Food & Restaurants in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai's restaurants offer a wide range of food, second only to Bangkok. Naturally it's a good place to sample northern Thai food: in particular, hunt down some khao soi, yellow wheat noodles in curry broth, traditionally served with chicken (gai) or beef (neua), but available some places as vegetarian or with seafood. Another local specialty is hang ley, Lanna-style pork curry. For those tired of eating rice or noodles there's also a wide range of excellent international food restaurants, from cheap hamburger stands to elaborate Italian restaurants.
When you come to Chiang Mai you should try a khantoke dinner and show. Although these are just for tourists it is still a nice way to spend an evening. The first khantoke dinner was held in 1953 by Professor Kraisi Nimanhemin who wanted to host a special event for 2 friends leaving Chiang Mai. Two more such dinners were held, both in 1953, thus "khantoke" dinners are not "historic", but rather a relatively recent invention. Khantoke literally means small bowl, low table (khan = small bowl. tok = low table) There are also many garden restaurants where you can enjoy an excellent Thai meal in a beautiful setting.
The range and value of Western food in Chiang Mai is unsurpassed in Northern Thailand and there is a full range of restaurants from Australian/British/Irish, through French and German to Italian, Spanish, American and Mexican. Considering how remote Chiang Mai is from the major centres of population in Asia, there are a remarkable number of Western restaurants.
Markets & roadside stalls
- Anusarn Market (ตลาดอนุสาร), Changklan Rd (Side of road opposite Night Bazaar Building, further down the street). A busy outdoor night market with lots of little Thai, Indian and Western restaurants and food vendors. Great atmosphere.
- Kalare Food Centre, Changklan Rd (Opposite the Night Bazaar Building).17:00-22:00. Has a large open-air food court, featuring free Thai classical dance performances nightly. All food is paid for with pre-purchased coupons. mains 20-50 baht.
- Suthep Road Moveable Feast (Past Canal Rd, by the university). Daily, 17:00-22:00. Dozens of food carts set up every evening around from around 17:00 until about 22:00, with a huge variety of very inexpensive food, and tables set up along the pavement.
- Funkydog Cafe, Moon Muang Rd, Soi 6 (Inside moat). Local handmade coffee from a local hill tribe. Fantastic Thai family cooking. All fresh and made by hand, great atmosphere and music, low-cost food. Genuine owner who will keep you informed of all the natural products you should eat. The yellow curry is recommended.
- Guaytiaw Reua Koliang, Moon Muang Rd (Near Ratchamanka Rd (inside moat); English sign on sidewalk). Serves authentic kuaytiow reua (literally "boat noodles", rice noodles in dark broth with beef). It's good stuff. 25 baht.
- Kanjana Restaurant, Ratchadamnoen Rd Soi 5. Delicious food at really low prices. Friendly staff.
- Lucky Pub and Restaurant (Steps from Kotchasarn Soi 3, just north of the turn onto Loi Kroh from the moat), . Daily, 18:00-08:00. Lucky Pub is on the ground floor. The restaurant is above and to the rear. The bar opens and 16:00 and closes at 02:00. The restaurant opens at 18:00 and closes at 08:00 the next morning. This is its appeal. When everything else is closed at 03:00 and you're hungry, this is one of the only places to go. Thai food only. Free Wi-Fi in the bar. Small Chang beer, 80 baht; fried rice, 60 baht.
- Muan Baan, Moon Muang, Soi 7. A variety of Thai meals, for breakfast and lunch. The food is excellent and the owners and staff are very pleasant and helpful.
- Ratana’s Kitchen, Tha Phae Rd. Popular for its wide range of Thai dishes and a huge vegetarian selection. Both smoking (inside, air-conditioned) and non-smoking areas. Visa/MasterCard accepted. 30-60 baht.
- Re-Feel Café, 48/4-5 Rachawithi Rd (Inside moat). Great Thai food, good atmosphere, friendly staff and free billiards.
