An eating tour of Bangkok's Thanon Dinsor
Running from the Democracy Monument to Sao Ching Cha, linking shady trees and passing by Bangkok’s imposing City Hall, Thanon Dinsor -- or Dinsor Road -- is one of the city’s more atmospheric thoroughfares.
It’s also a great place to grab a meal.
Most of Dinsor’s eateries date back decades and specialize in classic Bangkok-style cuisine -- central Thai cooking with palace and Chinese influences and a distinct emphasis on savory/sweet flavors.
Yet Dinsor’s strength is not in street food-style grazing, but rather in its spread of capable restaurants. Places with time-tested menus that do just about everything well.
All of the restaurants below are within walking distance of each other. The best time to visit the area is in the early evening, when the weather is cool and everything is open.
Great for: Sunday brunch or a decadent night out.
Zoom back in time to 1957 at this classic Bangkok restaurant.
Located just around the corner from Thanon Dinsor, Methavalai Sorndaeng is a Bangkok institution and remains evocative of a time when going out to eat was a special occasion.
Despite the stuffy waiter uniforms and overabundance of doilies, the atmosphere is generally relaxed and the food approachable, both in terms of flavor and price.
The kitchen specializes in decadent, royally influenced central Thai dishes such as rich hor mok (a type of steamed curry), tart/sweet mee krob (crispy fried noodles) and yam som oh, a salad of pomelo.
Expect a mingling of sweet and savory flavors, and artful presentation.
78/2 Ratchadamnoen Klang Road. +66 (0)2 224 3088. Open daily, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Great for: A first date or a family dinner.
Although Bangkok has a reputation as a dining city, truly capable all-round restaurants are few and far between so you’re generally better off eating at places that specialize in one or two dishes.
Krua Apsorn, a cozy shophouse restaurant on Dinsor Road, is the exception to this rule.
The menu here includes several unique items, but most come for Krua Apsorn’s rich, seafood-based dishes such as nuea pu phat phrik lueang, fried crab meat with yellow chili, or kaeng khiaw wan look chin pla kray, fish ball curry.
169 Dinsor Road, +66 (0)2 685 4531. Open Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sor Na Wang
Great for: A quick and spicy bite before moving onward.
It’s hot and dark, and there are never enough tables, but this tiny shophouse restaurant in old Bangkok is one of the city’s best destinations for fried noodle dishes.
Reasons to eat here include the mee phat krachet, water mimosa fried with seafood and thin rice noodles, and suki haeng, a "dry" fried version of sukiyaki.
Both come from the wok with a smoky flavor, crunchy singed bits, ample seafood and pungently satisfying dipping sauces.
156/2 Dinsor Road, +66 (0)2 622 1525. Open daily, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Great for: A sweet pit stop.
Come time for a sweet snack, there’s no place more famous on Dinsor Road -- or indeed Bangkok -- than Mont.
The restaurant dates back to the early 1960s, when milk was still an unusual item for Thai diners. Restaurants like Mont were the only place to get the drink, and coupled it with steamed and toasted bread served with various toppings.
Today, Mont is exceedingly popular among university students and serves 10 types of toast alone, with toppings ranging from chocolate to our fave, coconut custard tinged green with pandanus leaf.
160/1-3 Dinsor Road. +66 (0)2 224 1147. Open daily, 2 p.m.-11 p.m.
Mitr Ko Yuan
Great for: A cheap and cheerful dinner.
Popular among both locals and tourists, Mitr Ko Yuan is the archetypical Bangkok shophouse restaurant.
Little has changed here over the years, including the prices, as evidenced by a hand-written menu from 1966.
It remains the place to go for Thai standards, such as tom yam kung, or more unusual Chinese-influenced dishes, such as satu lin, a stew of tender ox tongue.
It’s popular and only has a handful of tables, so don’t be surprised if you have to queue.
186 Dinsor Road. +66 (0)2 224 1194. Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.