The Social Lunch
The Cup
3F, Lake Rajada Bldg, 193/21-22 Rajadapisek Rd.
Cuisine: International; Closed: Evening
In the days when it occupied a lot at the Peninsula Plaza,Bangkok's galleria pa excellence, there was no more fashionable rendezvous after a shopping spree. The location has changed, but elegant thanyings still congregate for social chit0chat and francophile fare in the third-floor dining room near the Queen Sirikit Convention Center.

The Social Dinner
The China House - Hotel Oriental
Once a private residence, Bangkok's most beautiful Chinese restaurant seduce the guest with valuable decor, graceful intimacy, charming service, and Cantonese specialties by four acclaimed chefs from Hong Kong. A drink in the front garden, a tete-a-tete dinner in the dining room or an exclusive banquet in one of the separces upstairs belong to the civilized pleasures of life.

Romantic Dining
Oriental Terrace - Hotel Oriental
Cuisine: Eclectic, Barbecue
Criticize the flotsam in 4he river, the passing gin palaces and the pret-a-porter tourists - and you're just not a romantic! No place is fuller of lure and lore, from the early morning mist to the late-night glow. Incognito stars favor a table by the balustrade, an evening drink as the sin sets behind the temple rooftops, a barbecue dilner and the his4orical ambiance,

The Show Place
Sala Rim Naam - Hotel Oriental
Cuisine: Thai
The Pavilion bu the Water's Edge', a three-minute hotel-boat shuttle across the Chao Phraya River, is the first temple to visit in Bangkok. Folklorist and touristy it is, but who can resist the playful decoration of the interior, the graceful beauty of the dancers and the spicy tastes of the local fare. After the set-menu show you can revel over a digestif on the terrace.

The Sunday Brunch
Colonnade - Hotel Sukhotai
Cuisine: Eclectic
On SUndays, when the traffic onslaught of the returning hordes from Pattaya only jams the city in the afternoon, people from all over flock to the chicest and liveliest brunch in the arcades of the Sukhothai which sometime extends to the Celadon and the garden. Light snacks are served in the muscal interior of traditional Thai murals and designer paraphernalia.

The Institution
Normandie - Hotel Oriental
Cuisine: Haute Cuisine; Close: Sun. Lunch;
World-renowned Chef Louis Outhier oversees his Eastern 'Oasis' on top of Bangkok's unofficial palace. The world's 'Who's Who' dine here: literai, glitterati, romantics and well-heeled travelers who indulge in the changing menu of prime products served in grand style, and in the panorama across the Chao Phraya. The most prestigious dinner invitation in town.

The Eclectic
Stanley's French
20/20-21 Ruamrudde VIllaee, Soi Ruarudee, Ploenchit Road
With its sophisticated image from Hong Kong and European style, it scored an immediate success with the exhibitionistic elite. In an area fast becoming Restaurant Row, Stanley's combines an airy Provencal atmosphere with dishes from classic to Cajun and Creole served in Nouvelle Cuisine presentation.

The Exotic
22 New Road, Soi 34
Cuisine: Thai (no A/C) ; Closed: Sunday
When Jacques Deen from Holland and his Thai partner Boonma Vattana set up their woks in a quaint Chinese style shophouse around the corner from the Oriental, an international clientele and their local friends became habitues from the innocative specialties like spicy green mango salad with black crab or beef on basil leaves. The antique interior is for sale, too.

The Trendy
Spasso - Hote Grand Hyatt Erawan
Cuisine: Italian
Spango in L.A. was no more popular in its beyday. The 'Tuppies' (Yuppies a la Thai) have adopted the cellar bar-restaurant nightclub (with American bands drowning their mobile-phone conversations) as their meeting point for lunch and dinner, for networking and showing off. The open pizza oven works overtime; scaloppine and salmone are just as well prepared.

The Seafood Place
Lord Jim - Hotel Oriental
Joseph Conrad is well, if not alive, and his image well established at the Oriental Room service at the Author's Wing namesake suite is fine, but bass and bouillabaisse, salmon and sashimi, sushi and tempura and the vast seafood buffet are a maritime gourmet's experience at par with the hotel's standard. The boat-deck parapernalia lends a nautical theme and the Oriental staff their innate charm.

The Japanese
Benihana - Hotel Marriott Royal Garden Riverside
When Rocky Aoki opened his first Benihana as a four-table bistro on New York's West Side, he didn't imagine he would open a branch as the best teppanyaki restaurant of Bangkok in the Royal Garden 25 years larer. (Apart from 50 more world wide). Overlooking a Japanese atrium, the chefs demonstrate their lightning slicing skills with the best meat in town.

The Thai
5/1 Soi 24, Sukhumvit Road
On balmy evenings the pretty garden swarms with expat society and yuppie gourmets sporting fashion models and mobile phones. The intimately lit antique dining rooms set the scene for one of the city's most extraordinary kitchens. Try out the southern specialties, like khao yam or nam prik kung siap. They drive you to tears - not from homesickness.

The Vietnamese
Thien Duong - Hotel Dusit Thani
Rama IV Road
You won't eat as elegantly between Hanoi and Saigon, let alone as excellently. Potted bamboo trees along the bay windows look out on the courtyard; artistically designed furniture and antiques enhance the exotic illusion. A cuisine pleasing even to snob gourmets spoil by Michelin-starred establishments in Paris makes this a magnetic culinary forum.

