Great restaurants in Chiang Mai come in a variety of forms, representing a range of cultures and cuisines as well as catering to different budget preferences. Like any major city, there’s a fair number of swanky, high-end eateries boasting first-class international fare and exceptional service, all of which naturally comes with a hefty price tag. At the other end of the spectrum are the little local joints, showcasing the delightful Lanna flavors and style unique to Chiang Mai.

    In our list of the most popular restaurants in Chiang Mai, we’ve tried to pick a representative selection of enjoyable dining experiences. Some may stand out for their great locations and settings, others are renowned for the skill of the chef and some just have a great buzz about them. What they all have in common is that they will all provide a memorable dining experience.

    1

    David’s Kitchen at 909

    Fine Italian dining in Chiang Mai

    David’s Kitchen at 909 is rated as one of the finest restaurants in Chiang Mai. The menu is a mix of French, European, Thai, and fusion food, with a separate menu for wine. There is also a daily set 3-course menu that changes regularly. Every dish is good at David’s Kitchen, but it is the atmosphere of the restaurant, attention to detail and the excellent service that makes it stand out.

    The location of the restaurant, on the far side of the Mae Ping River going out of town, has changed since the restaurant first opened, but they retained the ‘909’ part of the name.

    Location: 113 Bamrungrad Road, Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

    Phone: +66 (0)91 068 1744

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    2

    Tong Tem Toh

    Thai cuisine in a laidback setting

    Tong Tem Toh is a popular Thai restaurant tucked in a quiet soi (lane) just off the Nimmanhaemin artist strip in Chiang Mai. This open-air restaurant is one of the best places to sample tasty northern Thai cuisine in a pleasantly laidback atmosphere.

    Must-try dishes at Tong Tem Toh include kaeng hang le (northern Thai style curry), larb kua (fried minced pork salad), deep-fried chicken wings and nam prik (chili dips). Some of the dishes retain their authenticity such as in the use of spices. Ask if you'd like your orders prepared milder.

    Location: 11 Nimmanhemin Soi 13, Suthep, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 11 pm

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    3

    Ginger Farm Kitchen

    Farm-to-table freshness in this organically spun restaurant

    Ginger Farm Kitchen is a popular restaurant and shop serving locally produced organic food directly from the source. Serving produce cultivated in the nearby Ginger Farm, the restaurant aims to provide Chiang Mai townies with an opportunity to enjoy delicious, farm-fresh food without having to leave the city limits.

    Offering its own unique take on the urban farm concept, the cozy restaurant prides itself on serving home-cooked food in a friendly and comfortable environment. The seasonally varied menu includes Thai food prepared with organic and free-range ingredients, with an emphasis on the many delights the country's Northern region has to offer. With its bright, traditional interior and mouth-watering cuisine, it's an excellent destination for those searching for an environmentally conscious feed.

    Location: Nimmanahaeminda Road, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)52 080 928

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    4

    The Gallery

    A dining institution on the Chiang Mai riverside

    The Gallery is a unique fine-dining establishment in Chiang Mai that combines the beauty of art and crafts with the art of cooking. The neon-lit sign outside immediately draws you in from the street to what appears to be a treasure trove of goods. Its art gallery exhibits and sells curated paintings and artifacts by local artists and craftsmen.

    The menu features a selection of Thai, Chinese and international cuisines, all of which you can enjoy by the tranquil riverside. Must-tries at The Gallery include any of the selection of curries on the menu that each can be spiced up to your taste. Some evenings are enhanced with live music.

    Location: 25-27/29 Charoenrat Rd, Chang Moi, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from noon to 11 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)53 248 601

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    5

    Dash

    Steaks and Thai cuisine in Chiang Mai Old City

    Dash is a Thai restaurant and bar in Chiang Mai that draws in big crowds even though it is located down a small lane in a quiet part of the old town. Its beautiful wooden house has doors that open onto a small patio and serves 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, about a 5-minute walk from Tha Pae Gate. If you’re not familiar with Chiang Mai’s winding back lanes, it’s best to take a map. The restaurant is open daily from 9 am until midnight. If you end up loving the food you eat here, Dash also runs cooking classes. Simply check with the staff on available schedules.

