Everyone comes to Thailand to eat, and luckily a bumper crop of new culinary stars have entered the country. Here are the best new restaurants in Thailand in 2022.
It’s safe to say that Thailand started the year with a stellar bang across the dining scene with what feels like a record-breaking amount of new openings. From mouthwatering brunches to sustainably minded seafood, refined Mexican to fine-dining Korean, 2022 was the year for the international palate, introducing spots representing food from all over the world, in addition to the outstanding local Thai restaurants. While we could go on and on about our favorites, here’s a great starter list for anyone wanting to embark on a culinary journey. These are the best new restaurants in Thailand for 2022.
Helmed by acclaimed Thai chef, Prin Polsuk, who also runs Samrub for Thai currently sitting at no. 31 on Asia’s 50 Best list, teams up with Spanish chef, Pepe Dasi Jimenez, for a menu they dub “the parallel world of Thai food,” creating unique dishes using global ingredients but always highlighting the essence of Thai cuisine and culture. The restaurant sits tucked away at the Mahanakhon Cube in a thoughtful designed space created by wife and partner, Thanyaporn “Mint” Jarukittikun, and local Thai artisans.
vilasbangkok.com; tasting menu starts a Bt4,500
This brunch haven is one of the most sought after tables in all the country thanks to head chef Chalee Kader’s hearty yet beautiful breakfast and lunch staples that have the masses pouring in, cameras and tummies at the ready. Savor velvety-smooth eggs topped with maple-glazed bacon, silver-dollar pancakes, fresh pressed juices and oat-milk iced lattes in the luminous house surrounded by lush greenery and expensive cars.
www.instagram.com/frans.bkk; approximate price of brunch for two Bt800
Mexican cuisine made a big comeback in Bangkok in 2022 thanks in part to the opening of the illustrious Ojo restaurant from superstar Mexican chef, Francisco Ruano, who opened at the top of the Mahanakhon building in what is now The Standard Hotel. The a la carte menu is a nod to his dishes from his restaurant, Alcalde, in Guadalajara but also plays with Thai ingredients to create funky, flavorsome dishes like the tender birria short rib, slow-cooked in a Jalisco adobo.
www.standardhotels.com/bangkok/features/ojo-bkk; approximate price of dinner and drinks for two B4,500
Adding to the Mexican mix is Santiaga which comes from the talented chefs of La Monita, Billy’s Smokehouse and Thai Niyom. Sitting neatly above Billy’s in an omakase setting, Santiaga takes a deep dive in regional Mexican fare and creates some of the most heartwarming dishes that can be felt in the soul. From the sopa de fideo to the shrimp flautas sitting over an herbaceous green salsa, this is the one place to keep on your radar.
www.facebook.com/santiagabkk; tasting menu Bt1,800
Celebrity chef and household name, Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn (Le Du and Nusara) brought his restaurant empire to the Thai Island of Phuket offering a modern take on local seafood. Head maestro of the kitchen is Chatchawan ‘Banky’’ Varahajeerakul, who works closely with local and sustainable fishermen from along the coastline and doles out impressively stunning fare like razor clams with a pineapple dressing and lemongrass or the Phuket lobster with sea grape, pickled vegetable and kale powder. The setting is equally dreamy with natural warm, welcoming tones.
www.samutphuket.com/samut; Tasting menu starts at Bt 2890 per person
We love the concept behind chef Shunsuke Shimomura’s Resonance restaurant, which humbly embraces a “Boundless Cuisine” concept showcasing a little bit of everything he learned from past experiences and travels. Tucked away in a residential area in the back skirts of Ekkamai, the elegant space ties in harmoniously with the worldly tasting menu that touches on Japanese, Italian and Indian influences.
www.instagram.com/resonance.bkk; 12 course tasting menu starts at Bt3990
The longtime Bangkok-nightlife impresarios behind hits like Quince and Sing Sing have introduced Lily Fu’s to the formerly-tired-and-now-totally-hopping Sukhumvit Soi 11, bringing a breath of fresh air via their massive, everything-delicious pan-Asian menu, awesome DJ sets and all-around good vibe where everyone feels welcome and cool. Fancy a richly carnivorous Massamam curry or tender, vegan grilled green eggplant? Almost all of Asia is on offer, along with a great-deal ladies’ night on Fridays(!). This is the place for dim sum all night, whether you’ve been out dancing or hitting up one of the ubiquitous cannabis carts lining the road.
