While I love cheap, authentic Thai street food, which is abundant in Bangkok, the restaurant scene is better than ever, and it’s growing fast. If you roll classy, it would be criminal to visit Bangkok without dining at Somtum Der in Thong Lor (351/2 Soi Sukhumvit 55, Tel: 66- 2-046-4904. www.somtumder.com), the latest restaurant opened by Suppanina Group. It’s the same Somtum Der you’d find on Saladeeng Road, or even the East Village in New York City (which earned a Michelin star in 2016), but the newest location is sleek and off the tourist path. Nestled in the affluent, residential Thong Lor neighborhood, local Thais visit Somtum Der for its low-key ambience and its regional Isan cuisine, featuring dishes like its signature spicy papaya salad with salted eggs and deep fried chicken thigh marinated with Thai herbs and chili paste.
If you’re looking for something a little more on the beaten path, check out an ever-popular and timeless dinner cruise. Supanniga Dinner Cruise (23 Soi Charoen Krung 24, Tel: 66- 97-238-8284. www.supannigacruise.com) debuted last year, and it’s basically a gay cruise with a 6-course, authentic Thai eastern cuisine menu. It’s also intimate (only 40 seats), features a 360-degree view of the Chaophraya River, and they’re known to uncork expensive Champagne, like Taittinger, at the onboard Champagne bar.
Those looking for the most intimate meal yet, head to Baan Nual (310 Khwaeng Ban Phan Them, Tel: 66-81-889-7403.), opened last August. The three-table restaurant (yes, only three tables, meaning you need to make a reservation through a friend of a friend way in advance) is designed to resemble a whimsical, hole-in-the-wall Thai-style eatery. With its rural vibe, Baan Nual is all about familystyle, crowd-pleasing Thai dishes like green curry with pork and the creamy “yum” salad with grounded pork and fried shallots.
After dinner, head straight to Sky Bar at Lebua (1055 Si Low, Khwaeng Silom, Tel: 66-2- 624-9555. www.lebua.com), an oval-shaped island bar connected by a ridgeway literally floating in the sky at 820 feet above the city. On the 64th floor of the hotel, it touts impressive, 360-degree views and attracts an affluent, young crowd. Sky Bar just got even fancier with a brand-new champagne bar, Flute, as well as a whiskey bar, Al Fresco 64, now the highest outdoor whiskey bar in the world.