Lotus of Siam
Although it’s been lauded coast to coast, Lotus of Siam still feels like one of the city's best-kept secrets, largely due to its location in Commercial Center, the dodgiest of the strip malls on the fringes of downtown. The dining room is diminutive, and the walls are plastered press clippings praising chef Saipin Chutima's cooking. Request the Chiang Mai menu and try her northern specialties like sai ua (country pork sausage full of basil) and kai soi (curry noodles garnished with pickled vegetable, red shallots and lime). A warning: trust the waiters on the heat levels or you’ll leave with seared taste buds.
Tip: Cool down with the other big surprise: Lotus's incredible wine list, full of hard-to-find Rieslings.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.