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Help - Best Restaurants in Bangkok?

December 17 2002 at 11:06 PM

MTF  (Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
Admin

 
Fellow gourmands,
I need your help. My wife and I will visit Bangkok for the first time and we only have a 4 evenings. I would appreciate suggestions for:
Best Thai restaurant.
Best non-Thai restaurant.
Best Overall dining experience.

My shortlists:

THAI
Sala Rim Naan dinner show across river; Oriental Hotel.
Celadon in Sukhothai Hotel.
Baan Khanatha, Sukhumvit Road, Soi 23.

NON-THAI
Le Normandie (French) in Oriental Hotel.
Le Bourdeaux (French) location UNKNOWN?
Mayflower (Cantonese) in Dusit Thai Hotel.
Lok Wah Hin (Cantonese) in Novotel Siam Square.
Bourbon Street Restaurant (Cajun) in Washington Sq.

Thanks in advance,
Melvyn

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

the ranking member of our forum in Bangkok is Khun Thanet, but Peter the Great >>

December 17 2002, 11:26 PM 

is also very knowledgeable in the matter.

Please email to Khun Thanet:

thanet@econ.tu.ac.th

and/or to Peter Chong, who knows a lot about gastronomy, I can tell

pchong@softhome.net

I am certain that either gentleman will give you more information. So much I can tell already: you will not starve in Bangkok. A few of the restaurants on your list are already quite remarkable.

I might add that the evening buffet of the Shangrila is extraordinary, but depending where you live a little far away.

Chock dee ti krung thep (good luck in Bangkok)

Sawasde kapom

Lord Arran

 
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(no login)

Thank you, Lord Arran. Khun Melvyn, I have been...

December 23 2002, 11:37 PM 

...late joining this thread. Sorry.

For Thai food, I do not have dinning experiences at any of the places you mentioned. But I agree with Khun Peter in a post below that most of the Thai restaurants in hotels, even 5-star ones, do not serve authentic Thai food. You can get more value just a few steps outside of the hotel. Usually, I go for Thai food at restaurants on the Chao Praya River just outside Bangkok. In Bangkok, there is one just across Satorn Bridge (Taksin Bridge) called Ban Rim Nam.

I agree with every recommendation of Khun Peter, especially Je Ngor, for Thai-Chinese seafood. I have been meaning to try Bourbon Street because a friend of mine said the Cajun food was excellent. They even serve clayfish raised in Thailand.

There are so many good places to go and most of the time you would do alright if you just follow the crowd. If the place is jumping with people, that is a sure sign.

Thanet

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

Sawasdee kraphom Khun Thanet, Sawasdee pee mai duey, pradeeo mokhala uan ti sii >>

December 24 2002, 7:01 AM 

pom cha klap ma thi Phuket chak Australia.

Chock dee Khun Thanet

banti pop gan mai pee nah.

Mom Chao Arran

 
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(no login)

Graab Doon, Lord Arran. Sawasdee Pii Mai..

December 24 2002, 6:22 PM 

to you and Lady Arran.

Pom ja rau duay kwam wang tii ja dai pop gan eek pii na, krab.

Duay Kwam Nab Tu Yang Soong,

Thanet

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

Dear Khun Thanet

December 24 2002, 4:28 PM 

Thanks for telling me about JeNgor at my building...I went on the first opening day, and went back again two days later with a customer...excellent restaurant.

And certainly the dinner at the Polo Club was marvellous - great food, and incredible prices.

Cheers, and look forward to our next meal, and to the walking tour with Ajarn Sukum....but we need to solve the small logistic problem that tour - how to drink wine with the tour?...

 
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Thanet
(no login)

Mmmm, How to drink wine during the walking tour...

December 24 2002, 6:33 PM 

Khun Peter,

You posed a very interesting question. Let me work on it. But I can tell you now
that, unlike in the states, there is no law (surprise!) in Thailand that you cannot walk
on the street with open bottles. We can act like a bum and be respectable here.

