by : RJ Fisher Last update: January 2024
Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
- There is no short answer since the town is literally brimming with places to eat, some of them outstanding, some of them not so much;
- This is not just a simple list of restaurants in Chiang Mai. Instead, we have personally tried and tested each restaurant so you won’t have to deal with the trial and error;
- Skip the tourist hypes that don’t deliver and go straight for the best restaurants in Chiang Mai.
Here are +50 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai, Personally tried and tested!
*at the end of this article you will find a map to easily navigate your way to the best Chiang Mai restaurants.
Also read: Chiang Mai Travel Guide – Plan your trip to the Rose of the North
use the “page contents” button to navigate this article
Chiang Mai draws in many visitors year on year. The laid-back vibe of the city, combined with the beautiful nature surroundings of Northern Thailand attracts travelers by the millions from every corner of the world. Most travelers stay in or around the center of town and especially the Old City can be crowded with tourists at times.
However, there is a good side to this. Thailand’s second city has adapted nicely to this influx of visitors and over time created an adequate tourism infrastructure. Moreover, there is an abundance of Chiang Mai restaurants and eateries! and that my dears, is right up my alley. So, on our visit here I just couldn’t wait to dig in and find out where to eat in Chiang Mai.
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Update January 2024
For the record, several Chiang Mai restaurants that originally featured in this article permanently closed doors due to the pandemic aftermath. Other restaurants that used to receive stellar reviews didn’t handle their increased popularity very well and now seem to have lost their mojo.
We sadly removed them from our list and mind you, some big names have dropped out, including Artisan Cafe, Kiat O Cha, Tong Tem Toh, Huen Phen, Ginger Farm Kitchen. We will keep updating this article with any further information that reaches us, so you will always be up to date on where to eat in Chiang Mai.
As said before, in Chiang Mai places to eat are aplenty. Restaurants, eateries, cafes, food stalls, markets, there’s no end to it. Whether it’s fine dining or street stall finger food, it’s here. And not just in the city center or the tourist areas. It’s everywhere, all over town, including the outskirts, the suburbs, and beyond.
Is Chiang Mai a foodie heaven? Heck yeah!
Being a tourist hub, there’s something for everyone in the food section. It’s a pity though that some Chiang Mai restaurants in the tourist areas tone down the local flavors to suit the (alleged) International palate. At the same time, Western food is often prepared by Thai chefs. Not all of them have truly mastered Western cuisine yet and their dishes are not always up to par.
Having said that, the large expat community that calls Chiang Mai home won’t settle for mediocre tourist food. For this reason, several restaurants in Chiang Mai serving International cuisine have stepped up their game lately, offering a high standard to draw in the expats. As a traveler, you too can enjoy the delicious and quality meals of these establishments. The only trick is knowing where to find them.
Likewise, Chiang Mai is also popular with domestic tourists. Their presence ensures a wide array of authentic Thai eateries with a variety that rivals the capital Bangkok.
In short, there’s great culinary reward if you are willing to put some effort into finding the right spots. Or, you can simply follow my recommendations below on where to eat in Chiang Mai.
Wanna try Thai food you don’t know yet with the help of a professional? Why not join the “Chiang Mai Michelin Recommended Food Guided Walking Tour“. A 2hour delicious exploration for just $13.50.
Note! I purposely didn’t include the “Thai Mom and Pop Eateries” in my list. Not because they aren’t any good, they absolutely are. However, they are practically on every street corner so you won’t need my help finding them. When in Chiang Mai it’s a good idea to try them out. Use your hand and feet to order if you have to. They will smile and cook you up an incredible meal.
1. SP Chicken Restaurant
Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 5pm
We passed this restaurant in Chiang Mai and it was impossible to walk on by. At first we noticed a whiff of freshly roasted chicken in the air. Next came the satisfying sizzling sounds of meat being grilled. Then the glorious sight of multiple golden brown chickens, neatly skewered in a charcoal rotisserie. They had me at the whiff.
“Gai Yang with Som Tam and Khao Niao”, or “Grilled chicken with green papaya salad and sticky rice” is a typical dish from the Isan region and the specialty of the SP Chicken restaurant. Isan you say? Isn’t that Eastern Thailand, while Chiang Mai is in the North? True, but in my book that’s not a good enough reason to pass on a perfectly delicious grilled chicken. And delicious it was.
THB175 for a whole bird fresh of the charcoal grill, THB50 for the papaya salad and THB15 for the sticky rice. That totals just under $7 for a perfectly delicious meal. Opening hours are from 10am to 5pm, but better show up well before closing time. The grilled chicken is so popular they often run out before 5pm.