lilyfus.com; approximate price of dinner for two Bt1000
This long-time Phuket fine-dining sanctuary finally made its way to Bangkok and into the open arms of the city’s haute-Italian lovers, of which there are many. Chef Alessandro Frau and his talented team make use of a stunning kitchen of every chef’s dreams to bring his Sardinian-inspired menu to life inside an idyllic glass house setting, where expansion plans are already under way. Feast on Sardianian smoked eel with pickled vegetables or Burrata stuffed tortellini with a wagyu beef cheek ragout. You can go a la carte, but we suggest asking chef himself to put together a list of divine suggestions.
www.acquarestaurantbangkok.com; tasting menu starts at Bt3800
Chef Arnaud Dunand was the main man at the iconic Le Normandie for years before recently venturing off to open his own space in the heart of Sathorn. Not one, but two concepts are under his helm: Alpea a casual bistro, and his fine-dining spot, Maison Dunand, just steps away. Both highlight where he comes from, i.e., the wintery alps of France. For those looking for lunch, stop by Alpea for homemade breads, tarts and dishes like foie gras or the soul soothing chicken cocotte. Dinner leans on the finer side of things with a choice of tasting menus highlighting the best of his hometown in the Savoie region of France.
maisondunand.com; five-course tasting menu starts at Bt3990
Fresh off gaining its first Michelin star, this Chinatown fine dining establishment has had everyone talking and that has a lot to do with its legendary building status that once belonged to the family of head Chef Pitchaya ‘Pam’ Utarntham. What used to be a pharmacy, the 120 year-old shophouse had a rebirth spanning across its four floors without ever taking away its ancient charm. Here you can savor what they call a “Progressive Thai-Chinese” fare in a 20-course tasting menu meant to evoke memories. Dishes change naturally but the smoked duck, veggies and rice served over a lazy susan is there to stay. The top two floors are home to Opium Bar, serving great cocktails with Chinatown views.
www.restaurantpotong.com; 20-course tasting menu starts at Bt4500
Villa Frantzen was easily one of the most hotly anticipated restaurants in Thailand for 2022, the new Bangkok estate being the second Asia outpost of renowned chef, Bjorn Frantzen. The two-story stunning restaurant sits next to Villa Frantzén Cocktail Bar, a destination in its own right, and the first standalone bar of the group. Here, you will take a deep dive into Nordic territory in both fare and cocktails with touches of Thai ingredients woven in. Classic Frantzén bites like French toast a la Villa Frantzén with Vendace roe and västerbotten cheese are on hand too.
villafrantzen.com; tasting menu Bt3,5000; open for dinner daily from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Small Dinner Club
It might seem strange to put a hard-to-book “private” table on our list of best new restaurants in Thailand, but Small Dinner Club came as a welcome and welcoming surprise in 2022, stretching itself away from its fellow fine dining establishments and we totally dig that. Chef Sareen takes Thai ingredients and turns them into a thought-provoking tasting menu that tickles all the senses in a brutalist, moody setting in Bangkok’s Old Town.
Smalldinnerclub.com; tasting menu Bt4,500; open for dinner Thursday to Sunday 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Super fresh on the Bangkok dining scene, Choen impresses with the care and finesse of the Thai-inspired dishes that are all prepared over the grill – that’s right, from starter to dessert. Head chef Gerwavich ‘Mew’ Mesaengrilverakul, who used to work in the kitchens of Charmgang (one of our favorite new restaurants in Thailand of the past couple of years) and Nahm (at its peak) in 2022 took over a lucrative corner near Wat Mankong in Chinatown serving tasty but super down-to-earth dishes in a sharing tasting menu that changes seasonally. Our current favorite is the giant river prawn curry with coconut buds.
For a city that adores everything Korean, there has never been a fine-dining restaurant that represents the beloved food culture until the most recent arrival of Juksunchae, that is. Head chef, Juksunchae, flips the scripts on traditional Korean fare and showcases classics like fish mandu dumplings and sea urchin bibimbap in one-of-a-kind, aesthetically-stunning plates of edible art in an omakase-style setting.
Hero Image Credit: Courtesy of Maison Dunand.