My dad went to Je Ngor last week for dinner and he loved it. However, there are
too many empty tables. He had a big feast for seven people and the bill came out about
2,000+, or 300 bahts each.

You will be here again on the 6th of Jan, if I remember correctly. We can have that
walking tour of the Chinatown on Tuesday the 8th, if it is convenient for you. I will check
with Ajarn Sukum. We will meet at Thammasat University and take a taxi there.

Thanet

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
Admin

Khun Thanet: Thanks...I will jump with the masses. (nt)

December 24 2002, 6:02 PM 

.

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

It is a sin not to eat Thai in Thailand...:-)

December 19 2002, 6:32 PM 

But let variety reign!

Some recommendations:

Je-Ngor for the absolutely fresh, incredible salt baked sea bass. You have not eaten sea bass till you have eaten this. 5 locations in bangkok. www.jengor-seafoods.com

Bukhara's along Sukhumvit, just opposite the Landmark Hotel. Excellent Indian. For my tastes, equal to Rang Mahal at Singapore's Pan Pacific. Try the Lamb Curry.

Bahn Khun Mae at Siam Square - just directly opposite the Novotel. Traditional Thai cuisine.

Anna at Wireless Road - same building as the Patek Philippe Showroom/Service Center. Fusion Thai/European...very well done, and presented.

Patara at Sathorn, Assumption. Forget the correct address - Khun Thanet would have it. This was the restaurant we had the Feasting in Bangkok.

New York Steakhouse at JWW Marriott. Excellent steaks. Choice of USDA beef or Australian.

Any street corner for the best Phad Thai or Beef Ball Noodles in the world...and at only THB20!

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

as I said, you are knowledgeable and your report is great dear Peter bravo nt.

December 19 2002, 6:49 PM 

-

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

Many thanks for your kind words, Dear Lord...

December 20 2002, 1:39 AM 

And many wishes for the Christmas season, and the new year.

Sawadeekrup.

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

and merry Christmas for you and your family and our friends as well as sawasdee pi mai nt.

December 20 2002, 2:38 AM 

-

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
Admin

Thanks Peter, Can't wait. AND no jacket required :-) nt

December 19 2002, 7:30 PM 

.

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

no jacket except...

December 19 2002, 8:30 PM 

for the restaurants in The Oriental.

Have a good time, let me know what you think of the recommendations. And don't forget to take some pictures.

 
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(Premier Login thepurist178)
Forum Owner

Excellent suggestions, especially the one in the Diethelm building...

December 20 2002, 4:14 PM 

where the local Patek agent, Swiss Master Time, have their new showroom and service center.

There are also the great sharks fin restaurants near one of the Universities; the seafood restaurant just on the river front in Param Sam (Rama III) district; the Italian restaurant on the ground floor between the Hyatt and the WTC on Ploenchit; Monkey Fever; the Italian restaurant at the Regent (this one is up and down, though, depending on the manager...); a tiny little neighborhood dive on the Peninsula side of the Chao Phraya serving some heavenly coconut chicken...

hmmm...maybe time for another Bangkok trip.



TM

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

Just in case: Phuket is just one hour from Bangkok by TG nt.

December 20 2002, 4:31 PM 

-

 
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(Premier Login thepurist178)
Forum Owner

Absolutely! The last time I was there...

December 20 2002, 5:18 PM 

we had a grand old time! That same trip, we got a special tour of the then just delivered naval warship (I think it was an aircraft carrier, but my memory has been particularly faulty lately) that was berthed in the Royal Navy yard a bit of a drive from Pattaya...

All my best,

TM

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

Satahip, was it not? nt.

December 20 2002, 8:00 PM 

-

 
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ThomasM
(no login)

Mais oui! Exactement!

December 20 2002, 8:33 PM 

Sattahip in Chon Buri it was, Lord Arran, and it was to inspect the Spanish built (?!?) HTMS Chakkri Naruebet.

In the interests of politeness and saving face, I will comment no more...



TM

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

For Shark's Fin...

December 20 2002, 4:58 PM 

I believe one of the many restaurants in Nawarat (Chinatown) cannot be beaten...

