Does Bangkok Have Good Value Western Restaurants?

I must have eaten at at least 150 different western restaurants in Bangkok and the majority of them have been very average in terms of value for money (excluding buffets).

Which is rather odd as Bangkok has hundreds of western restaurants.

70% of all places I visit I’d never go again or recommended. Half the time before I even go in and order I know the food isn’t going to be great, but I go in anyway and order because I enjoy being right.

Why is it so hard to find good value for money meals at western restaurants in Bangkok?

By the way, this is not me saying that western restaurants in Bangkok are all bad, I just think most are incredibly average and never compel me to visit again.

Let’s define value for money

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting to pay 100 baht for a nice pizza or a gourmet burger and sides. I understand that for that kind of price range, you’re not going to get anything amazing (usually).

But for 300-500 baht for a main course in Thailand, I do expect a meal which would be better than something I cooked at home, but that’s rarely the case… and when it is, the portion is so small that on the way home I’ll have to stop off at the 7/11 and grab a few magnums to fill me up.

Everyone of you have at least once paid more than 300 baht for a plate of pasta, spaghetti or pizza that tasted like salt and tomato source.

I once ordered a steak and it was covered in so much oil that a US drone few over my meal, bombed it and then a ten-man SWAT team rushed through the restaurant stealing my plate saying all that oil now belonged to the United States of Murica.

If I’m paying 300 baht or more for a burger and the waiter doesn’t ask me how I want it cooked, I know I’ve just set 300 baht on fire and I’ll be shitting waterfalls the following morning.

burger

Each week I’ll find a new place I want to try out and each week I’m disappointed with the lack of quality found in western restaurants in Bangkok.

Is my idea of value for money far-fetched?

Am I being too much of a tight arse and the idea of paying 300-500 baht for a good meal in a western Bangkok restaurant absurd? (I’m just talking about the main course, not including, starters, desserts or drinks).

Several times I’ve paid above that price point and I’ve been really pleased with the food. For example, I was at the Marriot on Soi 4 where the cheapest main on the menu started at 2,400 baht or something like that, but the food was great… but expensive. I can get food cheaper in London for that price that tastes just as good if not better.

Not technically western, but I also paid over 800 baht for a plate of imported beef at Sumi Tei which melted in my mouth and caused me to jizz all over the table uncontrollably:

grilled beef

But shit, 800 baht for a small plate of meat, I think that’s a little too much for Bangkok. I could give you several other examples of where I paid more than 600 baht for a main course and it was good.

Perhaps a good meal these days costs more than 500 baht?

Is it because I live in Sukhumvit?

Are the meals so expensive on average because I live in Sukhumvit? Obviously rent in this part of town is higher than other areas of Bangkok so that gets added to the food.

Is food better on the outskirts or town or is the quality of western food just as average?

I understand that importing goods adds to the value of meals, but that much really?. Perhaps it’s because the food is not cooked by western chefs? Or maybe Thailand is just getting more expensive? Or my standards too high?

Summary

Am I going to the wrong places? Are there lots of great western restaurants in Bangkok for the 300-500 baht price range for a main course only?

After all, we’re living in a country where the average salary is around 13,000 baht per month, and you can buy a meal off the street from around 40 baht.

Again, I’m not saying western restaurants in Bangkok suck, I’m just saying that so many serve mediocre food and the value for money I get is not good enough. Some will even add a service and VAT to really grind my gears even further.

If you’ve been to any great western restaurants in Bangkok, leave a comment below. If you’ve been to bad ones, leave a comment below but please don’t mention their name.

16 thoughts on “Does Bangkok Have Good Value Western Restaurants?

  1. Mark D
    21 December, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I have to agree, I have tried many western restaurants in the sukhumvit area and been so disappointed that I now stick to Thai food. A few better experiences In terminal 21 but of course you then pay a premium.

    1. 21 December, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Me too Mark. I’ve been eating a lot of mid-end Thai places and the food is almost always great and cheap. 100b for a big plate of chicken and 250b for a big ole fish.

      I know you can get it cheaper on the street, but I don’t mind paying a little extra for better seating, aircon and better produce.

  2. David
    21 December, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Don’t ever leave Thailand, I love your blog too much.

  3. Maxi
    22 December, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I am italian and that’s why I do not pretend to find abroad the same food I get in Italy but the problem is to learn apreciating the semplicity. I am from toscany, we eat a fresh bread with a bit extra vergin olive oil and oreganon or little tomatoes minced on top.
    Same with 100 gr of spaghettis or short noodles with butter and parmesan and pepper or old bread soup, (zuppa di pane or ribollita…see internet) or with clams oil and little garlic (vongole) that here can find plenty. But if u want a restaurant just go to the Scoozi ( Thai way to pronounce italian word Scusi….Excuse me) in Charon Nakhorn rd at the Lighthouse. They cook good and very conform to italian way and have a nice set menu at lunch. But avoid Sukhumvit rd. If u cannot then go to Basilico in soi 35…not bad and good price.
    Ciao e buona fortuna

    1. 22 December, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Maxi,

      I’ll look into Bascilico,I heard there’s a good one in Asoke too near Terminal 21 too.

  4. Pat
    22 December, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Where do the hiso’s eat if they fancy some sunday roast?

    1. Niggli Urs
      22 December, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Try once Chesa Swiss Suk 20 ( beside Otto’s) a little bit behind.
      I think, it’s an accepable house for food, main dishes in your price categorie, beside dishes not the frozen Macro stuff, bread with butter included … o.k. I’m Swiss, so I was happy to find also special swiss food on the menu, but not only.
      If you try it, please let me know of better alternatives or you find it o.k also.

      1. 23 December, 2015 at 4:04 am

        Never ventured too far down soi 20. Does look nice on the website, added to my list of places to try.

    2. 23 December, 2015 at 4:05 am

      Hey Pat, the street vendor who’s selling the grilled chicken and som tam?

  5. oliv
    23 December, 2015 at 7:15 am

    The best pizza place in my opinion is Pala pizza at asok, you can have a slice for 100Baht, but they are so good !

    One of the best pizzas I ever had!

    1. 23 December, 2015 at 9:10 am

      I’ve heard about this place being very good., I think a whole medium pizza is something like 1,000+ baht.

  6. Ron
    27 December, 2015 at 3:36 am

    That was funny sheet. And yes western food in bkk is not a good value anywhere that i have found either

  7. Scandibro
    28 December, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Thong Lor has plenty of good places to eat while still ‘reasonable’. My views on reasonable is slanted from having grown up in Scandinavia where a cafe burger and fries never cost less than 800 baht.

    What I found less value was the semi-fastfood stuff like pizza, mexican, burgers. Quite expensive everywhere and not good value. The worst is the pizza chains which are almost western cost at poor quality.

    I like to get value for money on stuff like seafood instead, which in most parts back home can’t even find it.

  8. Marco
    11 January, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Great article, but you’re out of touch dude. A lot of us are here in Asia on low budgets. I’ve never had a meal for 300 baht ever, not just in Bangkok but in any of the 7 other Asian countries I’ve been to and lived in over the past 5 years. I actually enjoy not working and doing whatever I feel all day in my thirties, as well as traveling extensively, and the cost is no 300 baht meals. Point is, we all have different budgets.

    1. 12 January, 2016 at 2:24 am

      I’m speaking for my self, I could not live on 300 baht or less food, I came to Thailand for a better standard of live, not the opposite.

  9. Marco Caggiano
    20 January, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Hey guys try to go to Peppina, best napolitan pizza and italian food in Bangkok. And im italian so it’s italian approved.

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