Ah, Thonglor. It’s like the playground for pioneering concepts of food, drink and awesomeness. Considered to be Bangkok’s modern, hip and classy neighbourhood, Thonglor (and it’s sister street Ekkamai) is home to the most inventive and fascinating places and spaces that wow.
There’s A LOT to explore in Thonglor, and we’ll probably never finish. But for now, we’ll let you in on 10 best kept secrets in this incredible district that not many know about… yet!
Built before the war for the royal princess of Thailand, this house and its surrounding gardens is now home to a spectacular restaurant, cosy cafe, and a charming pair of pearl-white Indian peacocks. The grounds are gorgeous, and the food is experimentially phenomenal. The Thailand Tatler names it one of the top 10 restaurants in the kingdom, and it has received numerous accolades for its heritage preservation, culinary skill and service.
Must try: Their Duck Confit Waffles are to die for, and their Coconut Cake is a decadent delight for any coconut lover – one of the best cakes (coconut notwithstanding) we’ve ever tasted.
1217/2 between Sukhumvit Soi 59 and 61, Klongtan-Nue, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Daily, 8am to 11pm
#2 – NanaSe Tori (Chicken) Ramen
This humble ramen bar along the busy Sukhimvit main road claims to serve the very best of ‘japanese chicken noodles’, and they absolutely weren’t kidding. The tori broth is luxuriously thick and creamy, and engulfs your mouth in lavish richness. If you’re a ramen lover from Singapore, you should be familiar with big names like Marutama and Keisuke. This humble 140 baht bowl from NanaSe gives them BOTH a run for their money. It is that good.
But don’t take our word for it. Trust the hundreds of native Japanese expats living in Thonglor who pack this joint for lunch, dinner AND supper every day of the week.
1095 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Daily, 10am to 2am
NanaSe Tori Ramen – Facebook
#3 – Octave Rooftop Bar
The Octave on the 45th floor of the Marriott Thonglor has numerous claims to fame: It is the tallest building (by far) in the Thonglor neighbourhood and is the closest 5-star hotel from the Suvarnabhumi Airport. This means that sundowners at the Octave guarantees you absolutely unobstructed 360º views of the city and gorgeous sunsets. It’s one reason why it’s one of our must-visit rooftop bars in Bangkok!
The Octave serves a great selection of Japanese fare and an exciting mix of cocktails. A perfect combination that’ll last through the night.
The Marriott Hotel – Sukhumvit
Sukhumvit Soi 57, Klongtan Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Daily, 5pm to 2am
Octave Rooftop Bar – Website
#4 – Thonglor Travellers Hostel and Cafe
Take the stairs down from the Thonglor BTS and you’ll definitely spot this cafe. Tall floor-to-ceiling windows give you a glimpse into this beautiful, cosy cafe that’s a sanctuary from the bustle of the busy Sukhumvit main road. Chart, the owner and barrister of this lovely inn, built it to be precisely that. We say he’s done a marvellous job. He’s a coffee connoiseur too, having travelled the globe to sample roasts of all kinds. He often brews and shares his finds for his customers, and we are all thankful for it.
If you like, ask for traditional hand-ground and dripped coffee that Chart claims to bring out the aroma much better than your typical cafe latte.
1059 Sukhumvit Road, Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10260
Daily, Always Open
Thonglor Travellers Hostel and Cafe – Facebook
#5 – Tealily Cafe
Here’s where you’ll find the best matcha in Bangkok, and possibly the whole of Thailand. Tealily Café is a humble little tea house nestled within a residential corner of Thonglor, so it’s easy to miss if you aren’t careful.
It’s tea master is a bubbly lady known as Bou. She personally selects the finest matcha from Uji, Japan, and imports them to Bangkok. She’s been training in the Japanese tea arts for nearly a decade, from her 80-year-old grandmaster in the Japanese countryside. In other words, her matcha is as authentic as it gets outside of Japan.
