Tamnanpar Forest Restaurant
Baan Pae, Rayong
THE more observant among you will have realized that this place takes some getting to.
It’s situated an hour away from the bars of Beach Road, but it’s all the better for that.
Tamnanpar is in Rayong, the next province along from Pattaya. The closest spot is Ban Pae, which is where you’d go if you were heading across to the island of Koh Samet.
If you do feel like something a little bit special, then it is definitely worth the effort in getting here. How many other restaurants have their own waterfalls and rope bridges?
Everything about Tamnanpar has been well thought-out. Landscaped gardens surround the restaurant, allowing the visitor to relax in the magnificent grounds before even having to think about food.
It’s not every day that bathrooms warrant a mention in a restaurant review, but here they are worth visiting even if you don’t feel the need. Stand-ups allow the user to look out at a small waterfall (kind of appropriate I guess), while the rest of the area is like a cave, with ‘stalactites’ on the ceiling, and wood everywhere else.
While the restaurant is undeniably gorgeous, the surroundings are what make the place. Storks, ducks and swans paddle around a lake, while waterfalls gush over small hilltops. There are several zones to explore while you work up an appetite, and each area has its own character.
The eating section is similar to a safari lodge, with giant wooden beams reaching up to an apex that allows sunlight to pour through. A constant trickle of water from the roof adds to the tropical feel and provides nourishment to many of the trees inside the restaurant.
When it comes to the food, things are all Thai, and surprisingly good value given the opulent surroundings.
We went for a stir-fry mix of eight vegetables (120 baht), pork curry with cha-muang leaves (120 baht), spicy soup with fish (120/150 baht), and a roast pork salad with spicy sauce (80 baht).
Waiters speaking in fluent English took the order, and appeared a few moments later with the dishes.
Every dish was fresh and flavorsome. The soup was filled with fish that was tender to the touch, the vegetables were crisp and came with a subtle sauce, while the salad was excellent.
If the above doesn’t appeal, you can try the more exotic options, which feature crocodile, deer, or snow fish. This ain’t your basic som-tam and tom-yam restaurant, ya’know.