2. Khao Soi Khun Yai
Opening hours: Mon to Sat, from 10am to 2pm. Sunday closed
When in Northern Thailand, “Khao Soi” is the one iconic local dish that should not be missed. Silky soft egg noodles with chicken or beef in a curry broth, enriched with coconut milk and crispy noodles on top. Overall, you will have a difficult time to find a bad Khao Soi in Chiang Mai. However, wouldn’t you agree that for such a traditional dish grandma qualifies as the best person to prepare it? Well, as a matter of fact, “Khun Yai” means “Grandma”, so there you go.
Khao Soi Khun Yai came highly recommended by some of my fellow food bloggers so I had to try this restaurant in Chiang Mai. While I don’t always agree with other food blog opinions I really, really do in this case. The Khao Soi was fantastic!, so rich was the broth, so tender the beef and so crispy the noodles on top. For only TBH60 per steamy bowl I swear I could eat here every day. There is however, a downside as well.
It has limited opening hours from 10am to 2pm and it’s so popular that most of the time you have to queue for 15-30min before getting in. I’ve tried it, I like the Khao Soi here (a lot), but I’m not queuing up again in the sweltering Thai heat. Fortunately, we found a perfectly good alternative (see next Chiang Mai restaurant).
3. Khao Soi Wua Lai
Opening hours: Sun to Fri, 9am to 3pm. Saturday closed
Yes indeed, a perfectly good alternative to get your Khao Soi fix in Chiang Mai. Just as good as the other Khao Soi place and way better than all the rest. We tried it with chicken this time (THB50) and were happy to find a whole chicken leg in the fragrant curry. The broth at Khao Soi Wua Lai is thicker and more creamy due to extra added coconut milk, yet not too sweet. The mix of spices and chili heat is perfect and the generous side of pickles really complements the flavors.
This small and unassuming place in in the middle of Wua Lai street has only Thai signage and is therefor hard to spot, find its exact location here. Although opening hours are limited there’s usually no queue, which is actually unbelievable for this level of quality Khao Soi. All for the better I guess, since now this Chiang Mai restaurant can stay our little secret…Oops!
4. Lee Hua Hotplate Restaurant
Opening hours: Everyday from 11am to 9pm
This Chiang Mai restaurant serves its dishes on a ……?, you only get one guess. Well, actually it’s the Thai version of a shallow sukiyaki iron hot pot, but you can say hot plate, no problem. The main thing is that they serve delicious food for insanely low prices. I really wanted to try more of the sukiyaki dishes, but the portions are so large that after the chicken sukiyaki (THB60) and the excellent oyster omelet (THB85) I couldn’t eat anymore. All the more reason to return.
Next to the mainly local clientele I spotted plenty of fellow travelers. Lee Hua restaurant even started a small spaghetti and sandwiches menu to attract tourists. However, my advice is to skip the Western menu and to go straight for the hot plates.
5. Bodhi Terrace
Opening hours: Everyday 6:30am-10:30, 12-3, 5:30-10pm
High quality Thai cooking and a unique setting at the Ping river. Maybe not yet in the top of fine dining Chiang Mai restaurants, but certainly not far off. Moreover, as part of the 5 star Anantara Resort, the Bodhi Terrace succeeds in offering an outstanding experience rather than just a good meal. Their combined menus of Northern and Southern Thailand cuisine are an excellent representation of Thailand’s rich food culture.
Refined curried crab meat with betel leaf, caramelized pork belly in soy sauce and tender chicken cashew from a clay pot. These wonderful dishes proved to be a feast for the eye and the palate, but also for my wallet. With a total of $50 for 2 pax including drinks, the price level at Bodhi Terrace turned out way more reasonable than at many of her overpriced peers.
Opening hours: Tue to Sun, 10am to 10pm. Monday closed
Wow, such a gem among Chiang Mai restaurants. No pretensions, just good, clean, delicious and honest Thai food. The kind of authentic flavors usually found at the Thai canteen style eateries. Yet here the ambiance is way more cozy, the service outstanding, the food clean and the portions huge. Evidently, you’ll pay a bit more than at the mentioned canteens, but you’ll be dining rather than munching.
Ekachan promises local farm/fish to table and guarantees 80% organic ingredients. We tried the beef Rawaeng curry (THB220) with lot’s of turmeric and lemongrass, spicy! Also, I’m a sucker for Thai omelet so I just had to try the deep fried crab omelet. Perfect crispy edges while soft and fluffy inside with that subtle saltiness of the crab meat. It set me back a whopping THB200, but it was totally worth it.
