City Buzz

 |  February 3, 2014

Word of warning: the Buddhist holiday Makha Bucha Day just so happens to coincide with Valentine’s Day this year, meaning the selling of alcohol is technically illegal on February 14th. So, if your evening of love requires a dose of, ahem, liquid romance, you might want to consider celebrating the day before or after. Regardless, we’ve got plenty of romantic bistros, charming spas and stylish saloons to take your special someone… or, to reject it all and spend a night out on the town with single friends!


OYORI The Grill

On February 15th (our new de facto Valentine’s Day) get 50 percent off all wine and eat great for a cause at one of the city’s most noteworthy new restaurants! Here, a variety of mouth-watering steaks, seafood, salads, soups and sandwiches are served up by underprivileged youth and women learning valuable vocational skills through OYORI The Grill’s unique social business model. The service is excellent and the setting simple but cosy, with candlelit tables indoors, spacious lawn seating out front and a brick courtyard in back. At lunch there’s an unlimited salad bar of fresh, local, organic produce and every Friday and Saturday night from 7 – 11 p.m., there’s all-you-can drink wine for only 350 baht! When it comes to food, the tender crispy skin salmon over soy glazed veggies, flavourful mushroom risotto, salt and pepper soft shell crab, grilled fish with creamy chowder and one of the best Caesar salads in Chiang Mai are all excellent options. You can even reserve an all-you-can-eat carnivore’s BBQ on the lawn for groups of six or more anytime as long as you book in advance, just 350 baht a head!

Open daily, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Closed Mondays)

14/6 Soi 11, Sirimangkalajarn Road

053 213 175

Masumi Spa

A day at the spa is undoubtedly the most universally appreciated Valentine’s gift you can give (or receive), and the brand new Masumi Spa is the perfect place to check out this Valentine’s Day. The old onsite spa has been completely renovated and reborn with all new facilities, including 14 treatment rooms, locker rooms and a steam sauna. Feel your blood pressure drop instantly as you enter the quiet confines of the Japanese-inspired underground spa, all swirling, wood-panelled hallways, calming music and comfy massage beds. Ten expertly trained therapists are ready to provide a number of a la carte treatments, including Thai traditional massage, aromatherapy massage with your pick of four different types of house-made aromatic oils, hot stone, herbal ball, facial treatments, body scrubs, herbal steam sauna, and the signature Masumi four hand massage, and a number of pampering packages are also available, ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 hours. For the month of February, the Special Couple Lovers promotion means 30 percent off all couples treatments!

Open daily, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

23 Huay Kaew Road, at the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel

053 213 490

HOBS (House of Beers)

Set to become one of Chiang Mai’s most popular beer bars, the brand new HOBS is primed to please with a plumb location at the front of Kantary Terrace on Nimmanhaemin, perfect for people watching and sipping fine brews on pleasant evenings. Settle in with a 240 baht pint of Hoegaarden, Leffe, Stella or BrewDog on draught (140 for half a pint) or choose from two dozen other types of bottled beer, imported from all over the globe. House wine is available for non-hopheads and a small but strong selection of western bites will satisfy – from snacks like Belgian fries (with yummy dips like pesto and aioli), nachos and mixed sausages or meals like chicken orange salad, sirloin steak and pork chops (ranging from 120-400 baht a plate). The setting is hip and homey, all industrial style wooden tables and an eclectic mix of artfully arranged light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, while a guy cooks up hotdogs at an outdoor grill on the open-air deck.

Open daily, 6 p.m. – midnight

44 Soi 12, Nimmanhaemin Road

053 289 313

Wine Connection Deli & Bistro

At Central Festival’s popular new Wine Connection Deli & Bistro, you can enjoy a hearty meal accompanied by well-priced vino in their relaxed and casual indoor and outdoor dining areas. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back date spot or just a place to get together with friends or family, this place is guaranteed to satisfy. Try the tasty salads, pastas, pizzas, cheeses, pastries and bakery items at the deli section, or go all out with their full bistro menu, which includes Australian sirloin, lamb shanks and juicy burgers. And, as Chiang Mai’s leading expert in importing exclusive wines around the world for more than 15 years, Wine Connection is confident that you won’t find a better price or selection when it comes to the nectar of the gods – we’re talking over 500 wine labels from around the world! The deli and bistro also offers special promotions such as pizza or pasta with a soft drink for 149 baht every day until 6 p.m., making it the perfect spot to grab lunch when you’re in need of a western food fix!

Open daily, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Central Festival Chiang Mai, G Floor

053 288 841

Wine Room at Four Seasons

“Why didn’t they do this years ago?” we wondered as we sat in the elegant and tres petite venue just off the Four Seasons Hotel’s lobby. Outdoor seating on high stools offers the resort’s famed views and a small private dining table for four is available indoors. The decor is stylish (naturally) and service impeccable (of course!). Wine lovers can go crazy with carefully selected and truly fine new and old world wines and a fantastic selection of cold cuts and cheeses, and sometimes BBQs from the nearby restaurant can also be ordered. The prices are not cheap however, with house wines ranging from 550-700 baht a glass, though if you order by the bottle, you can get them for around 2,000 baht (and if you have the member card, you can get your 25 percent discount). To be sure, it’s a great place to impress your Valentine! And, if you have seriously deep pockets, 6-8 people can enjoy an Italian set menu with paired wines for, wait for it, a mere 10,000 ++ per person! Regardless, this is a sophisticated little wine bar to enjoy before or after dinner, or to simply hang out for a great night with fabulous grapes.

