Great restaurants in Chiang Rai run from American-style BBQ rib houses to riverside restaurants serving exotic Southeast Asian cuisine. This Northern Thailand city might not hit the headlines like Bangkok and the islands of the gulf, but this off-the-beaten-path city on the cusp of Laos and Burma has plenty up its sleeve.

    Mystical temples and ancient forests combine with beaches along the lovely Kok River to make it something of a hidden jewel in Thailand. There's top dining, too – just check out this guide to our favorite restaurants in Chiang Rai.


    Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House, Bistro & Bar

    Organic food in a vintage setting

    Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House, Bistro & Bar is nestled on the edge of the Kok River, on the outskirts of downtown Chiang Rai. It sits in a charming, colonial-style home with vines crawling up the sides and leafy gardens shaded by big bamboo blooms. Inside, you'll be immersed amid quirky antiques and Victorian-styled dining rooms.

    Here, the philosophy is organic, locally sourced food served with a smile. Patrons can pick from fusion dishes like wild mushroom soup and pan-fried seabass, along with international additions like chili dog and duck eggs benedict. You can reach Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House within a 15-minute bicycle ride from the city centre.

    Location: 2 179 Bannrongseartean Soi 3, Mueang Chiang Rai District, 57100, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)81 984 2925


    Lu Lum Restaurant Chiangrai

    Riverfront eatery serving Northern Thai cuisine

    Lu Lum Restaurant Chiangrai a waterside restaurant that fringes the Kok River on the northern side of the city. It's actually housed on a boat, which means you'll dine with the river rolling by, not to mention lovely views of the rising jungled hills to the north.

    Menus at Lu Lum Restaurant Chiangrai are all about showcasing the traditional flavors of Northern Thai cooking. Standouts include chicken tom yum and steamed beef in chili. There are also dishes primed for the more adventurous eater – think snakehead broth and intestine soup.

    Location: 188/8 20 Khwae Wai Rd, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Thursday from 10.30 am to 8 pm, Friday–Wednesday from 10.30 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)53 748 223


    photo by Chainwit. (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    De Lanna Riverfront Café & Restaurant

    Pizzas and stir-fries in a breezy spot

    De Lanna Riverfront Café & Restaurant channels a touch of modern edginess with its sprawling, industrial-chic interiors. You'll find it gazing at the reflective waters of the Kok River, a 5-minute tuk-tuk ride from the Chiang Rai Clock Tower.

    The food offering is eclectic, to say the least. Pizzas mingle with carbonara pasta and broiled salmon salads, while stir-fried seafood offers a local dining experience. It's a top spot for eating on a balmy Thai evening because the main area is half indoors and half out, all bathed in the cooling breezes that roll along the river.

    Location: 211, 7 Kwae Wai Rd, Rop Wiang Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)52 050 808


    The Peak Wine & Broil

    Degustation with a view

    The Peak Wine & Broil has arguably the best spot of any eatery in Chiang Rai. Part of The Riverie by Katathani Collection, it soars on a rooftop next to a bend in the Kok River, about 7 minutes in a tuk-tuk from the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar and the city’s buzzing downtown.

    The views are something pretty special – you'll be able to see the silhouettes of the Lam Nam Kok National Park to the east and the rooftops of the city to the south. Food-wise, this is proper fine dining, with meticulously put-together plates of European meat cuts and vegetables.

    Location: 1129 Kraisorasit Road, Wiang Subdistrict, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 11 pm



    BBQ by the river

    Favola is the in-house bistro of Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort. It occupies a bright and airy glass building at the base of the hotel on the riversides of north Chiang Rai, offering sweeping views of the banks and the green parks that encompass the establishment.

    Guests can sample some of the finest BBQ buffets in town – everything from broiled chicken to honey-roasted ham cuts is cooked up over the coals here. The a la carte menu also comes with plenty of European staples, including tomato pasta, quiche and Croque monsieur. Pair that with one of the many labels on the extensive wine list, which includes champagne and sparkling Italian prosecco.

