Lemongrass, a Thai restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand has been serving traditional Thai food for more than 20 years. I first discovered Lemongrass last year when I asked a Thai manager at my office if he could give me a restaurant recommendation for a visiting client. He recommended Lemongrass as it’s a popular place for Thais to take and impress international visitors. I took my client. We loved it, and it’s been one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Bangkok ever since.
The Atmosphere at Lemongrass – One reason why Lemongrass is a popular restaurant with both Thais and westerners is the atmosphere. Located in an old converted Thai teak house, outside it’s a bit drab looking but, inside, the restaurant’s decor is evocative of Thailand 80 years ago, and is crammed full of antiques and interesting things to look at. What’s even nicer is the restaurant is made up of lots of small rooms (remember, it’s a converted house) with secluded, romantic places all over, so you don’t feel like you’re in a restaurant. More like inside someone’s family home.
The staff at Lemongrass are welcoming, friendly and always willing to suggest what they think is the best on the menu. They also tend to remember things about you from visit to visit, which adds a lovely personal touch.
The Food at Lemongrass – Obviously, there are so many Thai restaurants in Bangkok, it’s often hard to differentiate between them. For me, a long-time resident of Bangkok, I tend to avoid the more upscale Thai restaurants as, when you can get a typical Thai dish on the street for $1, why pay $8 for it just because the restaurant is pretty.
But, at Lemongrass, the higher price is more than worth it, as the food is cooked more to ‘western taste’ than to Thai taste, meaning it’s not so spicy hot it blows your head off. Surprisingly, although you’d think this would keep Thais away, it doesn’t. Lemongrass is extremely popular with the Thai older hi-so (high-society) crowd, maybe because the atmosphere reminds them a little of their childhood.
On a first trip to Lemongrass, peruse the menu, but I’d recommend starting with the Laab Plaa Tu, a tangy, slightly spicy fish salad that’s just fishy enough to hit the palate, but not so fishy you’re tasting it for days afterwards, or the light Pomelo Salad.
The Gang Keo Wan Ped Yang, a green duck curry, is incredible as is the T om Kha Gai Sai Hua Plee Pa , chicken and banana flower in coconut soup, and the Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass. Don’t miss the coconut ice cream for dessert.
Prices at Lemongrass, of course, are much higher than at Thai street restaurants, with most dishes between 150-290 baht ($5-10). If you order three dishes for four people though, and bowls of rice, the portions are quite large, so four can eat for around $30.
To drink, Lemongrass is famous for its iced lemongrass green tea. I’m actually not a huge fan of the taste of lemongrass, but I do love their tea. They also have a decent selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks.
If you want to try what’s basically an institution in Bangkok, Lemongrass is the place to go. There are so many good Thai restaurants in Bangkok, it’s par for the course with those, but for somewhere with a delightful atmosphere and a fair bit of history, you can’t beat it.
The only thing I would warn is, as they get busy, the service is slow so don’t eat at Lemongrass for a lunch or dinner when you’re in a rush.
Lemongrass is located across the street from the Emporium Mall on Sukhumvit Soi 24. The easiest way to get to it is to take the sky train to Phrom Phong station, and it’s just a three minute walk from there.