Phuket restaurants and dining guide

Fresh seafood dinner on the beach

Fresh seafood dinner on the beach

Cuisine is definitely one of the highlights of a Thailand visit and Phuket restaurants are among the country’s best. Whether you’re looking forward to authentic Thai food or international fare, the menus in Phuket are a mouth-watering delight. Part of the thrill for many when visiting Phuket is the chance to enjoy lazy, long afternoon lunches and dining in the finest restaurants by night.

In addition to offering regional food from the south of Thailand, including plenty of seafood and thick spicy curries with a Malay influence, the restaurants in Phuket offer dishes from the rest of the country, as well as Royal Thai cuisine. Then there’s a huge range of international food, with plenty of Italian, French, American, British, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Arabic tastes, along with other cuisines from around the globe.

There are countless restaurants in Phuket, the following of which are favourites among Thais and foreigners alike:

Patong Restaurants
Kata and Karon Restaurants
Surin Beach restaurants
Bangtao and Layan Restaurants

Phuket International restaurants

W Wine Bar and Bistro: (Two branches: Chalong and Bang Tao) Attached to the Wine Connection wine shop, this bistro serves a wide selection of meat and cheese plates as well as excellent entrées. Open: 09:00-19:00 (Monday-Friday), Wine Connection Head Office: 19/54 Moo 8, Chaofa Road, Fisherman Way Business Centre, Chalong, tel: (076) 282 411-2, fax: (076) 282 414; Bang Tao Place: 123/30-31 Room 32-33 Moo 5, T. Chengtalay, tel: (076) 326 137, fax: (076) 326 138, email: info@wineconnection.co.th, website: www.wineconnection.co.th. $$$

TOTO Italian Restaurant: (Cherngtalay) Offering the best wood-fired pizzas in all of Phuket plus traditional Italian dishes and Mediterranean tapas, this is an extremely popular restaurant with expats and tourists. Thailand, Open: 15:00-22:00; 24-30 Laguna Resort Entrance, Lagoon Road, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket, 83110, tel: (076) 271 430, email: info@totophuket.com$$$

Le Royale Namtok: (Kathu) Run by two Belgians who previously had a Gault-Millau-recommended restaurant in Antwerp, Le Royale is their home during the day and a restaurant in the evening. Expect fine dining on French gastronomic cuisine and a good wine selection to match. Open 18:00-21:30 (Monday to Saturday); 116/102 Soi Nam Tok Rd, on the road to Kathu Waterfall, tel: 087 263 7327, email: info@theroyalenamtok.com$$$$ 

Green Man Pub and Restaurant: (Phuket Town/Chalong) Traditional British pub serving a huge menu of excellent comfort food and a good selection of imported beers. A regular Sunday roast and special holiday set menus are also offered. Open: 12:00 to midnight; 82/15 Moo 4, Patak Road, Chalong, tel: (076) 281 445, fax: (076) 281 452, email: greenmanofphuket@hotmail.com. $$

Khanasutra: (Phuket Town) Cuisine from all the regions of India, with a good atmosphere and good value. Lunch 11:30-15:00; dinner 18:00 to midnight. No Sunday lunch and closed Tuesdays; 18-20, Takua-Pa Road, Talad Nua, tel: (076) 256 192, mobile: 081 894 0794, email: billychima@hotmail.com. $$

Watermark Bar & Restaurant: A smart, contemporary brasserie on the waterfront in Phuket Town, popular with locals and expats. The Boat Lagoon Marina, 22/1 Moo 2 Thepkasattri Road, tel/fax: (076) 239 730.

