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For food lovers looking for an amazing Thai restaurant, Chiang Mai has so much to offer.
While exploring the local food specialties, we visited several Thai restaurants in Chiang Mai in search of the best authentic experiences.
With our list of some of the best Chiang Mai Thai restaurants, you’ll be able to sample all kinds of northern Thai food.
From Lanna or northern Thai to Burmese influenced dishes, and vegetarian delicacies, the options are numerous.
These restaurants are some of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai to satisfy your hunger for authentic northern Thai food.
Map of Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai For Thai Food
Here is where to find the best restaurants in Chiang Mai for authentic Northern Thai food.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: One of the best ways to explore Thai food in Chiang Mai Thailand is on a food tour with a local guide. You’ll learn about the local food culture while discovering the best Chiang Mai restaurants that are off the beaten path. We personally took this Chiang Mai Northern Flavors Food Tour and learned so much about local Thai culture while enjoying loads of delicious local foods to try. You can read our full review Chiang Mai Food Tour: The Best Foodie Experience You Want To Take
Best Places to Eat in Chiang Mai For 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.
This is the best place to eat in Chiang Mai when you are new to northern Thai food because of their extensive offering of northern Thai specialties.
The service is friendly and the traditional laid back setting makes it a great place to take friends or family for a nice dinner out.
What To Eat At Huen Muan Jai
We highly recommend their northern appetizer sampler. This is a great dish to share and taste several northern Thai specialties.
Amongst them is Nam Prik, a dipping sauce served with Kap moo, crackling fried pork and Sai oua, or northern Thai sausages.
The restaurant also offers unique dishes like grilled catfish in banana leaves.They also have a nice selection of northern Thai soups. We particularly enjoyed the Gaeng Lee or banana blossom pork.
We had some of the best Thai food in Chiang Mai at this restaurant.
Address: 24 Ratchapruek Alley, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open everyday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Closed on Wednesday
Price: Main dishes average between 80 -140 Thai Baht – Approx. $2.10 – 3.70 USD
Pro Tips: For groups, we recommend making reservations as they can get pretty busy even on weeknights.
2. Tong Tem Toh – Outstanding Thai Northern Thai Cuisine
In the hip and trendy Nimman neighborhood, 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: the “grill master” cooking up a variety of sausages and other specialties, and a long line of people waiting for a table.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but it is worth the wait as one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai for northern Thai food. You will be delighted by the experience.
What To Eat At Tong Tem Toh
We loved Tong Tem Toh’s extensive, encyclopedic northern Thai menu of chili dips, salads, soups, stir fries and grilled meats.
With generous portions, plan to share so that you can taste more northern Thai dishes.
One of our favorite northern Thai foods is Gaeng Hang Lay, which is a slow cooked curry of pork with ginger, tamarind, turmeric, garlic and more.
Grilled barbecue items are also very popular. Don’t hesitate to try some roast chicken, grilled pork ribs and more.
Address: Nimmana Haeminda Road, Soi 13, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open Everyday from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm
Price: 73 Thai Baht – Approx. $2 USD for one serving of Gaeng Hang Lay
Pro Tips: Options from the grill are offered at dinner. Go in the evening and try freshly grilled meats, poultry or seafood.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Taking cooking classes in Chiang Mai is a delicious way to learn about northern Thai food culture. We loved learning how to make Khao Soi and other traditional specialties. If you are interested in a cooking class, see our review of 6 of The Best Chiang Mai Cooking Classes For Thai Cuisine
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 cuisine, 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.
What To Eat At Huen Phen
The menu features 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, eating Khao Soi in the evening, or trying the jackfruit curry salad.
One dish that particularly stands out is the larb, or minced, northern-style pork salad. 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 everyday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Price: 85 Thai Baht – Approx. $2.30 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 Chiang Mai Restaurant
One of the joys of taking food tours on your travels is discovering gems only known to locals. On our Chiang Mai food tour, we discovered this unassuming traditional Thai restaurant, we would have otherwise walked by.
Located right in the South Gate area, we walked into Laab Kai Mueang Pan Waen. This restaurant was described by our tour guide as one of Chiang Mai’s best Thai restaurants for northern style cuisine.
