In addition to the Top 10 Awards, this is the first year we’ve introduced the Best of Awards to the Thailand Best Restaurants guide. The new set of accolades spans six key categories: Best New Chef, Best Interior Design, Best Service, Local Champion, Best New Restaurant and Best Upcountry Restaurant. Consistent with other regional Asia Tatler editions, shortlists are compiled by a panel of judges consisting of respected food writers and editors. Votes are then carried out to determine the recipient of each award.
Putting together the list wasn’t an easy task, especially with the diverse and rich selections we are privileged to have in our dining community. Over the course of each year, we have the opportunity to meet with the most extraordinary chefs and their teams—and each year we become a little more sensitive to all the thought and details that go into what they do. This is why we are proud to present the Best of Awards and to tip our hats to those that make dining in Thailand such an adventure.
Best New Restaurant: Cocotte
Cocotte has crowd-pleaser written all over it. There’s an innovative take on rotisserie dishes that blends Asian and Western inspirations, and plenty of simple, comforting dishes made special with well-sourced ingredients and skilful preparation. Competition is predictably fierce but Cocotte’s friendly service and fun setting gives it a winning edge.
Best Upcountry Restaurant: Acqua
Late 2016 saw Iron Chef Thailand winner Alessandro Frau branching out to Bangkok with an eatery called La Casa Nostra, but this has taken none of the shine off the Phuket restaurant for which he is best known. No flash in the pan, Acqua’s polished modern Italian cuisine, superstar wine cellar, sophisticated setting and attentive service have been impressing us, year in year out, since 2009.
Best New Chef: Dallas Cuddy
Dallas Cuddy, an experienced Australian chef with an impressive resume, has hit the sweet spot with Freebird, an expansive house full of photogenic nooks and Modern Australian promise. “There’s a surefootedness and a lucidness to his beautifully-plated dishes that shines through,” we wrote on discovering his debut Bangkok venture. And with Cuddy revelling in Thailand’s bountiful produce and constantly experimenting, we’re expecting lots more where they came from in the years to come.
Local Champion: Duangporn Songvisava
An early champion of farmer’s markets and the slow food movement, Duangporn Songvisava, or chef Bo as she’s affectionately known, is unerring in her commitment to sustainability. So unerring in fact that Bo.lan, the restaurant she runs with husband Dylan Jones, is now as synonymous with sustainable food practices as it is ambrosial Thai food.
Best Service: Savelberg
Chef Henk Savelberg regularly makes appearances front-of-house but it’s the easy-going yet razor-sharp attentiveness of his team who make Savelberg the epitome of good service. Leading by example is the maitre d’ Christian Vera. He’s eager to please without being obsequious and as good at light banter as he is guiding you through the minutiae of the sublime food and drink.
Best Interior Design: The Dining Room
This diminutive space in the W Bangkok’s The House on Sathorn, a stately mansion that served as the Russian Embassy in one of its aristocratic past lives, is exceptionally well done. Thai-inspired sequin hangings shimmer beside period details: louvred windows, Italianate columns, rococo panelling. And the wood counter and open kitchen encourage chit-chat with chef Fatih Tutak, something that is key to the storytelling concept behind his Asian-inspired food.