7. Aum Vegetarian Restaurant
Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 8pm
This time we set out for one of the many vegetarian/vegan Chiang Mai restaurants. First thing that stood out here was the warm reception, as if we were old friends. Second was the minimalist interior, which somehow still managed to emanate a cozy vibe.
The food at Aum was delicious, but maybe not as creative as I hoped it would be. Lot’s of well known Thai dishes served with the meat left out, sometimes replaced with mushrooms or bean curd. At least not replaced with mock meat. Most important though is that the flavors here are pretty much on point.
My Massaman Curry was as good as any other non vegan version and the Ginger Tofu was soft and fragrant. We also shared a huge Futomaki roll, a plate of fried Pumpkin and a Vegetable Omelet. Our food bill for the four of us was under $20. I’m neither vegetarian, nor vegan, but I do know a good meal, so if you’re up for it, try it out. You’ll have a great time in a friendly place with delicious food for a reasonable price.
A similar Chiang Mai restaurant and just as good, though slightly cheaper is Mr Green restaurant in the Old City.
8. Pakorn’s Kitchen
Opening hours: Thu to Tue, 11am to 11pm. Wednesday closed
Pakorn’s Kitchen is very popular with foreign visitors and keeps raking in positive reviews on sites like tripadvisor, google, etc. Now just because they mainly cater to tourists doesn’t mean that this fine Chiang Mai restaurant compromises on flavors. They are popular because they serve all the usual suspect Thai dishes that are well known with tourists and they do it extremely well.
It’s these kind of eateries that put Thai food on the international culinary map in the first place. Dishes like Pad Thai, Egg Fried Rice, Tom Yam Kung, Larb and Chicken Basil are all on the menu at Pakorn’s. We are familiar with these dishes, we like them and we want to eat them. Combine it with great kitchen staff, as well as very reasonable pricing and you have a winner!
Part of the fun here is that there’s always a good atmosphere and it’s a great place to meet and mingle with fellow travelers. Pakorn’s Kitchen is situated 200m from the Southeast corner of the Old city wall. Dishes are THB80 on average for a small portion and THB120 for large.
A similar Chiang Mai restaurant and just as good is Kat’s Kitchen in the Old City.
9. Baan Landai Fine Thai Cuisine
Opening hours: Tue to Sun, 11am-3, 5-10pm. Monday closed
This world famous restaurant in Chiang Mai is dedicated to offering local Northern Thai food. The quaintly outdated chic interior has a distinct “feel at home” vibe and the staff is the most well trained we have come across in Thailand yet. Most important, the food is outstanding! Mind you, we are not the only ones that feel this way, hence the need to reserve your table at least one week in advance, something unheard of with other Chiang Mai restaurants.
As said, the menu is mainly Northern Thai with a classic twist. What do you think of a menu with as many as seven dips?! Chef Landai stays close to his culinary heritage and so it seems that food dipping is a way of life in Northern Thailand, I kid you not. Or what about the signature appetizer, watermelon sprinkled with fish floss? Dinner at Baan Landai is full of surprises.
Price levels are higher than the usual, as you would expect, but certainly not extreme. Have a look at the Baan Landai menu.
10. Khoei Chiang Mai เขยเจียงใหม่
Opening hours: Everyday from 11am to 10pm
If you can’t get a reservation at Baan Landai then Khoei Chiang Mai restaurant might be a good alternative. This is the go to restaurant in Chiang Mai for Thai from all over the country when they crave authentic Northern Thai cooking. It’s close to the Old City, but with surprisingly few foreign travelers around. Chic-ness and food presentation are a notch down from Baan Landai restaurant, but so is the price level, while the flavors are definitely on par.
I highly recommend their Kaeng Hang Le, which is a mildly spiced pork curry dish. No coconut milk is used and the curry has a slight tartness due to the use of tamarind. Just over THB100.
1. Pizza Restaurants in Chiang Mai
I confess, I really love pizza and I can’t go for long periods without it. Fortunately there are over 300 restaurants in Chiang Mai serving pizza, so I was more than happy to go on a quest to find the best pizza in Chiang Mai.
Street Pizza & the Wine House
Opening hours: Tue to Sun, 12pm to 10pm
And the winner is! Street Pizza & the Wine House. Crispy thin crust pizza is the name of their game and I’m a fan. Generous toppings with a few daring options. Pizza Diavola is my all time favorite, but I also tried the Kimchi/Bacon and congratulations are in order. The only topping I would never try is the honey almond with banana or pear, that’s downright blasphemy.
On average pizza here goes for THB270 for a 10inch and THB320 for a 12inch. The menu also features pastas and salads, but erm…well…meh. For THB190 per glass I would also skip the mediocre house wine.