The restaurant is rustic in style. In the front of the restaurant is a large open-air grill. And, in the back, a beautiful garden area surprises you.
Popular with locals, the restaurant is famous for serving the most authentic northern Thai dishes for over 20 years.
What To Eat At Laab Kai Mueang Pan Waen
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 is to stick with larb (fragrant minced pork salad) and the gaeng hang lay (northern Thai pork curry).
Be sure to get a side of sticky rice, for a tasty and satisfying meal.
Address: South Gate – 11 Bumrungburi Soi 3 Rd Prasingha Muang, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open everyday except Saturday 11:00 am to 9:30 pm
Price: Main dishes average between 60 to 80 Thai Baht – Approx. $1.60 to 2.10 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 and it is on the right hand side of the hotel.
5. Paak Dang – Romantic Riverside Restaurant by the Ping River
For a romantic riverside experience, Chiang Mai restaurant Paak Dang offers Lanna cuisine overlooking the Ping River.
The restaurant is set in a wooden, Thai style, Lanna house. The outdoor seating is on a beautiful patio with lanterns hanging from the trees, candle lit tables and landscaped waterfalls.
Paak Dang is also a socially conscious restaurant which gives back to the community by employing less privileged workers and equipping them with life skills.
What To Eat At Paak Dang
The menu offers a range of traditional Thai dishes as well as a special emphasis on northern Thai or Lanna dishes.
Their most well-known foods are their signature seafood entrees. And, the menu has an impressive range of refined seafood dishes.
On our visit, we started with Miang Kham Goong. This is a traditional Thai snack of grilled prawns in betel leaves with ginger lime, shallots and caramelized coconut sauce.
This was followed with a plate of steamed squid. A delightful mixed seafood dish served in a young coconut shell completed the main entrees.
A mango sticky rice, with perfectly ripened mangoes, was an excellent dessert to finish off our meal.
Address: 168 Pa Daet, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open Monday – Friday 5:00 pm – 11:00 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 the Nimman neighborhood. Located on Suk Kasame Road, off the busy Nimmanhaemin Road, it is an oasis right next to the trendy Nimman area.
Cherng Doi roast chicken restaurant is always busy, but the service is friendly and attentive.
It is a great place for a casual lunch or dinner, with an open and airy outdoor seating space at the front of the restaurant.
What To Eat At Cherng Doi
The biggest draw to Cherng Doi is for their grilled or roast chicken. The chicken or Kai Yang Nong Krob served with an amazing sour-sweet tamarind sauce.
To go with your Cherng Doi roast chicken some of their som tam or papaya salads.
On the menu is a very interesting fried papaya salad that is worth trying out.
To add to your meal get a serving (or two) of their sticky rice, the traditional staple of northerneastern or Isaan cuisine.
The food is delicious though the serving sizes are on the smaller side. Order additional roast chicken and different side salads for a diversity of different tastes.
Address: 2/8 Suk Kasame Rd, Su Thep, Chiang Ma, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open everyday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. Closed on Monday’s
Price: 90 Thai Baht – Approx. $2.40 USD for a plate of roasted chicken
Pro Tips: Avoid the rush hours. Go early or late to avoid the crowds
7. Toy Roszab – Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai to Eat Grilled Chicken
Inviting aromas from the outdoor vertical charcoal rotisserie grill will lure you into the restaurant.
Then the smiling face of Malli, furiously making papaya salads at the front of the stall, will direct you to a table.
Toy Roszab restaurant is set back behind the stall with small tables and benches. The experience is very local and you’ll find few tourists at this authentic Thai restaurant.
A local gem, Toy Roszab, is one of the best Chiang Mai restaurants for grilled barbecue.
What To Eat At Toy Roszab
The food is northeastern Thai food or Isaan cuisine. Food from this region is dominated by simple, marinated, grilled or fried chicken and meats, brightly flavored salads, and of course, rice.
In addition to wonderfully flavored meats, we also enjoyed a grilled pork salad, or moo nam tok in Thai. The flavors were exceptional and the pork incredibly tender. A highly recommended experience.
