving food from the Northwest of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, etc), then these restaurants are the ones to go to for Lanna dishes.
Stylish renovated shophouse in the heart of Thong Lor, serves a large variety of dishes (many that are not as commonly seen in Bangkok) with most under 200B.
- Khanom Jin Nam Ngiaw (one of the best in BKK)
- Chicken Khao Soi (Beef Khao Soi uses a different soup base which isn't as tasty)
- Ab Muu
- Khaaw Ngiaw
- Nam Prik Num
Khao-Gaeng style place where they prepare a number of dishes in the morning for the lunch crowd. Cheap, offerings change daily and English translations on menu, but get there early before dishes run out.
- Chicken Khao Soi
- Larb Khua
- Sai Oua
Cozy place in Ari, serves a few other dishes but go here for the Khao Soi (80 Baht).
- Chicken or Pork Khao Soi
Small place in Ratchatewi, serves a number of dishes from Chiang Mai, albeit made to appeal to tourists and Bangkokians, so most dishes are sweeter and less spicy, but still tasty.
- Chicken Khao Soi
- Sampler Set
Cute restaurant sourcing ingredients from their garden area in Bangkok as well as from their farm in Chiang Mai, a little out of the way but well worth a visit.
- Khao Soi
- Khanom Jin Nam Ngiaw
- Nam Prik Ong
Small one-woman show run out of the lobby of a modern hostel near Ekkamai. Cheap, home-style northern dishes, no English but has pictures of menu items.
This shophouse hidden near Silom has been popular with office lunch crowds for their cheap and tasty noodle soup dishes.
- Khao Soi
- Khanom Jin Nam Ngiaw
Popular with Japanese and Korean tourists, they serve their dishes mild so this is a good place for people new to Thai cuisine or wary of chili. They have dishes from around Thailand, although their Chiang Mai offerings are what you should eat. Friendly English-speaking staff.
- Chicken Khao Soi
- Lanna Appetizer Set
When you're craving spicy and pungently flavored Thai dishes, nothing else is quite like the cuisine from the south of Thailand.
The original restaurant from this small chain that still sources the majority of their ingredients from farms in Southern Thailand daily, although they have a few locations around Bangkok. The original renovated Thai house in the heart of Thong Lor remains my favorite, and is where the owner can usually be found presiding over a packed dining room nightly. English speaking staff and menu, large variety of dishes, all of which are range from good to outstanding, and many of which are quite spicy but delicious.
- Khua Kling Muu Saab (one of the best in BKK)
- Phad Sato
- Crab Curry
- Cowslip Creeper Flower Spicy Salad (Yam)
An outpost from a popular restaurant in Phuket, Prai Raya is set in a renovated house on a quiet soi near the main tourist area in Central Bangkok.
- Crab Curry
- Muu Hong
- Whole Fish
A relative newcomer to Bangkok, it's been well received for their spicy Southern Thai dishes made with authentic pungent flavors in a modern environment.
- Massaman Curry
- Khua Kling
One of the oldest Southern Thai restuarants still operating in Bangkok, it's moved locations in Thonglor but still serves pretty good dishes, although they cater more towards tourist and Bangkok palates so it's not as spicy or strongly flavored.
- Massaman Curry
- Khanom Jin with Crab Curry
Modern trendy restaurant serving Bangkok-style Southern Thai dishes, so they tend to be a little on the sweeter side. Nice place for a date, always busy on weekends and evenings.
- Fish in Banana Leaf
- Phad Sato
- Cumin Fried Fish
Good homestyle Southern Thai food, served Khao Gaeng Style. Come early before they run out of dishes(very popular for breakfast). Owner speaks some English.
- Varies daily, choose a few from the prepared dishes on the counter
Small restaurant near the Commons in Thonglor, it's been popular with families and locals for many years. Very cheap for Thonglor, they have a variety of dishes mostly from the South, although they are served Bangkok style so not as spicy or pungent.
- Khua Kling
- Phad Sato
If you like sour and spicy flavors, Isaan dishes are some of the most popular in Thailand and include staples such as papaya and other spicy salads, sticky rice and larb.
Popular Phrakhanong neighborhood Isaan spot open for dinner, with live music on the weekends. No English spoken, but they do have an English menu.
- Nam Tok Khor Muu Yang (grilled pork neck spicy salad)
- Larb Bet (duck larb)
- Somtam Thai
Several locations around Bangkok now. Nice variety of somtams, good sticky rice and other Isaan dishes, consistent flavors.
