From the little research done prior to going to Chiang Dao, I knew two things; there was a cave, and there was good food. The food was at Chiang Dao Nest restaurants 1 and 2, who offer western food or Thai food respectively, and advise to book in advance. So I did, and I think if you’re going this way, you should too!
Rather than stay in the village itself, we stayed at Chiang Dao huts which is on the road heading out of town towards the cave, making for a quieter setting. There are a couple of other guesthouses along this road, as well as temples and only bar in town! Chiang Dao huts’ restaurant offers a Friday evening all you can eat buffet, but we had plans already so we didn’t go along. When we passed it later that evening it was very busy indeed!
So we wandered next door to Nest 2. The Menu here is Thai with a very good selection of dishes including one-plate dishes, soups, curries, snacks and vegetarian dishes. The terrace faces the gardens and has a brilliant view of the mountain in the day and stars at night. We ordered sweetcorn fritters, spring rolls, Tom Kha Kai soup, Buffalo curry, chicken and cashew nuts. Everything arrived at the same time and was nicely presented. The portions of rice were served in cones of banana leaves, we had to order more as I’d say it was a Thai (read small) portion! Each dish was delicious – and including beer our bill came to about 1400. We were all impressed!
Chiang Dao Nest 1 is up the road towards Wat Tham Pha Plong and serves European food. Prices were higher here, mains from 300 baht – get an idea of the menu here. They also do a big barbecue on a Thursday night, all you can eat for 345 baht. Be aware that this means both restaurants close at 5pm on Thursdays in order to prepare for the barbecue! We stopped in for lunch one day, ordering; the large sandwich (served in a homemade roll), crudites, caesar salad, pannini and Belgium fries (oh my Jonas these were good – double cooked, skin on style fries and a must have if you like a chip or two)!
If you’re looking for breakfast Nest 1 and 2 also have breakfast sets, pancakes and fruits – pricier than other guest-houses but again well worth it! So we ate very well, for reasonable prices, in pretty gardens with smiley staff. We will come back, and if you’re in Chiang Dao for any amount of time I really recommend eating at Nest 2!