The best restaurants in Chiang Mai Old City showcase the historical charm of the area. The old centre of the city was once surrounded by tall city walls and a moat, and still retains its almost perfect square shape. It has remained one of the liveliest parts of Chiang Mai, with many of the most-visited sites in this area.
If you are staying in this area, you won’t have to walk far to find great restaurants. Ranging from street food vendors with a few tables and chairs scattered around the cart to Thai feasts in antique teak houses, there’s many different ways to enjoy a pad Thai and green curry here. Add to this a taste of home with international restaurants serving burritos, burgers and English fry-ups and there’s no chance of going hungry. Finally, given the city’s bohemian vibe, there’s naturally a fantastic range of tasty health food and vegetarian restaurants.
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Dash Restaurant and Bar in Chiang Mai draws in big crowds even though it is located down a small lane in a quiet part of the old town. The setting is perfect: a beautiful wooden house with doors that open onto a small patio, and tasty Thai food that suits all palates. Add to this the live band that plays in the evenings and they really have a winning combination. Dash is located on Moon Muang Road, around a five minute walk from Tha Pae Gate. If you’re not familiar with Chiang Mai’s winding back lanes then it’s best to take a map. The restaurant is open every day from 9:00 until midnight. If you end up loving the food you eat here, Dash restaurant and Bar in Chiang Mai also run cooking classes. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 00:00
- Address: Muang Road Soi 3, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
- Tel: +66 53 279 230
Fruit shakes and lassies made from organic bio fruits are just two of the delights on this organically based menu, featuring both Thai and international food made from the freshest ingredients. The outdoor covered terrace is surrounded by plants and trays of wheatgrass and fans cool the indoor space. Come for breakfast and enjoy giant bowls of porridge that will keep going all day and pancakes served with fresh mango. For lunch there is yummy rice soups and traditional Thai food. After a hard day exploring enjoy their veggie or chicken burgers with side salads, and a selection of European desserts like tiramisu or cheesecake. The owners are often on hand to welcome you, and there’s complimentary Wi-Fi as well. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:00-22:00
- Address: Ratchamanka Road, Soi 4
- Tel: +66 (0) 81 0084240
Located on the corner of Ratchapakinai road in the old city, this modern restaurant serves an incredible range of Thai and international food, perfect for lunch or a light evening meal. The restaurant really stands out in this part of town because of its modern structure. However, by keeping the design sleek and simple it adds another dimension to the surroundings, which include antique wooden buildings on the restaurant grounds. The menu is a good range of well-priced international and Thai food. During the day customers tend to make use of the terrace which has a casual cafe vibe, enjoying the decent selection of salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes. The Thai menu includes the northern favourite Khao Soi: a spicy coconut noodle soup with chicken, pickled cabbage and lime. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 21:00 daily
- Address: 169 Ratchapakinai Road T. Sripoom, Muang , Chiang Mai, Thailand 50200
- Tel: +66 53 418 118
U Chiang Mai
Part of the U Chiang Mai Hotel, choose from the outdoor terrace seating that looks over Ratchadamern (the heart of the walking street market) or the air-conditioned interior which is equally as pleasant, with a chic black and red theme. The menu consists of local cuisine cooked using traditional methods, but it is presented in a more modern style. Prices are more expensive than other nearby restaurants, but the atmosphere and service is worth the extra baht. The chef will spice your curry according to taste, so if you want to eat like a local you can request extra chillies, or keep the dishes mild and creamy as well. Finish your meal with the mango and three-colour sticky rice.