More Pizza Restaurants in Chiang Mai
There are more excellent pizza restaurants in Chiang Mai. A special shout out goes to Two Sisters Pizza for the Salami and Oregano pizza sprinkled with crispy fried slices of garlic. Pulcinella Da Stefano serves the best authentic Neapolitan crust, with La Fontana trailing close behind. The latter has the better pastas though. Finally, we have to mention By Hand Pizza Cafe for their large choice of delectable vegan and vegetarian pizzas.
2. Burger Restaurants in Chiang Mai
Next to Italian food, the good old hamburger is popular in Chiang Mai as well. We recommend two Chiang Mai restaurants that both serve outstanding burgers that will make you keep coming back for more.
Rock Me Burger
Opening hours: Everyday, 11am to 10pm
First is “Rock Me Burger“, a creative and American diner themed burger place that totally rocks. Excellent quality and delicious burgers (THB185-THB340) that are completely home made from the bun to the sauce. The menu doesn’t stop at burgers as they also serve a mean fried chicken, tater tots, salads, and cheese dogs. Great classic milk shakes and Italian Sodas as well. They also have a branch in the Nimman area.
Opening hours: Everyday, 11am to 10pm
And then there’s our favorite burger restaurant in Chiang Mai that goes by the name Beast Burger, what’s in a name. Succulent burgers, oh boy, what a treat. Fresh bread, fresh toppings, good quality juicy beef patties and a top notch service crew.
They have about 10 different burgers on the menu so you’re prone to serious “choice stress” here. To this day I regret not trying the Korean Bulgogi burger. Fortunately the fond memories of the blue cheese bacon burger that I did try make up for it. Prices range between THB180 and THB250 including fries, which is pretty steep, but trust me, it’s worth every penny. These burgers are the real deal.
3. Mexican Restaurants in Chiang Mai
Don’t you just love Mexican food? We found two decent Mexican restaurants in Chiang Mai. Maybe not as good as your favorite Mex back home, but still tasty and well worth your buck.
Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 11am to 11pm. Sunday closed
La Casita in the Old City just opened up its doors in September 2022, but is already making a name for itself. The place is quite small and more like a taqueria selling mainly tacos, burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas. At $2 per taco you can try all 10 of them from the menu, including a few vegan and vegetarian options.
Opening hours: Everyday, 11am to 10pm
I do feel that Salsa Kitchen just 500m Northwest of the Old City is the slightly better option. The menu is more extensive with fajitas, bbq ribs and…chimichangas! Way more choice for vegans as well. Prices here seem to be higher, but actually they are not. The portions are huge and some of them will satisfy two small eaters. Then again, I went for the crunchy beer battered cod fish tacos. 4 of them in total for THB299 including rice, re-fried beans and salad. I’m a small eater, but cleaned my plate.
4. Japanese Restaurant in Chiang Mai
There’s certainly no shortage of Japanese restaurants in Chiang Mai, Thai people absolutely love Japanese food. However, this article is about finding the best, right? So, here goes the best Japanese restaurant in Chiang Mai.
I Luv Sushi CNX
Opening hours: Wed to Mon, 11am to 9pm. Tue closed
Well, as far as sushi is concerned, it doesn’t get any better than I Luv Sushi CNX. This place is fantastic and has a wonderful vibe. Don’t bother going through the menu, it’s long, extensive and kind of confusing. Just go straight for the Sushi Lover set (THB680 for 2pax), a combination of their finest sushi rolls and added sashimi. Or maybe the I Luv Combo set, three courses of your choice for THB375.
5. Indian Restaurant in Chiang Mai
On to the next international cuisine, Indian! It actually proved pretty hard to find a good Indian restaurant in Chiang Mai. There are many, but we struggled to find those authentic herbal flavors.
Opening hours: Fri, Sat and Sun, 11am to 8pm
As we were about to give up on our Indian food quest, Yummi India came to the rescue.
We started with a combined plate of Paneer, Tikka, Punjabi Chicken and Cumin Potatoes (THB450 for 2), then went on to the Grilled Mashed Eggplant (THB120) and spicy rich Lamb Vindaloo (THB350). Scooped the bowls clean with hot and fresh Garlic Naan. Yummi Indeed.
The menu also includes a decent amount of desserts. We had our sweet finish with Gulab Jamun and Laddoo (deep fried sweetened dough balls) and cubes of (Australian?!) Lamington cake. They were all ok, but I probably wouldn’t repeat dessert on my next visit. It made me feel a bit bloated and was probably too much after the rich mains.