Oyster Bar Phuket: (Boat Lagoon Marina) This is where to come for the finest seafood including caviar, crab and oysters served amidst plush surroundings. Mouthwatering dishes include baked oysters with wild mushrooms and parmesan, Sake-poached oysters with hijiki butter, and Alaskan king crab. There is a full wine list and cocktail selection as well. Entrance of Laguna Lagoon Rd. Cherngtalay, Thalang. Tel: (076) 271 430, email: info@ugolinigroup.com. $$$

The Family: (Rawai) Excellent selection of Mediterranean food, including hummus, shawarma and falafel. Special bulk menu for sailors. Chalong Circle, 6-14/15 Moo 5, West Road, Rawai, email: ovy49@yahoo.com. $$

La Taverne: (Rawai) Two French chefs serve up five-star cuisine at a very reasonable price and the house wines are some of the best in Phuket. Open 16:00-23:00; Marine Plaza, Boat Lagoon, mobile: 081 476 4911, email: tony.pope@gmail.com. $$+

The Mangosteen Restaurant: (Rawai) Features a blend of Asian and international cuisines, themed nights and a tempered underground wine cellar. Right next to a very inviting swimming pool and with terrific views of the south of the island. Open: 07:00-22:00 (daily); 99/4 Moo 7, Soi Mangosteen, tel: (076) 289 399, fax: (076) 289 389, email: restaurant@mangosteen-phuket.com, website: www.mangosteen-phuket.com. $$$

Budget Wise? Phuket restaurants cater to a wide range of wallets as well as tastes, from simple street-side noodle carts and grill stalls to five-star restaurants with spectacular ocean views. Top international celebrity chefs have begun flocking to Phuket to open eateries that cater to the island's affluent clientele. They offer traditional and fusion dishes in tastefully-decorated places and, although more expensive than Thai restaurants, a satisfying meal for two (including wine or beer) may only cost 30 euros.

East Phuket restaurants

Oasis Restaurant: (Nai Harn) A quiet little hole-in-the-wall with great sandwiches, grilled chicken and a popular all-day breakfast. Nai Harn. $ 

La Gaetana: (Phuket town) Small, intimate Italian restaurant run by the ever-attentive Gianni. Excellent food. Often booked solid, so call before you go. Open: 10:00 to midnight, (closed Wednesday); 352, Opposite Bang Neaw Chinese Temple, Talad Yai, Phuket Road, Phuket Town, tel: (076) 250 523, mobile: 081 397 1227. $$$ 

Watermark Bakery: (Koh Kaew Phuket Town) This bakery has been serving the Phuket area for more than 12 years and offers a supreme selection of fresh bread, croissants, cakes, pastries plus sandwhiches, pizza and pasta. Everything is made from  the finest ingredients and there is a full lunch menu. 60/2 Moo 2, Chalermprakied Rd., tel: (076) 377 963, mobile: 081 851 5570, fax: (076) 377 964, email: info@watermarkpatisserie.com. $$

Buffalo Steak House: (four locations: Patong, Kata, Karon) New Zealand imported meat with good portions. Patong--Open: 09:00 to midnight, 58/7-8 Bangla Rd., Soi Patong Resort, tel: (076) 340 855. Kata--Open: 09:00-24:00, 46 Karon Road., tel: (076) 333 176. Karon--Open: 09:00 to midnight, 35/19-20 Patak Road, Karon Beach, tel: (076)396 824. Kata Beach--Open: 09:00 to midnight, 38 Karon Road, tel: (076) 333 013, email: webmaster@buffalosteakhouse.sewebsite: www.buffalosteakhouse.se. $$$

Chili Thai restaurant: Recommended to us by numerous locals, perfect for a Phuket Town lunch, but only open until 21:00, they serve a tasty, non-touristy-priced menu of Thai and international food in an unpretentious atmosphere. Open: 11:00-21:00 (Monday-Friday), 16:00-21:00 (Sunday), closed Saturday; 33/1 Thepkasatri Road, Moo 2, Ko Kaeo, tel: (076) 239 728, mobile: 081 979 6707 (front onto the main road next to "Dalaaburi", almost opposite Boat Lagoon Marina by the footbridge), email: adrian.j.simpson@gmail.com. $

