Chiang Mai is home to some of the best food in Thailand. Even now, months after our first trip to the city, we talk about the amazing meals we had whilst over there. I now want to share some of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai Old Town with you, so you can enjoy them too.
Chiang Mai is full of quirky cafes, fun bars, and cheap restaurants, and we spent a good month trying everything we could. Believe me when I say we’ve eaten both the good and the bad in Thailand, so this is a list of our all-time favourites.
Here are all the eateries you should definitely visit on your trip to Chiang Mai. I’m going to be honest – there’s no real order here, you’ll be reading up on the best Indian restaurant in Chiang Mai one minute, then the best place for breakfast pancakes the next.
ALSO: I’m definitely *not* a food photographer. All my photos were taken on my phone for Instagram stories. Some of the pictures here are from the eateries themselves.
I can promise you one thing, however – I’ve been to and love all of these places. You’ll find no dishonest listicles on this site. Enjoy!
1. SP Chicken
I simply had to start my list with SP Chicken. Adam and I fancied a bit of protein after weeks of eating rice dishes, and this was definitely the place to be. Don’t let the outside of the shop fool you- while the hustle and bustle of this cafe can seem a little off-putting, you’ll be welcomed warmly and served great food within minutes. It’s so good, in fact, that it’s been added to the Michelin Guide.
SP Chicken opened over 40 years ago and has clearly spent years perfecting its trade. The chicken here is some of the best I’ve ever tasted (sorry mum), freshly cooked on a charcoal rotisserie at the front of the shop. We ate a full roast chicken (gai yang) with a serving of rice and the restaurant’s three signature sauces.
The meal came to around 200 THB, which is just under a fiver in English money. The only mistake we made with SP Chicken was not visiting enough. Oh, and I’d recommend catching a glimpse of the chef chopping up the chickens at the front of the shop – you’ll see what I mean. It’s one of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai by far.
Here’s the Google Maps location.
Chiang Mai for us was all about travelling on a budget – we enjoyed seeing just how far our money would stretch, and we were extra happy with ourselves when we managed to eat well for under £5.
RICH quickly became one of our go-to lunch spots in the Old Town. If you’re looking for super cheap meals and a friendly smile, this is the place. The owner runs a great meal deal, so we enjoyed many a Thai dish and fresh fruit smoothie for just 65 THB each. For those unaware, that works out at lunch for two for just £3. The food is tasty, filling, and fresh – you simply can’t go wrong for £1.50 each.
Here’s where to find RICH.
3. Chiang Mai Breakfast World
Though I’ve only expressed our love for budget hidden gems so far, we did enjoy pushing the boat out every now and again. Chiang Mai Breakfast World is one of the best places to eat breakfast in the Old Town. Think huge portions, an unending menu, and a gorgeous garden to sit and relax first thing in the morning.
Chiang Mai Breakfast World is very popular and can get busy, so make sure to grab your table early. The restaurant offers a whole range of full cooked breakfasts, omelettes, pancakes, french toast, waffles, and more. It’s the perfect pit-stop before a big day of exploring.
We’d usually spend around 600/700 THB here – made up of two large breakfasts and two iced coffees. That equates to around £15 – which is still much cheaper than eating breakfast out back home.
Find Chiang Mai Breakfast World by following this map.
4. The Hideout
The Hideout was one of Adam’s favourite places to eat in the Old Town – mostly because of the cafe’s signature french toast. It’s another busy one – you may need to wait for a table at times, but it’s definitely worth it.
The Hideout’s blueberry french toast is something Adam still rattles on about months later and has tried to recreate on occasion. The cafe is run by a lovely couple who enjoy a chat and do everything possible to make you feel welcome.
Whether you’re fancying stodgy french toast after a heavy night on the beer or a cheesy, veggie omelette to set the day off right, this is the best place for it in Chiang Mai Old Town. All food was reasonably priced, too – 65 THB for a great coffee.
This map will lead you to The Hideout.
5. Kabab House
Before you scroll past this one- Kabab House isn’t a Kebab shop! We heard about Kabab House from travel YouTubers Kara and Nate. They did a great video showing off this Indian restaurant after they were recommended by a friend, and we had to give it a try. We ended up going back a couple of times during our stay in Chiang Mai.
Maybe I’ll change my mind when we finally visit India, but the food at Kabab House is the best Indian cuisine I’ve had so far. All the food was super fresh, came in large portions, and was so tasty. The restaurant is also right around the corner from some of the most popular bars in the Old Town, so it’s great beer-hunger food.
We definitely pushed the boat out eating here, as it’s all way too good to be missed. A meal for two usually came to around £25 – we’re talking the ££ price mark. The owner was a little quiet with us on our first visit, but by the second time he was chatting away!
Kabab House is located here.
6. Le Naview
Le Naview quickly became the local of sorts of our entire trip. I discovered it after the long night bus to Chiang Mai, and celebrated our arrival with a banana split at 11am. What else do you do on holiday? It’s primarily a hotel, but has a great cafe attached to the front of it which serves some of the best food in Chiang Mai.
Over the course of the month, we must have enjoyed 6 or 7 meals at La Naview (at least 3 of which were dessert). Green curry, red curry, khao soi, and a number of chicken and rice dishes were all on the menu. It was also a pretty budget-friendly stop for us on days when we wanted something quick and easy – we usually spent around 400 baht (under £10) between us on dinner.
The cafe’s wooden terrace is the perfect place to just stop and watch the world go by. Service is fast, staff members are friendly, and the food is delicious. Oh, and in case you haven’t picked up on my hints already, make sure to try the banana split.
Here’s how to find Le Naview.
7. My Secret Cafe in Town
Adam and I are big breakfast people when we’re away, so anywhere serving good coffee and even better waffles is a winner with us. My Secret Cafe in Town is a cosy coffee shop tucked away from the busy streets of Old Town Chiang Mai.
We only ever ate pancakes and waffles there, but the cafe also serves traditional Thai food and lunch dishes. Our breakfasts were always super fresh, topped with seasonal fruits, and served with a good jug of syrup for drizzling.
We saw a few people settling down for the day to get work done, while others nipped in to meet with friends for a quick coffee. Whatever your needs, My Secret Cafe in Town is sure to meet them. It’s 100% one of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai. I’ve just discovered they host local musicians every Tuesday for a night of live music, too, which I’m sure makes for a great night.
My Secret Cafe in Town is found here.
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