6. French Restaurants in Chiang Mai
Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 6pm to 10pm. Tuesday closed
If you spend long periods in Southeast Asia, you sometimes start to crave that good old fashioned French food to cleanse your palate. So we went on a search for a restaurant in Chiang Mai that could offer those traditional flavors that I (partially) grew up with.
Opposite from the landmark Wat Chedi Luang in the Old City we found the superb La Fourchette restaurant with its quaint Parisian retro decor. Our visit there brought us right back to Europe. The flavors were unmistakable and so was the check…oops. So happy to find classics like Onion Soup Au Gratin (THB220), Duck a l’Armagnac (THB490), Boeuf Stroganoff (THB780) and Peche Melba (THB140). We truly enjoyed our dinner and experienced it as a real night out. Now back to work to cover the check.
Le Bistrot de Chiang Mai
Opening hours: Thu to Tue, from 4pm to 10pm. Wed closed
Another French restaurant in Chiang Mai that we didn’t get to visit (yet), but several fellow travelers rave about is Le Bistrot de Chiang Mai near the Night Bazaar. I’ve looked at the menu online and decided to start saving up.
7. Middle Eastern Restaurants in Chiang Mai
Opening hours: Everyday, 11am to 11pm
Right on the Anusarn Night Market is where you’ll find “Gulf Restaurant” the best Lebanese restaurant in Chiang Mai. It’s no nonsense, no atmosphere, but just downright good Lebanese food. Mandi rice and Beriani dishes (THB300), Taboulah and Fattoosh salad (THB100), but of course also all the shawarma, falafel and kebab you can eat. Don’t forget to pick up their wonderful flatbread, creamy hummus and deliciously sweet baklava.
Hummus Chiang Mai
Opening hours: Tue to Sun, 12pm to 10:30pm. Monday closed
For the best Middle Eastern vegetarian and vegan dishes we travel back to the Old City near the Tha Phae Gate. Restaurant “Hummus Chiang Mai” has an extensive plant based menu, which turned out a bit more expensive than we thought (fully dressed Hummus THB160-250). However, from the crowds it seems to fulfill a high tourist demand.
The Shakshuka (THB180-260) cooked at our table with our own burner was a nice touch. In the end, I have to admit that I missed my meat, but for vegetarians this place is a dream.
8. Chinese Restaurants in Chiang Mai
With so many Chinese descendants influencing Thai culture it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Chinese cuisine is well represented in Thailand. Hence, the number of Chinese restaurants in Chiang Mai is through the roof. But are they any good? Of course they can’t all be, so follow our recommendations for the best ones.
Toey Dim Sum
Opening hours: Everyday from 9:30am to 9pm
There are a few Chinese dining options in Chiang Mai that will surprise you. They offer exceptional quality, but unfortunately they are also pretty expensive. Toey Dim Sum is the exception with to die for dim sum at just THB29 per serving, although I suspect it’s not completely authentic Chinese. Nonetheless, their dim sum is delicious and does the job just fine. Don’t expect an ambiance, it’s all about the food.
Opening hours: Everyday 11:30am to 2:30pm and 6pm to 9pm
Yangzi Jiang, located in the trendy Nimman area serves high quality Cantonese cuisine in a fantastic traditional wooden house. After seeing the majestic exterior, the interior is quite the let down, but hey we’re here to eat. Dishes were truly great I have to say and the price level is just about do-able (for me). Peking Duck at THB1088 for a whole bird, Crispy Pork Belly THB288. The dim sum however is delicious, but a bit overpriced with THB90-100 per serving.
Jia Tong Heng Restaurant One Nimman
Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 10pm
My favorite Chinese restaurant in Chiang Mai is also situated in the Nimman area. The formula of Jia Tong Heng targets the Chiang Mai in-crowd with a contemporary interior, elegant food presentation and an excellent service staff. Portions are slightly smaller, but the price level is friendly for a rather upscale restaurant. THB120 for Fried Rice to THB280 for snapper, up to THB320 for a generous plate of Chili Shrimp.
9. More International Chiang Mai Restaurants
The following type of restaurants are difficult to categorize. Their menus include either various dishes from several parts of the world, or some kind of fusion between different cuisines. This type of restaurants actually represents a significant part of the Chiang Mai restaurant scene.
Chef’s Together by Aod & Dan
Opening hours: Everyday from 10:30am to 12am
Chef’s together is the personification of this category serving both Western classics such as Ribeye steak (THB1100), Salmon Tartare (THB350) and Thai evergreens like Pad Thai (THB90) and Tom Kha Kai (THB160).
