A new series looking at the best dining options within walking distance (1 mile) of city landmarks worldwide. Here we offer our 5 IDEAL restaurants close to the Lumpini Park, Bangkok.
Lumpini Park, in the heart of Bangkok’s trendy Sathorn district and served by a metro station of the same name, could easily be described as the epicentre of Asia’s most sprawling metropolis. In a city so loud, so hectic and so damn crowded, the park is a place to clear your mind. We hesitate to say oasis of calm, but, we just did. Clichés are sometimes such for a reason. Here thoughts aren’t interrupted during a stroll or sit down; a valuable, cherished commodity in these parts. There’s plenty of open water, grassy space and shade, a juxtaposition that feels quite dramatic if you look skyward and see you’re enclosed by skyscrapers. What’s more, there’s abundant wildlife here – quite bizarre really in a city of such choking, manmade bustle. Talking of which, smoking is banned inside the park, another string to its burgeoning bow. After a morning, afternoon or both in Lumpini Park, you’ll be craving refreshments. The park is also blessed with genuinely the finest mile radius of restaurant options we’ve ever had the pleasure of having to write about. Here are our 5 favourites, the 5 IDEAL restaurants close to Lumpini Park, Bangkok.
Nahm (700 metres)
Chef David Thompson’s world famous rendition of royal Thai cuisine is based on two equally vital components. First, a meticulous level of research not only into the history of each ingredient, dish, cooking style and recipe, but also into Thailand itself. Secondly, a deep love – reverence even – and understanding of the country which results in respectful, ultra-authentic cooking. Nahm earned a Michelin star, a first for Thai cooking, when in its previous incarnation in London, and the Bangkok version rightly followed suit in Michelin’s inaugural Bangkok guide at the end of 2017. It’s been our finest meal in recent memory and to put it quite simply, Nahm is generally considered the best Thai restaurant in the world. Enough said. Oh, and one more thing, it’s not that expensive. If you only eat in one restaurant, make it here.
Address: 27 S Sathorn Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120
Gaa (700 metres)
Gaa is the newly opened sister restaurant to 7th best restaurant in the world, Gaggan, which sits opposite. A word first then, on the older sibling. Gaggan is a modern Indian restaurant with food versed in the molecular (chef Gaggan honed his craft at El Bulli) with all the playfulness and whimsy that involves. When we went, the only clue to menu items came in the form of emojis on tracing paper and what followed was thrilling without forgetting to actually taste good. Stars in the plural are sure to follow soon. We have, however, decided to include Gaa instead, as the price and waiting list are far less restrictive. The joie-de-vivre of Gaggan’s cooking is still there, as is the downright deliciousness of every bite, but with the added bonus of your wallet leaving in a better mood. Gaa is in its infancy and as such, is sure to get bigger, better and busier in good time. Get in there while you can.
Address: 68/4 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road Lumpini, Phathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Baan (500 metres)
Bangkok is a city of sister restaurants threatening their elder siblings, and Baan makes a good case for parity with Le Du, the more globally established restaurant of Chef Thitid Tassanakajohn. The emphasis here is on family recipes and a communal style of eating so preferred by the Thais. The interior is homely yet slick and sophisticated and the food suits exactly the same description. The lamb belly Massaman curry is a signature of the restaurant and one whose autograph we were asking for after eating. It’s amazing.
Address: 139/5 Wireless RD, Lumpini, Prathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Issaya Siamese Club (1 mile)
Hey, celebrity chefs aren’t only confined to the Western world. Ian Kittichai is Thailand’s favourite celebrity chef. Issaya Siamese Club is his original outpost and combines a deep respect for Thailand’s culinary tradition with a fun, flirtatious sensibility. The building is stunning, with grounds of flora rarely found in central Bangkok, complete with terrace dining and regal, colonial furniture. Food-wise, there’s much to be enjoyed here; the soft-shell crab and banana blossom with heart of palm salad, in particular. The set-menu at lunch is great value.
Address: 4, Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Road Rd., Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120
Soi Polo Chicken (700 metres)
You can’t come to Bangkok and not eat the classic chicken and green papaya salad combo. Soi Polo Chicken is reputedly the city’s finest, and we think we agree. Their birds are fried to a crispy skinned finish, seasoned generously and served with three dipping sauces to complement. The best of their papaya salads comes with salted, dried baby shrimps and crabs given a similar treatment. The meal-deal is completed with a much needed ice-cold and light lager. It’s a cracking option if you’re on budget, and one we went back to more times than we’re proud to mention.
Address: 139 Witthayu Rd, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330