Bang Bao restaurants are principally known for their seafood, with two large establishments located side by side off the central walking pier, right in the heart of the fishing village.
Beyond the seafood, there are a few other decent Thai food options on the pier, by the road and on the northern side of the bay.
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Seafood in Bang Bao
Each restaurant follows the same style of a coverted wooden fisherman’s house high up on stilts over the water, its tempting tanks of fish and other shellfish bubbling away at the entrances, tables and chairs laid out towards the water’s edge.
Their menus are typical too for Thai seafood, pages and pages long, with choices from whole fish to raw prawns, squid to shellfish, each cooked in a myriad of sauces or styles, with two prices according to portion size.
How to Order
As there is so much choice, it can be actually be difficult to know where to start, so our tip is to follow the Thai way; order up a whole fish as the centerpiece and then each member of the group choose a dish to go with it, whether clams in curry paste or whole tamarind prawns, soft shell crab in black pepper or a spicy Thai squid salad, a Tom Yam soup or even a plate of French Fries, whatever takes your fancy.
Add in a big pot of rice to share and you’ll have plenty to go round, something for everyone to try and a very sociable, fun and tasty meal.
Ruan Thai and Chow Lay are now the only large two seafood restaurants still running in Bang Bao. They both fluctuate in quality and service but our main criticism is the food tends towards that tourist palate blandness, which – though well intentioned – ultimately satisfies no-one. To counter it, be firm when ordering if you prefer your flavours with that bit more zing and spice.
Further down the pier, Nongyim Seafood, is a much smaller spot with an open kitchen at the front and just a handful of tables and chairs in a cute room over the water. It covers all the usual dishes and is well worth a try as an alternative to the big two.
Other Options – Bang Bao Restaurants
Up on the main road, the diner opposite Alysia Springs is the one of the best in the area with a wide selection of Thai standards. Meanwhile, heading down towards the 7/11 at the start of the pier, there are few cheap and cheerful Thai places, like Poo’s Kitchen, serving up one dish over rice, somtam, grilled chicken…that sort of thing.
On the pier itself, you’ll also find a tiny local noodle soup and an excellent one dish to order style diner. In the vicinity of the seafood restaurants, Chill House and Koi Sea House, both sit out over the water, serving the usual Thai menus of curries, noodle dishes and stir fries – keenly priced, tasty enough.
Around the bay
Over on the north side of the bay looking out on the cove behind, Cliff Cottage, now run by BB Divers, offers a charming space by the water, with a double height thatch roof and lots of chill-out spaces. The restaurant serves Thai and western dishes, making it a great spot for lunch or dinner.
Over on the southern side, from its fabulous vantage point high above the bay, Rasta View also offers all the standard Thai dishes as well as a wide choice of drinks and other relaxing refreshments.
Barracuda, that bohemian reggae spot, has closed, with no indication if it will restart for the 22/23 season. Buddha View too is no more. El Greco, on the other hand, has moved to Klong Prao.
For coffee, bakery and pastries, Bang Bao Delight is the place to head on the pier, though it does now have competition with the opening of the very chintzy, Viewtalay, complete with its sea terrace, at the far end.
Recommended – Bang Bao Restaurants
Ruan Thai Seafood
Per Person: BB – BBB
First of the Thai seafood restaurants on the pier, maybe the best, with good strong flavours and spices. Usual choices abound from raw prawns with spicy dip to clams in roasted chilli paste and Sea Bass in tamarind sauce.
Chow Lay Seafood
Per Person: BB – BBB
Long established seafood restaurant on the pier with choices of fish and crab in the tanks at the front. Extensive menu, busy and bustling atmosphere. Fish ball noodle soup diner and small cafe opposite.
Per Person: BB – BBB
Opposite Bang Bao Paradise Guesthouse, about 1/2 down the pier, small seafood restaurant with 8 or so tables in a charming room out over the sea. Open kitchen serves all the usual classics – fish, shellfish, squid – cooked to order Recommended.
UPDATED NOVEMBER 22 for 22/23 Season
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