Black Cat: (Cherng Talay) Between the Cherng Talay Police Station and the entrance to Laguna, this is one of the longest-surviving foreign restaurants in Phuket. Excellent and extensive menu of French food. Open: 11:30-15:00 (Monday-Saturday) & 17:30 to midnight, 17:30- midnight (Sunday)296 Moo 1 104, Bandon/Cherngtalay Road., tel: (076) 271 180, email: blackcat@phuket.ksc.co.th, website: www.blackcatphuket.com. $$

Tasty food is abundant in Phuket

Tasty food is abundant in Phuket

Zen: (three locations: Phuket Town, Karon, Patong) With a wide variety of Japanese food, including a great sushi menu. Central Festival, Phuket City; Hilton Phuket Arcadia Beach Resort & Spa, Karon; Swiss Palm Beach Resort Hotel, Patong. Open: 11.00-22:00 (daily)74-75 Vichitsongklam Road, tel: (076) 249 735, fax: (076) 249 734. $$

Flints-One Bakery: (Chalong) Wide variety of fresh baked breads and very good sandwich and pizza menu. Open: 07:00-20:30 (daily); 8/1 Viset Road, Moo 3, Rawai, tel: (076) 289 210. $+

Bake: (Cherng Talay and Chalong) High-end bakery with excellent coffee, bread and cakes. BAKE Chalong: 26/6-7 Moo 6, Chalong, tel: (076) 381 461, fax: (076) 383 405; BAKE Cherngtalay: 58 Lagoon Rd., Cherngtalay, Thalang, Tel: 076 271 016, fax: (076) 325 673; BAKE British International School: 58 Moo 2, Thepkrasattri Rd., Koh Keaw, tel: (076) 204 012, email: cherngtalay@bakebakery.comchalong@bakebakery.com, bis@bakebakery.com
website: 
www.bakebakery.com. $$$

Budget guide
$
dishes less than 100b; large bottle of beer 60-80b; shot of whisky 80-90b; cocktails 100 b
$$ dishes 100-250b; large bottle of beer 80-100b; shot of whisky 100b; cocktails 125-150b
$$$ dishes 250b+; large bottle of beer 100b+; shot of whisky 120b+; cocktails THB 150b+
$$$$ first-class international restaurants with meals in excess of 400b

Upmarket Thai restaurants in Phuket

The Blue Elephant: (Phuket Town) Housed in what used to be Phuket’s grandest private mansion, which has been completely restored, this excellent restaurant specialises in Royal Thai cuisine – dishes from the recipe books of chefs to Thai royalty. Also has a large Thai cooking school which start from 2,800 baht to 78,000 for 5 days Professional Chef Course. Open: 11:30-14:30 and 18:30-22:30, 96 Krabi Road, Talad Neua, tel: (076) 354 355-7, fax: (076) 354 393, email: phuket@blueelephant.com, website: www.blueelephant.com. $$$$

The Natural Restaurant: (Phuket Town) Top quality Thai food, multi-level seating and interesting décor. Open: 10:30-23:30 (daily)62/5 Soi Phutorn Bangkok Road, Talad Yai, tel: (076) 224 287. fax: (076) 214 037, email: info@naturalrestaurantphuket.comwebsite: www.naturalrestaurantphuket.com$+

Baan Klung Jinda: (Phuket Town) Set in a beautiful old house, with excellent traditional Siam Spice Thai cuisine. 158 Yaowarat Road, tel: (076) 221 777, fax: (076) 214 040, email: dine@baanklung.com, website: www.baanklung.com. $$$

Baan Rim Pa: (Patong) Stylish setting with piano bar, beautiful view, award-winning Thai food and wine cellar. Open daily midday until around midnight. 223 Prabaramee Road, Patong Beach, tel: (076) 340 789, fax: (076) 618 239, email: info@baanrimpa.com, website: www.baanrimpa.com. $$$

