Inside Riverside: A Farewell Dinner Done Right

After a plethora of street vendors, noodles and unidentifiable but delicious foods, we decided to treat ourselves to a sit-down dinner that was a little fancier than the rest. When I say fancy, I mean it was a total of CAD$60 for five of us to enjoy multiple courses with drinks. In a country where that may normally cost $20, that’s fancy.

Sitting down with a Chiang Mai brew. (Outpost/Michael Fraiman)

We caught an Uber (yes, they have Uber in Chiang Mai!) to a restaurant on the Mae Ping river. Fittingly called Riverside, the restaurant comprised a building on either side of the road: one half of the restaurant was on the “river side,” and the other was on the “waterfall side.” The entrance reminded me a little of a nightclub foyerm with posters of upcoming events and local bands. The “river side” of Riverside had two levels, and we chose the top to get the best view of the water.

Fish, anyone? (Outpost/Michael Fraiman)

Our new friend Kent (owner of Sop Moi Arts), joined us for our fancy feast and informed us that the last time he visited this restaurant was over 20 years ago! If it’s been around that long, it must be great, we figured.

The wall beside our table was covered in pictures of celebrities, both local and international. I recognized Owen Wilson an immediately wondered what he chose to eat and how long he stayed in Thailand. What did he do when he was here? Maybe he tried the local brew called “Tire Burning”?

riverside chiang mai restaurant

Dining with Kent (far left) at Riverside. (Outpost/Michael Fraiman)

As we ate, a local band played a mixture of rock and jazz while locals and expats alike sipped beers, ate whole fried fish, flat rice noodles and coconut curries while gazing off across the water. Lanterns and strings of white lights cast a soft glow and set a relaxing mood in the dimly lit lounge. Outside the traffic was chaotic but inside this rustic, wooden oasis, as I sipped my white wine, time stood still.

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