Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city and one of the most popular places to go for a holiday. Although there are many reasons go there, food was our top motivation for spending a whole month in this amazing place.
Nimmanhaemin Road, or “Nimman” for short, is a rapidly growing area in Chiang Mai known for being the most trendy area of the city. It is a lively neighborhood at all hours of the day and you won’t have to walk far to find great restaurants.
During our 4 week stay in Nimman , we had plenty of time to explore the local food scene. You’ll notice that almost all the restaurants we mention here are more western than local. We must admit that while we love Thai food, after a while of traveling in Asia we were craving Western food.
Picking where to eat can be a bit overwhelming with so many choices. So we tried them all and created the ultimate list. Here are the very best places to go for healthy, meatless meals.
Free Bird Cafe
Feed your belly, heart and mind in this unique ‘cafe with a cause’. The cafe offers on the job hospitality training to Burmese refugees, as well as giving them a chance to practice their English language skills in order to create a better future. All food on the menu is 100% plant-based and there are loads of options to choose from. The Burmese tea leaf salad is particularly famous and after your food you can even shop in their zero waste store.
Our Faves: Smoothie bowls & Hummus Plate
Beast Burger has a simple menu with ten different burgers, three sides to choose from and a couple of soft drinks. They offer one amazing veggie burger. Is this the best vegetarian burger on earth? Possibly. It is a veggie patty topped with crispy seaweed, lettuce, tomato and Korean ketchup. Definitely try their cheese sauce! We have been back, many times, hungry for more…
Our faves: Veggie burger! + sweet potato fries
You probably won’t remember SS1254372 Cafe’s name, but you will remember the outstanding food and hipster interior. In a sea of cool coffeeshops in Chiang Mai this place stands out because of its connected art gallery, Seescape. All meals are bursting with color and look like an artwork itself. Their Fruity French toast is the most Instagram worthy toast you’ve ever seen.
Our Faves: Avo Smash & Omelet Burrito
Accha Authentic Indian Cuisine
Like most Indian restaurants, the menu of Accha has looots of items to choose from including vegetarian and vegan options (perfect for mixed groups). Each vegan and vegetarian dish is marked with a different check-mark, so it’s super easy to make a selection. The appetizers were tasty as was the main course. Definitely try the veg samosas, served with 6 types of chutney – yum!
Our Faves: Aloo Gobi & Garlic Naan
Rustic And Blue
The atmosphere of this restaurant is dreamy and in the outdoor space you will feel as if you are relaxing in your backyard. They pride themselves on their food being fresh, full of flavor and gorgeously presented. Almost every dish can be made vegetarian or vegan. You can choose to substitute the eggs or meat for grilled mushrooms, pumpkins or mixed veggies. Don’t leave without trying one of their freshly baked goods such as baguettes or croissants.
Our Faves: Breakfast Pita Bread & Nachos
Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant
Anchan is a classic Thai restaurant that has been well-established in Chiang Mai for quite a number of years. It specializes in vegetarian and vegan versions of Thai traditional dishes. With their motto ‘Vegetarian food so delicious you won’t miss the meat!’ they challenge the most stubborn meat eater to try their food. The kitchen is right in the restaurant so you can see the food being cooked while you are sipping your Butterfly Pea Flowers Blue Iced tea.
Our Faves: Papaya Salad & Pad Thai
Can’t wait to go here? Check out this recipe to make your own Thai Papaya Salad at home!
Hidden in a small side street of the Nimmanhaemin Road you can find this tiny, cozy cafe. Their menu is not that extensive but definitely more than enough options to choose from. They are famous for their huge open sandwiches loaded with a variety of toppings. Accompany your sandwich with a pot of hot jasmine tea and delicious homemade baked goods. For those with special dietary needs, just let the staff know, they are more than happy to prepare something for you.
Our Faves: Open sandwich with crushed avocado, tomato olive salsa and feta
The Salad Concept
If you feel like treating yourself with healthy veggies this is the place to go. The Salad Concept is a well-known lunch spot in Chiang Mai and it is almost always busy. You can build your own salad by selecting the toppings you like and finishing it off with a homemade dressing. It is also possible to have your salad served as a wrap. Aside from the make-your-own style salads, they also have other delicious items on the menu.
Our Faves: Make-your-own salads!
Sushi Umai is a small traditional Japanese Restaurant with a relaxed, friendly vibe. For the real sushi lovers; expect platters of cut rolls tightly wrapped with nori, beautifully presented with dots of wasabi. Try to get a spot at the bar, every sushi roll will be made right in front of your eyes. Snap those chopsticks because this is the best sushi restaurant in Chiang Mai! Best of all? Prices that won’t break the bank.
Our Faves: Spicy Edamame & Onigiri
MAYA Food court
Thailand is known for their street food, however the fear of getting sick often stops people from trying the most delicious foods of the country. Level 4 at Maya’s Shopping Mall has a cute Thai food market area, which might be a good compromise for visitors anxious to try street food. The food vendors at the Maya Shopping Mall are not actually on the street or even outside, but the food is just as good and the prices just as cheap. The spring rolls here gets a big thumbs up from us!
Our Faves: Spring rolls & Thai Pumpkin Curry
BONUS! – Hummus
I’m sure you love hummus, right? Well, we have found the best Hummus in the world! We can still feel the softness of that creamy hummus melting in our mouth.. Hummus is a vegetarian Mediterranean restaurant in the center of Chiang Mai. Even though this restaurant is not located in the Nimman area, there was no chance of leaving it out. Next to the different kinds of Hummus, you’ll also find Falafel, Tabbouleh, Shakshuka and other famous dishes of the middle east on their menu. At the end of the dinner we got some mint tea making this dinner a fantastic experience.
Note: they also have a food truck selling falafel sandwiches on the Nimmanhaemin Road
Our Faves: Roasted Cauliflower & Hummus Avocado
Disclaimer: We understand that each one of us has different dietary / ethical standards. In our food guides you find a mix of restaurants where they serve 100% vegan food (all of the food is made from plants and no dairy, egg & meat is used in food preparation), vegetarian places (no meat is served, but dishes may contain dairy/egg/honey) and veg-friendly businesses (meat and dairy products on the menu but also animal ingredient-free dishes are available). Please double check the status before you eat at any restaurant on this list.
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