You don’t have to introduce yourself to Sam of Sam’s Fish and Chips. You won’t have time. He’ll come right over to you. He wants to know all about you. Where are you from? How long have you been in Bangkok? His Filipino friend, who’s been playing gigs in Thailand for 40 years and is teaching his son the guitar, wants to know if you have a favorite song as he serenades you. A granddaughter sits in the corner and does her homework.
If this sounds like the scene at your neighbor’s backyard barbeque, that’s by design. Sam has made his rooftop garden on oasis off of Phiphat Soi 2, adorned in simple yellow tablecloths and chairs. Wherever you’re from, wherever you work, chances are Sam knows someone from that area and is eager to ask if you know the person.
As for creating a welcoming, laid back atmosphere, Sam’s Fish and Chips can’t be beat. On to the food.
The deep-fried John Dory (119 baht) was not oily at all, lightly breaded and crispy, served with malt vinegar. Thechips (49 baht) were plenty thick and oily, but all the better to douse with malt vinegar. Fat Gutz has a better tartar sauce, and they skew to the heavily battered and oily side, but there’s no reason Sam’s fish can’t compete, especially at these prices.
Also available is pan-fried tilapia (149 baht) and fried prawns with garlic (149 baht).
Sam is trying to make the place a little more upscale and just unleashed a series of specials including rabbit stew, osso buco, pan-fried lobster, and Atlantic salmon, where each is 329 baht and served on specific days of the week. This was a bit worrisome for us to hear as many restaurants in Bangkok try to diversify their menu, fail and lose track of delivering on their core product. Sam’s Fish and Chips are the real deal, so stick with the namesake for your first visit.
You have to climb a tiny spiral staircase to reach the restaurant, and during November to March, Sam said reservations are recommended because his tiny rooftop fills up fast during high season.
Simple food, smooth, friendly vibe on a verdant rooftop—why aren’t there more places like this in Bangkok?
Sam’s Fish and Chips
Location: 146 Phiphat Soi 2, off of Convent Road. It is also easily accessible from Narathiwas Soi 3 or Phiphat Soi 1.
Mass transit: BTS Chong Nonsi
Hours: 5:30-10 pm Monday-Saturday