Like I’ve mentioned earlier in part one (Best Non-traditional Thai Food on 09/25/06,) good foods along with good atmosphere equal great dining experience. Below is what I’ve compiled. Please note that these places are recommended according to my own dining preferences (and some trusted friends.) These restaurants and dining places are all in Chiang Mai.
The Riverside Bar & Restaurant (http://www.theriversidechiangmai.com): Located by Mae Ping River. This restaurant is one of the greatest. The restaurant is divided into three sections—the first two are live music where you can enjoy yourself and companies with live music and great food. The outdoor section is where you can sit under candle lights and enjoy quite conversation. Riverside offers 75-minute dinner cruise along Mae Ping River where you can order your food before the boat takes off. They only charge 70B per head, which is extremely reasonable comparing with what you will get out of it. Besides, the food here is delicious. I recommend Spiced Tofu, Wrapped Chicken in Banana Leaf, and Green Curry Fish Balls.
Pop/Am Restaurant: Located near Pratu Chang Puak. I usually go to this place when feeling like having a home-like ambience—much like pa and ma restaurant. Pop/Am offers both Thai and European foods. And even though the price is a little high when compare to food portions, but you are sure that your money will be well spent. I recommend Chicken Curry with potato and shrimp cakes.
Fried Meat Balls near CMU Health Park: This is not a restaurant, but more like a food tent. Last time when I went there, the tent has been transformed into a nicer version of tent with actual picnic table. There is no name for this place, but if you go down to Chiang Mai University and cannot find health park, just simply ask anybody. The shop is located right there in the middle of everything. I recommended Mixed Meat Balls and orange juice (these are basically all they are selling anyway.)
Faay-Hin Market: Located within CMU campus. This night food market is basically a big food court with wide variety of Thai foods to choose from such as famous salad, fruit shakes, made-to-order places and you name it. Prices are very low since it is a major dinner place for college kids, and foods are pretty good. I recommend exploring everything they sell there from food, drinks and dessert. It is a decent dining spot if you are looking for a low-key place to hang.
Egg-Wrapped Shrimp Pad Thai: This vender is located in front of Pra Too Mueag Wall. The owner/ cook starts setting up her shop on the side walk around 4-5 pm. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Pad Thai, but p’Nui, the owner, gets me converted.
This place sells one of the best Pad Thais in the world.
My suggestions to traveler:
See, I don’t know much about other cities, but here in Chiang Mai, you can basically find good foods anywhere. Most great dining locations are not recorded in Chiang Mai guide book. The best bet is, ask the locals. They live there. They know better. They can point you towards the right direction. Enjoy.