At risk of being accused of “patting one’s self on the back” Bangkok Best Dining & Entertainment magazine can take its annual bow on center stage for last month’s Best Restaurants Awards gala. In its 19th yearly edition the packed house celebration of culinary diversity and after-hours revelry at Dusit Thani’s Napalai Ballroom exceeded previous renditions in every respect.

Magazine editor Radhika Chopra advised that a new award category, “seafood,” was added to the previous seventeen as part of combined efforts to take note of changes in the local dining scene and to be as comprehensive as possible. “Getting everyone under one roof for this event yet keeping it convenient and convivial is becoming a bit more difficult each year,” she said with a wry smile.

Hundreds of Bangkok gourmands and society mavens rubbed elbows with chefs and owners of popular eateries and nightspots as they cued for tidbits of epicurean delights and classy quaffs. Belon and fin-de-claire oysters from The Dock and Crab & Claw vied with scallops and lobster from Next 2 Café and Trader Vics. Pastas from Bisotti and samosas from Rang Mahal required patience in line.

Libations were plentiful and varied with Proseccos and other sparklers gaining early acceptance from Bar @494 and Zaks Dining & Lounge. Craft beers, now readily available at numerous pubs and restaurants throughout the city, drew substantial crowds at booths by Huntsman Pub and The Londoner. Roadhouse BBQ teamed up with major craft brew supplier Beervana to pour an excellent selection of beers to accompany freshly grilled crab cakes.

Feasting was backed by a classy A-1 jazz singer, Coco Rouzier from The Sukhothai, Bangkok and by the current Spasso band 'ACTION'. Periodic applause erupted as hosts Arun and Anu Chopra, publishers of Bangkok Best Dining & Entertainment, and founders of the awards event made presentations in each category. Two awards, Reader’s Choice and Editor’s Choice, are made for each of the eighteen categories. Readers cast votes online or from ballots inserted in the magazine four months in advance of the presentation party. Editor’s awards are selected by two staff members and three independent food critics. All votes are qualified by a series of vetting and identification processes.

For a complete listing of award winners please go to With more than 2500 licensed dining and drinking establishments in Bangkok these award winners are a great place to start a gastronomic adventure.

As partiers left the 19th awards extravaganza looking forward to next year’s 20th event there was a tinge of nostalgia in the air. This may well have been the last full house hurrah for Dusit Thani’s Napalai Ballroom before the iconic hotel falls to the wrecking ball early next spring to make way for Dusit’s new concept property three years hence—perhaps in time for the 23rd Best Restaurant Awards soiree.

Written by: R. James Mullen