A Local's Guide to Chiang Mai's Most Recommended Places To Eat
Chiang Mai is a place full of delicacies. It is so easy to find delicious food whether it is Lanna, Isan, Western, Chinese or Thai cuisine. Frankly speaking, I was so spoilt for food staying in Chiang Mai. However, there are a few favorites that I would like to share.
All of the below restaurants are suitable for big groups of foodies including the young and old. I have also narrowed down the restaurants to be all mid-priced to save you from burning a hole out of your wallet! Without a doubt, these restaurants have great environments and awesome service.
Price range per person: 220-270 baht
100% #1 one go-to restaurant for Isan food in Chiang Mai. A local’s hidden gem away from the mainstream restaurants in the city. As mentioned in the previous article, Lanna, Thai and Isan food are different cuisines you can find in Thailand. Two of the most prominent ingredient in any Isan meal will be sticky rice and chilli peppers.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, is an old Isan food restaurant by the Ping River. The must-order food here is their crispy pork belly, crispy catfish, and BBQ chicken. Remember to try out their Tom Yam Goong, som tam (papaya salad—very spicy!), yam nua (spicy beef salad), and krapow moo saap (fried basil with pork) too!
It is slightly far from the city center. Takes about 20 minutes from Maya Mall in Nimman road but it is worth the travel! The only problem you will face here is that the servers mostly do not speak English. So, look for the lady boss to make your order if you don't speak Thai.
Location on Google: Tonnam Restaurant
Opening hours: Every day 10:00am – 9:00pm
Possibly the most instagrammable breakfast place in Chiang Mai is located in Ched Yod area, which is relatively near to Furama Chiang Mai. It takes about a 10-minute drive to reach this roadside stall.
The whole stall looks like a shack but, the food will not disappoint. GoPuek GoDam has quite a limited menu for food. Thus, making it a great place for a simple breakfast. The three main dishes here would be Vietnamese style chicken soup noodles (not pho), egg pan, and toast with custard.
The most popular food here is the toast bread with the homemade 4 colours custard and half boiled eggs. This must-order set goes perfectly well with a hot cup of coffee or Thai milk tea.
Location on Google Map: GoPuek GoDam
Facebook page: GoPuek GoDum
Opening hours: Every day (except Tuesday) 8:00am – 3:00pm
Not exactly a Thai restaurant but it is a Cantonese-Thai restaurant located in Ched Yod, about 5 minutes drive from Maya Mall. It is definitely the best Chinese Thai restaurant in town that has been around for the last 40 years. It’s located right behind Maya Mall. Thus, relatively close to Hotel Furama as well.
Every dish here is mouthwatering and authentic to Southeast Asian Chinese style cooking. The restaurant is clean and the service here is great. A plus point is that they serve vegan meals too thus, there are two menus.
The must-order dish is the yam basket with nuts and chicken, and hot plate crispy egg with oyster. However, every other dish is equally delicious!
Recommended vegan dishes by the restaurant:
Stir-fried yellow noodle, boiled gingerbread, spring rolls, roasted northern mixed vegetables, taro balls, som tam, seaweed wrap tofu curl, duck (made of soy) Thai salad and steamed buns.
Location on Google: Ekathip Chokedee Cantonese Restaurant
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00am – 2:00pm & 4:00pm – 9:30pm
Sunday 4:00pm – 9:30pm
Huen Muan Jai
It took us three visits before we could have a seat to eat in this restaurant that is located in Santitham. It is crazy popular — for a very good reason.
Huen Muan Jai is probably the best Lanna restaurant that one can find. Despite the menu looking rather boring, the taste of the food says otherwise. The food here tastes heavenly!
The must-have dishes are the gaeng hang lay pork, gaeng keow wan kai (Green Chicken Curry), and Chiang Mai sausage. Lanna food is a mixture of Burmese, Laos, Vietnamese and Thai style cuisine as the Lanna Kingdom was once a stronghold for all these countries.
Tip: Check Google Maps for its peak time to avoid not having a seat to eat here!
Location on Google: Huen Muan Jai
Facebook: Huen Muan Jai
Opening hours: Every day except Wednesdays 11:00am – 8:00pm
The River Market Restaurant
If you are looking for a more romantic time with your partner and do not mind spending a little more than the usuals, this is the restaurant to be. It is an estimated cost of 500 baht a person for both food and beverages.
Two of my favourites on the menu are most definitely their gaeng hang lay curry and massaman lamb curry. Just reminiscing over the time I had the curry there, I'm starting to drool and craving for the same melted pork infused curry!
There is no live band here nor any sorts of entertainment. However, you will be pleased with the beautiful night skyline of Chiang Mai by the Ping River. This restaurant offers you and your partner a quiet night out with tantalizing local food at its highest quality.
Location on Google Map: The River Market
Facebook: The River Market Restaurant
Opening hours: Every day 11:00am – 11:00pm
Funky Grill Chiang Mai
Hungry and looking for a late-night snack? Look no further other than Funky Grill Chiang Mai. Located on Huay Kaew Road, this shop is a scooter rental place in the day and a grill stall by 8:00pm.
You will be able to find another franchise of Funky Grill on Soi 13 in the Glass Cafe compound. So, if the main branch is crowded - which they usually are, you can try your luck at the smaller franchise.
The most special thing about funky grill is not on the menu. Can you guess what it is? Chilli flakes - yes, it is their self-made chilli flakes that makes everything on the menu taste extra delicious compared to all other grills. Just a little bit of this red devil and you will feel the burn on your lips. Only meant for the spicy daredevils!
Regardless of the spiciness, customers should always give it a shot while enjoying some beer. That would be the best combination late-night snack here!
Location on Google Map: Funky Grill on Huay Kaew Road
Facebook: Funky Grill Chiang Mai
Opening hours: Every day 5:30pm – 2:00am
Thai Noodle House
This Khao Soi place is hidden away from everyone! It is my little secret food hideout when I was staying in Chiang Mai. The lady who owns this place do not speak English and the menu is in Chinese and Thai only.
Located in a moo ban (Thai village/residential area) in Suthep area, you will barely see any farangs (foreigners) here. Prices start from 35 baht a bowl for a spicy bowl of fresh Khao Soi and a bowl of pork noodles soup. Order some side dishes such as their crispy tofu that comes with a bowl of special sauce and a plate of fried spring rolls to go along with your khao soi. Every single dish that is sold here is simple yet, delicious.
Location on Google: Thai Noodle House
Opening hours: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 9:30am – 3:00pm
The one and only original Xi An restaurant in the entire Chiang Mai. Every single famous Xi An dish can be found in this restaurant. Every dish is authentic and true to its roots.
There is no other words to describe how grateful I am to have their dumplings and Xi An cold noodles. It is a place worth visiting especially when you would like to try something different in Chiang Mai, at an affordable price. The decorations outside the restaurant is something worth your Instagram post as well.
Additionally, the owner serves with a kind and warmth heart. He speaks Thai, English, and Chinese. If you are not sure what to have, feel free to ask the servers for help and they will help you pick the best food.
Location on Google: Qin Kitchen
Facebook: Qin Kitchen
Opening hours: Sundays – Fridays 11:00am – 9:00pm (Close on Saturdays)
Xanadu Pub & Restaurant
One of the rare rooftop restaurants of Chiang Mai is Furama Chiang Mai’s very own Xanadu Pub & Restaurant. Located at the 17th floor, which is the rooftop, Xanadu is an open-air restaurant with panoramic views of the city and Doi Suthep.
Prices may be slightly higher than the rest of the restaurants in this article but the environment is second to none. Despite that, the prices in Xanadu is still relatively cheaper for its quality than most rooftop pubs & restaurants around the world.
The environment is comfortable and relaxing. Thus, making it your best place to hang out and enjoy a great variety of traditional Thai cuisine after a long day. Every visitor will be in awe of the beautiful scenery and serene atmosphere which is ideal for an intimate time-out or a romantic getaway.
Location on Google: Rooftop of Hotel Furama
Facebook: Xanadu Pub & Restaurant
Opening hours: Every day 6:00pm – 12:00am