- Sticky Rice
Popular place near Lumphini Park that is famous for their fried chicken topped with fried garlic along with other Isaan favorites.
- Fried Chicken with Garlic
- Duck Larb
Famous Isaan restaurant in the heart of Silom, they have a location in New York City that's also quite popular, and another location in Thonglor. It's a little pricey and slow due to the crowds, but still serves a decent selection of Isaan plates, albeit a little pricier than other restaurants.
Very popular place in Ari, serves dishes from Nakorn Phanom.
Another long-time favorite in the Ekkamai area, they moved to another location near their original spot, but it still draws in Thai families.
- Grilled Chicken
- Bamboo Spicy Salad
- Guay Tiaw Khua Gai
Popular restaurant near Silom that serves a large menu of Thai dishes, although they tend to do better with Isaan dishes.
Most restaurants in Bangkok will serve popular dishes from around the country and many incorporate Thai-Chinese recipes that have become a part of the Bangkok culinary landscape over the past 100 years. Bangkok cuisine also tends to be sweeter and less spicy than other regions, and many restaurants versions of regional dishes will reflect that.
Another nice place to take visitors, they make some old Thai recipes you won't see anywhere else, like the cow tongue curry which is always delicious.
A more tourist focused restaurant in terms of dishes and prices, but it's in a beautiful renovated Thai house and they will make it more to local taste if asked. Several locations around central Bangkok now.
My favorite local Chinese-Thai restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 71, only open for dinner. They serve a large variety of stir fried dishes, with the black olive pork and phad sato being especially tasty.
Nice selection of northern and southern style halaal dishes at affordable prices. Laab gai tod and khua khling were very tasty.
One of the best Larb Muu Tod in Bangkok, and generally a good place for appetizers and drinks with a funky decor.
Largest fresh market in Bangkok, popular with tourists and locals, has dozens of food stands for a quick meal as well as loads of fresh produce. Combine with a visit to nearby Chatuchak Market and JJ Mall for souvenirs.
One of the best Larb Muu Tod in Bangkok, and serves a great Muu Saab, Yam Woon Sen and other tasty Thai dishes all while listening to some of the best jazz in the city just next to Victory Monument.
Typical outdoor Thai barbecue you cook at your table, ordered buffet style from a list of meats, seafood and veggies. Pretty good if you want to eat a lot of grilled foods with friends, and they offer beer buffet and live music on the weekends.
Typical bustling Bangkok night market with a large number of food stalls serving a variety of dishes, specializing in spicy and seafood.
Visit Pier 21 Food court and find the fried noodle stall to get one of the best Phad See Yuu dishes in Bangkok(their Radnaa is pretty good too). Don't miss the Mango Sticky Rice vendors, cheap and always delicious mango slices.
One of the only places that does Thai fusion properly. Cute and trendy place to take visitors or dates for enjoying some delicious takes on traditional Thai dishes.
Multi-generation shophouse specializing in Thai-Chinese soups. Their beef noodle soup is legendary and worth trying.
Popular restaurant serving dishes typical to Trat in eastern Thailand.
Popular restaurant with a few locations serving traditional eastern Thai recipes for a modern crowd.
Local Bangkok home-style restaurant with several locations.
Great beef noodle soups served by a partner of WTF gallery nearby.
Thai-Chinese institution in Thonglor that still packs in Thai families for casual dishes.
Slightly upscale restaurant serving a large variety of dishes from around Thailand, has a new location in Icon Siam.
One of the best places to get Duck Noodle Soup in Bangkok.
Another great place to bring visitors to share Thai dishes from around the country.
My other favorite food hall at the top floor of Central Department Store in Chidlom, this one is a bit more upscale with better quality versions of Thai street food and other international cuisines. Their boat noodles are delicious.
The most easily accessible night market in central Bangkok, this one is located just behind the Esplanade mall and offers a number of shops, food stalls, bars and music that packs in locals from Wednesday through Sunday. Check out Holy Cheese stall for some delicious grilled cheese creations.
Asian and African
One of the main reasons I loved living in Bangkok is because of the large number of expats from all over the world, which in turn means there are some great places to eat foreign food when you get tired of Thai cuisine.
Great Ethiopian restaurant, friendly staff, tasty dishes and good prices. Try the sampler platters to try a little of everything.
One of the best Indian lunch sets in Bangkok, most dishes are done properly like the tandoori chicken and biryani. They have friendly English speaking staff and can be found on the 2nd floor of the Eight Building in Thonglor.
