Bang Saen is famous for its seafood, which can be found everywhere here, from the beach boardwalk, to the seafront restaurants, to the student pubs in town. Regular Thai food is of course available as well. Try the night market near the university, the street stalls on the corner of the main street and the beach and also the higher end restaurants lining the beach. Western food is scarce and available at a premium. There is only one genuine Western restaurant in town (although there are half a dozen ’steak’ restaurants which are poor attempts at Western steakhouses).
Ask any Thai about the seafood in Bang Saen and you will receive a eulogy about seafood eaten on the beach. A whole industry has grown up around taking a deckchair on the beach (30B all day) and just tucking into the various seafood dishes that the hawkers offer. From giant prawns to squid and mussels, everything is on offer, all at ridiculously low prices. Wash your food down with the tipple of your choice and keep ordering from the multitude of vendors who will swarm around.
The beachfront, grand-style Narem Goran specialises in Thai food with a focus on seafood, and does an excellent job. Prices are reasonable when considering the lavish surroundings. A band plays nightly and seating is either indoors (air-con) or out close to the beach. Service is snappy and the welcome is warm. This is a romantic kind of setting, but families are equally welcome.
For something a bit different that’s also great value (B99 for all you can eat), check out Chabaa, a Korean BBQ restaurant where you cook at your table over charcoal fired grills. Seafood, meat, salad and veg abound here and it all smells wonderful. Get in early for the best selection of food.
Cool Bar is a strange-looking Thai-style shophouse restaurant and bar and it can’t seem to decide which it wants to be. The menu is mainly Thai, but a few Western dishes limp in at the end of the menu. The drinks are cheap, the Thai food a bit pricey but tasty. This is the kind of place you stumble into and don’t know what to expect -- we still don’t know! Staff are friendly.
For some great views across the bay, head to Khao Sam Muk Restaurant on top of, well, Khao Sam Muk. The hike up the paved road -- best done for sunset -- takes about 20 minutes and is quite exhausting, but once you get to the top and sit down, you get to relax with beer, food and a great view. Food and decor of this outdoor restaurant is mediocre, but the views cannot be beaten.
German owned Walk-in Restaurant serves passable Western food from a wide-ranging menu. and has established itself over five years as the main hang out for Western expats. Steak and spaghetti are cheap while the German specialities are a little more expensive but are authentic. The French fries are wonderful. Service is warm and efficient. Pattaya Steak House, at the bottom of a three-storey complex alongside a laundry shop, serves up steaks decidedly Thai in consistency. The prices are cheap and the service is sharp, but the food is only for those who have not eaten Western steak in a long time.
Beachside restaurants Along the beach. Opening time varies.
Narem Goran Take a stroll down to the beach and turn left, walk for about 500m. Open 17:00-00:00.
Chabaa Just beyond the university heading out of town. Open from 18:00.
Cool Bar Along the main road, halfway between the beach and the university. Open whenever there are enough customers hanging around.
Khao Sam Muk Restaurant On top of Khao Sam Muk.
Walk-in Restaurant Near the main beach area but on the main road, Open (usually) 18:00-late.
Pattaya Steak House On the main street, close to the university.