The restaurant uses high quality ingredients making Western dishes the more expensive option. Beef is imported from Australia and salmon from Norway as opposed to Thai ingredients that can be sourced locally. Judging from the plating and the flavors both chefs seem to know what they’re doing, guaranteeing a wonderful meal from either cuisine. Al fresco dining right next to the Ping river with views of the Iron Bridge or inside with enjoyable live music.
Opening hours: Tue to Sun, 11am to 8:30pm. Monday closed
Often, when a restaurant reaches a high ranking on Tripadvisor or the likes, they become either complacent or overwhelmed and quality drops. Well, not at chef Boy’s restaurant. The quality at B Samcook is consistently high and creative. Not necessarily Thai, but rather a fusion of different Asian cuisines.
I find it very difficult to describe the atmosphere of this exceptional Chiang Mai restaurant. The closest I can get is “rock & roll bohemian with Thai hospitality and Japanese elegance”. Confused much? Well, that’s exactly how we felt, but in a good way.
And the food? An 8 course set menu of pure delight (THB1090), designed to wow you and leave you happy. Chef Boy will personally talk you through every course turning your evening into a dining experience. Make sure to reserve a table as the word is out and they are fully booked most nights.
Do we think that this is the best restaurant in Chiang Mai? Yes!
The Duke’s Ping River
Opening hours: Everyday from 10:30am to 10pm
The Duke’s claims to serve American cuisine. Or maybe “Western comfort food from everywhere” would be a better description. Doesn’t really matter, all you need to know is that their pizza, burgers, ribs and more are scrumptious, fresh and in their own words “home made from scratch”.
Quality comes with a price though and it won’t be a cheap night out. With four restaurants in Chiang Mai they are very well represented in the area.
Opening hours: Fri to Wed, 9:30am to 3pm. Tuesday closed
Shu Homemade is an absolutely lovely little eatery tucked away in a backstreet of the Old City in between temples. Tranquil oasis is such a cliche description (I use it all the time), but so applicable in this case. The limited menu features various spaghetti (THB105-175), the best cheese toast ever (THB65) and various cakes (from THB35 and up). Mom and daughter are very welcoming and their passion for homemade food is clear to see (and taste). We do recommend.
H365 Coffee & Bistro Chiangmai
Opening hours: Everyday from 8am to 11:30pm
The culinary landscape in Chiang Mai has so many faces. H365 for instance is wonderfully original both in menu and decor. Inside, enormous tables promote social gatherings and family style dinners. They’ve certainly succeeded in creating a feel-good place and even their slogan is “happiness you can feel”.
Next to coffee and cakes, the menu is predominantly Thai, but also features Western dishes. I very much enjoyed the local Hang Le Curry (THB220) which was mild, fragrant and packed with flavor. My partner in crime went for the Penne pasta with spicy and sour stir fried seafood sauce (THB260). See what I meant with original? Together we also shared a fall of the bone rack of BBQ spareribs. We’ll be back.
Next to a zillion restaurants, Chiang Mai also has a typical Southeast Asian cafe culture. What once started in the trendy Nimmanhaemin area has spread over the whole town and beyond. The number of Chiang Mai cafes offering a high quality coffee experience is through the roof. More than often the beans are locally sourced and some cafes even have their own roastery.
Bubble teas, Matcha, Hong Kong and Singaporean style pastries are also a significant part of the cafe menus. More and more these cafes are becoming popular breakfast and lunch venues for tourists and locals alike. For this reason many cafes started to feature simple Thai and International dishes. Spaghetti, Banana Pancake, Japanese Porridge, Korean Bibimbap and Northern Thai Curry, it all comes together in the Chiang Mai cafes.
Opening hours: Everyday from 8am to 5pm
Probably the most trendy coffee shop in the most trendy part of town, founded by International award winning baristas. Evidently, the coffee is really good. In fact, Roast8ry takes coffee to another level. Moreover, they also value presentation with amazing latte art and the service is very professional. No wonder that this is a popular place that can get pretty crowded at times, so probably not the best place to get some (remote) work done.
2. The Hideout
Opening hours: Tue to Sun, from 8am to 3pm. Monday closed
Great place for a simple breakfast (American set THB180) or lunch. The atmosphere is friendly and cozy and the locally sourced coffee (TH60) is hot. The Hideout works with fresh products, which is why they sometimes run out of stuff. I particularly liked the special Sandwich with yellow curry and chicken (THB150) and washed it down with a Mango Smoothie (THB65) and more coffee.
3. Cake Baan Piemsuk
Opening hours: Everyday from 9:30am to 6:30pm
We came for the coffee, but stayed for the delicious coconut cream pie (THB100). If coconut is not your thing there’s a whole plethora of other beautiful pies and cakes to choose from. Cake Baan Piemsuk is an atmospheric little place in an area of Chiang Mai that is currently undergoing upgrades to become the new artsy part of town. Original wooden houses are transformed into small boutique hotels or art galleries and new creative eateries are added to the mix on a regular basis.