The French
Le Banyan

59 Soi 8, Sukhumvit Road
Closed: Sat. to Mon. lunch
Were it not for the Oriental's Normandie , (from which one of the owner0chefs comes), this little old Thai house full of antique wood carvings, art photography and glamorous objects would be the culinary Lourdes in Bangkok. Bruno Bischoff and Michel Binaux have established an authentic Haute-Cuisine restaurant with specialties which even please the French.

The Italian
20/2-3 Ruamrudee VIllage, Soi Ruamrudee, Ploenchit Road
Cuisine: Casalinga
Undoubtable the Italian restaurant in Bangkok. Gianni Favro, previously of the prestigious Heritage Club, has broken the mould of predictability found in the city's other tavernas. Spread over two floors in the hight-class restaurant arcade (Stanley's, Wit's, etc), Vito's loyal habitues relish the creative Italian dishes.

The Business Bar
The Champagne Bar - Hotel Dusit Thani
Rama IV Road,
In Bangkok's liveliest city hotel you also find meeting places of creative relaxation, quiet enough for contractual secrecy and open enough for casual networking. Away from the bustling lobby, it's the ideal spot dinner at one the in-house restaurants. (For intellectual or romantic intimacy, however, go to the Library 1918).

The Social Bar
Wit's Oyster Bar
20/10-11 Ruamrudee Village
Cuisine: English
Wit's is Pravit, and owner Pravit is the ultimate Anglophile whose ample girth and personality make him an ideal host here. His Public-school education is evident in the authenticity of this Wheeler's-of-London-style oyster bar. It's popular with an eclectic mixture of well-behaved bangkok residents and cosmopolitan that is for the roasts and pies - and Pravit.

The Jazz Place
Brown Sugar
231/20 Soi Sarasin, off Wireless Road
You'll meet interesting people and docile foreigners (skipping Patpong, for once). Indulging in the beat of Bangkok's best jazz bar. Bands from all over the world stop by; many local greats jump onto the career trampoline here. A few tables outside, a casual crowd inside and an atmosphere so joyful you'll forget about the rusticity of the joint.

The Night Club
Leo Grotto
1000/167-178 Soi 55, Sukhumvit Road
Midnight falls and status cars stop at the dead end of this side street. Finish your conversations in front of the exclusive business-and-shopping complex where debonair owners Surat and Tao have hit the jackpot with a quasi-private club for the happy-go-lucky. Champagne in hand, beautiful bodies in sight, you'll drown in the rhythms of American bands.

The Circus
Soi Patpong, Silom Road
You better take a nap before heading for this frantic arena after midnight where everyone meets, anything goes and sweet words are not taken at face-value. (The music drowns the details, anyhow). Pretty girls from all over the country (some a bit materialistic), long-term residents from all over the world (some immune against the obvious charms), loud music and a good-nature frenzy until sunrise.

The Madhouse
Rome Club
Queen's Mews, Patpong 3 Road
Let your hair down, unbutton your shirt, forget about taboos and open up to exotic encounters, spontaneous affection, and wild night. A true institution on Patpong, you could almost call it classy compared to most of the other clip joints down the alley. Hallucinatory music, mad whirls on the dance floor, kaleidoscopic sensuousness, and loads of good times where even the short-lived love seems to be authentic.

The Spa
The Oriental Spa - Hotel Oriental
What could be added to this hotel legend with its new arcaded chalet, across the river, promises total regeneration. From traditional Thai massage to innovative spa cuisine - aroma therapy with rare herbs to lift you to the skies, and anti-jet0lag treatment for a soft landing, are a heavenly introduction to the tao of complete physical happiness.

The Romantic River Cruise
Hanohra Song - Hotel Marriott Royal Garden Riverside
From the sun deck of the Royal Garden's lovingly renovated rice barge, the world looks like the Garden of Eden, in 4he comfortable cabins underneath life is a dream. Varnished woods, Thai silks and Indian rugs enhance the luxurious feel. Take a candlelight dinner cruise up the river, or rent the whole boat with your best friends to sail to Ayuthaya overnight.

Even if business doesn't bring you to Patpong, you must dive into the sea of market stalls for a close encounter of all kinds, all wares, exhibited among the girlie and gay bars. All off the luxury goods' labels are fake, most of the materials, however, of good quality. The Chatuchak Weekend Market has local goods and local color. Piled high in air-conditioned glitz, opposite The Regent, are the goods for the affluent society: Peninsula Plaza, the Tha) version of Hong Kong's Central Plaza, even has a Galeries Lofayette dependance and Frank's, CHinese and Thai jewelry. River City, next to the Regent; Burmese treasures are best at Elephant House. One name stands out for masterly craftsmanship: Jim Thompson, the king of silk, on Surawong Road. A little rench flair has entered the silken accesories at Choisy, across the street, whereas Anita, in Silom Road, feeds Harrod's in London with her bales. Men never had it so good: A.Song, in Chartered Bank Lane (near the Oriental), is the tailor of all tailors. One-stop shopping at its most congenial, anyway, are the boutiques at The Oriental.

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