Wonderful shwarma, hummus and other middle eastern dishes, much more consistent than other places in the area. Located in the basement of the Phloenchit Center building.
Very popular late night spot, good shwarma, pizza and middle eastern cuisine.
Another great place for Indian lunch sets, their curries are all pretty good, just don't order the biryani or tandoori items, not that great.
One of the top Indian restaurants in Bangkok, they run a stunning buffet on Sundays.
Another of the top Indian restaurants in Bangkok, this one focuses on grilled dishes and tandoori oven favorites.
One of the older fine-dining style Indian restaurants in Bangkok, it's maybe not as authentic in terms of flavors since it caters more to Thais and tourists, but makes for a nice meal out.
One of the best places for hummus, salads, fresh baked pita and falafel in central Bangkok.
One of the only Burmese restaurants in Bangkok, they are the first outpost of a popular eatery based in Yangon. The salads and veggie dishes were great and cheap, the meat curries were pricey and just so-so.
Great casual Korean eatery that makes tasty bibimbap, mandu and home-made banchan.
Tasty sashimi/sushi, tempura, rice bowls, and ramen among other typical Japanese Izakaya dishes.
One of the only Okinawan restaurants in BKK, good meal sets that include udon, braised pork belly and stir-fried bitter melon(this dish is always great here).
One of my new favorites for Vietnamese dishes in Bangkok, excellent pho and starters.
One of the better Vietnamese restaurants in Bangkok, great appetizer wrap set, good pho, delicious steak bahn mi.
The best tonkotsu ramen and karaage chicken in Bangkok.
Cute Vietnamese cafe with great pho and fried spring rolls.
Best katsu in Bangkok, also has an all you can drink special for 2 hours that's great before going out around the Sathorn/Silom area.
Pretty authentic and the oldest Filipino restaurant in the city, good sisig and diniguan. They recently moved to a more convenient location near BTS Phrakhanong.
Local Chinese eatery that serves an amazing fried eggplant dish, worth going to despite the not-so-clean tables and surly staff.
Great Korean bbq, solid bibimbap and chapchae, my favorite of all the eateries in the K-town building.
Mona's stall has been in the local Phrakhanong market area for many years. They make a very good tea leaf salad(although a bit oily) as well as their Burmese noodle soup.
Homestyle Nepalese/Burmese restaurant, friendly owners and staff, many small dishes with low prices to try. The tea leaf salad and veggie dishes are always tasty.
More Isaan than Lao and aimed at tourists, but it's a good place to take foreigners as they usually have live entertainment nightly that's amusing.
American and Western European
One of the most authentic Mexican places in BKK. Their tacos dorados and tamales are delicious. Their salsa set, guacamole , burritos and steak quesadillas are also very tasty.
Reliable and as authentic as it gets for a New York style slice, worth a visit or 3.
Good burgers, fries and sauces to dip them in.
Two locations, one at Emquartier and one at The Commons. Good lunch deals, serves a large variety of American/European dishes and drinks.
Nice place to hang out with friends, has a number of choices for eating and drinking, and has a dog-friendly outside area.
The best American dive bar/restaurant in BKK, great wings and poutine fries.
Set in a renovated house and yard in Yen Akart, this is popular in the evenings with groups of people. Good middle eastern food, their falafel, hummus, grilled kebabs and fresh-made pita bread are all very tasty. Pizza is just so-so though.
Creative ice cream and desserts, all of which are worth trying.
Reliable place for cocktails and American food. Burgers, nachos, oysters are good, also has fun live music most nights.
One of the longest-running restaurant/lounge spaces on Soi 11, good food and the best Mojitos in Bangkok, turns into a club at night.
The best place for Roman style pizza in Bangkok, and also serves great pasta dishes.
The best among the Japanese dessert chains selling cheesecake, available in several malls (although seems to be disappearing).
Best buffalo wings in BKK, also turns into a good hip-hop club at night.
Key West-style eatery that still makes some dishes you can't get anywhere else such as fried yucca and Cuban sandwiches.
Lovely place for brunch, great eggs benedict.
Authentic American BBQ, lots of tasty southwestern US specials most weeks.
Decent American BBQ and cocktails.
Nice upscale Italian that delivers the flavor to match the higher prices.
One of my favorites for pasta and pizza.
Popular outdoor market targetting expats, with a variety of food stalls with some good Thai, Asian, Italian choices.
Several locations, best American fast food chicken in Thailand. Honey biscuits are also delicious.
Great pastas at this classic Italian eatery.