At the time of our visit, the cafe was extremely busy handling multiple large take out orders. We will definitely return when our sweet tooth acts up again and to see how the street is becoming.
4. Bella Goose Cafe at the Hill
Opening hours: Everyday from 7am to 4pm
More a cafe than anything else, but with an extensive menu including unique items not to be found in other Chiang Mai restaurants. What about the Tennessee breakfast set (THB285) or breakfast burrito (THB165). There’s home made waffles with crispy chicken (THB195), a whole lotta sandwiches, salads and wraps next to a few light Thai dishes. We saw lot’s of digital nomads using the cafe as their place of work. Bella Goose could easily be our favorite brekkie place in Chiang Mai if only our budget would allow it.
5. Into the woods
Opening hours: Tue to Sun, from 9am to 6pm. Monday closed
If you like quirky then consider yourself invited to cafe “Into the Woods“. Not just another cafe, but a special themed cafe. A wall to wall mural depicts a fairly tale forest. Floor to ceiling artsy trees and hundreds of small puppet figurines are displayed throughout the cafe. Every corner, shelf, nook or cranny has something different to discover. Still, I dare to state that it’s not over the top, all is done in good taste. Kids will love it and so will you.
There’s no make believe in the food department though. Instead, expect simple but excellent spaghetti and rice dishes (THB125/THB85) or come for a set breakfast (THB125). Colorful cakes, pies, pastries and desserts in all shapes and flavors. While the beverages (excellent coffees btw) have strange exotic names like “Unicorn Tears Soda”, “Fair Maiden Smoothie” and “Devil’s Mocha”, you can rest assured of the quality and taste.
6. MONDAE – Cafe & Brunch
Opening hours: Wed to Mon, from 9am to 5pm. Tuesday closed
What a special place this is, we totally recommend a visit. We were introduced to MONDAE – Cafe & Brunch by one of our new local friends. Never ever would we have stumbled on this Chiang Mai eatery by chance. Although it’s a mere 1km from the Old City, the place is tucked away at the very far end of a dead end street. For this reason it’s almost never busy, but I would bet my right hand that the number of patrons would at least triple if they were located more strategically.
I admit that at first we were a bit confused by the menu, but once we understood the Korean theme we surrendered completely. Whether lunch or breakfast, we ate here many times and not once were we disappointed. Very original dishes like Croffle Burgers (THB95), Scrambled Eggs with Crab Croissant (THB139), Tom Yum Spaghetti (THB159), Shrimp Omurice (THB75), Korean Pork Rice (THB79).
Also, some of the beverages like Orange Americano (THB70), Sweet Potato Latte (THB65) and Lemon Lime Coffee (THB75) are so out of the ordinary, we just had to try. All were nothing but delicious.
7. My secret Cafe in Town
Opening hours: Everyday from 8:30am to 8pm. Tue until 10pm
It’s hardly a secret anymore and has not been for a while now. The large number of visitors to My Secret Cafe in Town attests to that. The interior feels very cozy with wooden furniture and soft tone colors evoking a comfortable atmosphere. That’s probably why we spotted many visitors working on their laptops taking advantage of the relaxed vibe, digital nomad heaven!
The cafe menu features lots of cakes (THB80-135) and salads (THB65-120), although they also serve the odd noodle curry broth. I vividly remember the Banana Praline Thai Tea Caramel Waffle (THB130) for breakfast. Perfect crispy outside, fluffy inside waffles with fresh banana and to die for caramel. We returned on the same day for lunch to try the Beef Noodle Curry (THB125), which was fantastic!
8. Fern Forest Cafe
Opening hours: Everyday from 8:30am to 6:15pm
Wow, not too shabby, might even say that the interior is a bit on the posh side, in a good way. However, outside seating is the best. A luscious green garden setting in the middle of the Old City near Chiang Mai Tech. Don’t be fooled by the small entrance hidden in the shrubs. Beyond lies a gorgeous white washed wooden tea house with a grand terrace ideal for spending a relaxed morning or afternoon.
We were there in the early morning and we both opted for the Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes (THB185), very generous portions and scrumptious indeed. The Fern Forest Cafe menu is extensive with Western and Thai dishes, lots of pastries as well. We didn’t try any at the time, but those dishes leaving the kitchen all looked extremely fine! Coffees are really good, prepared with care and at more or less the going rate for Chiang Mai cafes (Espresso THB70).