- Sailomjoy Restaurant, 7 Rachadamnoen Rd (Near Tha Phae Gate (inside moat)). Daily, 07:30-16:00. Delicious food (Thai, Western and vegetarian), friendly service and simple and relaxed atmosphere.
- Ghekko Garden Bar and Restaurant, Sridonchai Rd (Opposite the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel (outside moat)). Highlights are lemon grass beef, sun-dried beef and chili crab. See the bar blackboard for daily specials.
- Huen Muan Jai, Ratchaphruek Rd, . 10:00-22:00. Wooden Lanna style buildings in a very nice garden. They have Northern Thai-style food only.
- Huen Phen (เฮือนเพ็ญ), 112 Ratchamanka Rd (Inside moat). Daily, 08:00-15:00 & 17:00-22:00. Specialises in Northern Thai food, and is popular with both Thais and foreigners. Lunch in the air-conditioned hall is decent enough, but dinner in the profusely decorated old house in the back is little short of magical. Best of all is the price: a bowl of khanom jiin naam ngiaw (Shan-style pork rib noodles), a plate of som tum (green papaya salad) and some sticky rice will cost less than 100 baht. Portions are small however. This place is featured in Chinese guidebooks, thus in high-season it will be thronged with Chinese making it difficult to get seated without a lengthy wait.
- Mho-O-Cha Seafood Restaurant (Anusarn Market at Night Bazaar), . Daily, 11:00-24:00. Terrific restaurant on a prominent corner of the Anusarn Market. It is very popular with Chinese visitors who are quick to spot a good deal. There are some excellent vegetarian choices. Great staff, huge menu.
- Sila Aat (On the south edge of the Kalare Market, Night Bazaar). Daily, 15:00-24:00. Fresh seafood and a wide selection of Thai and northern/Lanna specialties. Operated by two sisters.
- Galae Garden Restaurant (at the end of Suthep Rd), .Thai food and grilled specialties, some of them regional, in a delightful outdoor setting.
- Khum Khantoke, 139 Moo 4, Nong Pakrung (In Chiang Mai Business Park behind Big C Extra Hypermarket, Chiang Mai-Lampang super highway), . Daily, 19:00-21:00. Traditional northern Thai cuisine. To get a good seat reservations are recommended. All you can eat, 590 baht.
- Mike's Hamburger Stand (Corner Chaiyapoom Rd and Changmoi Rd.). Till 03:00. Brightly-lit with just stools and a counter in an open shop.
- Tiny House Homemade Fried Chicken, Sridonchai Rd (In front of Suriwong Book Centre), . A small and new western-style food stand selling Southern-US style fried chicken and chicken burgers. Tasty and cheap. 30-100 baht.
- Amazing Sandwich, 20/2 Huay Kaew Rd. M-Sa, 08:00-22:00; Su, 08:00-16:00. Choose any of the ingredients on their list and they'll make a sandwich for you how you like it. They also serve breakfasts and have bagels.
- Archers Bar and Restaurant, 133/134 Ratchapakanai Rd (Inside moat, opposite Wat Pan Ping), . Closed M. Tu-Su, 10:00-late; kitchen closes at 22:00. Some say the baguettes are better than in France, which is nonsense, but they may well be the best in Thailand. Very well-run establishment, with outstanding food, great staff and ambience. Owners, Mark and Sa. Large Leo, 85 baht; fried rice, 60 baht; Massaman curry, 75 baht; pad Thai, 60 baht; cappuccino, 45 baht; brie/bacon baguette, 100 baht.
- Cafe de Siam (Outside moat, corner of Loi Kroh and Kamphaeng Rd), . 06:30-22:00. It's hard to find an early-morning breakfast in Chiang Mai due to the number of tourists on hotel package deals, but this place does. Free Wi-Fi. Three coin-operated Internet computers, 10 baht for 15 minutes.Continental breakfast, 100 baht; American breakfast, 160 baht.
