TRADER VIC’S restaurant at the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa has been wowing Bangkok diners with its French-inspired Pacific Rim cuisine for over 19 years – a stunning achievement in a city where many international restaurants often flounder and fail in a matter of months after opening.
The secret of Trader Vic’s success stems partly from its sterling reputation. Ask any long-term expat about Trader Vic’s Sunday Brunch and they’ll likely go all starry-eyed and tell you how it’s one of the best in town. And they’re not wrong. Offering free flow Mai Tai cocktails and mountains of tasty food in a tropical riverside setting for just B1,799++, the brunch is amazing.
But it’s not just the brunch that warrants praise here. There’s also the fact that the restaurant looks great. Its interior, which is decorated with Polynesian masks and tiki carvings, has always been inspired, and a recent refurbishment now means it looks even better.
Polynesian-rich colour palettes, textures, lighting and furnishings have all been carefully selected to whisk diners’ senses away from bustling Bangkok to the tropical trading ports of the Pacific Rim. Sip a cocktail at the newly-extended Mai Tai Bar, or from the comfort of a couch at the new outdoor riverside lounge area, and you’ll feel like an explorer who’s discovered a gem of a bar in the middle of nowhere.
While the Mai Tai Bar and Lounge Area are destinations in their own right – they even serve their own stripped down food menus featuring bar snacks and appetizers – the real dining action is inside the restaurant, where you can spy chefs creating dishes in the large open kitchen.
The restaurant’s two-page food menu may not be one of the most extensive in town but the focus here is on quality over quantity, and it’s consistently good.
The delicious subtley-spiced starters are impressive, especially the Ahi Poke (B280++), which features raw tuna, avocado, chopped chilli dressing and a small string-wrapped parcel of crackers. And we really like the creative salads, especially the Goat Cheese & Beet Salad (B250++), which features an eye-popping bright-purple bed of beetroot cut in a carpaccio style.
The signature Trader Vic’s Traditions section of the menu offers some excellent fish dishes, including a particularly good Macadamia Mahi Mahi (B700++), a huge slice of fish, drizzled with orange ginger sauce, on top of wasabi mashed potatoes.
Main courses are dominated by meat and lobster options, many of them cooked in the restaurant’s huge wood-fired Chinese oven - the only one of its kind in Bangkok. Our favourites include the BBQ Duck Breast (B500++), which is served with a small pot of duck tea; and Indonesian Lamb Rack (B850++), which features wonderfully tender grain fed Australian lamb, Bali fried rice, and Trader Vic’s Chutney.
With friendly, well-informed staff providing efficient service throughout the evening, dining at Trader Vic’s is a real joy - a great place to take visitors from out of town, and a great place to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life in Bangkok.
Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road, (free shuttle boat from Saphan Taksin BTS); Tel: 02 476 0022 Ext. 1416. Open Tues – Sun 6pm – 11pm; Sunday Brunch 11.30am – 3pm (closed Mon).