Tom Yam Goong: (Kata) Located at the bottom of the hill in Kata and specializing in spicy and sour Thai soup. 376 Srisoontron Rd., Cherngtalay, Thalang, tel: (076) 271 248, mobile: 081 979 5212, email: phuket-info@tomyamgoong.com, website: www.phuket-tomyamgoong.com. $$

Banana Corner: (Rawai) Charming outdoor seating and top quality Thai food at reasonable prices. Open: 12:00-23:00 (daily); 43/47 Saiyuan Road, Moo 1, Rawai, tel: (076) 289 045, mobile: 086 277 3699, email: yingbanana@yahoo.comwebsite: www.bananacorner.net. $+

Lunch restaurants in Phuket

Mae Porn Seafood: (Phuket Town) A good selection of stir fries and curries, very friendly service - closed on Sundays and on national lottery days (1st and 16th of each month). Open: 11:00-21:30; 26 Soi Poang Chom Poo, Hong Yok Rd., Talad Yai, tel: (076) 236 124, mobile: 089 972 45429. $

Steak Samkong: (two branches: Phuket Town, HomePro Village in Chalong) Mixed Western / Thai menu, with great steak and sausages specials and a big coffee menu. Open: 07:00-23:00; 367/26-28 Yaowarat Road, Talad Yai, tel: (076) 217 190, fax: (076) 217 191. $

Lemon Grass: A favourite with smart Thais, with its nibbles menu (no Thai drinks without eating as well) and choice of al fresco dining or aircon rooms. Open: 18:00-01:00 (daily); Dibuk Road, tel: (076) 233 455. $$

Raya Restaurant: (Phuket Town) Family-run restaurant in an old wooden house with tasty food and good value for money. Recommended by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Open: 11:00-23:00, 48 New Dibuk Road, tel: (076) 218 155, 232 236. $$

Maimorn Seafood & Karaoke: A sprawling garden restaurant that can accommodate a couple of hundred diners. Excellent service and authentic Thai seafood. The karaoke is confined to soundproofed aircon rooms, so no one will be put out if you sing off-key. Open: 16:30-02:00 (daily); 9 Soi 3,  Phang Nga Road, Talad Yai, (next to the bus station), tel: (076) 211 208, mobile: 089 652 5967, email: maimorn_phuket@hotmail.com.  $$

Foodie tips:
Phuket seafood is among the best in the world and the many favourite dishes include shrimp, crab or fresh fish. Other popular Thai dishes are Tom Yum Goong, a spicy-and-sour shrimp soup, Gaeng Kiew Wan, sweet-and-spicy green curry, Goong Tord Gratiem Prik Thai, deep fried tiger prawns with garlic and pepper, and Goong Pad Makham, fried prawns with Tamarind sauce.

Patong restaurants – Phuket

Molly Malone’s: Right on the main strip in Patong, traditional Irish ‘Pub Grub’ with Guinness on tap and live music at night. Open: 10:00 to late (daily); 94/1 Thaweewong Road, Patong Beach, tel: (076) 292 771, fax: (076) 292 774, website: www.mollymalonesphuket.com. $$+ 

Joe’s Downstairs/Da Maurizio: Perhaps the best view on the island - these establishments are linked via a staircase leading down to a private beach. Joe’s serves tapas at very high prices, and Da Maurizio offers a private chef service with personalized Italian menus at an equally high price. Open: 12:00-late; Joe’s Downstairs: 223/3 Prabaramee Road, tel: (076) 618 245, fax: (076) 618 239; Da Maurizio Bar: 223/2 Prabaramee Road, tel: (076) 344 079, fax: (076) 290 147, email: info@joesdownstairs.com, website: www.baanrimpa.com. $$$$ 

Fuji: This great chain of Japanese restaurants sees a good turnover - food is always fresh and great value set meals are served during lunch and dinner. Several places in Phuket - the newest branch to open is found at the Jung Ceylon shopping centre. Open: 11:00-22:00 (daily); tel: (076) 600 056-7. $$

