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.
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:
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?
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.