- Opening Hours: 17:00-23:00
- Address: Ratchadamern Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 53 419014
Fern Forest Cafe is located on a small residential street in Chiang Mai’s old town. It is not immediately obvious as you walk past, with the sign hidden amongst foliage, which makes you feel like you have stumbled upon a well-kept secret. The cafe tends to be quiet on weekdays and a Thai favourite in the early evenings and at weekends, but it always retains its relaxed vibe. The cafe serves a delicious variety of cakes displayed in the three fridges at the front of the cafe, some simple sandwiches and breakfast dishes are available, as well as delicious local coffee. Open from 08:30 to 20:30, Fern Forest Cafe can be found on 2/2 Singharak Soi 4. From the north end of Singharak Road, walk straight and before you reach Ratwithi Road there is a sign to Fern Forest Cafe on the left hand side. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:30 to 20:30 every day
Khan Toke Dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural CenterChiang Mai Old City
You might want to try a khan toke dinner at least once when in Chiang Mai. At the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center, the setup is highly elaborate – from the elegant teakwood room decked out in Lanna style to the round teak tray containing nine side dishes to the seating arrangement on the floor – all designed to re-enact the original khan toke experience. Food is an array of local cuisine including fried pumpkin with chilli, tomato and minced pork dip, curry, crispy noodles and plenty of rice. A cultural show – featuring ethnic hill-tribe dances, finger-nail dance and folk music performances – accompanies the dining experience. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 18:45-21:30
- Location: Wualai Rd.
- Tel: +66 (0) 53 202 9935
Hidden down a small alleyway next to a temple complex in the centre of Chiang Mai, Peppermint Coffee House is a lucky find. It would be easy to walk right by their poster, but you would be missing out on one of the friendliest welcomes in the city. It serves Thai and western classics alongside local beers and drinks. It has quickly become a visitor favourite and it’s easy to see why. There’s nothing fancy here, but it has plenty of charm, and the prices are reasonable. It’s one of those places that you stumble upon, but its proximity to the sights and Tha Pae gate means there’s a good chance that you’ll be back. Open from 07:00 for breakfast until whenever the kitchen runs out of fried rice, Peppermint Coffee House is definitely on the ‘Banana Pancake Trail’, and all the better for it. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 07:00 - late
- Address: 1/1 Soi 5 Rachadamnoen Rd., Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50200
- Tel: +66 53 326 539
The House - Restaurant and Tapas Bar
If you’re not on a tight budget when in Chiang Mai then make sure you stop here for a meal. World class in terms of design, service and food, it is a stunning restaurant experience. The overriding antique vibe is enhanced by the eclectic combination of textures, colours and hand-painted Chinese antique furniture. Next to the restaurant is a beautiful shop called Ginger, where you can buy colourful tableware and cushions. The food on offer here is a mix of Thai and International. For the local dishes we recommend the papaya salad and massaman curry, one of the best in the city. The western dishes include salads, sandwiches, burgers and pastas for a light bite, and steak, fish and chips and lamb kebabs as hearty mains.
- Opening Hours: 18:00-22:30
- Address: 199 Moon Muang Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 53 419014
The Art Cafe
On the corner of Thai Pae Road, a few steps from the entrance to the old town, this backpacker’s favourite serves large portions of comfort food to those visiting the area. Few dishes exceed 250 baht so it is all fairly reasonably priced and is set in pleasant surroundings with both indoor and outdoor seating. It opens early at 08:00 and there’s a decent American breakfast on offer, as well more traditional Thai rice soup and fresh fruit. The rest of the menu takes a tour around the world, with pizzas, meatloaf, nachos and plenty of Thai dishes to satisfy the varied groups that come here. Service is efficient but not overly friendly.
- Opening Hours: 08:00-23:00
- Address: 291 Thapae Road
- Tel: (+66) 53 206 365
Bird’s Nest Cafe
You can’t help but fall for the Birds Nest Café. This small yet airy townhouse is located in a quiet quarter of Chiang Mai’s Old City and serves up delicious organic food. Proud of their organic values and sourcing the majority of their ingredients from local farms, the café stays true to its roots with a rustic approach and nature-inspired decor. It doesn’t feel like a cafe or restaurant, but more like being invited into the friendly owners’ living room. Throughout the day they also serve a range of salads, soups and sandwiches. We are huge fans of their mezze platter which comes with dips including hummus, mozzarella and guacamole (during the avocado season). Another favourite is the warm pumpkin and carrot salad, which can be served with feta cheese.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 to 20:00 every day
- Address: Singharat Soi 3, Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Tel: +66 87 177 4940