Savoey: Very popular with tourists, featuring indoor and outdoor dining areas, with good Thai food and seafood, cooked to the style you prefer. Open: 06:30-24:00; 136 Thaweewong Road, Patong Beach, Patong Beach, tel: (076) 341 171, fax: (076) 340 231, email: info@ savoeyseafood.com, website: www.savoeyseafood.com. $$$

Lim’s: Tucked away on a hill in the area of Kalim, this little restaurant serves Thai food in a modern setting. The restaurant is small, but dramatic in design with art pieces on the walls and is good for celeb'-spotting. Open: 18:30-23:00; 28 Phrabaramee Road, Soi 7, Kalim Beach, tel: (076) 344 834, mobile: 081 894 3040, email: info@limsphuket.comwebsite: www.limsphuket.com. $$$

Da Mario: (two branches: Karon, Kata) A discreet, popular venue with great home-cooked style pasta without fuss. Fresh seafood and home-made pasta add to the charm of this non-pretentious Italian restaurant, located at the southern end of Patong near CNN hotel (enroute to Karon). 526/19-20 Soi Islandia, Patak Road, Karon, tel: (076) 286 131, 398 056, mobile: 081 370 0253, fax: (076) 396 867email: info@damariothai.com. $$$

White Box: On the rocks of Kalim Beach - Thai fusion food and a big bar open to the sky on the top floor, and there are DJ nights which are popular with the smart young set. Open daily 17:00-01:00. 247/5 Prabaramee Road, Kalim Beach, tel: (076) 346 271 ext. 1, email: rsvp@whiteboxrestaurant.com, website: www.whiteboxrestaurant.com. $$$

Karon and Kata restaurants

Joe Kool's: Located at the Talay Karon Beach Resort in Karon. 568 Patak Road, Karon, tel: (076) 396 666, ext. 6802, fax: (076) 396 444, email: info@joekoolsphuket.com$$

Ratri Jazztaurant: Located on a hill with breathtaking, panoramic views of Kata Bay, this hilltop restaurant is tastefully decorated and serves delicious Italian food with a lounge atmosphere. Open: 17:00 to midnight (daily); Kata Hill, tel: (076) 333 538, fax: (076) 333 539, email: ratrirestaurant@chr.co.th, ratriresm@chr.co.th, website: www.ratrijazztaurant.com$$

Capannina: Located at the end of a soi off Kata Beach Road, this popular place has excellent Italian food and pizzas from a wood-fired oven. Often packed, so call before going. Open: 11:30-23:00 (daily); 30/9 Kata Road, tel/fax: (076) 284 318, website: www.capannina-phuket.com. $$

Mom Tri’s Boathouse: (grand re-opening Oct 1, 2011) enjoying absolute beach frontage, this is a perfect sunset cocktail spot with a well-thought-out menu. Executive Chef Jean-Noël Lumineau Maître Cuisinier de France ensures every dish is absolute perfection. One of the best and largest wine cellars in Thailand. Open: 06:30–23:00 (daily); happy hour (drinks at half price) from 17:00-19:00; 12 Kata Noi Road, Kata Beach, (076) 333 568, email: info@momtriphuket.com. $$$$

Mom Tri’s Oasis: (grand re-opening Oct 1, 2011) Adjacent to the Boathouse. Beachfront dining and a stylish yet relaxed setting in the open-air restaurant and bar at Oasis. It achieved to win a Wine Spectator Award just a year after opening.  At the Oasis square exclusive antique, art and jewely boutiques and a wine shop provide some of the best shopping in Kata. Open; 11:00-22:30 (daily); 182 Koktanode Road, Kata Beach, tel: (076) 330 015-7, email: info@boathousephuket.com. $$$

