Restaurants in Phuket
There is a vast selection of restaurants in Phuket. Particularly in the tourist resorts, you can find almost any food you fancy. There are restaurants covering every major western and Asian cuisine. And of course lots of Thai restaurants. Wander around the sois (side streets) off the beach roads, Bangla Road or Rat U Thit Road and you will find restaurant after restaurant. Phuket is renowned for its fresh seafood. If you walk along the beach road there are many seafood restaurants displaying fresh fish, prawns, oysters and lobsters. All these restaurants are aimed at tourists and are easy to find.
In this page, we are not going to concentrate on the tourist town restaurants. We will give a few recommendations for these but then we want to tell you about some of the more obscure restaurants that most tourists do not find. The sort of restaurants where there may be more Thai customers than tourists. The sort of restaurants where you have to get out and explore to find them.
None of the following restaurants is paying for our recommendation. We simply choose them as some of our favourite restaurants on the island. We have selected them on the basis of authentic food, ambience of the restaurant, value for money or unusual character. And of course, half the fun is finding the restaurants in some of the more isolated and picturesque areas of Phuket.
We will start with just a few quick recommendations for the best restaurants around the tourist towns:Patong
- Baan Rim Pa:
- Top class Thai cuisine and fabulous sea front views across Patong bay make an evening's dining here a treat. It is on the seafront in Kalim.
- Paan Ya
- Not quite as plush as Baan Rim Pa but similarly excellent Thai food and a similar location by the sea in Kalim.
- Da Maurizio:
- A fabulous location by the beach at the north end of Patong and the Italian cuisine is pretty good too.
- The Islander:
- Great traditional British food in Soi Patong Resort off Bangla Road.
- On the Rocks:
- Fabulous seafood in a wonderful location on the rocky headland at the south of Karon Beach. Go through the Marina Phuket Resort.
- Mom Tri's Boathouse:
- One of the premier eating experiences in Phuket. Award winning food and ambience in a fabulous setting by Kata beach.
- Mom Tri's Kitchen:
- If you are impressed by his boathouse then try his kitchen. The sister restaurant is on the road from Kata to Kata Noi.
- Ratri Jazztaurant:
- Perched up in the hill above Kata, this restaurant has fabulous views, a relaxing ambience and great food.
Enough of the tourist town restaurants. Now lets get out and search for some of the remoter restaurants around the island.
Baan Hat Rawai Restaurant, Rawai Beach
Rawai Beach is renowned for its fresh seafood. Seafood stalls line the beach road and at the east end of the beach is a fresh seafood market where local fishermen sell their catch. At the west end of the beach is the lovely Baan Hat Rawai restaurant. Only a small lane separates it from the beach and the surrounding casuarina trees provide shelter from the sun. It has beautiful views across the bay and to the outlaying islands. A perfect, relaxing ambience to enjoy your food while watching the fishermen at work in the shallow rocky bay.
The restaurant has a good selection of Thai food. Excellent fresh seafood and many other classic Thai dishes. Their customers are a mixture of Thais, ex-pats and tourists so they are accustomed to serving westerners and they have an English language menu. The prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food and location of the restaurant.
Kan Eang 2, Chalong
This restaurant should not be confused with Kan Eang 1, which is directly next to Chalong Pier. Kan Eang 2 is owned by the same family but they split their efforts and Kan Eang 2 is generally the better performer. From Chalong Circle, follow the road to Phuket Town for around 300 meters and you will see the right hand turn to Kan Eang 2 restaurant signposted.
The restaurant is next to the beach with great views across the mass of boats in Chalong Bay. They have a mixed clientele, English language menu and English speaking staff. There are tubs of fresh seafood around the back.
Palai Seafood, Palai Beach
Palai Seafood is at the end of Soi Palai which is off Chao Fa East Road about halfway between Phuket Town and Chalong Circle. This is the same soi as Phuket Zoo so just follow the signs to the zoo and then keep going. The restaurant is on Palai Beach. To the right is Chalong Pier surrounded by a mass of yachts and tour boats. To the left is Cape Panwa and the large island directly out to sea is Koh Lon. A gorgeous setting to enjoy your food as the sun sets.
The restaurant has tanks of live fish, crabs, lobsters and prawns. It serves quality fresh seafood at very reasonable prices as well as a good range of other Thai dishes for those who do not enjoy seafood. It is a popular restaurant with Thais and ex-pats but not many tourists find their way here. They have an English language menu.
There are several other nice seafood restaurants along this beach.
Chai Yo Seafood, Cape Panwa
'Chai Yo' is Thai for 'hip hip hooray'.The restaurant is located on the bank of a small river. There are tables by the river and also some salas where you can sit Thai style on the floor around a low table. There is also a covered seating area set back from the river that is beautifully sculptured from teak. The restaurant has live fish and crabs in holding nets in the river so you can be sure your food is fresh. They also serve non-seafood dishes.
It is a shame the concrete pipes they have now lined along the riverbank have slightly spoiled the natural beauty of the location. When the tsunami struck the wave rolled right up the river flooding out the restaurant and washing away their entire fish stock. After that, they felt the need to build some protection.
You can rent canoes here to explore the small river or make the short journey to the sea. There is also a small pond with a paddling boat for children. The customers here are mostly Thais and a few ex-pats. Not many tourists find this restaurant. They have an English language menu.
