Chiang Mai’s beautiful mountainous terrain and sprawling Buddha temples are not the city’s only attractions; its restaurants and the sumptuous local cuisines on their menus are my favorite things about the city.
Of course, If you’re in the Old City, you might want to know what the best restaurants in Chiang Mai, are before you start sampling every meal and food stall, don’t fret, I’ve got you!
I didn’t have the opportunity of trying out every restaurant in the city, after all, I only have one stomach; but of all the places I tried out, I can confidently say that the list below contains the names of some of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
So if you ever get hungry while exploring northern Thailand’s largest city, or maybe you just feel like trying something new, adventurous, and spicy, you’ll know where to get the best food in Chiang Mai.
13Khao Soi Khun Yai
Opens: 10am – Closes: 2pm
Khao Soi is a popular spicy dish whose influence extends far past the borders of Chiang Mai. It is served throughout northern Thailand and in neighboring Myanmar.
Eating in Chiang Mai doesn’t get much better than in the Khao Soi Khun Yai, which roughly translates to “grandmother’s cut rice”, and when your grandmother cooks you a meal, you should know that it’s going to be tasty!
Despite its popularity, Khao Soi Khun Yai is a small place at Sri Poom Road in the northern regions of Chiang Mai. Depending on its garnishing, A plate of Khao Soi with some simmering curry stew and coconut milk could cost you as much as 60 THB at the restaurant.
Khao Soi Khun Yai has just 6 tables, a few chairs, and a whole lot of customers so it’s not surprising that they run out of food sometimes. If you’re planning on dining on the best of Thai cuisine at the Khao Soi Khun Yai, you’d better get there early.
Location: Sri Poom Road Just After Sri Poom 8 Alley, Chiang Mai Thailand
Opens: 5 pm – Closes: 4 pm. Opens all week long.
Best known for its Khao Soi, Huen Phen is one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai that serve Lanna-style Thai cuisine! Dishes like Aeb Pla, Nam Ngiaw, and Larb Khua are some of the many sumptuous dishes on display.
I do not think the Khao Soi is Huen Phen’s best dish. I’d advise you to try their Aeb Pla instead.
The restaurant opens twice a day. In the daytime, food is served outdoors, but in the evenings Huen Phen’s indoor dining area is transformed into a romantic haven with low lights and classic decorations.
Huen Phen has survived in the Thai food scene for 40 years and I guess one of its secrets is the fact that it sells cheap delicious food. With about 40THB-60THB you should be able to get anything on the menu.
Location: 122 Thanon Ratchamanka, Phra Sing, Chiang Mai.
11Tong Tem Toh
10DK David’s Kitchen at 909
Opens: 11:30 am – Closes: 9 pm. Opens between Monday and Saturday.
At some point, you might get tired of exploring local Thai dishes and find yourself craving some good old European dish, or you might still want to explore local cuisines, but would prefer a fancy restaurant with valets in petticoats, and expensive bottles of fine wine in a formal setting…
If you tick any of the above boxes then DK David’s Kitchen at 909 is just the place for you!
Unofficially known as the finest and the best restaurant in Chiang Mai, the waterside restaurant is located on the outskirts of the old city right on the Ping River and adds a classy twist to nightlife in Chiang Mai.
If you’re planning on treating yourself to the classic European and Thai dishes at David’s Kitchen, you will have to book a reservation beforehand.
The restaurant also serves crossovers of a plethora of intercontinental dishes and has a fixed full course meal that is changed daily.
The meals at DK David’s Kitchen at 909 do not come cheaply. You should expect to pay anywhere between 900 to 2000 Thai Bhat for a meal at a five-star restaurant.
This might sound expensive, but the serene location, garden setting, and high quality of service make it the best of Chiang Mai restaurants.
Location: 113 Bumrungrad Road Wat Kate Subdistrict, Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand
9The House By Ginger
Opens: 11 am – Closes: 10pm. Opens all week long.
The House By Ginger is one of the top restaurants in Chiang Mai that serve only Thai food; what makes the restaurant special is the homey, yet classy twist they bring to the Thai food scene.
When you walk in, the first things that draw your attention are the colorful, upholstered cushions, teak wood furniture, and pillows arranged around the room.
You won’t find intercontinental or European dishes here; rather there’ll be an array local of Thai dishes.The owners of Ginger and Kafe take special pride in ensuring that every meal is homemade from the scratch.
A meal here costs about 200THB.
Location: 199 Moonmuang Rd., Si Phum, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
Opens: 6 PM – Closes: 12AM. Opens between Sunday to Saturday.
