Okay, I have a confession to make. As much as I LOVE eating Thai food, I do get the occasional craving for other types of cuisine. So while we eat local street food 80% of the time, we do feel the need to try other things once in a while. Thus, our quest to find the best must-try restaurants in Chiang Mai began. From pizzas, burgers, to the best brunch places, we’ve taken one for the team and tried it all. So without further ado, our happy bellies are happy to present to you a few of our top picks for restaurants in Chiang Mai.
The River Market
Price Range: $$
If you’re looking for a nice place to enjoy delicious Thai food, The River Market is THE place to go. Located right on the Ping River near the Night Bazaar, this restaurant is one of the prettiest in Chiang Mai and is the perfect place to go for a nice sit-down meal. Serving traditional Thai food (with the occasional fusion inspired dishes), this place is one of our top recommendations for those wanting to enjoy good food in an atmospheric environment. We ordered their lamb massaman curry as well as a few other appetizers. While everything was delicious, we found ourselves raving about the Tamarind ribs a few days after our meal as they were just perfectly seasoned and cooked. Click here to see The River Market Menu
What to order: While it’s difficult to recommend just one dish, make sure you try their Massaman Lamb curry, Tamarind Ribs, Green Cury Chicken Rotti, as well as their fresh seafood dishes. In short, pretty much everything on their menu!
Why Not? Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
Price Range: $$
Anyone who would say that they’ve never craved for pizza while they have been traveling would be lying. Pizza is the world’s most universally liked food (in my opinion) and trust us, the pizza in Why Not? does not disappoint. Tucked peacefully in one of the streets in Nimmanhemin is this little gem of a restaurant. The place itself has a beautiful outdoor area where you can enjoy traditional Italian fares which vary from pizzas, pasta, and a variety of other entrees. The staff here are always pleasant but more importantly, the food is fantastic! We’ve tried their pizza numerous times and each time, it doesn’t disappoint. The burrata con rucola (fresh mozzarella cheese salad) was light, creamy, and worth ordering. The pizzas are made directly in front of you in the open brick fire oven. Pizzas vary from 160 – 300 THB ($4.50-9) Click here to see their pizza menu
What to order: The pizza del Sud and Francese pizza are two of our favorites but to be honest, every pizza we’ve tried there doesn’t disappoint. As mentioned, the burrata is also worth ordering.
Price Range: $
The first time we heard of this burger place was when we overheard people saying “I’m going to have The Beast for dinner tonight.” As you can imagine, this sparked our interest. Soon, we headed over to Beast Burger to try out their famed burgers. The sesame bun was light and airy and the meat was super juicy. Their menu is straightforward and their mission is simple.
To create burgers that customers will keep coming back for. If you ever find yourself craving for burgers, this is where to go. They offer beef, pork, chicken, and veggie burgers for decent and reasonable prices. We’re slightly sad that we missed out on trying the crunchy parmesan chicken burger as it looked absolutely delicious, but then again, it’s just another reason to go back. To me, however, the fries were nothing special but I can look past that as the burgers are REALLY REALLY good. I’ve even heard people refer to it as the best burgers in Chiang Mai.
Drop by next time you’re in the area and be the judge of that. Burgers vary from 190 – 250 THB ($5.50-7) Click here to see their menu
What to order: The Beast, Double Double, and the Crunch Parmesan Chicken Burger. I also had their Aioli Burger and it was delightful. Don’t forget to do an extra order of waffle fries which were delicious!
DK David’s Kitchen at 909
Price Range: $$$
For those that are looking for a great place to celebrate special occasions, DK David’s Kitchen at 909 is your spot. The atmosphere, the level of service and hospitality, and the quality of the food are all outstanding! We have visited David’s Kitchen on two separate occasions, and each time, we left fully satisfied and were beaming from ear to ear by the lovely service that David himself and his staff provide. From the name card waiting for you as you sit on a table to the personal email that David himself sends the next day. These are the things that make this restaurant number 1 in Trip Advisor- trust us, it’s there for a reason! The food is fine dining with an interesting mix of flavors. This is a place that we highly recommend going to for special occasions. Dishes are around 800-1200 THB ($22-34)
What to order: The pumpkin soup is hands down a must order when you get there! We also love their lamb shank and veal cheek braised in red wine
Click here If you want to read our full review of the food in David’s Kitchen.
Overstand Coffee Shop
Price Range: $
After winning best breakfast in Chiang Mai for two years a row in the foodie facebook group, Chiang Mai Eats, we knew that Overstand was one place that we would have to try. Conveniently located in the Old Town, Overstand Coffee Shop is a pleasant place to start your day. The chic decorations instantly give a hipster vibe to this small but quaint coffee shop. We started our day with a flat white coffee for me which was absolutely delicious.
For breakfast, we decided to order the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and chorizo with hummus all served on a freshly baked sourdough bread. The combination of flavors, topped with the chilled ambiance will definitely keep us coming back to this place. We’ve also heard great things about their sandwiches which they start serving at lunchtime. I do have to point out that the bread in my salmon dish tasted a bit too hard and stale for my liking but I’m pretty sure that was just a case of bad luck or personal preference. The chorizo and hummus dish though was to die for! Their coffee menu is varied and very decently priced!
Expect to pay anything for 130 – 160 THB for their open-faced sandwiches ( $4-5) Click here to see their menu
What to order: The open-faced chorizo sandwich with hummus and Cubano sandwich.
