We were in and out of Bangkok on 3 separate occasions on our extended trip in October & November 2016. All this travel led to some early morning wakeups and late night arrivals translating to some long days, which in turn resulted in more hotel meals than we usually tend to take on our trips to the city.
Not that this was a big problem as we enjoyed the meals at both of the Bangkok hotels we stayed in during the month.
Most of our Bangkok nights were spent at Phranakorn Nornlen, our old reliable charming quirky boutique hotel located just off Khaosan Road near the Thewet Pier on the Chao Phraya River. For the most part while we were staying there, we ate at many of our Bangkok favorites in that part of the city including Thip Samai Pad Thai, Krua Apsorn for their exquisite crab omelet and giant grilled river prawns and In Love Bar & Restaurant at the end of Thewet Pier for the food and the great night time views of the Rama VIII Bridge.
But on our last 3 nights in the city, we splurged a bit to celebrate our anniversary and relocated to the 4-star Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok. As the name implies, the hotel is located on the Chao Phraya River and has a private pier offering free river boat shuttles to both the Asiatique shopping center in one direction and to the Saphan Taksin Transit station served by both River Express boats and the Skytrain in the opposite direction.
One evening we took the river shuttle to Saphan Taksin Pier; turned left and walked a few blocks parallel to the river. Just after passing the Shangri-La Hotel we took a right on the next street onto Charoenkrung Soi 44 and found our way to No. 21-23 to have dinner at Baan Phadthai.
The sign for the restaurant is not very visible and based on our experience of asking in the street, it isn’t all that well known by neighbors living near by. But eventually we found the light blue façade with exposure to the street by two openings the size and shape of garage doors.
The interior also featured shades of blue and antique wooden furnishings. With the open-air front, the restaurant is not air conditioned but we were comfortable with the breeze from fans.
Anyone who has spent any time on this website reading about our Bangkok dining experiences should already comprehend our love for Thip Samai Pad Thai, but we were in a different part of the city and looking for a different experience.
The creators of Baan Phadthai are a group that is also responsible for a number of other very popular eateries and if we understood the concept; the idea was to dress up a variety of street foods (with an emphasis on Pad Thai) and present them in a slightly more upscale manner. And in that regard, they have succeeded. It is a comfortable room, the food was well prepared, the service was good and while a bit pricier than Thip Samai, not outrageously expensive. We also enjoyed being able to order a few dishes other than Pad Thai like a very good version of mieng khana, the deconstructed appetizer wrap, well prepared desserts and even mixed cocktails.
Our only real complaint was the absence of chili in the Pad Thai but the waiter brought us condiments to spice up the dish and suggested we mention we like it spicy when we order on our next visit.
On another night we took the river shuttle to Asiatique and made a few last souvenir purchases and stopped in at one of the many restaurants in the center for a quick meal. There was nothing very distinguishable about the place we ended up at and we didn’t record the name but can report it is very easy to find a decent meal at a reasonable price at the center. One tip we received from a local was that in Asiateque, the closer to the water front the restaurant, the higher the price.
On another day we took the river shuttle to Saphan Taksin where we boarded the Skytrain to an early afternoon appointment at an office on the street just below the Siam (Central BTS) Station. We were early for our meeting and it was lunch time so we looked around for a place to grab a quick meal and just stopped in at one of the many small indoor/outdoor places that serve office workers and students from the several universities in the neighborhood.
We both ordered daily specials (one chicken and one duck) and got a cup of soup, a plate with meat, a choice of rice or noodles , a vegetable and hot tea…all for about $1.25 USD per person. And it was actually very good. I’m afraid I can’t give you the name of this place but these type restaurants are all over the city and are one of the main reasons that many residents (for the most part) don’t bother cooking lunch (or to a large degree dinner either.)
Regarding the food service at the hotels: While the breakfast service had been changed up a bit since our last visit to Phranakorn Nornlen; it was still a treat every morning to drink our excellent coffee(s) and watch our meal order being prepared on a hot cart in the courtyard next to the dining tables. Along with a daily breakfast special there was always a made to order roti and a curry along with a choice of eggs and/or pancakes and lots of fruit & fruit juices along with breads and pastries.
We enjoyed dinner on several evenings on the roof top dining/bar patio on top of Phranakorn Nornlen and took in the view of large Buddha statue near the hotel and of the Rama VIII Bridge. Since our last visit the hotel had installed a wood fired pizza oven in the roof top kitchen but still relied on original ground floor kitchen for other entrées. The pizza was good and we enjoyed several of the curry dishes but our favorite order on the rooftop was the Miang Kham appetizer.
We also ordered drinks on the rooftop but are sad to report that for some reason tonic water was in short supply in Bangkok while we were there. Not only did the hotel not have any but we checked at multiple convenience stores and couldn’t find it in any of those either. We found it in Chiang Mai, Surin and Koh Chang so it was available in other parts of Thailand…just not in Bangkok.
The breakfast buffet at the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok was enormous and included any and everything any traveler might want. We find that we tend to over eat at spreads like that so we ordered our breakfast à la carte but still managed to eat too much and at a cost that was comparable to the buffet.
We enjoyed a Western lunch of club sandwiches at the poolside one day. On our first evening there we rode the elevator up to the 36th floor to have dinner at the Silver Waves Cantonese style Chinese restaurant. The views and décor were stunning (in a good way) but when we got one look at the menu, we were equally stunned (in not so good a way) by the prices and decided to eat elsewhere that night.