Located east of Wat Loi Kroh,Toy Roszab is an ideal stop for lunch while sightseeing in and around the Old City.
Address: 93/2 Kampangdin Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price: 20 Thai Baht – Approx. $0.50 USD per chicken skewer
Pro Tips: The papaya salad is on the spicy side, don’t hesitate to ask for the spice level to be adjusted for your taste.
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. Open only for lunch, it is most popular for Khao Soi, the famous Chiang Mai noodle dish.
Along with Khao Soi Lam Duan and Khao Soi Khun Yai, these are some of the most popular Khao Soi restaurants with tourists.
Our best Khao Soi is from street vendors located off Chonprathan Road (Chiang Mai Outer Ring Road) at the intersection of Wua Lai road.
What we like most about Khao Soy Mae Sai is their selection of other Chiang Mai northern soups.
What To Eat At Khao Soy Mae Sai
Our preferred soup is Jean Nam Ngiao. It’s a noodle pork soup that is slightly spicy with a light tomato broth served with the typical blood cubes.
Regardless of how the ingredients sound, we highly suggest giving it a try. This is a local specialty and it tastes much better than it sounds.
The service at the restaurant 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 spot for good food at lunch. A popular eatery you’ll not go wrong at this Thai restaurant in Chiang Mai.
Address: 29/1, Ratchaphuek Road, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open everyday except Sunday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Price: 45 Thai Baht – Approx. $1.20 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 their budget friendly and Burmese favorites.
The restaurant is located in the Nimman neighborhood and is somewhat of an institution.
Decorated very simply this is not a fancy restaurant, but a great place to get Burmese dishes in a relaxed vibe.
Food from Myanmar or Burma comes to Chiang Mai with immigrants from the Shan and Karen states, who fled political and social repression.
What To Eat At Nong Bee’s Burmese Restaurant & Library
Though you will also find Thai dishes on the menu, we recommend exploring Burmese specialties fermented tea leaf salad, Burmese pork curry and others.
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 Nimmana Haeminda Rd Lane 1, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open everyday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Pricing: 40 Thai Baht – Approx. $1.10 USD for a tea leaf salad
Pro Tips: Order several dishes and sample a variety of Burmese dishes. Prices are not marked on the menu and they range from 30 – 40 Thai Bhat.
10. Pun Pun Vegetarian Restaurant – Best Restaurant in Chiang Mai For Wild Thai Mushrooms
Mushrooms feature prominently in the local cuisine of northern Thailand. At the local markets, the diversity of wild mushrooms is quite striking.
To taste Chiang Mai food made with several varieties of these mushrooms, locals told us to visit Pun Pun Vegetarian restaurant located close to Chiang Mai University.
This restaurant can be a bit hard to find. It is on the grounds of the Wat Suan Dok temple and not visible from the street. You can find it through a backdoor entrance past the temple parking area.
What To Eat At Pun Pun Vegetarian Restaurant
Set in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, Pun Pun offers an incredible vegetarian menu. With options like green curry with brown rice, mushroom sausage, and Shitake mushroom fritters, you will love sampling all the delectable options.
Even simple dishes like the pad thai, rice noodles with mushrooms and spring rolls are super tasty.
We enjoyed two incredibly delicious mushroom soups, with flavors we had never tasted before.
The soups were filled with vegetables, meaty mushrooms and faux meats or tofu in clear broths.
We highly recommend exploring northern Thai mushrooms (and more!) when visiting Chiang Mai.
Address: Suthep Rd at the intersection of Sriwichai Road, Chiang Mai
Hours: Open everyday from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price: 40 Thai Baht – Approx. $1.27 USD for one serving of Mushroom Soup
Pro Tips: Go for an early lunch for the widest selection of mushroom dishes
11. The Cowboy Hat Lady – Best Restaurant in Chiang Mai For Khao Kha Moo
This Chiang Mai food guide would not be complete without mentioning the Cowboy Hat Lady’s food stall.
On any given evening, across from Chang Phueak Gate in Chiang Mai’s Old City, you’ll find the famous Cowboy Hat Lady busily cooking up a mountain of tender pork legs.
Look for the stall with the longest line and the lady wearing a Stetson hat with a big grin on her face.
