If you are looking for a place to have a nice dinner, good Thai food with good atmosphere, you should stay clear of the usual tourist traps like the “seafood” restaurants and most of the stuff that tour guides offer you. I am not saying these places are bad in general. Some offer quite a decent food. Some even have an atmosphere but they are far form an “original” experience.

Here are some recommendations for good restaurants that mostly cater to a Thai audience which means the food is not “watered down” for western taste, the band will mostly not slaughter “Hotel California” the and atmosphere is “local”.

If you are staying in the Sukhumvit Area, you should venture down Soi 16 to the Balee Laos.

The Balee Laos Restaurant

Bamboo and wooden furniture, a nice outdoor area and really tasty Thai and Isan food are on offer. The music is audible (no live music here) but you do not have to shout to have a conversation. Most dishes are in normal restaurant price range (e.g. 150 – 200 THB) and there is a good drink list with many local beers. We tasted the vegetarian green curry, red curry with chicken, larb moo tod (deep fried meatballs with basil), crispy fried morning glory and – for reasons of comparison – Tom Kha gai (coconut soup with chicken). Two more things are worth mentioning. When 5 Farang order food in a Thai restaurant, there are most likely small mistakes to be expected. This was the case here also but I have to say that the staff was most friendly, helpful and efficient in correcting them swiftly.

Simple, nice- Thai Style dining

And there also was a gimmick I found interesting and thoughtful. As we were sitting outside, the restaurant was not ruining the atmosphere with bright lights. Attached to every menu was a clip-on reading lamp. This excellent little idea also offered something to chat about, right away.

Should you be staying around the Khao Sarn Road area, go down to the river to Thevet Pier, to be exact. At the end of that pier you will find a small restaurant called Khao Tha.

Thai Style easy dining near Khao Sarn Road

The restaurant is an old wooden structure, overlooking the river. The atmosphere is a s “Thai” as it gets, with many young people coming here after work to chat, eat, drink and enjoy live music. The food is typical Thai, with many excellent fish dishes (the dishes are priced around 100 – 120 THB. In the eventual “smoke- breaks”, you will have the chance to feed some cat fish beneath the pier and have fun seeing them in their feeding frenzy. The music is performed by solo artists, duets or small bands. They play  Thai pop standards of today, from popular bands and artists like Klear, Da Endorphine, Bodyslam or  Silly Fools.

This is a perfect little place for a nice -almost romantic- dinner, before heading out and enjoying the nightlife at Khao Sarn Road or after exploring the Dusit (Royal) District with sights such as Wat Benchamabophit, the Dusit Zoo, the Vimanmek Mansion or the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall.

You can best get to Khao Tha by river taxi. It is on the pier with the number N15.

Thewet Pier during day time