Fin Premium Sushi Bar
Price Range: $$
Oddly enough, sushi is one of those things that we often crave for. Good thing Chiang Mai has no shortage of sushi spots (go figure!) so in our attempt to find the best spot, we found ourselves trying multiple restaurants. Fin Premium Sushi Bar, located in Maya Shopping Mall was admittedly one of the last ones that we tried as we just thought it was too pricey. However, we happened to walk past it and they had certain items on 50% discount. Naturally, we couldn’t resist. The sushi is fresh, the staff are helpful and organized, and the food was good!
We gorged out on the freshest salmon sashimi, a salmon and foie gras sushi roll, and a lot of other delightful dishes. Let me clarify that they have serve “american style” sushi with inventive rolls but they do have traditional ones as well. Between the price reductions and the high-quality dishes, this is definitely a spot you have to check out if you’re craving for sushi. Expect to pay anything from 100 THB – 260 THB for each dish. Definitely not cheap, but very worth it! ($3-8)
What to order: Salmon Sashimi, Foie Gras salmon roll with cream cheese, unagi, and their fin sashimi sampler.
Address: Maya Shopping Mall
Arno’s Chiang Mai
Price Range: $$
Originating from Bangkok, this popular steak and burger restaurant has finally made it to Chiang Mai. During our last visit to Chiang Mai, there was a lot of hype on their food so we knew a visit was in order. Located in the Old Town, the atmosphere of the place was relaxed and inviting without the pretentious feel that usually comes with most established steak places. We were both in the burger and fries mood which is why we opted to try out their famous house burger. Upon ordering, you then get to choose between American cheese or Blue cheese. As well as a choice of fries and sauce. The burger came out super juicy and full of flavor. My partner Tom opted for the double burger (which to be honest was a bit too much even for him). I, on the other hand, ordered a single patty with blue cheese and soon declared it to be one of the best burger’s we’ve had in Chiang Mai. As if the burgers were not indulgent enough, I also ordered some truffle sauce on the side which I dipped my burger in. Delicious!
What to order: Burgers (their curly fries were to die for!) If you’re in the mood for steaks, they also have beautiful cuts of dry-aged steak.
Price Range: $
Now I know I said I’m not featuring any Thai food, but this grilled chicken place hits the spot for us when we don’t know what to eat. Although the place is a popular Thai Issan style restaurant, the star here is the grilled rotisserie style “gai yang” chicken. You can opt to order a half or a whole chicken which is served with a trio of sauces. This chicken is so good that it made it to the New York Times…no joke! Restauranteur Andy Ricker sung praises about this hole in the wall chicken spot where you can enjoy a simple roasted chicken stuffed with fragrant lemongrass and garlic. The flavors are simple and delicious, making it one of our go-to restaurants! Definitely, a must try when you’re looking for a cheap meal that hits the spot. A whole chicken at SP chicken will set you back 150 THB ($4) while a papaya salad (best eaten with the chicken) is about $1. Unreal, right?
What to order: Whole roast chicken, som tum (papaya salad), and a plate of steamed rice. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Fajitas Tex Mex Family Restaurant
Price Range: $
You know the feeling of waking up and feeling the sudden craving for Mexican food? Burritos, nachos, enchiladas, and perhaps even a margarita or two. You know, the works! Well, that craving happened so I turned to the web to find the best Mexican joint in town. This newly opened place has been causing quite a stir amongst the online community so without hesitation, we headed there to get our fix. The portions were generous, the menu was varied, and most of all, the food was unpretentious.
The owner himself told us, the food that they served in the restaurant was exactly what they ate at home. Ah, good old home cooking! We ordered the lamb wet burrito and some chimichangas which were absolutely delicious! Maybe the fact that they were also smothered with cheese added to its appeal. I also loved the fact that they had a whole shelf full of various kinds of hot sauce so you can customize it to your liking. Although the place itself is a little bit out of town, the drive up there is worth it in our opinion. Burritos and quesadillas range from 130- 180 THB ($5) Click here to see their menu
What to order: Burritos, chimichangas, and quesadillas. I won’t lie, everything looked delicious!
Rustic & Blue
Price Range: $$
Since we discovered this little gem of a place, we’ve been coming back every week-it’s that good! Without a doubt, our go-to spot for healthy farm to table brunch food. This small cafe located in the hip and trendy Nimmanhemin area has everything you want in a brunch place. Chic decorations, lovely staff, and beautifully presented healthy food. We ordered their Rosie eggs benedict which was essentially a croissant topped with greens, a thick slab of bacon, poached egg, sweet potato, and a beetroot hollandaise. Just writing this is already making me hungry enough to hop on my motorbike and head there.
From breakfast acai bowls to delicious sounding lunch and dinner plates, this is definitely one of our favorite food finds in Chiang Mai. Although the cafe looks small, they actually have an area at the back which is nice and quiet as well as an open-air garden area. Apart from good food, they also have a good coffee and a great tea collection. Although slightly pricey, the quality of ingredients and the taste make it worth it. Prices vary from 180-380 THB Click here to see their menu
What to Order: EVERYTHING! We will seriously attempt to try every single thing on their menu. On a more serious note, their breakfast stack and the Rosie Eggs Benedict are delicious.
Looking for more resources in Chiang Mai? Check out our guide here:
- 10 Awesome Things to do in Chiang Mai
- Best Cooking Class in Chiang Mai: Aroy Aroy Cooking School Review
- Street Food You Shouldn’t Miss when in Thailand
- Best Places to Stay in Chiang Mai | Hotels & Hostels