It doesn't take long for one to realise why Bangkok is one of the planet's most visited cities.
It's vast with many remote gems, fast-evolving with newly minted hangouts, and also has impressive monuments and a compelling contemporary art scene.
But it's also the Thai capital's love affair with food that brings many here, from modern fusion cuisine to old school restaurants and renowned street food stalls.
This time though, we focus on the favourite restaurants for local fare.
I base myself in Sukhumvit - at the superb 137 Pillars Hotel, no less - for an indulgent four-day food adventure across Bangkok's most appealing Thai restaurants.
PRICE RANGE: $$$$
ISSAYA SIAMESE CLUB
Issaya Siamese Club is a gourmet paradise for foodies, offering modern Thai dining in a beautiful 100-year-old colonial villa.
The kitchen is headed by celebrity chef Ian Kittichai, who has appeared on various episodes of Iron Chef America, Iron Chef Japan, and Iron Chef Thailand.
The chef does a great job in combining creative tweaks with tradition, inspired by Thailand's different regions.
There are a few outstanding dishes here, but one particularly good is the Yum Hua Plee, which is a banana blossom and palm heart salad combined with crispy shallots and roasted peanuts in chilli jam dressing.
Issaya Siamese Club is located at 4 Soi Si Akson, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, p. +66 2 672 9040. Open daily 11.30pm - 2.30pm, 6pm - 10.30pm.
Paste serves modern Thai cuisine that stays true to the bountiful flavours of Thailand.
Chef-owners Bongkoch 'Bee' Satongun and her husband Jason Bailey design the menu around royal Thai cuisine and century-old cooking techniques.
The restaurant is inside a shopping mall, yet here I understand why Bangkok is a serious food territory.
The menu can change from time to time, but two incredible signature dishes are the Char-Grilled Langoustine Salad with Northern Thai forest ingredients and the Beef Ribs served with long pepper, roasted tomatoes, and mushroom soy.
Paste is located at 999 Phloen Chit Rd, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand, p. +66 2 656 1003. Open daily 12pm - 2pm, 6.30pm - 11pm.
Sorn is the response to Bangkok's insatiable hunger for Southern Thai cuisine. Chef-owners Khun Ice and Yodkwan U-Pumpruk are veterans of the scene, putting their own refined and sophisticated spin while focusing on traditional Thai cooking techniques.
Sorn is an elegant and understated space, featuring long tables and a see-through kitchen. The Two-Degree Lobster and Gems on Crab Stick are some signature dishes.
Sorn is located at 56, Sukhumvit 26 Soi Ari, Klongton Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, p. +66 99 081 1119. Open Tue-Fri 6pm - 11pm, Sat-Sun 12pm - 2pm, 6pm - 11pm. Closed Mon.
PRICE RANGE: $$-$$$
Err was conceptualised by renowned Chefs Dylan and Bo, the same couple behind the popular fine-dining Thai restaurant Bo.Lan.
Located next to Wat Phra and other popular temples, this casual dining concept offers up delicious Thai dishes that run the gamut from expertly prepared street-food favourites to filling curries.
It offers excellent value for money, and nearly every dish is a highlight.
After a tasty dinner here, you can enjoy a few drinks at one of the many fabulous bars in the Old Town.
Err is located at 394/35 Maha Rat Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, p. +66 2 622 2292. Open Tue-Sun 11am - 4pm and 5pm - 9pm. Closed Mon.
Sri Trat is a stylishly rustic Thai eatery that showcases the best of Trat cuisine.
You know, that small province on the eastern seaboard of Thailand?
It's home to one of the most delightful food in the country, thanks to its abundance of seafood, fresh fruits, and rare herbs.
Sri Trat's menu carries dishes that follow old family recipes, which includes the signatures Pork Curry with Chamuang Leaves and Barracuda Tossed in Vinegar.
Sri Trat is located at 90 Soi Sukhumvit 33, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, p. +66 2 088 0968. Open Wed-Mon 12pm - 11pm. Closed Tue.
Phuket Town presents traditional Southern Thai cooking in a charming shophouse which transports guests to the colonial Southern town's old quarter.
Here you find rare menu items such as Sataw (stink beans cooked with chili paste and shrimp) and Kua Kling (chicken or beef stewed with curry paste, chilies, garlic, shaved lemongrass, and lime).
Signature dishes include the delicious Kanom Jeen Rice Noodles served with spicy coconut sauce.
Phuket Town is located at 126/2 Thong Lo 4 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, p. +66 2 714 9402. Open daily 11am - 10.30pm.
SUPANNIGA EATING ROOM ON THONGLOR
Supanniga Eating Room on Thonglor is an excellent place for a tasty and fun lunch with the best of the traditional Thai cuisine.
Spread over three floors, this restaurant is a combination of brushed concrete and wooden fittings, inspired by the hotel of the same name that the owner's family owns in Issan.
It feels a lot more spacious than it looks outside too, ideal for enjoying authentic dishes inspired by both the owner's grandmother's hometown in Trat and Khon Kaen.
I especially loved the Crab Curry and Deep-Fried Catfish. Read our review here.
Supanniga Eating Room on Thonglor is located at 160/11 Soi Sukhumvit 55, Klong Tan Nuea, Wattana 10110, p. +66 2 714 7508. Open daily 11.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 11pm.
SOUL FOOD MAHANAKORN
Soul Food Mahanakorn is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Bangkok, and surprisingly, it's run by an American.
The philosophy of Soul Food is to offer comfort, satisfaction and care when it comes to both food and setting.
It's a good idea to come here in a group to have the opportunity to share and try many delicious dishes.
The restaurant serves up popular regional dishes such as the Sticky Tamarind Ribs, Pork Belly Curry, and Crispy Sea Bass.
Soul Food Maharakorn is located at 56/10 Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, p. +66 2 714 7708. Open Mon-Fri 5.30pm - 11pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am - 3.30pm, 5.30 - 11pm.
NAMSAAH BOTTLING TRUST
Namsaah Bottling Trust is a fun pink century-old house in the busy financial district of Silom, and it's a restaurant and bar that's equally funky and stylish on the inside.
Local celebrity chef Ian Kittichai puts a new spin on Thai food with eclectic influences - fun-loving diners will enjoy his famous Yellow Tuna Ceviche marinated in coconut milk and green chilli.
Make sure you don't miss their remarkable cocktails.
Namsaah Bottling Trust is located at 401 7 Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, p. +66 2 636 6622. Open daily 11am - 8pm.
PRICE RANGE: $-$$
Padthai Ekkamai is where you'll find arguably the most interesting Pad Thai in town, which is Thailand's most famous dish among foreigners.
Their signature 'Pad Thai Ekkamai' is a hearty plate of fresh squid, two large king prawns, and a few juicy mussels.
It's an absolute must-try. This eatery has a casual vibe and is great for late nights after the clubs in the neighbourhoods have closed.
Padthai Ekkamai is located at 303/4 Soi Sukhumvit 63, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, p. +66 64 262 6245. Open daily 11.30am - 4am.
YEN TA FO JC
Yen Ta Fo JC is often pretty packed, so we recommend coming here a little before 11.30 in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Chewy boiled noodles in a clear soup topped with fried garlic and red sauce is the dish you should try here.
The portions are quite small, so it's better to order more than one serving in the case you are hungry.
Yen Ta Fo JC is located at Sala Daeng 2 Alley, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, p. +66 81 814 9547. Open Mon, Sat 10am - 1.15 pm, Tue-Fri 6am - 2pm. Closed Sun.
Son Thod is an old school Thai establishment, and we can't get enough of how very unique an experience this is.
It offers one of the best Cantonese-style roast pork and crispy pork belly in town.
These are one of the most popular street food dishes in Thailand for its tender and juicy meat as well its special sweet sauce.
Son Thod is located at 34/19 Chokchai Ruam Mid Alley Viphawadee Rangsit Bangkok 10900, p +66 2 277 2157. Open daily 10.30am - 5pm.
Soei serves some of the most intensely flavourful Thai food in Bangkok and is exceptionally authentic.
It sits right beside Samsen Train Station and is always, always busy.
Waiting time can be very long, but when you finally have your meal here, you will be sure it's worth it.
The signature dish - Gung Chae Nam Pla - designed by Soei's owner-chef Soei Honed is a sort of raw shrimp ceviche in fish sauce that will blow you away.
Soei is located at Phibun Watthana 6 Alley, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Khet Phaya Thai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, p. +66 81 563 3131. Open Mon-Fri 10am - 9.30pm, Sun 10am - 9.30pm. Closed Sat.
Someday Everyday is as affordable as it gets, but this humble Khao Rad Gaeng (curry and rice) spot is far from simple.
After their exit from Thai fine-dining institution Nahm in 2018, founder David Thompson and Head Chef Prin Polsuk introduced a new restaurant concept that's a short motorcycle taxi ride from Sathorn's business hub.
There are about 20 dishes on the rotating menu, almost all of which take plunges into modern Thai cuisine.
Some favourites are permanent, like the Deep-Fried Sun-Dried Pork and the Gaeng Ran Juan, a fall-off-the-bone pork rib soup with a tangy fresh hit of bai madan leaves.
Someday Everyday is located at 52, 60 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Khet Bang Rak 10500, p. +66 61 435 6658. Open Wed-Sun 11am - 8pm.
This article was first published in City Nomads.