Open daily, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.

502 Moo 1, Maerim-Samoeng Old Road

053 298 181 

San Pareni Café and Restaurant

Looking for European style, charm and cuisine? There’s no need to leave Chiang Mai! Just pop by San Pareni in Mae Hia where you’ll find a cosy boutique hotel, café and restaurant featuring a stunning blend of Italian, Dutch and Swiss architecture. For quick bites or romantic meals, the San Pareni Café and Restaurant, located inside the Italian architecture inspired Tuscany building, serves a variety of Thai and European cuisine as well as homemade bakery items and a selection of delicious drinks. Decorated with the owners’ antique collection, the restaurant gives off a classic vintage yet modern and welcoming atmosphere. Try their signature dishes, the succulent pork chops and the decadent pan-seared snow fish with foie gras sauce. For dessert, the colourful homemade macaroons are not to be missed. And now, San Pareni is offering a 10 percent discount for all Citylife readers on all menu items except alcohol. Don’t forget to check out their website for the latest promotions, such as pre-wedding photo shoot packages!

Open daily, 6.30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

45/8 Moo 1, Wongwaen Robklang Road, T. Mae Hia

053 105 557

Sushi Box

The newest restaurant to open up on Ratwitthi Road (right smack between U.N. Irish Pub and the Chiang Mai Saloon) is quite different from its neighbours. Sushi Box is a sleek and stylish alternative on a road not known for trendy venues, but in this case, chicness comes surprisingly cheap. Settle down on the open-air patio in front of the open-plan kitchen and order up a round of 29 – 250 baht rolls, along with a variety of other Japanese dishes and supersized party platters available for takeaway. Don’t miss the light and tasty Sex and the City maki roll, topped with tuna, avocado and mango and stuffed with salmon, tempura cucumber and sweet yuzu sauce, or the epic Godzilla roll, a gastronomical masterpiece of deep fried salmon, shrimp, tuna, papaya, cream cheese and sweet and spicy cream sauce that will convert even the most stalwart sushiphobe. Upstairs you’ll find a hip but cosy lounge with a full bar and live music every Thursday through Sunday from 9 p.m. until midnight. The kitchen is open ‘til midnight as well, so you can accompany your 99 baht cocktails (signature options include the Japanese Mojito, Cherry Blossom Margarita and Sex on an Elephant) with plenty of excellent munchies. Reader Special: Mention Citylife and receive 15 percent off everything!

Open daily, 11 a.m. – midnight

28 Ratwitthi Road

081930 2212

Tawa Bistro

Want to eat a burger the size of your head? How about a roasted beet (yes, beet) carpaccio on puff pastry with blue cheese, pears and walnuts? The recently revamped Tawa Bistro at De Naga Hotelis the perfect place to settle in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks. The atmosphere is stylish but unpretentious, with a lovely outdoor covered terrace lined with bamboo, cosy indoor seating and a glassed-in kitchen where you can watch expert Chef Wichit work his magic. With decades of experience at various high-end resorts throughout Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Chef Wichit has concocted the perfect east meets west menu of Thai, western and fusion favourites priced at 120 – 350 baht a plate. The BBQ chicken tastes just like mom used to make and the seafood risotto is rich and delicious. Tawa also features a full bar of fanciful cocktails as well as live jazz from 8 – 10 p.m. every weekend night.

Open daily, 8.30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

21 RatchamankaSoi 2, off Moon Muang

053 209 030


Fad diets come and go, but we all know that the real key to health is natural, organic foods that make our bodies and our taste buds happy. At Food4Thought, everything, from the tortillas right down to the ketchup, is homemade and all-natural. Oh, and did we mention the avocado fries? Other highlights include the deliciously creamy Minnesota style rice soup with bacon, the fusion laab wrap, the tamarind shrimp salad, the chocolate oats with strawberries and almonds,and the unique harvest sandwich with pumpkin, apple, cranberry and cheese on homemade tofu bread. To quench your thirst, there’s yummy kombucha from Cha Mama, homemade mulberry soda and spicy ginger ale, a.k.a. “wakey-wakey juice” (you’ll know why at first sip). Order from the window, take a seat under an umbrella and spend the day playing board games or reading a book and sipping local Akha Ama drip coffee from the fabulous Bay’s Café, which is run out of the same cute little outdoor venue.

Open daily, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (dinner hours coming soon) 

15/14 Moo 1, Tambon Chang Phuak (off Canal Road near the Huay Kaew intersection, just behind V Residence)

087 191 5690