9. Magokoro Teahouse
Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 6pm
Are you in Chiang Mai, but wanted to go to Japan? A visit to Magokoro Teahouse will do the trick for you. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and enter. Open your eyes and you will truly feel you’re in a genuine Japanese tea house. The atmosphere is very serene and complete with a zen garden. The only thing that will remind you that you’re in Thailand will be the check in Thai Baht, erm….lots of Thai Baht.
They offer a decent selection of Japanese teas, original Matcha included of course, in a kind of ceremonial experience. Choose from single servings, teapot servings or complete with a Wagashi set (Japanese confections). Also Yuzu, Mochi , Japanese Pastries and Ice-cream are on the extensive menu.
10. Much Room Cafe
Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 6pm
Truly a wonderful place to relax. Yes, there is indeed much room, both inside and outside in the beautiful garden setting. Or was the cafe’s name inspired by the mushroom like structure? Either way, the venue is gorgeous, no wonder it’s popular for weddings, marketing events and other gatherings. Situated not far from the airport in a green area of Chiang Mai town.
The Much Room Cafe menu is also special with Northern Thai specialties like Miang Kham (THB139), Hang Le Curry (THB149) and a few Western food options as well. Pizza is THB249, not cheap, but not too expensive either. As expected from the new generation of cafes in Chiang Mai you can also indulge on a number of tasty cakes and pies. I tried the Orange Cake (THB119) with Espresso (THB70) and I would definitely come back for that.
Is “where to eat in Chiang Mai” even a legitimate question? I mean, look around, food is everywhere. It’s literally restaurant galore, but also on the Chiang Mai streets you will have a hard time to go hungry. Street food stalls are abundant and particularly the markets are a great source for street food.
Best street food venues in Chiang Mai
In the wee hours the first food stalls set up for breakfast at or near the fresh markets. More food stalls follow over the course of the day, spread out all over town. Come sunset Chiang Mai is ready for a street food frenzy.
Moreover, specialized markets solely dedicated to street food are set up, and that’s not even counting the night markets. Here’s a list of the most popular street food venues in Chiang Mai.
- Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
- Wua Lai Saturday Walking Street
- Tha Phae Sunday Walking Street
- Chang Phueak Street Food Market
- Chiang Mai Gate Market
- Warorot Market
These are just a few of the street food venues and weincluded them in our interactive Chiang Mai Restaurants map, but there are many, many more. We do realize however, that food hygiene can be a point of concern, but it shouldn’t, it really shouldn’t.
All we can say is to use your common sense. Stay alert and use your eyes. Is the vendor using gloves? Is the food heated at high enough temperatures? Are the raw and cooked food stations separated? Keep this in mind and you will be ok I’m sure. Don’t miss out on all of that lovely Chiang Mai street food.
Read more: Best Chiang Mai Street Food 2023. A comprehensive list of all the best street food venues in Chiang Mai and their signature dishes
Khantoke is so typical to Northern Thailand it deserves its own chapter. Especially in Chiang Mai restaurants this traditional and almost ceremonial style of dining is a thing. Guests sit on the floor and local Northern Thai dishes are served on a pedestal trays known as “Khan Tok”. Typical servings vary, but can include Kaeng Om (chicken curry), Larb (minced meat salad), Sai Oua (local sausages), Nam Phrik Num and Nam Phrik Ong (local chili dips), Keb Moo (pork cracklings) and side vegetables.
The few restaurants in Chiang Mai that offer khantoke dining mainly cater to international and domestic tourists. Often, they include traditional music and dance shows during the dinner. I admit, some of the performances can be a bit cheesy. However, the Khantoke dinner at the “Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center” is really worth the visit if you would like to experience Northern Thai folklore paired with a nice dinner. The show is surprisingly entertaining and they feature halal and vegetarian options.
Read more: The History of Thai Cuisine
click on the image below for an interactive map of the best Chiang Mai restaurants and their locations
Are there any Chiang Mai restaurants in the above list that you want to give a try? Or maybe you have more tips on where to eat in Chiang Mai? Let us know in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.
1. Khoei Chiang Mai เขยเจียงใหม่
2. Shu Homemade
3. MONDAE – Cafe & Brunch
4. Fern Forest Cafe
5. Much Room Cafe
1. SP Chicken Restaurant
2. Shu Homemade
3. Kat’s Kitchen
4. Baan Landai Fine Thai Cuisine
5. Fern Forest Cafe
1. Bodhi Terrace
2. Chef’s together by Aos & Dan
3. The Much Room Cafe
4. Chom Cafe & Restaurant
5. Nam Nuea Nang Len
6. Fernpresso @Khun Chang Khian
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