Mom Tri’s Kitchen: The restaurant with the best view, this establishment is found in Villa Royale, a boutique resort that was once the private residence of its creator - the acclaimed Mom Tri Devakul, one of Thailand’s most respected architects. Great food and equally impressive wine list. Open: 07:00-23:30 (daily); 12 Kata Noi Road, Kata, tel: (076) 333 569, email: info@momtriphuket.com. $$$$

Surin Beach restaurants

Taste: This restaurant, on the Surin strip, is a stone’s throw from the sea and is known for its special dishes, such as pork belly slowed-cooked in a broth flavoured with anise. Other items include: Nepalese curry, duck with orange sauce, prawns on toast and the best chocolate mousse on the island, apparently. (note: closed from June 13th re-opening on July 5th 2011). Open: 14:00 to late (Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday); tel: (076) 270 090, mobile: 087 006 6401, email: info@tastesurinbeach.comwebsite: www.tastesurinbeach.com. $$

Twin Brothers: Fresh seafood and pizzas served in a relaxing beachside hut - best to visit in the day and enjoy the sea views. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$

Oriental Spoon: One of the best Sunday brunches on the island - the smorgasbord includes fresh oysters, roast beef, mash, sushi, cheeses, and strawberries dipped in chocolate sauce - plus a bottle of complimentary white wine to kick-start your day. Open: breakfast 07:00-10:30, dinner 16:00-23:00 (daily), Sunday brunch: 12:00-15:00, bar: 16:00 to late; Twin Palms resort: 106/46 Moo 3, Surin Beach Road, Cherng Talay, tel: (076) 316 577, email: orientalspoon@twinpalms-phuket.comsittichai@twinpalms-phuket.com, website: www.twinpalms-phuket.com. $$$$ 

Catch Beach Club: Open-air restaurant and chic event venue on a boardwalk right next to the beach. Owned by Twin Palms, so superb food and prices to match. Often sees big social events in the evening the scene as well as DJ nights and dancing on the sand. Open: 09:00-02:00; Surin Beach Rd., Cherng Talay, tel: (076) 316 567, fax: (076) 316 599, email: book@catchbeachclub.comwebsite: www.catchbeachclub.com. $$$$

Sea Breeze: Good place for lunch with your feet in the sand. Popular Thai and Indian dishes. $$

Bang Tao restaurants - Phuket

Little India: Run by a young Indian chef who whips up the finest Indian cuisine from this small, efficient restaurant found at the entrance of Laguna. Open: 12:00-23:00 (daily). 394 Moo 1, Cherng Talay, Thalang, tel: (076) 270 673. $$$

Babylon Beach Club: This fantastic Italian restaurant specialises in fresh seafood plus traditional Thai dishes. The exotic cocktail menu has a little for everyone, while the global wine selection compliments the first class Mediterranean cuisine perfectly. What'smore the sea views here are simply stunning. Between the Amora Hotel and Laguna Beach Resort, Bang Tao, tel: (076) 377 961, mobile: 085 218 8608, Manager: 086 282 8766, email: info@babylonbeachclub.com. $$$

Capri: Fantastic pastas and pizzas, great salads and the best desserts on this side of the island - their panna cottas and chocolate ice cream are delicious. Also found at the entrance of Laguna, the Capri is great value for money as the quality of food is always consistent and service is quick and efficient. 106/17-18 Moo 3, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Surin Beach, tel: (076) 270 597-8, fax: (076) 270 599email: info@phuket-capri-hotel.com. $$ 

Siam Supper Club: Be entertained in this warm, tastefully decorated restaurant where the glitterati dine during their stay on the island. Features DJs and jazz nights and rumoured to be a hit with visiting celebs. Open: 18:00-late, (kitchen closes at 22:00); 36-40 Lagoon Rd., Cherngtalay, Thalang, tel: (076) 270 936, fax: (076) 270 937, email: info@siamsupperclub.com, website: www.siamsupperclub.com. $$$

