Finding the best restaurants in Chiang Mai Old City can be a bit overwhelmed, as this popular area is packed with restaurants serving all sorts of cuisines in many different budget classes. To make your life easier and making sure that your valuable time during your visit won’t get wasted, we’ve come up with a list of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai Old City of any type.
Note: check our other article if you are specifically looking for the best local Thai restaurants in Chiang Mai.
The best restaurants in Chiang Mai Old City are:
1. The HOUSE by Ginger
The HOUSE by Ginger is a hugely popular restaurant in Chiang Mai Old Town which is known for its beautifully decorated interior, clever and creative tasty dishes made from their homegrown organic veggies. The menu of The HOUSE by Ginger is huge and of high quality, making it difficult to pick the most delicious dishes. Our personal favourites were Mixed Appetizer (310 THB), the Tom Yum Kung (295 THB) and the Slow-Braised Beef in Lime-Coconut Cream (280 THB). Also, do check out their cocktails, as they are amazing. Our personal favourite was the tamarind-based margarita, which also has a few chilis on the salted rim of the glass.
Slow-Braised Beef in Lime-Coconut Cream (280 THB)
Mixed Appetizer (310 THB)
Tom Yum Kung (295 THB)
2. SP Chicken
As one of Chiang Mai’s most famous local restaurants, SP Chicken got a well-deserved spot on these best restaurants in Chiang Mai Old City article. As the name already suggests, SP Chicken’s specialty is their (grilled) chicken. In front of the restaurant, you can find a large rotisserie with a dozen small birds getting slowly roasted. The delicious sliced chicken has a deep smokey flavour and is nicely juicy. The chicken comes in two sizes and goes perfect together with an ice cold beer. Next to the chicken, SP Chicken serves around ten other dishes, of which most of them are Isaan treats: som tum, stir-fried morning glory, spicy pork soup. But the main attraction is the famous grilled chicken.
Famous Grilled Chicken (90 - 170 THB, depending on size S/L)
The famous rotisserie with plenty of grilled chicken
The atmosphere and interior at SP Chicken in Chiang Mai Old City
3. Khao Soi Khun Jai
Highly listed in our Best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai article, Khao Soi Khun Jai serves one of Chiang Mai’s best Khao Soi. This heavenly curry is insanely popular in Chiang Mai, as the Thai version of Khao Soi has its origins in Chiang Mai. At this local small restaurant, you can get one of the best version between 10:00 and 14:00. Depending on which type of meat you want, you pay between 40 and 60 for a bowl of creamy Khao Soi. Another highly recommended option is the so-called Guay Tiew Nam Ngiao (40 THB). Make sure that you arrive on time, as due to popularity, the soups do run out before closing time.
Khao Soi Beef (40 THB)
Guay Tiew Nam Ngiao (40 THB)
The chef at Khao Soi Khun Jai
4. Why Ribs & Rumps
Every once in awhile, you are craving for some Western comfort food. Rather it’s Mac & Cheese, a big juicy burger or spareribs, we’ve all been there. Why Ribs & Rumps is a place that offers many of your cravings, with their huge spareribs and their steaks as specialty. The smallest version of their Giant Spare Rib is a half-rack (299 THB) and the biggest version is a full rack (429 THB) which both comes with either mashed potato or French fries and a salad. The ribs are incredibly tender and fall straight from the bone. For steaks, you can choose between rump, sirloin and tenderloin and between four different sauces: black pepper, gravy brown, creamy mushroom and tamarind sauce. If you still have room for a dessert, the Brownie with Ice Cream (120 THB) is seriously tasty!
Half Rack Ribs (299 THB)
Brownie with Ice Cream (120 THB)
The interior at Why Ribs & Rumps in Chiang Mai
5. Huen Phen
Huen Phen is an institution in Chiang Mai, as it serves Northern Thai food for years. Nowadays has two branches, and for those who hate to wait, the second branch is so much quieter. Although you can get a really tasty Khao Soi, the most interesting dishes are the so-called Combination Northern Food (170 THB) and the Khantoke Set Menu for Two (380 THB). Why? These sharing platters are a perfect way to explore the Northern Thai cuisine as they have all sorts of small dishes and ingredients and all of them are packed with unusual and interesting flavours.