    Location: 83/2 Moon Muang Rd Soi 1, Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 8.30 am to 2 pm and from 5.30 pm to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +66 (0)53 279 230

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    6

    Huen Phen Restaurant

    A Chiang Mai Old City dining spot popular with travelers

    Huen Phen Restaurant is a long-time favorite in Chiang Mai Old City that has been serving up mouth-watering northern Thai fare for over 4 decades. It serves one of the best khao soi (traditional noodle curry) in Chiang Mai, along with a range of other northern Thai fare prepared according to family recipes.

    The non-descript open-air section is open for lunch, whereas dinner is served in an atmospheric dining room. Huen Phen has a second branch further south, in the Hang Dong District of Chiang Mai, that's popular among both locals and visitors.

    Location: 112 Rachamankha Road, Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 4 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)53 814 548

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    7

    Ginger & Kafe at The House by Ginger

    A cozy dining spot in the heart of Chiang Mai Old City

    Ginger & Kafe at The House by Ginger in Chiang Mai serves Thai cuisine in an elaborate and colorful yet cozy setting. It's a mix between a restaurant and bistro with a menu that features a strong focus on Thai cuisine, with a good number of the dishes being creative takes by its talented culinary team.

    Must-tries include a series of The House mixed appetiser platters with crispy prawn spring rolls, meang kham (a traditional Thai snack with herbs), hot and sour minced chicken, and pak bung grob (crispy Thai morning glory in tamarind sauce). The slow-braised beef curry is divine. Meat lovers can go for the broiled beef served with jaew dip and tomato salsa.

    Location: 199 Mun Mueang Rd, Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm, Friday–Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)53 287 681

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    8

    The Good View Bar & Restaurant Chiang Mai

    Thai cuisine on a lively riverfront

    The Good View Bar & Restaurant Chiang Mai delivers what its name suggests, offering a riverside resto-bar experience overlooking the Ping River. It is a dining institution in Chiang Mai, and its stunning riverfront location is complemented by quality live band entertainment every night.

    The main draw of The Good View Bar & Restaurant is its fantastic menu of Thai, Japanese and international fare at reasonable prices. The wooded interiors give the place a warm, cozy, living room feel. The alfresco garden terrace overlooking the idyllic Ping River is a much-coveted spot. Booking ahead is advisable.

    Location: 13 Charoenrat Rd, Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)99 271 0666

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    9

    Khantoke Dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center

    A place to experience Lanna culture and flavors

    The Khantoke Dinner at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is based around the traditional Thai dinner and dancing show. For the Khantoke dinner, guests sit on bamboo mats laid out on the floor and are served a range of northern Thai food to share with the table.

    The food includes a rich chicken curry and a Burmese-style pork curry, fried chicken, sticky rice, vegetables with a spicy chili dip and the northern delicacy of deep-fried pork skin. While you sit and eat, a variety of traditional Thai dances are performed on stage – including sword dancing and a popular drum performance.

    Location: 185 Wua Lai Rd Soi 3, Haiya, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +66 (0)95 145 0296

    Map
    10

    Free Bird Cafe

    Healthy and traditional Thai dishes in generous portions

    Free Bird Cafe is a colorful café just outside the city moat, on a street corner in Chiang Mai Old City. Their menu is extensive and has a mixture of Thai, Burmese, and western dishes together with a selection of coffees and fruit smoothies.

    Must-tries at Free Bird Cafe include the Burmese tea leaf salad and the banana, peanut butter and chocolate smoothie. Regulars often recommend the hearty portioned khao soi (traditional noodle curry). All dishes are made using ingredients sourced from local vendors and producers.

    Location: 14 Sirimangkalajarn Road, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

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    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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