- Chiangmai Saloon, 30 Ratchawithi Rd (2 locations, one inside & one outside the moat), . American-style burger and steakhouse. Friendly staff, nice atmosphere, music videos and sports on three 10 foot screens, pool tables and free Internet, free popcorn and peanuts, over 50 kinds of margaritas, Chang beer on tap. Is open everyday from breakfast until late. Another outlet at 80/1 Loi Kroh Rd. Leo beer, 55 baht.
- Dash! Restaurant & Bar, 38 Moon Muang Soi 2 (Moon Muang is the inside road on the W side of the old city. Take Soi 1 or 2 off Moon Muang and follow it around. You won't miss the place.), , e-mail: , [email protected]. 10:00-24:00. Possibly the best value in Chiang Mai. Wonderful ambiance, with indoor or outdoor seating. Great food, cocktails and desserts at more than reasonable prices. Cooking classes offered on-site. Also has a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house for rent at 3,000 baht per day.Chicken fried rice, 85 baht; Chicken pat Thai, 85 baht; hamburger, 155 baht, American breakfast, 165 baht.
- Duke's Steak House & Pizzeria (Duke's Night Bazaar), Chiang Mai Pavilion, 1st and 2nd Floor, Changklan Rd (Outside moat, opposite Royal Princess Hotel), . 10:30-24:00. Excellent American-style dishes and desserts: ribs, burgers, pizza, cheesecake, etc. Full bar with local and imported beers and wines. Great family atmosphere, children's menu, no loud music or entertainment, just good food. Eat in, take away & call for delivery. The flagship restaurant is at 49/4-5 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Rd, south of the Nawarat Bridge, 50 m N of TAT. A third is in the Promenada Shopping Centre.
- La Fourchette, 162/2 Phrapoklao Rd (Inside moat, across from Wat Chedi Luang), . M-Sa, 17:00-23:00. Authentic French restaurant in the centre of the old city. Large selection of imported meats and wines at affordable prices. Romantic open-air seating area with upstairs art gallery.
- Mong Pearl Cafe, Huay Kaew Rd (From the old city: 100 m after Canal Rd (Hwy 121), on your right), e-mail: [email protected]. 08:00-20:00. A favourite with Westerners because of the great service, good English, nice aesthetics and delicious food and drinks.
- O'Malley's Irish Pub, 149-14/15 Changklan Rd (SW corner of Anusarn Market), . 09:00-02:00. Delicious cocktails and excellent Western and Thai food. Has inside (air conditioned) and outside (smoking) seating. The interior closely resembles an authentic pub. This place does all the small things well: Tabasco, Lea & Perrins on the tables, soap and towels in the toilets, spotlessly clean. Not cheap, but the food is superb and the portions generous. Free Wi-Fi.
- Peppermint Cafe, Rachadamnoen Rd, Soi 5 (Inside moat, very near AUA and Wat Pan On), . 07:00-late. Spotlessly clean and excellent Western/Thai food at great prices. Terrific pizza at 69 baht a huge slice. Friendly, accommodating staff. Free Wi-Fi. English breakfast, 145 baht; burger, 99 baht.
- Pern's Restaurant (Formerly SoupaSteak), 26/5-6 Huay Keaw Rd(Opposite Shell gas station on the way to Doi Suthep),. 17:00-23:00. closed Mon. Serves great Mediterranean-style food. Greece, Turkey, Italy are all represented. Tapas, budget pork and chicken steaks. Bacon cheese steak burger, 229 baht.
- The Red Lion English Pub, 123 Loi Kroh Rd (Night Bazaar, just past McDonald's and Burger King.), . 10:00-01:00. Draught Guinness and Heineken, imported Blackthorn Cider and Fuller's London Pride, and Belgian and German beers. Pub favourites including bangers 'n mash, fish 'n chips, steak & kidney pie as well as steaks, pasta and Thai food. Live sports on a HD big screen including Premier League Football, Aussie Rules, Rugby and Formula 1.
- The Salad Concept, Nimmanhaemin Rd Soi 13 (Flagship restaurant at the corner of Nimmanhaemin Rd),, e-mail:[email protected]. 11:00-22:00. Order by completing a form which is then handed to the staff. Fast and efficient, and the food is very good. Second location on 5F of Central Festival Mall. Third location on Chaiyapoom Rd, just E of the moat. ~150 baht per person.
- Alois Bavarian Restaurant, Phrapoklao Rd, Soi 8 (Opposite Golden Fern Guest House), . Tu-Su, 11:30-23:00, closed M. Authentic Bavarian specialities.
- Arcobaleno Italian Restaurant, 60 Keaw Nawarat Rd, Soi 1 (Across from Wat Ket Karam; first soi off of Keaw Nawarat Rd), . Daily, 11:00-14:00, 17:30-22:00. Open for lunch and dinner with a range of traditional Italian soup, pasta, antipasti, meat and vegetarian dishes. Homemade ice cream, 35 baht per serving. Vegetarian pastas, 130-160 baht.
- The House (GINGER & Kafe), 199 Moon Muang Rd, .10:00-23:00. Old 1930s colonial style house in the city centre. Western and Thai food, Pacific Rim and fusion. Free Wi-Fi. Shop with unusual houseware items on the premises. Grilled fillet steak, 495 baht; hamburger, 250 baht.
- Piccola Roma Palace Italian Restaurant, 144 Charoen Prathet Rd(Opposite Chedi Hotel, corner of Charoen Prathet Rd & Sri Donchai Rd), . Open lunch & dinner amid beautiful surroundings. Serving residents for over 15 years. Menu and recipes on website. Reservations recommended. Call for free transportation.
- The Swan, 48 Chaiyapoom Rd (Just outside the moat on the east side, two doors down from Mike's Hamburgers), , e-mail:[email protected]. 12:00-23:00. Free Wi-Fi. Smoking and non-smoking areas. Charming restaurant with a tiny front but a cavernous interior. Good food at good prices. Those unfamiliar with Burmese food are in for a treat. Tea leaf salad for 69 baht; beef curry for 120 baht.
- Rote-Lert (รสเลิศ), 25/3 Sripoom Rd (From the NE corner of the moat, go west about 250 m), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-F, 15:30-22:00. The name means "amazing taste", and it's true of this place. Spotless, delicious and inexpensive, the only downside is that it has strange hours and is not open on weekends. Informative website with complete menu in Thai and English. Egg noodles with won ton and red pork plus a bottle of water, 50 baht.
- Fuji, Central Airport Plaza. While perhaps not a special restaurant in that it is not unique to Chiang Mai (it's actually a large chain), for those seeking reasonably-priced Japanese food, Fuji is a must. Expect to pay 120 baht and up for each dish (for instance, a single sushi roll), however there are several spectacular set meals that offer superb value, e.g., the Fuji Sashimi Set which can easily fill up a sushi lover for 190 baht. 120+ baht.
- Gigantea, 300 Chang Moi Rd, . Daily, 11:00-14:00, 17:00-22:00. Owned and managed by a cute Japanese-Thai husband and wife team, this restaurant is known as the best Japanese restaurant among Japanese residents in Chiang Mai. Although the menu is limited, ingredients are always fresh, cooking and presentation are excellent. Lunch is best value, with set meals around 140-200 baht.
- Kanson Sushi Bar, Kotchasan Rd, Soi 1. A little hidden in a side street, but visible from the main road near Tha Phae Gate. Delicious and very good value (250 baht will fill you).
- Sushi Box Chiang Mai, 16/1 Moo 2, Huay Kaew Rd (Between the first ring road/Nimman and the Canal Road, at The Harbour, an open air mall), , e-mail: [email protected]. Reasonably priced sushi, sashimi, and standard sushi bar Japanese meals. This is the first Sushi Box in Chiang Mai, there are five in Phuket. Mainly Thai crowd, moderately priced, lounge upstairs, great for people watching. Open 11:00-23:00. Can get busy at night.
- Gogi Jib Stone Grill Barbecue (Korean BBQ), 29/3 Kotchasarn Rd (Just outside Tha Phae Gate), . 12:00-23:00. Modern and friendly Korean barbecue spot offering high quality beef and pork as well as other Korean traditional dishes. Great artwork on the colourful walls and groovy tunes floating over the conversations. The staff are very attentive and the owners can give a quick Korean lesson. 295 baht and up includes unlimited side dishes.
It can be hard to find strictly vegetarian food in Chiang Mai, as fish and oyster sauce are used frequently, and the local Buddhist monks themselves often eat fish. Thus, asking for your dish to be prepared "like the monks", which works in other places, does not get the same results in Chiang Mai. There are a few completely vegetarian options.
- Anchan, Nimmanhaemin Rd, Soi Hillside 3 (Opposite Soi 13, about 50 m off of Nimmanhaemin), . Excellent vegetarian food, perhaps the best in Chiang Mai.
- Blue Diamond, Moon Muang Rd, Soi 9. M-Sa 08:00-21:00. Thai and Western, huge selection of items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great salads, fruits, fruit juices, noodle dishes, bakery, good breads.
- Gulf Restaurant, Anusarn Market (In a corner inside Anusarn Mkt, next to the pharmacy). open late. Lebanese owner/chef caters to middle eastern food lovers. Large portions of delicious tabbouleh, tahini salads and humus alongside fresh falafel and flat bread. Shisha/nargila/water pipes are available as well as mint tea.
- ImmAim/Pun Pun (the other Pun Pun), Santhitam Rd (Near the YMCA, at the south end of Santhitam Rd, follow signs to). A mix of Thai and other styles, run by laconic locals linked to a local farm. The falafel is lovely, but different, and the salsa it comes with is delicious. Pasta can be quite sweet, and the biscuits are good.
- Ming Kwan Vegetarian Buffet, Ratchadamnoen Rd (Opposite the police station). days only. A different range of Thai vegan dishes from the norm. A focus on faux-meats, the veggie sausage is great, and the faux-fish in curry sauce is good. Of course, bamboo shoot stir fry, noodle soups, etc., means there's lots to try. They cook during the day, so other dishes often appear from the kitchen.
- No Name Buddhist Buffet, Phrapokkloa Rd (Yellow fronted shop, 80 m N of Chiang Mai Gate (south side) on the right next to the Kodak shop). Daily, 06:00-16:00. Delicious vegan buffet at low prices. There are a few great dishes: the tofu, mushroom, and lemon grass wrapped in banana leaves is addictive; the het-hom (shitake) and other protein/gluten goodies are lovely; the steaming noodle soup is a great addition to a meal if you've arrived late and want to warm up the buffet dishes. The earlier the better as when dishes run out, they aren't remade. Also, you can buy some vegan supplies.
- Pun Pun Vegetarian Restaurant, Wat Suan Dok Temple, Suthep Rd (Inside the temple compound behind the monk chat building in an outdoor courtyard with a large bodhi tree and tables with umbrellas.), . 09:00-15:00, closed W. Thai vegetarian with organic ingredients from local farmers and many vegan-friendly options. Run by a local self-reliance and seed-saving centre outside the city.
- Taste from Heaven, . Daily, 08:30-22:00. Thai vegetarian with vegan options. Owned by a friendly English expat, this restaurant offers curries and noodle dishes in a comfortable and clean setting, with both indoor and garden seating.
- V T Namneung (วีที แหนมเนือง), 49/9 Lamphun Rd (On the east bank of the Ping River, just north of the Iron Bridge, just south of the Nawarat Bridge), , e-mail: [email protected]. Handsome 2 storey restaurant with air-con upstairs. Serves what amounts to Vietnamese tapas: spring rolls, salted pork ribs, nem; all with lots of leafy greens. Serve beer, but the fresh fruit juices are better. Do very little to cater to visitors as most everything is in Thai including signs and menus. At the entry have a shop that offers many of their products packaged for take-away. The website lists their catering offerings.