The nearly two decades old Le Crystal has established itself as a standard-bearer for quality and classic French cuisine in Chiang Mai. It’s sparkling, chandelier-dripping riverfront property reflecting its name, as it has been the preferred destination for anniversaries, celebrations, romance and gatherings for 17 years.
Walk into its cool restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the charming rose garden which slopes down to a quiet stretch of the Ping River. Sit in air-conditioned comfort and listen to the live trio band, wander around the walk-in wine cellar, peruse the shelves of single malts, or wander out for a lovely breezy verandah dining under the stars.
Over the pandemic, Le Crystal has been working hard to create a fresh new menu – don’t worry, old favourites remain – and we couldn’t have been more excited to try it out.
“We will still use only quality produce, both locally grown and imported,” Riddhi Diskul, Le Crystal’s owner, told Citylife. “Traditional cooking methods and classic French flavours are still our focus, but we have worked to modernise the presentation of our dishes as well as adding some character to new dishes.”
Dishes arrive looking fresh and modern, but with all the comfort of the familiar flavours.
Here are a few dishes we wish to crow about:
Scallop tartare with avocado citrus dressing: This is a refreshing and piquant starter designed to get your tastebuds tingling. The thinly sliced scallops match perfectly with the seasonal avocado with the dressing bringing the entire dish together.
Smoked duck breast salad with raspberry sauce: Another light starter, this delicately sliced smoked duck breast comes to live with the tart raspberry sauce.
Pan-seared lobster risotto: Perfectly seared lobster sits on a bed of risotto in a perfect union of flavours and textures.
Pan-fried halibut with caper butter sauce: Just imagine those flavours together!
Australian wagyu beef tenderloin: Le Crystal is not a multiple award winning restaurant (Thailand Tatler Best Restaurant Thailand 2005-2013, 2015-2019) for nothing. They know how to cook their beef.
End the meal with a light and citrusy lemon curd meringue tart or any of their wonderful classic soufflés.
Whether you are looking for a fine dining experience, or just want to pop in for a casual meal by the Ping, Le Crystal (which has not upped its price outrageously over the past few years, thankfully) has made great efforts to create a new menu which will appeal to the most discerning of palates as well as the majority of wallets.