Written by Delia Rivers
If you’ve decided to visit Thailand on your next holiday, you should try to include Chiang Mai in your travel plans.
The biggest city in the north of the country, Chiang Mai is a great place to explore, and its laid back atmosphere is very popular with locals and tourists alike.
Close to the highest mountains of Thailand, the city is famous for its scenery as well as for its rich history – from temples and waterfalls to mountains and old architecture, Chiang Mai has a variety of great views to offer.
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19 Unique Cafes and Restaurants in Chiang Mai you never knew existed
There are plenty of restaurants with an array of dishes waiting to be sampled in some incredible locations, from the riverside to landscaped gardens, or houses that will take you back in time.
Whether you’re looking for an amazing restaurant for a romantic dinner or a place to spend a relaxed evening with friends, these are 18 great places we’ve put together for you to explore.
1. Wander through Peter Pan’s Mermaid Lagoon – Chom Cafe & Restaurant
What was your favourite Disney movie as a kid? The Little Mermaid? Lion King? Or perhaps…. Peter Pan?
This cafe in Chiang Mai lets us revisit childhood memories with its close resemblance to the mermaid lagoon in Peter Pan!
Straight out of a fairytale with its utterly dreamy ambiance, take a stroll around the garden grounds and you’ll feel transported into paradise. Gorgeous sights of the waterfall, the pond and the swimming koi, mossy rocks, fern glades and floating mist.
Serving up a variety of Thai, Western and Seafood delights, you’ll find dishes like garden green salad, grilled seafood, freshly fried crisp fish, pasta, chicken wings and more.
Remember to leave room for dessert! From shakes to smoothies, strawberry tarts and a variety of cakes – the desserts and drinks will leave your sweet tooth fully satisfied.
At the end of the day, with the stunning scenery, varied menu (and with the right company)… Chom Cafe will be a fantastic place for everything from brunch (breakfast and lunch) to dinner.
PS: If you’re looking for a good drink, beers are available here too!
2. Excellent food in an incredible location with a view of Mae Rim Valley – Sala Mae Rim, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
Let yourself be pampered at this resort with an incredible view of the Mae Rim Valley.
Nestled among the lush vegetation, the restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner or a relaxing high tea overlooking the mountains and rice fields.
Here you can indulge in exquisite dishes from Thai and international cuisine, fine wines and cocktails.
The staff is attentive and helpful and will make sure you have an unforgettable experience.
3. It feels like a picnic in a field of flowers – Galae (Hillside) Restaurant Chiang Mai
At Galae Restaurant you can have lunch in a garden surrounded by a bounty of colorful flowers.
With picnic tables, colourful umbrellas and scores of blooms surrounding you, it’s a feast for the senses.
Indulge in delicious Thai dishes like spicy fishcakes, soups and curries while you admire the view from the side of the lake nearby Doi Suthep Mountain.
If you’re wondering what’s a must-try dish here – feel free to order Gai Galae, Galae’s signature Baked Whole Chicken served in foil. The chicken is tender and well marinated with the gravy, a secret tomato and cashew nut sauce that balances sweet and savoury very well indeed.
This is a great place to enjoy a relaxed lunch followed by a stroll through the beautiful garden.
4. Dine in a waterfall cafe that truly takes its inspiration from nature – Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant
A waterfall, a lake, a small jungle, this is a luxuriant environment where you can combine your love for nature with the love for food.
With the option to dine by the lake, or beneath the falls in a stunning rainforest – it’s no wonder this restaurant is one of the top rated in the city based on ambiance alone.
This is a great place to enjoy tasty Thai and Asian-inspired dishes like pineapple fried rice, fish cakes, and fried snapper – served in a soothing environment designed to make you feel comfortable and relaxed.
Even the bathrooms have been decked out in rainforest foliage and waterfalls!
5. Enjoy Japanese Shabu Shabu/Sukiyaki by the river (and go kayaking too!) – Nimmo House Shabu & Grill
Nimmo House is a super chill and casual Japanese restaurant by the river, that serves up some great Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki set menus.
They have an extensive menu that provides addon dishes like Garlic Rice, Australian Beef Brisket and New Zealand Lamb Rack, and more to choose from – to satisfy whatever you’re craving, as well as a Yakiniku menu. (Don’t forget to order dessert too!)
The beautiful riverside settings coupled with low picnic tables, chairs and beanbag chairs combine to provide a relaxing environment to indulge in.
If you’re looking for something fun to do here, you can even go kayaking!
PS: This place is really gorgeous at night. 😀
6. Eat, drink and mingle IN the river – Sepsil Glin Cafe Bannok
This is simplicity at its finest – this back to basics café operates on the bare minimum, but still manages to pull off a super cool image.
The center of the café is an actual river that cuts a path through the lavish jungle in a rugged outdoor setting.
The café’s concept is literally to eat, drink and mingle IN the river.
The plastic tables and chairs are set up in several centimeters of water from a happily bubbling stream.
Soak your toes in the cool water while enjoying a hot drink or a cold beer, along with simple Thai food with your pals!
7. For coffee lovers only! – Asama Cafe
Situated beside a lovely pond and with views of Doi Suthep Mountain, Asama Cafe serves up views and ambiance as good as its coffee.
One for coffee enthusiasts, Asama Cafe is owned by Mook, one of the judges for Thailand’s national barista championships.
She uses her cafe to practice the art of coffee through serving quality coffee from a curated blend of imported beans. What this means is that you can truly expect to find some good coffee here.
Some interesting examples of what’s on the coffee menu:
Market Lane’s Seasonal Espresso
Ona’s Rwanda Remera Peaberry (filter)
Square Mile’s Ethiopia Shakisso (decaf)