    Location: 221/2 Moo 20 Kwaewai Road Tambon Robwieng, Amphur Muang Tambon Robwieng, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm


    Surf and Turf Bistro

    Great for those who love meat and seafood

    Surf and Turf Bistro is wedged into the vibrant heart of Chiang Rai center. Look for it just south of the Clock Tower on Jetyod Road, surrounded by Irish pubs and drinking holes that get busy on the weekends. A small alfresco dining space marks the entrance, leading to an intimate interior with beach-themed art on the walls.

    That's a nod to the food, which, just as the name implies, mixes meat and marine flavors in a medley of fish burgers, salads, and BBQ-grilled sausages. There are also options for vegetarians in the form of soups and pasta. Surf and Turf Bistro is a top spot for starting a night out in Chiang Rai since the main nightlife neighborhoods start just across the road.

    Location: 1025/5 Jetyod Rd, Tambon Wiang, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Saturday 11 am to 9 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +66 (0)94 875 8788


    Melt in Your Mouth

    Francophone dining spot near Ko Loi Public Park

    Melt in Your Mouth transports diners to the suburbs of Paris with its elegant interiors and charming outdoor patios. The francophone bistro is perched on the side of the Kok River, about a 20-minute walk from the beating core of the city, offering a relaxing spot to eat on the side of Ko Loi Public Park.

    Diners with a sweet tooth will be pleased to find an abundance of cakes and biscuits, which pair fantastically with iced coffees or teas. For something more filling, consider a basket of potato wedges or a pizza, which comes topped with gooey cheese and herbs plucked from Melt in Your Mouth’s very own garden.

    Location: 268 Village No. 21, Wiang City, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)52 020 549


    La Ola

    Your fix of tapas in Chiang Rai

    La Ola churns out a paprika-scented, lemon-doused medley of Spanish tapas from its place amid the quiet Chiang Rai suburbs – the joint is located on the north side of the Kok River, a quick 5-minute tuk-tuk ride from the middle of the city.

    Dishes run the gamut from spicy patatas bravas (fried potatos) to fully-fledged paella. It's all cooked up by Spanish-born chef Dani Betancor, who channels the homey vibe of Iberia to tropical Chiang Rai. The atmosphere is casual and chilled, with tables spilling out into a breezy garden.

    Location: 4 609 Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand

    Open: Wednesday–Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from noon to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 9 pm, Sunday from noon to 3 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)98 990 8857



    A must-visit for meat-eaters in Chiang Rai

    Ribs&co is a modern broil house in the beating middle of Chiang Rai. It’s right between the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar and the Clock Tower on bustling Phaholyothin Rd, one of the main thoroughfares of the city.

    The menu reads like an all-American steakhouse – beef, beef, and more beef. You can also pick homemade burgers with all the usual pub-grub sides or go for the specialty pork ribs that come marinated in house dressing. There's a menu of craft beers to match and a good array of red wines that partner well with the rich mains.

    Location: 590/2 Phaholyothin Rd, Wiang City, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)52 059 956


    Two Lung

    Pasta dishes out of the city

    Two Lung is an out-of-town Italian-Thai kitchen with a focus on fresh and filling food. The location is worthy of remark on its own – you need to travel south of Chiang Rai for about 20 minutes, to where the narrow Lao River cuts through the forests of the Pong Sali Arboretum. The restaurant is right there on the banks.

    The inside has a touch of the bohemian about it, what with exposed brick walls and dangling bulb lights. Two Lung’s menu brings together vegetable pasta and European sausages with a whole medley of fish and meat cuts that are served simply broiled with a side of mashed potato.

    Location: 226 Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

    Open: Monday from 5 pm to 9.30 pm, Wednesday–Friday from 5 pm to 9.30 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 11.30 am to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)86 193 9096

    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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