Think delicious Thai street food, think Suki Koka! The street food stall isn’t too far from Chang Phueak, also known as the North Gate of the Old Town.
Suki Koka serves traditional Thai Suki which comes in two varieties; dry or heang, a soup, or Suki Nam Talay and if you fancy a little bit of both, you can go for a mixture which is usually accompanied by seafood, vegetables, cabbage, and glass noodles.
As can be expected of any street food stall, Suki Koka’s prices are pretty reasonable. One order of suki costs 40 Thai Baht so a meal won’t leave too much of a dent in your finances.
Location: Si Phum Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai.
7Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak
Opens: 5pm – Closes: 12AM. Opens all week long.
Also known as Chiang Phueak Pork Leg Rice, is a small food street stall that is located in Mueang Chiang Mai district, directly opposite the Old Town’s North gate.
You should see a busy stall with a lady wearing a cowboy hat and slicing up pork legs. The pork knuckles are served with a plate of rice, hard-boiled egg, and chili sauce.
You can add as much mustard greens, garlic extra chili pepper as you like, it all depends on how spicy you want your pig knuckles to be.
The downside to the food served here is that it might tend to be too fatty sometimes; the quick fix to that is to make a specific order for pure meat.
This is a very cheap stall with prices starting from 30THB.
Location: Manee Nop Parat Sri Poom Subdistrict, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
6Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center
Opens: 7 pm – Closes: 10 pm. Opens all week long.
Visiting the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center for some Khantoke is more than just a dining experience, it is a rite of passage for tourists in Chiang Mai.
The word ‘Khantoke’ refers to the tray with which you’re served the Thai dish and not a specific dish. The whole point of going to the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is to experience the culture and art of the Thai people.
In the Cultural Center, you will have to sit on the floor while you’re devouring a splendid Thai delicacy and being entertained with music and dance. Enjoying a Khantoke dinner will cost you 500 THB.
The Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is located in the Amphoe Moeang district of Chiang Mai, on the outskirts of the city.
See also: When is the Best Time to Visit Thailand
5Dash! Restaurant and Bar
Opens: 10 am – Closes: 10 pm. Opens all week long.
Dash restaurant and bar is a wooden semi-outdoor cafeteria that opens out into a patio. It was built right in the center of a cluster of local Thai frangipani hostels, which by the way, are one of the best accommodation options in Chiang Mai.
The bar downstairs is littered with several tables and chairs, but upstairs tells a completely different tale of beautiful Thai dining.
Dash offers regular spicy, yet delicious traditional Thai food, but what really attracts people to the restaurant is the atmosphere and the live band which plays every evening.
When compared to the atmosphere, the price of a meal is pretty cheap, you can get a plate for anywhere between 85THB to 115THB.
Location: 38/2 Moon Maung Road Soi 2, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
Opens: 6 am – Closes: 3pm. Opens all week long.
The Kiat Ocha is one of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai that primarily serves Khao Man Gai (rice and Hainanese-style boiled chicken), and occasionally, pork satay. You’ll find it on Intrawarorot Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai.
A plate of Khao Man Gai includes rice, chili sauce, and a small bowl of chicken fillets; might also get some blood jelly, heart liver, and lungs. You can choose to order a whole plate of spiced chicken because the small plate that is served is always too small.
The spicy Khao Man Gai served at Kiat Ocha digresses from the mostly bland ones served at most restaurants in not just Chiang Mai, but Thailand as a whole. A meal at the restaurant would cost you about 100THB.
Location: 43 Intrawarorot Road, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
Opens: 10 am – Closes: 5 pm. Opens all week long.
If you are in the mood for lunch in Chiang Mai and you’re a sucker for hot, crispy barbeque, you should visit SP Chicken.
What makes SP Chicken’s BBQ so popular among tourists and locals is that it’s roasted on vertical spits so every part of the chicken is well grilled and the chances of the chickens getting burnt are quite slim. The chicken is typically served with Isaan-style dishes.
A whole chicken will cost you 150 THB.
Location: 9/1 Sam Larn Soi 1, Phra Singh, Muang, Chiang Mai Thailand
2Cherng Doi Grilled Chicken
Opens: 11 am – Closes: 10pm. Opens from Tuesdays to Sundays.
As its name indicates, Cherng Doi Grilled Chicken is one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai that serve grilled chicken.
A meal costs about 85THB, which is a bit on the high side according to Thai standards.
Location: 2/8 Suk Kasame Rd, Su Thep, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand