Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand, has wonderful options for Thai food lovers.
The Chiang Mai restaurant scene offers a wide variety of places to eat, from northern Thai food to western food.
And, according to our vegetarian friends, it is also one of the best cities inThailand for vegetarian-friendly restaurants.
Our quest for the local food specialties has us focusing on the Chiang Mai Thai restaurant scene.
This is the perfect place to sample unique Chiang Mai food, from Lanna or northern Thai food to Burmese influenced dishes.
Amongst the many Chiang Mai restaurants, we’ve put together this list of 9 of the best Thai restaurants in Chiang Mai.
These restaurants are some of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai to satisfy your hunger for authentic northern Thai food.
#1 – Huen Muan Jai – Lanna Style Chiang Mai Restaurant
Huen Muan Jai is located in the Chang Phueak neighborhood, between the Old City and Maya Mall. It is a northern Thai restaurant set in a traditional Lanna style house.
If you are new to northern Thai food, this is the best place to eat in Chiang Mai for the introduction to many dishes in one sitting.
What we like about this restaurant is their extensive offering of northern Thai specialties and it’s a place where we’ve had some of the best food in Chiang Mai.
Address: 24 Ratchapruek Alley, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open every day from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. Closed on Wednesday
Price: Main dishes average between 80 -120 Thai Baht – Approx. $2.50 – 3.80 USD
Pro Tips: For groups, we recommend making reservations as the place can get pretty busy even on weeknights
#2 – Tong Tem Toh – Outstanding Thai Northern Thai Cuisine
In the hip and trendy Nimman neighborhood is where you’ll find the popular Tong Tem Toh restaurant. The restaurant is large and airy with dark-colored benches and even mist machines to keep you cool.
As you approach the restaurant, you’ll notice two things. On the exterior is “grill master” cooking up a variety of sausages and other northern specialties. And, secondly a long line of people waiting for a table.
Even though the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, it is one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai for northern Thai food. Wait patiently amongst the many Asian tourists, as you will be delighted by the experience.
What’s great about Tong Tem Toh restaurant is their extensive offering. From their thick encyclopedic northern Thai menu are chili dips, salads, soups, stir-fries, and grilled meats.
With portions on the generous side, plan to share so that you can taste more items. We started out with a few northern Thai starters like the Nam Prik Noom, or Thai green chili dip with vegetables.
Plus, we savored the flavors of one of our favorite northern Thai foods, Gaeng Hang Lay. Grilled barbecue items are also very popular and we recommend not missing out on this experience.
For the convenient location and flavorful northern Thai food, Tong Tem Toh is a great option. You just have to be patient with the long lines.
Address: Nimmana Haeminda Road, Soi 13, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open every day from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
Price: 73 Thai Baht – Approx. $2 USD for one serving of Gaeng Hang Lay
Pro Tips: Options from the grill are only offered at dinner. Go in the evening and try freshly grilled meats, poultry or seafood.
#3- Huen Phen – Long Standing Chiang Mai Restaurant in the Old City
An institution in Chiang Mai, Huen Phen restaurant is known for serving Lanna style or northern Thai food for more than 40 years. Located in the Old City, you’ll find the restaurant near Wat Chedi Luang.
The restaurant offers two different eating experiences. Lunch is served outdoors in a casual environment while dinner takes place in the atmospheric dining room.
We like the convenient location, the quaint and antique-like setting and the focus on good quality northern Thai food.
You’ll find a range of northern Thai dishes for whatever mood you are in. Some of our favorite experiences have been leisurely grazing through the chili dip starters. Having Khao Soi in the evening or trying the jackfruit curry salad.
One dish that particularly stands out is the minced northern style pork salad, called larb (also spelled laarb). Very flavorful, this dish is served with a large plate of leafy greens and a side of sticky rice.
Address: 112 Thanon Ratchamanka Phra Sing, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open every day from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Price: 85 Thai Baht – Approx. $2.70 USD for the larb
Pro Tips: For a more local atmosphere, skip dinner and go there for lunch instead. If you choose to go for dinner, arrive early to avoid the large groups of tourists.
#4 – Laab Kai Mueang Pan Waen – Surprising Local Chiang Mai Restaurant
One of the joys of taking food tours on your travels is discovering gems only known to locals. On a Chiang Mai northern food tour, we discovered an unassuming traditional northern Thai restaurant, we would have otherwise walked by.
Located right in the South Gate area, we walked into a Lanna style restaurant, described by our tour guide as one of the best Chiang Mai Thai restaurants for northern style cuisine.
The restaurant is rustic in style. At the front of the restaurant is a large open-air grill. In the back, is a surprisingly beautiful garden area where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the Old City.
Popular with locals, the restaurant is famous for serving authentic northern Thai dishes for over 20 years.
We visited the restaurant twice and each time enjoyed different northern Thai specialties. The quality of the food is exceptional and very flavorful.
We’ve had the Larb, Gaeng Hang Lay Moo, chicken curry and even a traditional frog curry.
Our recommendation would be to stick with larb (minced pork salad) and the Gaeng Hang Lay (Northern Thai pork curry). Be sure to add sticky rice, for a tasty and satisfying meal.
Address: South Gate – 11 Bumrungburi Soi 3 Rd Prasingha Muang, Chiang Mai
Next door to Baan Chern Chiangmai Hotel
Hours: Open every day 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Price: Main dishes average between 60 to 80 Thai Baht – Approx. $1.90 to 2.50 USD
Pro Tips: The restaurant’s name is in Thai on the sign. The best way to spot the place is to look for Baan Chern Chiangmai Hotel. It is on the right-hand side of the hotel when facing it.
#5 – Paak Dang – Romantic Riverside Restaurant by the Ping River
For a romantic riverside experience, Paak Dang offers Lanna style cuisine overlooking the Ping River.
We went there for Rosemary’s birthday and enjoyed the setting with lanterns hanging from the trees, candlelit tables, and landscaped waterfalls.
This Chiang Mai restaurant is set in a wooden Thai style Lanna house with outdoor seating on a beautiful patio.
Paak Dang is also a socially conscious restaurant which gives back to the community by employing less privileged workers and equipping them with jobs and life skills.
The menu offers a range of traditional Thai dishes and an emphasis on northern Thai or Lanna dishes.
For the special occasion, we focused on their signature seafood dishes. They are also known for their jumbo river prawns, similar to the giant shrimp we had in Ayutthaya.
We started out with Miang Kham Goong, a traditional Thai snack with grilled prawns in betel leaves.
This was followed by a plate of steamed squid and finally, a mixed seafood dish served in a young coconut shell.
We ended our meal with mango sticky rice for dessert, made with perfectly ripened mangoes.
Address: 46/1 Wang Sing Kham Road, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open every day for dinner; 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm
Price: Main dishes average between 200 to 400 Thai Baht – Approx. $6.30 to 12.60 USD
Pro Tips: Make reservations in advance to ensure you get a spot on the patio.
#6- Cherng Doi – One of the Best Chiang Mai Restaurant in Nimman
Cherng Doi is a sure bet when eating in Nimman. Located on Suk Kasame Road, off the busy Nimmanhaemin Road, it is an oasis right next to the trendy Nimman area.
We keep coming back to Cherng Doi for their delightful chicken or Kai Yang Nong Krob served with a unique sour-sweet tamarind sauce.
They also serve an interesting fried papaya salad that is worth trying. You also want to get a serving (or two) of their sticky rice, the traditional staple of Isaan or Northeastern cuisine.
Their menu offers a nice selection of grilled meats and Som Tam or papaya salads. You can try different kinds of papaya salads from the classic with fish sauce, to one served with crabs, and even a fried papaya salad option.
While the restaurant is always busy, the service is attentive and the open-air setting at the front of the restaurant is charming.
It is a great place for a casual lunch or dinner. The portions sizes are medium to small, so plan to share or have several small dishes.
Address: 2/8 Suk Kasame Rd, Su Thep, Chiang Ma, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open every day from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. Closed on Monday’s
Price: 85 Thai Baht – Approx. $2.69 USD for a plate of roasted chicken
Pro Tips: Avoid rush hours. Go early or late to avoid the crowds
#7- Toy Roszab – Best Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant for Grilled Meat near The Old City
The grilling outdoors will lure you into Toy Roszab restaurant. And the friendly face of Malli, furiously making papaya salads at the front of the stall will direct you to a table.
The restaurant is set back behind the stall with tables with small tables and benches. The experience is local and you’ll find few tourists at this authentic Thai restaurant.
As the specialty is barbecued meats, go for the chicken or pork. Be sure to add papaya salad and a side of sticky rice.
Located east of Wat Loi Kroh, Toy is an ideal stop for lunch while sightseeing in and around the Old City.
The food at Toy is Northeastern Thai food, known as Isaan food. Food from this region is dominated by simple marinated grilled or fried meats. Brightly flavored salads and always accompanied by sticky rice.
In addition to wonderfully flavored grilled chicken and spicy green papaya salad, we enjoyed a grilled pork salad or Moo Nam Tok, in Thai.
The flavors were exceptional and the pork incredibly tender. When eaten together with a side of sticky rice, it makes for a tasty lunch stop.
Address: 53 Kampangdin Rd, Chiang Mai.
Hours: Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price: 20 Thai Baht – Approx. $0.60 USD per chicken skewer
Pro Tips: The papaya salad is on the spicy side, don’t hesitate to ask for the spice levels to be adjusted for your tastes
#8- Khao Soy Mae Sai – Best Chiang Mai Restaurant for Northern Thai Soup
Khao Soy Mae Sai is located near Huen Muan Jai in between Maya Mall and the Old City. This Chiang Mai restaurant is only open for lunch and draw a number of tourists.
This restaurant is famous and highly recommended for their Khao Soi, the famous Chiang Mai noodles dish.
Although they are part of our 10 best places for Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, we like them best for their Kanom Jean Nam Ngiao.
This noodle pork soup is slightly spicy with a light tomato broth served with the typical blood cubes. We suggest giving this local specialty a try, as it tastes much better than it sounds.
This local eatery focuses on a few soups typical from northern Thailand and we particularly liked the flavors of this noodle and pork soup.
The service is fast as they have all the ingredients and bowls of noodles already prepared for their customers.
The setting is casual and it is a great place for lunch when it is not too busy either off-season or outside the rush hours.
Address: 29/1, Ratchaphuek Road, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open every day from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Price: 40 Thai Baht – Approx. $1.27 USD per soup bowl
Pro Tips: Due to its popularity, it can get overcrowded with tourists which tends to ruin the experience. Go outside the peak lunch hours for a leisurely experience.
#9 – Nong Bee’s Burmese Restaurant & Library – Best Chiang Mai Restaurant For Burmese Food
Popular with both locals and expats, Nong Bee’s Burmese Restaurant & Library is commonly called the “The Burmese”.
It is well-known for its budget-friendly and Burmese favorites. This Chiang Mai restaurant is located in the Nimman neighborhood and is somewhat of an institution.
Very simple with aged decor, this is not a fancy restaurant, but a reliable place to get Burmese dishes in a relaxed vibe.
Food from Myanmar (Burma) comes to Chiang Mai with immigrants from the Shan and Karen states, who fled political and social repression.
Though you will also find Thai dishes on the menu, we recommend exploring Burmese specialties like the popular fermented tea leaf salad or Lahpet thoke.
On the menu are about 30 Burmese inspired dishes. If you are hesitant about what to order, the friendly staff will gladly help.
The portions are on the smaller side and ordering several dishes is recommended. Some of our favorites are stewed pork, eggplant curry, prawn curry, tamarind salad, shan rice, and the fermented tea leaf salad.
Whatever you choose, you will not be disappointed with the unique range of flavors found in Burmese food.
Address: 28 Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 13, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open every day from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Price: About 50 to 60 Thai Baht per dish – Approx. $1.57 to 1.88 USD
Pro Tips: Order several dishes and sample a variety of Burmese dishes. Prices are not marked on the menu so don’t hesitate to ask the waiter.
On your travels to northern Thailand, choose any Chiang Mai restaurant from this list for where to eat in Chiang Mai for Northern Thai food.
These 9 of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai will offer a real and authentic taste of northern Thai cuisine.
Some of them focus on a few dishes, while others offer a large selection of northern Thai foods, an ideal way to sample several Thai dishes.
If you’re inclined, try all these Chiang Mai restaurants, alternating between northern Thai, Isaan or northeastern Thai and Burmese style restaurants.
Which one is your favorite Chiang Mai restaurant? Or which Chiang Mai Thai restaurant would you like to try? Let us know in the comments below.
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Where to Stay in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai offers many accommodations options from hostels to resort for short visits as well as extended stay.
Here are a few of our recommendations from our article the best places to stay in Chiang Mai for food lovers.
Pyur Otel is a quiet and quaint hotel that serves free breakfast in a funky coffee shop.
the Sila Boutique Hotel Bed & Breakfast, located in the heart of Chiang Mai, is a quaint boutique hotel with only 9 rooms.
At Niman is a quirky and stylish boutique hotel offering contemporary rooms.
To find more options and read the reviews, check out our complete list of where to stay in Chiang Mai article to help you find the perfect base for your food quest in the city.
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Claire is a culinary explorer, digital nomad and engineer brain behind Authentic Food Quest. Together with her partner, Rosemary, they created Authentic Food Quest to help people find the best local food on their travels. For over 5 years they have eaten their way through South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America while sharing the best local food experiences on their website. Authentic Food Quest has been featured on top publications such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Honest Cooking. Claire and Rosemary are also authors of Authentic Food Quest Argentina and Authentic Food Quest Peru, available on Amazon.