Restaurants and cafes you need to try in Chiang Mai

PHOTO: The Blackitch Artisan Kitchen

Pack your bags, fellow food aficionados! We’re heading to Thailand’s charming city of Chiang Mai, where the food takes centre stage. Steeped in rich history and adorned with beautiful temples, this beautiful city boasts a vibrant atmosphere that perfectly complements its thriving food scene. Whether you’re an adventurous eater, a café connoisseur, or a comfort food lover, the restaurants and cafes in Chiang Mai cater to every palate.

As you explore through the city’s quaint streets, prepare to be greeted with a symphony of enticing aromas, as the scent of freshly cooked food wafts through the air. From bustling night markets to romantic garden eateries, Chiang Mai is a treasure trove of experiences that combines traditional flavours with innovative twists.

To give you a head start on your delectable journey, we have curated a list of the top five must-try restaurants and cafés Chiang Mai has to offer. Each establishment has been handpicked for its unique ambience, incredible gastronomy and the warm, welcoming spirit of the city. So, without further ado, let’s embark on an epicurean adventure that will leave your taste buds craving for more!

Kao Soy Nimman – Khao Soi paradise

restaurants and cafe chiang mai
PHOTO: Kao Soy Nimman

Opening hours: Daily, 11:00 – 20:00

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Address: 22 Nimmana Haeminda Rd Lane 7, Tambon Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Ready for a delicious adventure? Make your way to Kao Soy Nimman, where delightful Khao Soi variations await! Locals and tourists alike rave about Kao Soy Nimman. In fact, it’s often the first name mentioned when discussing the best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai. Head over during lunchtime, and you’ll find foodies gathering to enjoy some of the most appetizing Chiang Mai specialities and seasonal treats around.

Rub shoulders with celebrities as they dig into the famous ‘Super Bowl’. This bowl features gigantic prawns, succulent brisket beef or whole crabs. But don’t stop there – Kao Soy Nimman offers an exciting selection of other Chiang Mai specialities, with the highly recommended sai oua northern sausage stealing the show.

While indulging in these delicious creations, don’t forget to quench your thirst with refreshing beverages like butterfly pea tea. And for an extra dash of fun, feel free to sneak a peek through the large kitchen window to watch your Khao Soi being expertly prepared.

The Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre – Experience the Thai Lanna tradition

restaurants and cafe chiang mai
PHOTO: Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 09:00 – 20:30

Address: 185 Wua Lai Rd Soi 3, Tambon Hai Ya, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

Immerse yourself in the rich flavours and enchanting traditions of Northern Thailand at the Old Chiangmai Cultural Center. This beloved institution has been impressing guests for over 50 years with its unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting the artistry and culture of the Lanna people. Now it’s your turn to be their honoured guest. Revel in the mouth-watering Northern Thai cuisine served in Khantoke tables, traditional shows, and enchanting performances.

The Khantoke dinner is a cherished custom in Northern and North-Eastern Thailand. The word “Khan Toke” refers to a small pedestal tray or low round table made of teak (or occasionally, a mix of bamboo and rattan).

As guests gather around the table seated on the floor, an array of exquisite dishes are served for everyone to share. And in this unique setting, traditional Thai dances performed during the meal will wow you. Some Khantoke dinner shows might cater more to tourists. However, the charm, fun, and affordable pricing of these experiences make them well worth a visit.

Aunt Aoy Kitchen – Home to beloved Thai cuisine

Restaurants and cafes you need to try in Chiang Mai | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Aunt Aoy Kitchen

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 19:00

Address: 377 2 Chiang Rai Rd, Tambon Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Next on our list of restaurants and cafes in Chiang Mai you need to try is Aunt Aoy’s Kitchen. This charming street food haven has earned a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand – all thanks to its delicious, affordable dishes. With its cosy atmosphere and walls adorned with photos and heartfelt notes from delighted customers, you’ll feel right at home as you indulge in a true taste of Thailand.

Guided by years of hotel kitchen experience, Aunt Aoy crafts delicious dishes that blend traditional flavours with her unique touch. Don’t miss the show-stopping Chef Omelette. It features a fluffy yet crispy texture, filled to the brim with stir-fried minced pork, salted egg, and irresistible pork crackling. It’s a feast for the tastebuds that’s simply too tempting to resist.

The Blackitch Artisan Kitchen – Old-world Charm

Restaurants and cafes you need to try in Chiang Mai | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: The Blackitch Artisan Kitchen

Opening hours: Daily, 11:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – 22:00

Address: 27/1 Nimmanhemin Soi 7, Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Chiang Mai’s misty, jungle-clad mountains have begun attracting innovative chefs eager to showcase the area’s sustainable farms, and Phanuphol Bulsuwan is at the forefront of this trend. Interestingly, he never received formal culinary training. Instead, Phanuphol honed his remarkable fermenting skills – creating his own fish paste, soy sauce, and pickles – under his grandmother’s watchful eye. His expertise in foraging was nurtured by countless childhood afternoons spent exploring the local hills.

Tucked away above a gelateria in the vibrant Nimmanhaemin neighbourhood, his restaurant dazzles with a minimalist fusion of stone, wood, and local blue fabrics. With just 16 seats, this hidden gem in the heart of the city offers an intimate culinary experience. Phanuphol adeptly crafts a 10-course meal imbued with Thai, Japanese, and Chinese influences, using seasonal ingredients from Thailand. His passion for sustainability is evident in his practice of fermenting kitchen scraps to season dishes and brewing beers and sake for the perfect food pairings.

Fern Forest Café – A sweet retreat

restaurants and cafe chiang mai
PHOTO: Fern Forest Café

Opening hours: Daily, 08:30 – 18:15

Address: 54, 1 Singharat Rd, Si Phum Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Nestled in the heart of Chiang Mai, the idyllic Fern Forest Café offers a verdant sanctuary. It’s the perfect place for indulging in the sweeter side of life. As you meander through the enchanting garden, dappled sunlight guiding your path, find a secluded spot to relax and sink into the serene surroundings.

The star of the show here is undeniably the dessert menu, boasting an impressive array of scrumptious confections. From the decadent hot chocolate lava cake to the zesty lemon tart, it’s virtually impossible to make a wrong decision. Be sure to pair your choice with a soothing cup of tea or a velvety hot chocolate. And all that’s left to do is to let the world melt away as you bask in the tranquil atmosphere.

Chiang Mai truly is a culinary wonderland; a dazzling blend of taste, texture, and history. So take your time to explore and savour each gastronomic adventure in these restaurants and cafes in Chiang Mai.

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Cita Catellya

Cita Catellya is a journalist and writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter 5 years ago, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence. Cita writes in both English and her native Bahasa Indonesia

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