Her food stall is so popular with tourists and locals alike that she was visited by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain in 2014.
What To Eat To Eat From The Cowboy Lady
The Cowgirl’s khao kha moo is said to be the best pork leg and rice in Chiang Mai. It is a stewed pork leg that has been cooking for hours and served over rice.
Accompanying it is a boiled duck egg, garlic, pickled mustard greens and a Thai-chili sauce.
Tender and delicious, the pork is cooked to perfection. The accompanying egg, pickled mustard greens and sauce only elevate the flavors.
A local Chiang Mai celebrity, don’t miss khao kha moo from the Cowboy lady when you visit Chiang Mai.
Address: Chang Phueak Market across the Chang Phueak Gate, Chiang Mai.
Hours: Open everyday, from 5:00 pm to 2:00 am
Price: 30 Thai Baht – Approx. $0.80 USD for one plate served with a duck egg.
Pro Tips: Near the cowboy hat lady, is a Chang Phueak Thai Suki food vendor. This is another local Thai dish worth trying. There are two versions of Thai suki available, one wet and one dry. Try them both and find your favorite.
12. Som Tum Restaurant – Best Chiang Mai Restaurant for Thai Papaya Salad
This local Thai restaurant in Chiang Mai is popular with students from the nearby Chiang Mai University.
The decor at Som Tum is simple with white walls painted with iconic Thai food scenes. And, on other walls, pictures of a variety of Thai food and salads.
There is both an indoor and outdoor seating area, and we recommend going for a table in the interior.
The busy street outside and delivery motorcycles coming in and out make the outdoor tables less appealing.
What To Eat At Som Tum Restaurant
This is one of the restaurants in Chiang Mai that specializes in serving Thai salads, sour Tom Yum soup, and chicken skewers.
You’ll find a variety of northern Thai som tam salads to choose from. All are made fresh to order with ingredients like crab paste, pork, cucumbers, corn and many others.
The traditional preparation of the papaya salads tend to be on the spicy end. Order sticky rice to tame the fire, and chicken skewers for a generous serving meal.
Address: Jed Yod-Chang Khian Rd and Jed Yod-Chang Khian Rd Soi 7, Chiang Mai next to Chicken Ryder restaurant.
Hours: Open Mon, Fri, Sat, Sun 11:00 am – 10:30 pm, Tue and Thur 11:00 am – 11 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Price: 40 Thai Baht – Approx. $1.10 USD for a green papaya salad
Pro Tips: The salads and soups are served very spicy. Don’t hesitate to ask for little or no spice as this will definitely burn.
Best Chiang Mai Thai Restaurants – FAQs
Where Should I Eat in Old City Chiang Mai?
Our top recommendations for Chiang Mai Old City restaurants include:
Huen Phen for their chili dip starters and flavorful larb.
Laab Kai Mueang Pan Waen for its fantastic gaeng hang lay and beautiful garden area that offers an escape from the busy city.
Toy Roszab for marinated, barbecued meats and brightly flavored salads.
SP Chicken, where you will be mesmerized by the impossibly juicy chickens slowly spinning on the vertical rotisserie.
How many Michelin starred restaurants exist in Chiang Mai?
There are 65 Chiang Mai restaurants on Michelin’s guide, including Khao Soy Mae Sai on our list. None are them are designated as Michelin starred restaurants.
When seeking out the best food in Chiang Mai Thailand, there are many popular restaurants and many under the tourist radar.
Any restaurant on this list will be a wonderful choice for where to eat northern Thai food in Chiang Mai.
From street food to fancy restaurants, these establishments offer a real, authentic taste of food in Chiang Mai.
Some restaurants focus on a few dishes, while others have a large selection of northern Thai foods, an ideal way to sample several Thai dishes.
If time permits, try all these Chiang Mai restaurants and explore different northern Thai dishes, Isan dishes, and Burmese style dishes.
From this list of best restaurants in Chiang Mai, what is the one Thai restaurant in Chiang Mai you’d like to visit most? Please let us know in the comments below.
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Claire is a culinary explorer who travels the world in search of the best local foods. She is always looking for her next culinary adventure to bring you the best bites while exploring new places.