Last week, in the final dining out column
of the year, I listed five worthwhile newcomers to the
Chiang Mai scene with the hope that they will survive
the predicted economic tribulations of 2009, which look
pretty certain and made more certain thanks to the
activities surrounding government house and the
goodly supply of draft Leo is always on tap at Ney Ney.
This week, five established eating places which have
enough loyal customers to buck the trend. They are the
quintet that have been consistent in what they offer and
that to me is the main criterion for a ‘favourite’
place... no variations in quality, service, prices and
No apologies to those who have tired of my mentioning
them over the past many months. Especially to the reader
who complained that this column favoured a particular
middle-ranking hotel, known for its Sunday buffets. I’ve
never actually mentioned it except in a passing critical
reference since on the two visits I’ve made there,
during the evening, I found the service casual, the
buffet poor and the atmosphere cold (physically too) and
We read what we want to read, I guess. Anyway a first
mention for the five this year and the last for a long
time as I am having a long rest from this particular
Moxies at D2: Still my favourite. Yes, The House is more
elegant and also serves fine food, other restaurants and
some grand hotels offer quality and service. But put
simply, if I am asked where – in Chiang Mai – would I
like to go for a convivial meal with all the ‘buttons
pushed’, it has to be Moxies. Simple as that; the space
and feel of the dining area, the superbly trained and
charming staff, the overall value and the quality of
most of their fusion food. Go for the fish and the
excellent starters and it can be near perfect. Around
1,000 baht and up, depending on choices and alcohol
consumption. The buffets are the best in town …by far.
Ney Ney: In complete contrast and depending on my mood
and company, my alternative choice would be this bright
and cheerful local eatery which has the same overall
‘qualities’ as the above but in a completely different
setting, ‘style’ and price level. I went there for my
Christmas evening dinner and by around 9 p.m. it was
quite full of happy eaters (I was the only farang), with
excellent live music and cheerful staff. There were ten
of us and the bill with service and a goodly supply of
draft Leo came to 2,300 baht. Normal expenditure - under
200 baht per person.
Arcobaleno: Last week three of those listed served
Italian food in various ways. This well established
restaurant has been around for many years and never
fails to please. The service is friendly, the tables
well spaced, the good quality food is reasonably priced.
It ‘feels’ right, not overly serious, yet not frivolous.
One goes there for some peace and quiet, not the bustle
of Ney Ney nor the modernist elegance of D2. There are
crisp white linens and an extensive menu of classic
Italian dishes with the accent on ‘home made’
ingredients and decent wines. Expect to pay 500-600 baht
per person with a tip and some wine or beer.
Mo’C Mo’L: Of the two remaining venues (both Thai,
although this one offers Japanese and European choices
as well), this is by far the bigger and attracts lots of
middle class Thais and some farangs to its stylish
setting, with its attractive ‘lake side’ position.
Parking is easy and there is excellent live music plus a
fancy drinks menu, with plenty of chances for showing
off with premium Scotch and other pricey stuff.
I go there for the lively atmosphere and the excellent
food which seems fairly priced. The service can be a tad
erratic on busy nights, but the seating is comfortable
and the space huge. Expect to pay around 500 baht a head
with beer or house wine, but considerably more should
you fancy Blue Label Johnnie Walker.
Café de Nimmen on the busy Nimmenhaemenda Road is quite
different, but offers, in the opinion of many Thai
friends and some farang, some of the very best, most
reasonably priced Thai food in the whole of the city. It
offers a vast menu, a small wine measure and cheap beer.
It steers a middle path, being neither a typically
‘local’ eatery nor a ‘smart’ restaurant (see above), but
rather a comfortable, quiet setting with a small
interior, a terrace and a main section. Consistency is
the key note. Portions are good (this applies to all of
the above) and you can expect to pay around 300 baht a
head, inclusive of beer and a tip.
You will find further details of these places on the
Chiang Mai Mail website as they have all been reviewed.
Some have their own website. I know there are scores of
other choices and I leave my successor to find some of
them in the coming months. In the meantime happy
2009/2552 and good dining in Chiang Mai and elsewhere.
offers fine Italian cuisine in a stately and tranquil