I am planning a walking food tour of Nawarat, starting from Texas, and stopping to taste...and guided by our Khun Ajarn (guru) soon. Will photograph everything and report.

 
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(Premier Login thepurist178)
Forum Owner

Awesome, thanks! (nt)

December 20 2002, 5:12 PM 

.

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

when you tour Navaraj, do not forget to have a keen look on the 24k gold offered >>

December 20 2002, 8:08 PM 

there is no place in Bangkok where you have a greater variety of gold shops. You buy chains, bracelets and what not practically for the price of the gold plus around 10% for workmanship.

If you want to resell you get the market price of the gold and hence you risk only the 10%. Lots of Thai ladies use this way to get some money when they are short of it.

What I have seen also is the grilling or heating of chestnuts: very peculiar with small balls of plumb or iron, heating the chestnuts.

I am looking forward to your ever great reports and photos.

Cheers dear Peter

Lord Arran

 
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(no login)

Your knowlege about Thailand never ceases to amaze me, nt

December 24 2002, 12:20 AM 

..

 
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IanS
(no login)

For Shark's Fin - Please avoid recommendations.

December 21 2002, 8:22 AM 

While I respect everyones right to eat as they wish and I know Shark's Fin Soup is a delicious Asian delicacy,having enjoyed it myself,I personnaly feel very uncomfortable seeing recommendations on this site for it.A little like Thomas's feeling for the Grey market for watches perhaps?.

Sharks being illeagally slaughtered for their fins is a growing problem in many parts of the world. Australian Customs catches around 80 illeagal fishing boats a year in their waters. http://www.affa.gov.au/ministers/macdonald/releases/2002/02214m.html.

The Galapagos Islands are having similar problems,largely due to the demand for shark fins in Asia http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/InNews/Galapfin2002.htm

And even the European Union is introducing shark liciencing legislatio,n to try to control the situation in European waters. http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17166/story.htm.

I have no trouble with leagally killing sharks or eating the fins, however seeing beautiful sharks killed for just for their fins is like seeing elephants and rhinos killed for their horns/tusks.

To each his own. Bon Appetite.

 
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(no login)

That China Town walking is a promise, Khun Peter

December 24 2002, 12:14 AM 

Ajarn (Prof.) Sukum will be our guide through China Town. He knows infinitely more than I do about food places. Wasn't it amazing the last meal we had at the Polo Club? A lot of great food for 200 bahts ($5) each.

Thanet


 
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(Premier Login thepurist178)
Forum Owner

Oops...shoulda read your post first, MTF...

December 20 2002, 5:12 PM 

Hi, Melvyn,

Didn't read your thread opening post before I made my earlier comments (duh!)

A few specific thoughts -

Best Thai restaurant.
Best non-Thai restaurant.
Best Overall dining experience.

My shortlists:

THAI
Sala Rim Naan dinner show across river; Oriental Hotel.


Do this only if you want the show. The food is okay, but if the food is the thing, give it a pass. Touristy, kitschy, but in a style and quality only the Oriental can pull off. I shared the room there once with President Bush Sr. - what does this mean? I don't know, someone let me know if they figure it out.

Celadon in Sukhothai Hotel -

All the rooms, bar and restaurants, are top notch at the Sukhothai. Haven't been in the Thai room since they opened (now run by Conrad Hotels International, if I'm not mistaken) but it was very nice, also nice eye candy...




NON-THAI
Le Normandie (French) in Oriental Hotel.

Excellent, always considered THE RESTAURANT for formal French food, by local Hi-So (the Tattler crowd)and the more Purist alike.

Le Bordeaux (French)
1/38 Sukhumvit 39, Phrom Pong, Bangkok

I have a love / hate with this restaurant - most of my friends like it, I don't, which puts me the odd man out. With a name like Le Bordeaux, I expect too much wine-wise, and I tend to be the hard core wine guy in the group.

Mayflower (Cantonese) in Dusit Thani Hotel.