Tatonka: The fact that this restaurant has been open for more than a decade is proof of the excellence of its fusion food. Open: 18:00 to late (closed Wednesday); outside Laguna Complex, 382/19 Mu 1, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay, tel: (076) 324 349, email: tatonka@e-mail.in.th. $$+ 

North Phuket restaurants

Indigo Pearl Resort: Rivet and Rebar (Naiyang Beach) brand new and different - this re-branded resort boasts two different dining experiences in their dramatic and modern restaurants - Rivet and Rebar. Sunday brunches are extraordinary. Nai Yang Beach and National Park, tel: (076) 327 006, 327 015, fax: (076) 327 338-9, email: info@indigo-pearl.combastien@indigo-pearl.com, website: www.indigo-pearl.com. $$$$

Trisara Resort: The restaurant in this uber-luxurious establishment enjoys the best setting to enjoy a highly civilized evening of cocktails, followed by a meal that is made to your specifications. You can choose whatever you like from their extensive menu and add your own twists; the chef will prepare it as you like it. 60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherng Talay, Thalang, tel: (076) 310 100, fax: (076) 310 300, email: reservations@trisara.com. $$$$+

Laem Son Seafood: This restaurant on stilts overlooks Phang Nga Bay (though a large pier was recently built nearby, which didn’t enhance the view) and serves a good selection of seafood at unbeatable prices. Locals love it and way outnumber the few knowledgeable foreigners in this unpretentious establishment, where you can have a great feed of 4-5 dishes of fresh prawns, snapper, and other seafood for less than 1,000 baht. $$

Marriott’s Siam Deli: (Marriott Resort) This delicatessen is one of the island’s best spots to load up on a fridge full of goodies. There is a wide selection of imported cheeses and hams, as well as olive oils and freshly baked breads. Fantastic breakfast spot if you are in the neighbourhood. Open: 06:30-23:00 (daily); 231 Moo 3, Mai Khao, tel: (076) 338 000. $$$

Gitano Restaurant & Love: Bright, quirky restaurant with Thai and light Mexican dishes at very reasonable prices. Also features a kids’ room complete with cartoons on the TV, huge cushions and games (all free to use). Open: 11:00-22:00 (daily); Cherngtalay (opposite Tesco Lotus shopping mall), Talang; tel: (076) 324 292, mobile: 081 892 2419, email: lin@gitanolove.comwebsite: www.gitanolove.com. $$

Peang Prai: Two-storey, open-sided octagon next to the lake at the entrance to Bang Pae Waterfall and the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. Friendly-family establishment with excellent Thai food and an extensive coffee menu. It's a good stop after a tough day riding elephants and exploring the jungle. Open: 10:00-20:00 (daily); tel: 085 832 7439, 083 596 8685. $$

Phuket Town restaurants

Siam Indigo: Beautifully-restored shop house serves a good grill and Asian fusion dishes in an elegant setting. This restaurant doubles up as a gallery, where there are beautiful pieces of art on display. Near the Kasikorn Bank in Phuket Town (on the street perpendicular to Salvatore’s). Open: 14:00 to late (Monday-Saturday); 8 Phang Nga Road, tel/fax: (076) 256 697, email: sales@siamindigo.comwebsite: www.siamindigo.com. $$$

Salvatore’s: The best calamari and caesar salad served in a homely and comfortable setting - the menu comprises traditional Italian fare and all items are cooked to perfection. The décor's a bit flash but this restaurant is arguably one of the best Italian joints on the island. Open: 12:00-14:30, 18:30-23:00 (close Monday); 15 Rasada Rd.,Taladyai, tel/fax: (076) 225 958, email: info@salvatorestaurant.com, website: www.salvatorestaurant.com. $$$ 

Dibuk: Authentic French cuisine in an environment imbued with old-world charm - located in a hundred-year-old shop house. The restaurant serves fantastic pâté and steaks. Open: 11:00-23:00 (daily); 69 Dibuk Road, Talad Nua, tel: (076) 258 148, email: nok@dibukrestaurant.com. $$$

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