Off the beaten track and hidden among rickety, wooden plank pathways along the Chao Phraya riverfront, Steve Cafe & cuisine is truly a unique, hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. If you’re an expat wanting to try something different in Bangkok, or simply on holiday longing for somewhere a little more adventurous and local, the laid back Steve Cafe may be just what you’re looking for.
A journey to Steve Cafe
It’s certainly not an easy feat trying to navigate one’s way to Steve Cafe. Balancing your way along the maze of thin, creaky boardwalks; squeezing through drunken, saucy gangs of fishermen getting lairy on Sangsom; and dodging old locals hauling rice sacks on their backs is a mini adventure in itself. (It’s not that bad – I just got REALLY lost. Follow my directions below to avoid the rabble of local drunks)
Navigating your way to the little riverfront restaurant is all part of the fun of visiting Steve Cafe & Cuisine in Bangkok though. The quaint, little alleyways and energetic atmosphere of these riverside stilt houses represent authentic, local Thai culture perfectly.
The fruits of a successful search
When you arrive at Steve Cafe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the contrastingly clean and inviting-looking riverfront building tucked away at the end of a winding alley of ramshackle, wooden planks. Greeted by a welcoming sign on the teak wooden doorway, you’ll be asked to remove your shoes and stow them on the homey shoe rack next to the entrance.
The layout of Steve Cafe is authentically casual, bright and airy: simple white furniture lines the terrace along the river front, while the inside section features cozy sofas and mismatched seating. The basic setting is complimented with the odd charming, subtle decoration such as rambling roses climbing pillars, minimalist Thai temple paintings on the walls, a typical Thai spirit house embellished with offerings of flowers, and random old stuffed toys in hanging cages… wait, wtf? Creepy.
As for the view at Steve Cafe, the opposite side of the river provides a rather sparsely populated view: void of impressive Bangkok high rises or grand, Thai temples as you might get at other famous restaurants on the Chao Phraya river like Amorosa. When visiting Steve Cafe, expect a more simple, broad riverfront setting – just sit back and appreciate the rare calm of the big city.
The soft, lapping sounds of the river, along with the decent mix of popular, easy going background tunes from artist’s like Jack Johnson, give Steve Cafe a pleasantly relaxing ambience. Furthermore, despite the humble surrounding landscape, it’s still fun to watch the little boats and ferries go by, and the giant, creepy river fish thrashing around in the water while the locals feed them from the busy neighbouring dock.
The menu at Steve Cafe
The menu at Steve Cafe is thickly packed with a huge range of both traditional and modern Thai dishes. Typical meals cost between 140 baht and 200 baht for simple dishes like Pad Thai & fresh prawns or Southern style sour soup with lotus stems & tofu; or up to the 400 baht mark for more elegant dishes such as deep fried sea bass with herbs.
Food is reasonably priced considering the decent portion sizes and quality – dishes are obviously cooked with love at Steve Cafe. You’ll find pretty much any Thai dish you can think of on the menu at Steve Cafe from dry curries, soup curries and sour soups, to veggie dishes, salads and stir fries.
How to get to Steve Cafe
Steve Cafe is set in a peaceful area, hidden behind a beautiful temple and museum through the local back streets. The best way to get to Steve Cafe is by ferry. You can take the BTS to Saphan Taksin pier, then take the ferry to pier no. 15, Thewet Pier. This should cost about 15 baht depending on which boat you board.
Once at pier 15, walk straight down the road for a couple of hundred metres until you reach a small bridge on the left hand side. Cross the bridge, turn left and follow the road around the u-bend. Just ahead on your left hand side there should be a narrow alleyway – walk down and turn left at the end. This will take you a temple entrance.
Make your way behind the temple until you come to a parking lot with a museum on the right hand side. Just past the museum is a wooden walkway towards the river that leads to Steve Cafe.