Come for the matcha, and stay for Mochi the cat – a hyperactive fluff ball of mischievous fun who will absolutely steal your heart (or your matcha, if you’re not careful!)
Kaset-Nawamin, Bueng Kum, Bangkok 10230
Mon-Sun, 10:30am to 6:30pm
Tealily Cafe – Facebook
#6 – Sit and Wonder
Usually, you’ll find the best local food at random street stalls that are uncomfortable, or at overly expensive high-end restaurants. Thankfully, Sit and Wonder restaurant serves local food that’s authentic, delicious and cheap. Whole meals go for less than 150 baht per person, and the food is good. It’s not easy to find local koints that feels like an upscale cafe befitting of the Thonglor district, and we just have to sit and wonder why there aren’t more places like this.
Give their pad thai a try. It’s juicy, chewy and chock full of ingredients you absolutely won’t regret. All for less than 100 baht!
58/12 Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok 10110
Daily, 11am to 11pm
Sit and Wonder – Facebook
#7 – Pad Thai Ekkamai
Speaking of pad thai, we think the best one is found hidden away just before Ekkamai Soi 19. This is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen. If you don’t mind the price, indulge yourself in the ultimate edition pad thai that the owner, Mee, serves up. It’s pad thai with two river prawns, mussles, squid, shrimps and even caviar thrown in for 250 baht. It’s decadently worth it. Otherwise, their classic pad thai with prawns (for only 80 baht) is full of authentic flavour that will surely satisfy your pad thai cravings… For now.
The stall name is only written in Thai, so follow our photograph and keep a look out for this stall when you’re round the bend at Ekkamai Soi 19!
Sukhumvit 63, Bangkok 10110 (Before the turn into Ekkamai Soi 19)
Mon-Sun, 4pm to Midnight
#8 – Hideaway Cafe
Despite the name, Hideaway Cafe is not very hidden. In fact, if you just take a turn into Parklane Shopping Village, it’s that big standalone building that sits apart from the main complex. So why “hideaway”? Because all you’ll see is “Omu Japanese Omurice x Cafe” on the front door of that building. Hideaway Cafe is that “x Cafe” on the signboard. Enter the restaurant and take the stairs up – and you’ll emerge to a spacious and lofty cafe that’s perfect for an inspiring morning or afternoon cuppa.
Of course, don’t ignore the omurice restaurant on level 1. It’s a renowned name from Japan, that serves incredibly fluffy Japanese egg rice. As expected, Japanese expats frequent this joint for both the omurice and coffee upstairs. You should too!
18 Park Lane, Ekkamai Road, Bangkok 10110
Daily, 11am to 10pm
Hideaway Cafe – Facebook
#9 – After You Dessert Cafe
An extremely popular local dessert chain in Bangkok, After You serves some of the most imaginative contemporary desserts found in the kingdom. Their popularity is testament to the quality, tastiness and inventiveness of their desserts. They are indeed very decadent, and will satisfy any sweet tooth – regardless of intensity.
It’s got outlets all over the city, but we think the Thonglor outlet (one of the original ones) has the best ambience. It’s incredibly laid back, bathed in glorious sunlight lazily streaming through full height windows. Come in the late afternoons for the cosiest experience.
J Avenue, Thonglor soi 13, Bangkok 10110
Mon-Sun, 11am to Midnight
After You Dessert Cafe – Website
#10 – The Commons
The Commons is a community of like-minded cafes, restaurants and retail concepts under one very large roof. Indeed, The Commons is an architectural marvel and feels like an oasis within a dense concrete jungle. Vast open spaces and multi-storey-heigh ceilings welcome anyone eager to chill, laze and bask in careless freedom. Renowned homegrown Thai restaurants and cafes like Roast and Roots are based here.
We love The Commons not just for its selection of great boutique F&B concepts, but also for what it represents – that many individual businesses with great products and services can come together as a community that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
335 Thonglor Soi 17, Klongton Nue, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Daily, Opening hours varies
The Commons – Website