12 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai restaurant food

Kseniia Ivanova / EyeEm / Getty Images

You could easily spend several days in Chiang Mai, Thailand, just exploring the local cuisine. You’ll find something to eat almost everywhere, from the city’s soi (alleyways) to the villages and farmlands beyond the city borders.

Michelin Bib Gourmand awardees, modern food concepts, and traditional Lanna food havens all have something to offer; this list gives you but the barest taste of what you can expect to eat when visiting Chiang Mai on an empty stomach!

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Huen Phen

Huen Phen, Chiang Mai

Luca Penati / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Address
112 เชืยงใหม่, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Phone +66 53 814 548

It’s hard to avoid a 40-year-old restaurant that’s widely known for serving the best khao soi in Chiang Mai. It’s even harder to avoid, given its location in the middle of the Old City, south of Wat Chedi Luang, where one can stopover in the middle of a local temple tour.

Huen Phen is famous for its deliciously good-value Lanna specialties; the dishes are made using old family recipes, so you know this is the real deal. You’re tucking into khanom jeen nam ngua (beef stew over rice noodles) and sai ua (Lanna-style sausage) the way a Chiang Mai grandmother would have made it in ages past.

Don’t expect five-star interiors; the restaurant looks like an ordinary home from the street, and the inside is homey and a bit messy. The food, though, is relatively inexpensive and absolutely authentic.

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Ginger & Kafe

Ginger & Kafe, Chiang Mai

Courtesy of Ginger & Kafe

Address
199 Mun Mueang Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Phone +66 53 287 681

This centrally-located 1960s-era structure has been lovingly refurbished into a charmingly eclectic dining place that combines homespun elegance with retro touches. The place is great for casual dates and romantic get-togethers; the menu offers Western food with Thai touches (or the other way around), to go by the soft-shell crab with black pepper; pork ribs in tamarind sauce; and pasta with spicy “sai ua” sausage.

You can dine inside or spend the evening dining with friends at one of Ginger & Kafe’s outdoor terraces. Souvenirs are available at the restaurant shop, ranging from the kitchen’s own sauces to antiques and artwork.

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Guay Tiew Pet Tun Saraphi

Saraphi Duck Noodle

Courtesy of ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเป็ดสารภี

Address
M2JV+4V5, Saraphi, Saraphi District, Chiang Mai 50140, Thailand
Phone +66 91 079 3973

Located near a railway line connecting Chiang Mai to Lamphun, this unassuming restaurant is famous for its namesake dish. Fatty, savory duck meat can be had with noodles or over rice; you can have the duck either minced, braised, or in stew. However you enjoy it, Saraphi’s duck is excellently flavored and, best of all, cheap!

You can also choose from a variety of noodles to go with your duck, as well as other foods like dumplings, char siu pork, crispy pork belly, khao soi, and the noodle dish called yen ta fo. But the duck is the star of the show, shining through even in the unassuming restaurant interiors.

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Bodhi Tree Cafe

Bodhi Tree Cafe

Courtesy of Bodhi Tree Cafe

Address
11 Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 5, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Phone +66 85 708 4998

Old-timers still call this establishment “Bodhi Tree Cafe 2”, even though Cafe 1 closed down some time ago, leaving this former extension as the only Bodhi in town. The place is a little hard to find, given its location in a back alley down Chiang Mai Old City, but one visit is worth it for devoted vegans and vegetarians.

The menu consists of vegetarian Thai, fusion Western, and raw food; you’ll enjoy your meal in a homey, rustic setting, with a choice of outdoor and indoor seating. All ingredients are either grown in-house or purchased at the organic Jing Jai Farmers Market.

Classics include a whole wheat pancake, smoothies using plant milk made on the spot, and green mango salad. All meals are certified organic.

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Blackitch Artisan Kitchen

Blackitch Artisan Kitchen

Image courtesy of Blackitch Artisan Kitchen

Address
27/1 Nimmanhemin Soi 7, Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Phone +66 81 881 9144

Chef Phanuphol Bulsuwan left a career as a civil engineer to learn the cooking arts, inspired by his restaurateur grandmother. His hard work paid off: Blackitch Artisan Kitchen is one of Chiang Mai’s most highly regarded (and most exclusive) dining experiences.

The menu is designed to raise awareness of Chiang Mai’s indigenous cultures; each nine-course meal comes with stories of how the dishes are cooked in their home setting, along with the reassurance that only local produce is used in the kitchen. The dishes change with the season, depending on the availability of ingredients.

The restaurant seats a maximum of 18 diners, so reservations are essential. Prices can be high relative to other dining experiences in Chiang Mai.

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Seoulmind

Seoul Mind

Image courtesy of Seoul Mind

Address
10 Siri Mangkalajarn Rd Lane 11, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Phone +66 94 404 0292

This Instagrammable chicken joint at Siri Mangkalajarn Soi 11 in Nimman surfs the Korean wave with its massive quantities of Korean fried chicken. Choose from two styles of glaze: a Korean-style one and a garlic sauce. You can order up to sixteen pieces of the chicken, paired with Japanese rice and cheesy French fries.

The bingsu (shaved ice dessert) is an ideal palate-cleanser post-chicken dinner, with a choice of flavors ranging from green tea to strawberry to chocolate Milo to mango to lemon meringue.

