One of the best kept secrets in Bangkok, Thailand is the Ten Sui Japanese restaurant. Located on Sukhumvit, Soi 16, it’s known by connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine as one of the best, most authentic Japanese restaurants in Bangkok, and is a favorite of local business men and women who love to eat lunch here. It is also popular with evening diners who love the romantic and secluded atmosphere of the restaurant, away from the bustle of the city.
Design of Ten Sui – Set back from the street in a gated Japanese-style garden, Ten Sui itself is in a converted Thai house that has been completely renovated to appear traditionally Japanese. As you walk up the stone steps and into the restaurant entrance way, the first thing you notice is the beautiful hard wood floors and the traditional Japanese open kitchen and sushi and sashimi bar immediately facing you.
At this point, you have a choice of either sitting in the left hand side of the restaurant, with its small wooden tables and chairs, or on the right hand side in the glassed-in conservatory. For me, the chairs on the left next to the sushi bar are more interesting as you can watch what’s going on a the sushi bar as well as see your fellow diners. In the conservatory, it’s a little more secluded but, with the intense heat of the Bangkok afternoon, I would tend to keep that seating area as an evening choice, when the sun isn’t beating through the glass.
The Food – Of course, Ten Sui is known for its traditional Japanese food. One of the Japanese friends I went with told me she thinks it tastes just like food in Japan, a real compliment indeed.
At lunch time, you’ll be presented with a small menu that includes the lunch sets they serve. At lunch, most of the meals come as ‘sets’, which means you’ll get a main dish, a side dish of Japanese rice,
something like miso soup, and pickled Japanese vegetables. They also usually come with a small dessert.
When I eat lunch at Ten Sui, I order either the sushi set or the chicken and rice. Both are superb. The sushi is unbelievably fresh (most of their fish is flown in from Japan, so that’s likely why) and is so large, it’s actually more food than you really need. At around 500 baht ($15) for lunch, it’s pricey for Bangkok standards but absolutely worth it.
In fact, lunch is the time to try Ten Sui, if you don’t want to spend several thousand baht, as the sets are inexpensive compared to the evening menu. At dinner, without the sets, and also with the sushi and sashimi bar, prices can get steep but, again, still thoroughly worth it.
At dinner, I recommend the sushi and sashimi bar, and particularly the blue fin tuna or the crispy fried fins. Scrumptious! Expect to pay at least 3,000 baht (around $100) for dinner for two.
The Service and Atmosphere – Ten Sui has some of the best, low-key service in any restaurant in Bangkok. The waitresses, dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos, are polite, helpful and most importantly quiet. They don’t talk, they don’t ask a lot of questions, they just take your order, bring your food and leave you alone. Perfect.
Every time I eat at Ten Sui, the one thing I notice is the intense quietness of the restaurant. It’s one of the quietest places I’ve eaten at in Bangkok, with diners speaking in low voices, which seems to fit in well with the atmosphere. I enjoy this as it’s relaxing at lunch and quite romantic during dinner.
If you eat at Ten Sui and have never experienced traditional, authentic Japanese cuisine you might be surprised at the taste and may not understand how truly superb the food here is. The first time I ate lunch at Ten Sui, I left thinking “That was good” but soon found myself wanting to return again and again. Ten Sui is now my favorite Japanese restaurant in Bangkok.
Located on Sukhumvit Soi 16 in Bangkok (there’s another location now on Sukhumit Soi 29, although the restaurant isn’t quite as pretty), Ten Sui is easy to get to from Asok sky train station or by taxi.