Combination Northern Food (170 THB)
Khantoke Set Menu for Two (380 THB)
One of the many dips of the Khantoke Set Menu
6. By Hand Pizza
Looking for the best pizza restaurant in Chiang Mai Old Town? Look no further. By Hand Pizza serves homemade authentic Italian pizzas with long-fermented wild yeast dough imported from Italy. With twenty-six different pizzas, including nine vegetarian and four vegan pizzas, there is a choice for everyone. And of course, you can add toppings or just create your own pizza. As adding the toppings is a personal thing, we will not recommend you the best pizza. Besides, trying out twenty-six different pizzas seems to be a bit too much. We tried the Summer Pizza (295 THB), which was incredibly tasty. Other pizzas go from 170 - 345 THB.
Summer Pizza (295 THB)
Wood-fired brick oven to make that authentic Italian pizza
The final touches before serving
7. Lert Ros
Lert Ros is a hugely popular local restaurant, as it serves delicious Thai food for a bargain. The most popular dish they serve is the Grilled Red Tilapia with Salt Crust (140 THB), which is served with a sweet and a spicy sauce. In front of the restaurant, you will see plenty of these red fishes getting prepared and grilled to serve to their customers. Other bestsellers are their Grilled Beef with Spicy Dipping Sauce (70 THB), which goes perfectly together with an ice cold beer, and the Pork Curry in Banana Leaves (40 THB). If a bit of dirt doesn’t scare you (the restaurant itself could use a metamorphose), Lert Ros is an awesome place to have dinner!
Grilled Red Tilapia with Salt Crust (140 THB)
The hugely popular grilled tilapia fish
Grilled Beef with Spicy Dipping Sauce (70 THB)
The interior could use a makeover, but the food is amazing!
8. Fern Forest Cafe
Fern Forest Cafe is a beautiful restaurant surrounded by greens, and a perfect place to get amazing breakfast, a cup of coffee with one of the many delicious pies, sandwiches and pasta. You can expect high-quality service and you won’t have to wait long for your food. For breakfast and lunch, check out their bestseller Pancakes with Seasonal Fruit (175 THB) and their Spinach-Mushroom and Cheese Roti (175 THB). If you are visiting just for coffee and you have room for some cake, their signature Coconut Creme Cake (95 THB) is kind of legendary. If that’s not enough sugar for you today, get their stunning and delicious Banoffee Milk Shake (95 THB) as well!
Pancakes with Seasonal Fruit (175 THB)
Spinach-Mushroom and Cheese Roti (175 THB)
The beautiful outdoor setting at Fern Forest Cafe in Chiang Mai
Coconut Creme Cake (95 THB)
Banoffee Milk Shake (95 THB)
9. Bagel House Cafe
Bagel House Cafe is a small restaurant in Chiang Mai Old City that serves…and you guessed it right… bagels. It’s a popular spot for western breakfast and lunch, as they serve amazing bagels, sandwiches and coffee. We would highly recommend you to try the Mediterranean (125 THB), the Bacon Avocado (120 THB) and the Lox & Bagel (150 THB). All of these bagels are huge and served with plenty of ingredients, such as smoked salmon, avocado, bacon, fried egg and tomato.
Mediterranean (125 THB)
Lox & Bagel (150 THB)
Bacon Avocado (120 THB)
10. Bubbles Live Restaurant
Chiang Mai has a huge amount of vegetarian restaurant. Bubbles Live Restaurant is one of the more popular restaurants in Chiang Mai Old Town, and we liked it so much, that we’ve listed it as the only vegetarian restaurant in this article. The food was seriously tasty and all the vegetables were so incredibly fresh. Their Sweet Potatoes Buddha Bowl (179 THB) is one of their bestsellers and was one of our favourite dishes we tried here as it’s packed with so many fresh vegetables and flavours. The Pumpkin Spices Smoothie Bowl (109 THB), is another bestseller and is packed with banana, coconut, granola and plenty of sweet spices.
Sweet Potatoes Buddha Bowl (179 THB)
Pumpkin Spices Smoothie Bowl (109 THB)
Healthy food at Bubbles Live Restaurant in Chiang Mai
There you have it, our list of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai Old City. All of these restaurants and many more can be found in our food review app called TopTravelFoods. Our app helps travellers find the most recommended dishes during their trip to Thailand. You can download the app for free.