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Bangkok restaurants: Where to eat on Sukhumvit Soi 11
Better known for wild nights than top meals, this Nana soi is now proudly wearing its culinary face
Home to two of Bangkok's top clubs, Sukhumvit soi 11 has always been a center of attention in the nightlife community. But with the opening of a few of great new restaurants in recent months, this buzzing Nana soi is more attractive than ever for a night out.
Combine the newbies with some established eateries that have weathered time and competition, and soi 11 is starting to realize its culinary coming of age. Here are the top dining spots to check out.
The owner of Snapper, Craig Hedley, is set on giving Bangkok a truly genuine New Zealand fish-and-chips experience.
In a seafaring setting adorned by fishnets and life-at-sea memorabilia, and tables that resemble the wooden planks of a oceanside dock, Hedley says Snapper is all about wild catch fish. Why? Because fish straight from the source are cleaner, tastier and healthier than farmed fish.
The cream, batter and potatoes are all imported rom New Zealand. The menu is focused and simple: if you're going to Snapper, you're going for fish.
Try this: Part of Snapper's charm is the uncomplicated menu that cuts to the chase, dominated by four different kinds of fish-and-chips.
Fish newbies should try the NZ King Fisher (180 baht), which has a moist, more mild taste than the NZ Blue Warehou.
If you're not sure which one out of the four you want to try, no worries, there are tasting notes. Snapper's fish-and-chips has a light batter that doesn't soak up as much fat -- you'll fill yourself up with actual fish.
Pair it with any Sauvignon Blanc on the menu (1,300-1,750 baht). If you're not into fish and are outnumbered by your friends, there is a meat option (gourmet NZ ribeye beef burger, 375 baht) on the menu, as well.
Open daily 5 p.m.-midnight, open for lunch Saturday-Sunday. 1/22 Sukhumvit Soi 11 (in the Cheap Charlie's cul-de-sac). +66 (0)2 651 1098
When you think tapas, you think Tapas Cafe. The basic decor isn't the draw here. It's the speedy service and sangrias that always seem to be on sale. Go there before 7 p.m. to get the happy hour specials.
Eat: There's a wide selection of tapas (35-325 baht) and paella (750-800 baht) on the menu including a vegetarian-friendly section serving tasty dishes like Pimientos Asados (roasted red and green peppers sauteed with garlic) and Champinones al Ajillo (mushrooms in white wine and garlic sauce). If you come during happy hour, you get three tapas for the price of two.
Drink: Try a glass (100 baht), half-pitcher (325 baht) or full one-litre pitcher (600 baht) of glorious sangria. During happy hour, get two equivalent orders for the price of one.
Open daily 11:30 a.m.-midnight, 1/25 Sukhumvit Soi 11 (in the Cheap Charlie's cul-de-sac). www.tapasiarestaurants.com
Combine former Dusit Thani D'Sens' star chef Julien Lavigne and Bangkok-bred mixologist Surasak Pantaisong, voted Thailand's Best Bartender in 2008, you get Oskar Bistro.
The four Frenchmen who started this new Bangkok hot spot aimed to provide an uncomplicated menu done right in a fun, clubby atmosphere.
But that doesn't mean Julien is holding back on the skills that earned him his five-star status. He's dishing out classy renditions of classic plates in an upbeat, modern-chic setting that won't break your budget.
Try This: If you're just snacking, pair up an extra juicy and perfectly tender chicken skewer with yellow curry dip (150 baht) with a Golden Thai cocktail (195 baht).
The red chili in the Golden Thai gives the cocktail a subtle spiciness that complements the already succulent chicken -- and the coconut base of each marry the dish and drink even more.
Open daily 6 p.m.-2 a.m., 24 Sukhumvit soi 11 (beside BED Supperclub). +66 (0)2 255 3377 www.oskar-bistro.com
More a sleek wine bar than a tapas restaurant, the owners at Bangkok's newest Spanish joint have put a lot of focus on creating an extensive wine list that reaches both hemispheres.
There are also perfect gourmet sangrias, sheesha (apple and mint flavor, 400 baht) and cigars (ranging from 115 baht for mini cigars to 2,845 baht for a Cuban Cohiba).
Catalana's modern-chic, luxurious decor gives it a more polished and refined feel than the more relaxed Tapas Cafe on the same soi.
Try This: Catalana has a brief but delicious menu created by Spanish chef Alex Marcas. Traditional tapas like the spicy sauteed chorizo (145 baht) and Patatas Bravas (120 baht) will satisfy your cravings, and not-so-traditional tapas like the Moorish chicken, raisin and nut pie (180 baht) will bring out your experimental side (if the wine doesn't). Traditional Spanish rice dishes are served as well.
But the story here is the wine and delicious sangria. With more than 10 wines by the glass (160-195 baht), you can sample many instead of sticking to one bottle.
The sangria is extremely potent, but you won't notice: the white wine sangria, mixed with triple sec, peach schnapps, cane syrup and apple juice is delicious and refreshing, and the red wine has Grand Marnier, lime juice and orange juice. In fact, it just might be the best sangria in town.
Open daily 11 a.m.-1 a.m., 29/1 The Prime 11, Sukhumvit soi 11. +66 (0)2 651 0220 www.catalanatapasandwine.com
Chez Papé owner Brun Pierre Loïc says he wanted to create a laidback café in Bangkok that does the ones in Lyon, his hometown, justice.
The restaurant is decorated with portraits of French icons and trinkets of his life in Lyon; you can't help but live vicariously through it if you either fantasize about France or have been there and miss it.
With a kitchen backed by chef Frederic Chudzik, who spent five years at Michelin-starred restaurant Mantel in Cannes, and Pierre's policy of offering lower prices for fine dining, one can enjoy a genuine French feast for a pretty reasonable price here.
Open Monday-Saturday 4 p.m.-midnight Sunday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sukhumvit Soi 11 (in the Cheap Charlie's cul-de-sac) +66 (0)2-255-2492. www.chezpape.com
La Pizzeria Limoncello
This cozy pizzeria tucked away from the bustling street makes you feel, for a second, like you're in an Italian trattoria.
An atmosphere that's great for a date, a family affair or a business venture, combined with a genuinely Italian menu and exquisite service, makes Limoncello a staple in Bangkok's dining scene.
Try this: Navigate through the dauntingly huge menu by picking your favorite classic pizza flavor first (Margherita, 190 baht). Their calzone classic (290 baht) is also done just right.
All of their pizzas are fresh and cooked in a woodfire oven. You can see the chef twirling the dough and dressing it as you eat.
Open daily noon-2 p.m., 6 p.m.-11 p.m., 17 Sukhumvit soi 11. +66 (0)2 651 0707. www.zanottigroup.com/pizzeria
Bed Supperclub is the only place in Bangkok where you can eat a gourmet meal and follow it up with a night on the dance floor.
One of Bangkok's top nightlife and dining venues, Bed's decor -- a white room with plush beds for tables -- is sexy, and not to mention versatile in that it acts as a blank canvas. It can be changed to cater to everything and anything.
Try this: Bed's dining modus operandi: a themed three-course set menu with a show between meals. Every couple of weeks they switch it up.
The current theme, until February 3, is Bangkok '69. The dinner is inspired by the year when Bangkok's bar scene started booming, with the local music scene fuelled by American soul and funk music brought over by U.S. soldiers stopping over from Vietnam.
The set menu costs 999 baht to honor Bed's ninth year in Bangkok -- a good bargain for dinner and a show.
Open daily, 7 p.m. to late. 26 Sukhumvit Road 11, BTS: Nana. +66 (0)2 651 3537. www.bedsupperclub.com