Time to head north.
This cafe in Doi Saket includes a lush plot of land, a backyard full of fresh, organic produce, an open outdoor kitchen, and pavilion seating near a rustic canal. The small wooden house is pure Lanna, and home to an Australian/Dutch couple who make everything from scratch; from bread and muesli, to yogurt, chili jams and curry stocks. The cafe’s signature is Moroccan shakshuka (Middle Eastern style poached eggs in spiced tomato sauce, served with homemade bread, B170). Fresh tomatoes, leafy greens and vegetables from the garden also appear on the table, wrapped in savory crepes with pesto (B140) and turned into beetroot dip with veggies (B90). Desserts include simple treats like apple crumble (B90), lemon cheesecake (B90) and fudge brownies (B70).
176 Moo 7, Choeng Doi, Doi Saket, 093-672-7252. Open Fri-Mon 9am-5pm. www.simplepleasures.cafe
Nimman Road’s stylish retro cafe-slash-craft beer bar blends industrial-loft stylings with rustic, vintage elements—antique cameras, torn book pages pinned to raw concrete walls and soft brown leather banquettes—for a warm yet masculine feel. During the day, work your way through their 20 varieties of coffee beans, sourced from up the road in Chiang Rai, all the way to distant Honduras. We recommend the drip coffee (B150), or signature roasted coconut and coffee shake (B120), paired with inventive all-day breakfast bites like spicy German sausage stuffed croissants with Sriracha mayo (B220) and homemade rosemary toast with beetroot salmon (B240). Come evening (5pm-midnight), turn your attention to their 12 taps of craft beer (from B120).
24/12 Nimmanahaeminda Rd., 095-686-9478. Open daily 2am-7pm. bit.ly/2LDBipi
Lush greenery envelops this charming cafe-slash-bar, located just 15 minutes’ drive from Chiang Mai. The menu includes khao pad nam prik kapi (shrimp paste fried rice with mackerel, B125), khanom jeen nam ngiaw (rice noodles with spicy Northern soup, B95) and succulent barbecue ribs (B240), as well as a huge selection of cocktails, craft beer and wines. Open from 8am all the way through to midnight, 324 also makes an ideal spot for lunch; with indoor seating, cool AC, red brick walls, polished cement floors, Edison bulbs and wooden furniture. Come sunset, live music is occasionally offered on the fairy-lit lawn.
70 Ratchapruek Soi 2 Moo 7, Nong Kwai, Hang Dong, 091-632-9656. Open Thu-Tues 9am-11pm. www.fb.com/324housebarcafecnx
Next time you’re in the Lanna capital, head to this bakery, where hand-rolling and imported Normandy butter combine for light and super airy croissants. It’s not all plain (B85) and pain au chocolat (B130), either. You’ll find jazzy flavors like rose (B130), chocolate hojicha (Japanese green tea, B130) Nutella and banana (B130) and even charcoal (B85). The bakery also offers ultra-thin, supremely-crisp vanilla croissant chips (B100 for 40g). With only a small bench out front, this is a grab-and-go kind of place, though they offer free delivery throughout the city.
20/8 Montfort Villa 12, Aom Mueng Rd., 095-686-9525. Open daily 10am-7pm. www.fb.com/croissantchiangmai
A traditional Thai-Lanna home close to the hilltop temple Wat Phra That Doi Kham is the unlikely setting for an American pie specialist. The interior comes in an equally incongruous rustic-industrial style, with polished concrete floors, red brick walls and shiny leather sofas. Gawp at the scrumptious display of pies, with names to make your mouth water—Coconut Custard (B75), Lemon Supreme, Boston Cream, Strawberry Cheese (all B85)—before heading out to the front porch to enjoy your slice. Baan Pie Charin also offers a range of Thai and Western hot dishes and baked goods.
204/8 Hmu 3 Soi Kam Mauk Hluang 099-381-4449. Open daily 8am-6pm. www.fb.com/baanpiecharincafeandbistro
For three years, this no-frills favorite impressed Chiang Mai locals with classic takes on Lanna cuisine from its home in Nimmanhaemin Soi 11. They’ve since moved to a new space—in nearby Nimmanhaemin Soi 9—which boasts a colorful, industrial style and walls covered in murals that tell the stories of the restaurant’s history. Despite the eatery’s modish vibe, the food remains authentic, with bold takes on northern cuisine: think addictive poo ong (a mash of chicken eggs and grilled rice paddy crab eggs, B65) sensational gaeng hang lay (spicy pork belly curry, B130), and a new menu specially-dedicated to seasonal ingredients.
25 Nimmanahaeminda Rd., 064-614-0817. Open daily 11am-9pm. www.fb.com/Kinlumkindee
This charming, Nepalese-themed restaurant/bar sits on the third floor of Chiang Mai’s hip indoor/outdoor mall, One Nimman. The light and airy atmosphere combines wooden furniture with earth tones, and also boasts raw concrete seating, walls and counters, lending the space a bohemian-meets-industrial feel. The food, surprisingly, is not Nepalese fare, but rather, authentic Thai. Try the pungent mango dip enriched with shrimp paste and served with fresh vegetables and cha-om omelet (B120), or the traditional tom yam goong with thick, aromatic broth (B180) to go with a steaming bowl of rice. Daytimes, Iames Basecamp becomes a cafe/restaurant; perfect to enjoy good coffee and tasty lunches. However, you’ll notice full booze-shelves lining the walls—those are for evenings, when the restaurant turns into a tiny night hub, with local DJs blasting house music.
3/F, One Nimman, Nimmanhaeminda Rd., 080-057-6221. Open daily 6am-6pm. www.fb.com/Iamesbasecamp
With a Lanna home setting and a kitchen full of generations-old family recipes, Ni-Yom Homemade is all about nostalgia. Situated inside the small Baan Suan Residence resort, the family-run restaurant uses traditional techniques for a menu that includes kai pa lo (braised pork and egg in sweet soy soup, B120), green curry with braised beef shank (B160) and dry porridge brimming with Chinese sausage, stir-fried pork and crispy fried salted egg (B120). Inside, the light and airy space is decked out in blond wood, with walls painted ocean blue for modern flair.
25 Moo 3, San Phi Suea, 089-455-5774. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-8:30pm. www.fb.com/niyomhomemade
In a slim plot of land surrounded by towering trees sits Little Shelter; a small boutique hotel that feels more like an architectural artwork than an accommodation. The 890-sq-meter building is wrapped in a glittering facade, and constructed with translucent polycarbonate sheets and wood tiles cut into rectangular shapes. Its roof pays homage to classic Lanna gables. One end is asymmetrical, formed to the shape of the treetops—while the opposite side has been carved out for a deck, featuring a sweeping view of the Ping River. The hotel has 14 rooms in four different shades: black, white, green and brick orange. Inside, the light-filled space is as sparkling as the facade. The walls are made of square-shaped mirrors that reflect all the colors of the polished concrete floors, the minimalist furnishings and the decor. The hotel’s facilities include a cafe painted completely in dramatic white; a restaurant with a cocktail-wine bar specializing in northern-fusion cuisine; and one compact pool—all situated near the river. Rates start at B3,060 per night.
208/25, Chiang Mai-Lam Phoon Rd., 081-611-9797. www.fb.com/littleshelterhotel