What To Know About The 2024 James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Winner Langbaan

Big news for the burgeoning Portland, Oregon food scene. The well-known Portland restaurant Langbaan has just won the 2024 James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant. Langbaan is a Thai style restaurant that features only 24 seats, for an ultra-cozy dining experience. The restaurant first opened in 2014, and features a no-substitutions tasting menu that immerses diners into the rich landscape of Thai dining. Langbaan is owned by Akkapong "Earl" Ninsom, who also owns a Thai barbecue spot called Eem, a fried chicken restaurant called Hat Yai and, most recently, Yaowarat, a restaurant inspired by the Chinatown district of Bangkok. 


Each year, the James Beard awards honor restaurants, restauranteurs, chefs, and those in the hospitality and food services industry who have demonstrated excellence in service and creativity. Ninsom was previously nominated for Outstanding Restauranteur in 2022. However, the award that year went to Chris Bianco, who owns the restaurants Tratto, Pane Bianco, and Pizzeria Bianco. Meanwhile, this year's James Beard Outstanding Chef Award went to Washington DC's Michael Rafidi.

A big name on the Portland food scene

Langbaan's most recent honor has been a long time coming for the restaurant, which has been a beacon of the Portland, Oregon food scene for the past ten years. The award for Outstanding Restaurant was given to the establishment for its excellence not just in its menu, but also for its well curated atmosphere and its beneficial relationship with its surrounding community. The award is certainly proof of the city's diverse and unique food scene, which has become a beacon for experimentation and creativity in recent years. The city is no stranger to quirkiness, either, featuring an unofficial slogan of "Keep Portland Weird", which many residents think of as an oath to maintain the city's singular charm.


However, despite this quirkiness, Langbaan is not a restaurant that caves to novelty or fusion. Instead, its unique charm comes in its dedication to authentic Thai cuisine. In fact, Langbaan was one of the first restaurants in the United States to feature an entirely Thai tasting menu. And the restaurant has not wavered in its dedication to Thai cuisine, which is perhaps all the more reason to plan a visit next time you head to Portland — if you can get one of its 24 seats, that is.