I am a big fan of tapas. What’s not to like? Small, carefully crafted dishes of deliciousness that allow you to take a culinary journey with many adventures along the way. So when a new tapas restaurant opens up I’m interested. Recently opened THAIPAS (official Facebook page) was brought to my attention by a friend who had an amazing experience there.
What makes them different from many of the other competing Bangkok tapas joints is that many of their tapas dishes have a Thai twist and that even though their dishes are well portioned, their prices are VERY REASONABLE (especially considering their Thonglor location). So my gal and I were excited to visit them.
I’m excited to share our experience and show you why THAIPAS is a restaurant gem any tapas enthusiast would love to visit! Let’s begin with their menu…
About the food menu…
THAIPAS offers a menu of Spanish-style tapas favorites, blending some with Thai flavors, along with some small bites that are just plain unique. There are two menus: the menu they serve every day, and the ever-changing weekly menu printed on the whiteboard that is based on the catch of the week from the local fish markets.
For our visit, we tried to get a bit of everything. Look at those prices. You can actually afford to take this menu for a spin!
But whichever menu you choose from, your first dish will be a complimentary surprise…
It was explained to us that all guests dining in at THAIPAS are welcomed with a complimentary tapas dish (which is found on the weekly menu board). More than a welcome, it whets the appetite and shows off the chef’s culinary prowess. These complimentary Black & White Cuttlefish Croquettes certainly had that effect on us!
Each ball had a thin perfectly fried crunchy coating and was filled with tender slivers of cuttlefish and a creamy bechamel-like sauce (the black one had squid ink, too) resting on a smear of garlic aioli. It got us excited to explore the chef’s other tapas…
Ceviche with a Thai Twist!
THAIPAS takes its Ceviche (180 baht) to a whole new level by infusing it with intense Thai green chili and ginger flavors. Tender chunks of fresh seabass from Rayong and prawns are marinated Peruvian style with fiery “leche de tigre” (translated as “milk of the lion“).
Blended with the spicy Thai chili, ginger, lime juice, and celery from the marinade, the perfectly textured seafood is then mixed with red onion and topped with organic Arbequina olive oil.
Nothing really brings out the flavor of a Mediterranean dish better than an excellent olive oil. THAIPAS doesn’t skimp on their dish finishing pours either.
Basque meets Ban Phe
This Basque country-style bonito stew of potato and grilled pepper with tender seared cuts of frigate mackerel fresh from the Ban Phe fish market is called Marmitako (220 baht).
They normally make this savory dish with tuna, but the chef’s not afraid to change it up if the right fish pops up in the market. The toothsome broth has delicate flavors of smoked mackerel that will have you scraping the sides of the bowl to finish.
Flavor explosion tapas!
This Bomba (60 baht) is like a round crispy potato croquetta filled with minced pork and caramelized onions. It rests on a smear of garlic aioli and is topped with a thick tomato sauce that has a rich BBQ flavor. I bet it is called a “bomba” because it delivers such an explosion of flavors!
A Spanish tapas favorite…
One of the most popular dishes for tapas dining is Gambas al Ajillo (220 baht). THAIPAS offers this favorite classic of local prawns baked with plenty of garlic, chilies, olive oil, and dusted with smoked paprika. A must-order dish, the shrimp are cooked perfectly and the dish is packed with flavor!
A serious seafood paella…
If you love seafood, the Arroz Negre (420 baht) is an excellent dish to share. This dish gets is black color because the rice is cooked with a mixture of rich fish stock and local squid ink. The paella is topped with fresh prawns, wild-caught mantis shrimp, clams, and aioli with blackened garlic.
Special note: each paella is made to order and takes at least 20 minutes to cook.
File this dish as totally unique as I’ve only seen it on the menu at THAIPAS. I’ve eaten the local Babylon sea snail a few times, usually at beachside seafood restaurants. I’m a fan of escargot so I figured I’d dig it. I didn’t. My experiences usually ended with me disappointed that the snails were gritty, chewy, and flavorless–the spicy seafood sauce that usually came with it wasn’t doing it for me either.
I always wondered, why isn’t anyone cooking Babylon snails escargot style with loads of garlic, parsley, and butter? Somehow THAIPAS plucked the thought from my brainwaves and put it on their menu. And let me tell you, it’s FANTASTIC! They double-clean these meaty snails and pack them back in the shell so it’s not at all gritty. Baked with tons of garlic, parsley, and butter it’s also packed with tons of flavor.
If you like escargot, you’re going to LOVE this dish!
Save room for dessert…
Their menu offers two dessert options: Dried Banana Ice Cream (75 baht) and Caramel Flan (120 baht). I’ve got four words for you: SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT!
Made with fresh cream, cream cheese, eggs, and milk, the Caramel Flan is one of the richest desserts I’ve tasted. Each bite was pure creamy caramel goodness. It was just the perfect sweet finish for our tapas dining experience!
Tapas is best enjoyed with a good vintage. THAIPAS offers a drink menu of very affordable wines and bubbles that have been selected to pair well with their food menu.
For an AMAZING value, on Thursdays, they offer a free-flow wine special for 690 baht++ per person.
It’s so rare to find a restaurant in the Thonglor area that offers bottles of wine for less than 1,000 baht. During our visit, we enjoyed the Follador Prosecco, D.O.C. (950 baht/bottle). This bottle of tasty bubbles is an excellent value and is also offered as a part of the free-flow wines!
A chat with the owner and chef…
During the visit, I had the opportunity to chat with the proprietor, Gary, and the magic maker in the THAIPAS kitchen, Chef James. Originally from Ban Phe, Gary started a popular seafood noodle restaurant called “Kang” in the small coastal town near Koh Samed. He decided to open a branch in Bangkok in Thonglor.
But he soon realized that the location was perfect for attracting the night crowd–and noodles weren’t going to attract them. His vision was twofold: create a delicious menu that showcases the amazing seafood found in the markets of Ban Phe, Chanthaburi, and Trat, and price the dishes affordably so that diners would also appreciate the value.
Tapas seemed like a logical direction to move toward and that’s where Chef James comes in…
THAIPAS is born…
While working at Plaza Athenée’s Islero, Chef James studied under the expert guidance of Executive Chef Emiliano Vignoni Alvarellos who learned about pushing the envelope on Spanish cuisine during stints at Michelin-starred Mugaritz and Atrio restaurants.
Chef James was excited to design a tasty tapas menu that allowed him to express his culinary talents and blend Thai ingredients and flavors with traditional Spanish cooking.
In January 2022 THAIPAS was born!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
THAIPAS is located on Sukhumvit Soi 13 with parking available for those wanting to drive. It is open Thursday through Sunday from 5 pm until late.
The seating is wraparound bar-style which is perfect for small groups. It’s best to make advance reservations to guarantee seating availability (especially on free-flow Thursdays).
For larger groups or for a more private dining experience, THAIPAS has a hidden dining area that is available for booking (free). Contact them directly to reserve it.
If you want a delicious and unique tapas experience that doesn’t break the bank you should definitely visit THAIPAS!
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience THAIPAS, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram (and feel free to like/follow these pages if you want to learn about more foodie gems). However you choose to reach out, I’d love to hear from you!