Yes! Yes! Yes! The Dusit is the Grande Dame of Bangkok hotels, and though getting a little old in the teeth, with a (relatively) recent renovation and renewed emphasis to try to recapture its place at the top of the great hotels in Bangkok, you should be able to find a decent meal there. The Ferrari Testarossa, Lambo Diablo and Murcielago all made their private ownership debuts there. (what does this have to do with the food in Mayflower? I don't know, kindly inform if any of you do...)

With one of the older generation CPU's with limited memory address space chugging away inside my skull, I have to do regular data dumps. When are you going? If there is enough time, I'll dig through some of my restaurant notes (I have to find it first) and try to come up with a few other suggestions.

If you've already gone, looking forward to your comments and notes!

Regards,

TM

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
Admin

When you shared a room with #41, did he snore? >>

December 20 2002, 7:40 PM 



Thanks Thomas. I will need more weight allowance on the flight home as I waddle through check-in.

I will send separate e-mail about travel details.

Regards,
Melvyn

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

may I add that the Thai restaurant opposite the Oriental serves VERY spicy food >>

December 20 2002, 8:14 PM 

and that the Normandie restaurant requires jacket and tie, so beware.

Besides, dear Dr. Mao, you have a great knowledge of Bangkok and certainly other cities, which proves by and large that you are not only American, but cosmopolite (same me, I feel that I am a citizen of the world: UBI BENE UBI PATRIA).

Cheers

Lord Arran

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

BTW, Celadon at the Sukhothai

December 23 2002, 5:15 AM 

is still wonderful. A little pricey, especially in Thailand, but very, very good...and with an ambience to match. I dined there one evening last month....and am still working off the cholesterol from the giant river prawns.... Dinner for two of us, without alcohol, came up to nearly THB4000...less than US$100, very reasonable by US prices, and even by Singapore prices, but in Thailand its about 2 weeks pay for the average Thai. (the average salary in Bangkok is THB8000 per month...and much lower in the provinces)

 
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(Premier Login thepurist178)
Forum Owner

Thanks for the update...

December 23 2002, 9:25 AM 

when I was last there, it was quite the place for the young and hip, as well as the local Hi-So.

As a matter of fact, I flew over to visit some international friends who were staying there last year, though I only saw the lobby and the lobby lounge, and the crowd seemed as attractive as it was a decade ago...nice to know it has aged gracefully.

Regards,

TM

 
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(Login JeffHart)

Many Excellent Choices

December 23 2002, 2:18 AM 

My wife & I honeymooned at the Oriental five years back. We spent most of our dining time at the Oriental sampling it's wares and I agree with the general comments of our more experienced posters.

The show across the river was good, but the room service was better - if you're traveling a ways to Bangkok and looking for a bit of rest, don't shy away from ordering up a spread from room service your first night.

The La Normandie was very good, excellent view and the service superb.

My wife & I had made reservations for the dinner boat cruise. Not sure why but we ended up being the only diners on the boat - the food was good but the personal tour and gracious hospitality of the crew was a highlight for our visit.

Have a great trip!

Cheers,
Jeff

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

why I won't recommend Le Normandie

December 23 2002, 5:08 AM 

and dining at the Oriental or any large hotel. Sorry, pet peeve coming up...please don't flame.

Simply because the food outside, if you care to venture out, is so magnificient. I'd rather dine at a French restaurant in Paris, or Switzerland...or in a country impoverish of fine cuisine (dare I say that?). And may I add, a dinner at Le Normandie at the Oriental is no cheaper than a fine restaurant in Paris!

But in Thailand...and Bangkok! Unless you live there, and would like to sample European cuisine every once in a while for variety, there is no reason not to dine Thai or at least Asian every day.

Somehow, I find it a great transgression, if one travels thousands of miles, and stay couped up one's hotel room, excellent they may be (as Thai hotels invariably turn out to be), and eat within. Venture out! Try the insects, the street food...ok, for the less stout of heart, avoid the insect and grub meals...but do adventurous. Try the beef ball noodles, the Phad Thai (surely the 20 Bhat one stirred on the roadside in any Bangkok soi is loads better than CHF50 ones one finds at Patara Geneva - which I would hazard to guess is one of the top Thai restaurants in Switzerland), the som tom (salads), the cotton crispy catfish salad, the wonderful variety of curries, the chilli crabs, and the minced meat with basil leaves.