Enjoy your meal in neat Scandinavian-style interiors with a surfeit of wood paneling; the clientele tends to be young, as befits the vibe.

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Kinlum Kindee

Kinlum Kindee

Courtesy of Kinlum Kindee

Address
Unnamed Road Tambon San Sai Luang, Amphoe San Sai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50210, Thailand
Phone +66 82 656 3941

The name means “eat delicious, eat well,” and is another restaurant that fled from overpriced Nimman Road, this time to a village in San Sai District some eight miles northeast of Chiang Mai Old City. The more relaxed, rural environment suits the Northern Thai menu served by Kinlum Kindee.

Travelers can choose from dishes like poo ong (mashed ricefield crab eggs and chicken eggs); larb with fresh vegetables; pork belly curry; and sai ua sausage. For more adventurous or omnivorous types, order from the special seasonal menu; or the Kinlum Kindee special set that combines fried chicken, sticky rice, sai ua, and the green chili dip called nam prik num.

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Beast Burger

Beast Burger

Courtesy of Beast Burger

Address
Nimmanhemin Soi 17 Suthep, ตำบลสุเทพ อำเภอเมืองเชียงใหม่ เชียงใหม่ 50200, Thailand
Phone +66 80 124 1414

Starting as a burger truck outside Thanachart Bank on Nimman Road, this joint’s namesake sandwich got so monstrously popular that they moved into a permanent, modern-looking glass-and-steel kiosk on Soi 17.

The menu offers eight types of burgers and three side dishes. Beyond the namesake Beast, you can also order a chicken burger, a balsamic cheesesteak burger, even a vegan burger molded from chickpea and beetroot. French fries come standard, which you can upgrade to cheesy fries for 50 baht (about $1.50) extra. If you prefer an alfresco experience, go up on the roof deck to enjoy your meat patty in peace with your friends.

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Cafe de Nimman

Cafe de Nimman

Courtesy of Café de Nimman

Address
13 Siri Mangkalajarn Rd Lane 13, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Phone +66 53 218 405

The name isn’t quite on point anymore; this Nimman establishment has moved a little distance away off Siri Mangkalajarn road. But the new location has eliminated some of the old one’s quirks, like the lack of parking and the long waits for seats. Today, Cafe de Nimman serves its classic Thai and Western menu from indoor and outdoor seats; try their papaya salads, stir-fried squid, and some less-common picks like pork liver with black pepper.

In the evenings, crack open Cafe de Nimman’s wine or beer selection to have with your food, surprisingly good to pair with the establishment’s fusion Thai dishes.

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Charoen Suan Aek

Charoen Suan Aek

Takeaway / CC BY-SA 3.0

Address
37 หมู่ที่ 8 ซอย สันทรายต้นกอก Tambon San Phi Suea, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Phone +66 53 240 611

It’s nowhere near the Chiang Mai city center—you’ll have to go to San Phi Suea Village and look for an ivy-hooded gate to find Charoen Suan Aek, a Northern Thai eatery that’s been a mainstay of the neighborhood for over three decades.

You’ll find unapologetically Northern Thai dishes, thankfully un-dumbed down for the tourists. The menu includes dishes like aep pla (banana-leaf-wrapped fish with local spices and chili paste) and a larb made from water buffalo meat. More adventurous types will want to try Charoen Suan Aek’s more unique dishes, including things like tom yum kob (hot, spicy frog soup) and nam prik tor (a spicy condiment made from hornet grubs).

The flavors are bold and hearty, befitting a countryside cuisine that uses heritage ingredients and refuses to adapt to tourist taste buds.

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Ginger Farm Kitchen

Ginger Farm Kitchen

Courtesy of Ginger Farm Kitchen

Address
One Nimman Nimmanahaeminda Road, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Phone +66 52 080 928

This farm-to-kitchen restaurant at One Nimman serves dishes created from ingredients shipped from local organic farmers. They pride themselves on their “farm to city” principles: organic and free-range ingredients from nearby homesteads, whipped into modern-style Northern Thai cuisine.

Start your meal with a Northern-style pomelo salad with crab paste and dried shrimp; move on to mains like salt-crusted grilled fish and grilled pork neck; and cleanse your palate with a simple but hearty mango sticky rice dessert. A separate “veggie-friendly” menu is available upon request.

The interior completes the experience, with rustic interiors and a profusion of houseplants providing a perfect backdrop to a healthy, organic meal.

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Dash

Dash

Courtesy of Dash

Address
59 Mu Ban Ban Suan Klang Wiang Rd, Tambon Nong Hoi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

This resto-bar in the Old City is set in a traditional Northern Thai teak house, with a garden and balcony that can accommodate guests wanting to dine al fresco while taking in the cool evening air.

Its location on Moon Muang Road (just a short walk from Tha Pae Gate) puts its guests right in the middle of the Old City action: use this restaurant as a staging point for an evening walking tour, or stay here for the rest of the evening, chowing down on spring rolls with a chilled beer while listening to the live band! The menu includes Thai and western dishes, covering the gamut from papaya salad to tom yum to spaghetti bolognese to mango cheesecakes.

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12 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai, Thailand