Hey everyone. Seven here. So, you’re probably already aware of the red light district called Patpong. If you’re not, A—what rock have you been living under and B—get your shit together. If you are, you probably know its main draw-slash-claim to fame: namely, gogo bars and naughty shows that’d make Caligula blush. Oh and you likely know about the night market. But did you know about all the radical restaurants? No? Well, you’re in luck. Because your boy Seven has chowed down in all of them. And after last week’s Steakhouse birthday extravaganza, I decided to cover, for your reading pleasure and Pavlovian salivation (Pavlivation for short, copyright BKK7), a breakdown of all the places to bust your belly in Patpong. Let’s get this party started…
On Soi 2
The Steakhouse Co.—the granddaddy eatery on the Pong, and one of the best venues for steak in Bangkok. Only the finest ingredients prepared by culinary geniuses. Character, charisma, chemistry, atmosphere all welcoming as are the friendly and helpful staff. The Steakhouse Co. also houses the best selection of vodka, gin, and wine for miles in any direction. My favorite dish: it’s a tie between the Sunday carvery and the Porterhouse. It used to be the rack of lamb, but sadly it was discontinued. On the upside, they do a surf n’ turf buffet every other month with prime rib, rack of lamb, Cajun chicken, BBQ ribs, rock lobster, and prawn. Other great choices: steak nachos, fajitas, combo platter, charcuterie, cheeseburger, Caesar salad, gambas, and meatloaf (coming soon). And of course, all the awesome steaks. Favorite drink: the Primitivo, especially when paired with a Cuban Partagas from their humidor (there’s a wine sold by the bottle that I like better, but I’m not going to tell you what it is, lest you buy it and then there’s none left for me). Pretty much everything on the menu is fantastic.
Shenanigans—the guys with the golden touch run Shenanigans, The Paddy Field, the soon-to-open Flares, Herrity’s, and The Royal Oak (the latter two are on Sukhumvit 33/1). It’s a sports bar & restaurant like the one you used to frequent back home, with hearty traditional meals and Thai and Chinese menus, and a Sunday Roast. Their pies are particularly good, as are the burgers. The staff are lovely and treat you like a long-lost friend, even if they see you every day. My favorite dish: the fish and chips. Other great ones: chili nachos and all-day breakfast. Favorite drink: A Midnight in the Gaarden.
The Paddy Field—my favorite daytime hangout, the Paddy Field bursts at the seams with personality. You can feel your troubles melt away the minute you sit down. Their kitchen’s pretty good, too. I like their Golden Bowl menu—all UK-style Chinese dishes. Duck pancakes, Hong Kong ribs, and the like. My favorite dish: sweet and sour chicken balls. Favorite drink: 99 baht happy hour Tiger pints.
Volcano Ramen—I hit this joint a few times per year, when the ramen craving strikes. They have dozens of different variations on the classic bowl-o-noodles plus some tasty side munchies. My faves are Tantan and miso, and of course you gotta wash that down with a cold Singha draft.
French Kiss—It’s easy to miss this place, situated as it is in between De Talk and Star of Night on Soi 2. And by “in between” I mean it’s part of that long, thin sliver of bars separating Soi 2 from the hard-to-see katoey bars, pool halls, and small establishments that run from Surawong to Paddy Field. There are only a handful of tables and precious few seats at the bar, but what they turn out is well worth the tight quarters. On my visit, I had the avocado-shrimp starter, and the flank steak with sautéed potatoes. It was insanely good. I don’t know what they seared the meat with but judging by how voraciously I wolfed it down, it might’ve been crack. And paired with a bottle of Bordeaux.
Le Bouchon—Possibly the most famous restaurant in Patpong, this French bistro has been around for decades. They make straightforward French flavroites that people positively rave about (flaravorites for short, copyright BKK7). For my dinner, I ordered the chevre ravioli and duck with mushroom sauce, paired with a bottle of Graves. It was outstanding. If I could afford it, I’d eat there daily. Every bite was absolute perfection.
Tuk Lae Dee—The Foodland supermarket has a 24-hour diner in it that pumps out reliable Thai food along with a handful of farang favorites (farangorites for short, copyright BKK7). The name means “Cheap and Good” in English, and that’s a perfect description of their menu. My favorite dish used to be the cashew chicken. However, recently they started using any old unused chicken laying around from the previous day instead of fresh chicken, which all but ruins it. Now I alternate between shrimp fried rice, pad thai, and pad krapow with chicken and a kai dao. I drink the free ice water.
Quick update: I tried the cashew chicken again last night, and am happy to report the chicken was terrific.
Madrid—This lovely slice of history is worth the visit for the décor alone. I’ve only tried two things here: the burger, which was above average and very satisfying, and more recently, the pizza. I opted for the Madrid Special—ground beef, mushroom, and pepperoni on a thin crust. Medium size 295b. It was surprisingly good. I say surprisingly because you wouldn’t expect a little old Thai lady to disappear into the kitchen and return 8 minutes later with something worth talking about, but that’s what happened. I inhaled every bite of that lip-smacking good pie.
Tip-Top—This Thai-Italian fusion restaurant opens when the night market sets up, and closes in the wee hours. They have traditional Thai dancers and a khim player that perform twice a week. Their menu is extensive and covers a ton of Thai dishes plus Italiano fare. They also cater food to customers in King’s Castle 1 and 2. If you’re in one of those gogos and you start feeling peckish, you can ask for a menu and order up something lovely to go with the lovely view. My favorite is the calzone. I generally don’t drink when I eat here.
Derby King—this low-key mom and pop joint provides food for Thais working all around Patpong. They phone in an order, and then a guy will walk it over on a tray. You’ll often see him trotting entrees into gogo bars for customers and dancers alike. All traditional Thai dishes, all quite inexpensive. The mamasan at Electric Blue used to make phone orders for me, though I almost always wound up sharing it with a gogo dancer or three. My favorite: garlic pork and steamed rice.
Mizu’s Kitchen—this Patpong staple is currently closed for remodeling, or some such reason.
And there you have it. All the places to grab grub in Bangkok’s best red light district. Whether you want something cheap and easy or the best gourmet steak of your life, you can find it in Patpong. See you Friday for the frowback, and until then, keep your plate full, your nuts salty, and cheers to another week above ground and eating like a king in the greatest country on Earth—Thailand.