This is the land of plenty. And of a thousand smiles.

Sawadee Krup, and Chok Dee.

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

I couldn't agree more dear Peter. You express exactly what I feel and I hope people will >

December 23 2002, 5:31 AM 

take your advice. There is such a variety of food in Thailand and so reasonable in price that it would be a sin not to try all these wonderful dishes out.

Even if you love first class board such as the Oriental, fine for me, but go out and dine.

Peter, Khun Thanet, Dr. Mao and others have given a lot of recommendations, which you can more or less blindly follow.

Merry Christmas

Lord Arran

 
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(Login JeffHart)

In general agreement

December 23 2002, 6:32 AM 

In general I must agree with Peter & Lord Arran - however I must say that I have been pleasantly suprised a number of times.

In the case of the Oriental I will concede that the restaurants were fine but will leave their standing in the ranks of the local options to those that know better. I will say that we did venture out quite a bit, however it was our honeymoon and convienence to the hotel was a factor for evening dining.

Le Normandie is good, not to the standards of Le Bec Fin (sorry intended to post a recap forgot camera and have been tied up with business matters at the expense of regular posting) or Laserre on av. F.D. Roosevelt where we dined last weekend.

My wife & I tend to sample hotel dining on the evening of our arrival if we have had a full day of travel. Had the most marvelous pasta dish in the bar of the Grand Hotel in Rome that I have somewhat successfully created to the delight of many friends.

And here in DC a few of our finer restaurants are located in hotels - including Jean Louis Palladin's outpost in the Watergate during his tenure in DC.

Having noted the above - by all means you should be well served by the recommendations of our more experienced posters and I gladly defer to their better judgement.

Cheers,
Jeff

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

Absolutely! Jeff...

December 23 2002, 5:46 PM 

on your honeymoon, one should stay locked in one's hotel room...and order room service. Absolutely in agreement...

Cheers.

 
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(Login Lord__Arran)
Comm center

If your wife agrees when you order room service, fine LOL nt.

December 23 2002, 8:58 PM 

-

 
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(Premier Login thepurist178)
Forum Owner

It always bothered me...

December 23 2002, 9:17 AM 

but less now than when I was younger, whenever I had guests from Taiwan or other guests or traveling companions of Chinese descent, that where ever we go, the first stop was always the local Chinese restaurant. (everything like this seems to bother me less now than when I was younger; am I growing less of a Purist? )

Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, yes, even Bangkok, "Where's the best local Chinese restaurant."

But on the other hand, to quote James Hilton, "Everything in moderation, including moderation itself."

Here's to being open minded and being willing to try all that this wonderful, diverse world has to offer.

Cheers,

TM

 
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Peter Chong
(no login)

and it still bothers me...even as age catches up...

December 23 2002, 5:40 PM 

oft times, even my own learned travel companions request to eat at Chinese restaurants...sigh. I have been so dragged into several (um, shall we say under par) restaurants in Switzerland every Basel/SIHH.

Here are some...to avoid: That little Malaysian owned Chinese restaurant just a minute's walk off the Basel train station (whose only saving grace is its rather acceptable daily "lai thong")...that little Cantonese restaurant just a minute from the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich (one of the worst fried rice I have tasted), Patara in Geneva (see Celadon above...most expensive, and mediocre Phad Thai), and even the frightfully expensive Chinese restaurant across the Messe in Basel, where one year, a proud Mr. Blumlein, who thought the food magnificient, had the chef and his crew take an encore bow during the "cigar course".

However, I throughly enjoyed having dinner with William Massenna Rohr and Danny Oei at a Shanghainese restaurant in Chinatown New York - curiosuly known as Joe's Restaurant, which served the most amazingly delicious "sio loong pau" I have ever sampled...I guess there are exceptions, but they are rare indeed.

 
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