Chefs use coconut husks instead of charcoal grills to give the fish a fantastic aroma
The Andaman’s pearl may be famed for its breathtaking azure seas and stunning sunsets, but it is also an island of intoxicating gastronomy. From beachside fish shacks to panoramic restaurants with the prerequisite supermodel crowd, this tiny island can serve up a dish to suit your every mood.
For Traditional Flavour
If you’re on a Thai kick (and honestly, why wouldn’t you be?) then pull up a pew at the Phuket Old Town institution Raya Thai Cuisine (48 Dibuk Rd, Phuket Old Town, +66 76 218 155). Inside colonial Sino-Thai bi-level mansion you’ll spy gorgeous Portuguese mosaic tiling, pretty stained glass, and walls adorned with ’50s vintage prints of celebrities, royalty and the odd prime minister enjoying a chow down. Khun Kulab is master of tongue-singeing flavours and the menu is an ode to southern Thai food – local delicacies include kanom jeen (creamy crabmeat yellow curry served with little swirls of rice noodles), a rich pork stew, and the deep-fried sea bass with shallots and fiery chillies doused in a tamarind and lemongrass sauce.
For A Quirky Feast
Sharing the quaint old town locale is endearingly popular Suay Restaurant. This little white and green beauty gets bonus points for its pretty garden setting, while the playful, innovative Thai fusion fare is worth elbowing your way in for. Once you’ve got over the questionable dish names like ‘Mrs Piggy took sun bath’ (deep-fried pork strips), feast on flavoursome Isaan-tinged morsels that twist conventions. Can’t get enough? Its cooking classes gets rave reviews too.
For A Sea View
Seafood is, as you’d expect, plentiful in Phuket – but skip the tourist shacks asking you to choose your own sad-looking seabass and beeline instead to one of the best food finds in Phuket, Kan Eang @ Pier. Plastic the tables and plates may be, but the shaded ocean-side setting and bags of outdoor charm sure make up for it. This is style minus pretension, where the daily catch has been delivered by local fishermen for over 40 years, and chefs use coconut husks instead of charcoal grills to give the fish a fantastic aroma. Keep it simple and try grilled squid with lime, then pop to next door Vbar for imported beers and cocktails. Easy!
For A Torch-Lit Evening
When you want to rock a hot outfit, you need a glam situ to suit. Quirky, stylish minx Black Ginger at groundbreaking Indigo Pearl resort is perfect for a special night out from the get-go. Upon arrival, diners are ferried across a moat on a floating platform to a torch-lit bar for cocktails, then ushered into the dim-lit dining room for the main event. Stealing the show is the predominantly southern Thai menu – try the delish gaeng leung pla (spicy and sour yellow fish curry), and Phuket favourite tom som pla (fish soup with tamarind, lemongrass, shallots, and garlic). Advance bookings and stylish kaftan-chic are of course, essential.
For Michelin-Starred Dishes
Adding a dollop of Latin razzle-dazzle to the isle is Aziamendi. Created by Michelin-spangled Basque chef Eneko Axta, this is a restaurateur’s plushest, wildest fantasy – not surprising given it’s part of squillionaire Mark Weingard’s astonishing, OTT Iniala Beach House. Dramatic, Spanish design with thick swish carpets, undulating waves on the roof, and a stellar art collection backdrop a gimmicky but boundary-pushing degustation. This is serious gourmet food more commonly associated with big-city dining. Just wow.