This restaurant is a little tricky to find. Drive into Cape Panwa on Sakdidet Road. Turn right at the third set of traffic lights and you will come to a three-way intersection with a small monument in the middle. Turn left at this intersection and follow the road for approx two kilometers. The restaurant is on the right hand side at the bottom of a hill. If you reach the mouth of the small river, you have gone too far.
The Natural, Phuket Town
This simple but beautifully decored restaurant is one of the best places in Phuket Town to enjoy Thai food. As the name suggests, they have gone for a natural look. The restaurant is built around a great tree that the owner never had the heart to cut down and there are lots of plants and water fountains. This restaurant is on Soi Phuton near the junction with Bangkok Road.
Their menu includes all the classic Thai dishes. Their customers are a mixture of Thais, ex-pats and tourists. They are accustomed to serving westerners and have an English language menu.
Koh Maprow Floating Restaurants
It is the beautiful location and the unusual character of these restaurants that really make them worth a visit. They are in the sea halfway between Phuket's east coast and Koh Maprow (Coconut Island). The sea here is sheltered so it is always calm.
There is a restaurant at the pier, Laem Hin Seafood, which is also a good place to eat. They have tanks of fresh seafood and great views across the bay. However, we are recommending a visit to one of the floating restaurants in the bay. You will need to take a longtail boat. The short boat trip should be free as the restaurant will pay the boatman.
There are four restaurants to choose from all built in the same style. A floating base covered in planks with benches and tables under thatched roofs. Each restaurant has a name such as the Black Crab or Kruvit Raft. Within the floating restaurants are holding nets dropped into the sea where live fish, crabs and shellfish are stored. There are also several floating shellfish farms in the bay. The setting is quite perfect.
These restaurants serve a mixture of Thais, ex-pats and tourists. A tour guide has usually led the tourists who manage to find these restaurants. The restaurants have English language menus and are accustomed to serving westerners. The prices here are a little high compared with Thai restaurants. However, they are still cheaper than equivalent food in the tourist towns and the price includes the boat trip.
To get there turn right from the Bypass Road on to Thepkrasattri Road heading towards Phuket Town. Approx two kilometers later the road does an 'S' bend up a hill. At the top of the hill take the left hand turn down a lane and follow it to the end where there is a car park and Laem Hin Pier.
Pae Ma Nam, Kathu
This one gets a mention for the unusual experience of eating your food while floating on a raft in the middle of a lake.
The restaurant has a peaceful lakeside location. As well as a seating area by the lake there are also four covered rafts floating on the lake. The rafts are attached to ropes that hang above the lake so you can pull the raft across. You sit on the floor of the raft around a low table. Once you have got your food and drink loaded up pull yourselves into the middle of the lake. You can also order some fish food (ah-hahn plah) to feed the fish that will crowd around the raft.
They serve a good selection of seafood and classic Thai dishes. The food is reasonable but nothing special. The main selling point of the restaurant is the location. Most of the customers are Thai with a few ex-pats. They have an English language menu although most of the serving staff do not have very good English skills.
Located in Kathu it is a good option if you are on a shopping trip to Central Festival, Big C or Tesco Lotus. The restaurant is off Wichitsongkram Road. If you drive from Central or Big C along Wichitsongkram Road towards Patong then after one kilometer there is an 'S' bend and right at the end of the bend is a red sign for the left hand turn to the restaurant. There is also a green sign to Sabai Spa. If you reach the 7-Eleven, you have gone too far.
Moo Ga Ta & Goong Ga Ta, Phuket Town
Not actually Thai food, this eating style is imported from Korea. Just the same, these restaurants are becoming hugely popular with Thais and worth a mention. The basic concept is that you get a cooking pan ('ga ta') in the middle of the table to cook your own food. Under the cooking pan is burning charcoal so it is like having a mini barbecue on your table. The pan has a trough around the outside filled with broth for boiling vegetables or noodles. You can grill your meat on the raised centre area of the pan.
These style of restaurants have been popping up all around Phuket. They do an all-you-can-eat buffet for 89 to 129 baht per person. The buffet includes cut meat, fish, prawns, squid, ham, sausage, vegetables and side dishes. You also make your own all important dipping sauce, adding chilies, garlic or lemon sauce to make it as spicy or sour as you want.
This style of restaurant would probably never get a health certificate in the west which is a shame because it is a fun way to eat and an absolute bargain. For those whose stomachs are not acclimatised to Thailand, a dickey tummy is a possibility. Remember after you put your uncooked meat on the grill, dip your chopsticks into the broth to clean them before using them to eat the cooked meat. These restaurants are always busy with lots of Thais and quite a few ex-pats. Not so many tourists find them. There is no menu as it is a buffet.
Three of the most popular 'Ga Ta' restaurants around Phuket Town are:
- Moo Ga Ta on Pathiphat Road just north of the junction with Krabi Road.
- Goong Ga Ta on Ong Sim Pai Road close to the junction with Phang Nga Road.
- Another Goong Ga Ta is on Wichitsongkram Road next door to Big C.
These are just a few of our favourite eating places. There are of course many, many more great eating-places that you can find if you get out there and explore.