Compared to the buzzing metropolis that is Bangkok, the island paradise that is Krabi, or the heritage-rich province of Chiang Mai, Phuket has long been saddled with a pretty bad rep thanks to its crowded beaches, streets rife with tourist traps and taxi touts, and its infamous Bangla Road stretch filled with tacky go-go bars and seedy clubs.
But spend a little more time exploring the island and you’ll find that’s not all there is. Phuket is also home to stunning waterfalls, secret beaches and nature parks. It’s within close proximity to Phang Nga Bay and the Phi Phi Islands too, where snorkelling opportunities abound. For urbanites, it has a bustling nightlife scene, with many live music venues and upscale bars. And here’s something that might please everyone heading to Phuket: The place also offers an abundance of excellent dining options ranging from casual eateries to fine dining establishments. Whether you’re yearning for an extra spicy bowl of tom yum goong, or even a massive plate of spaghetti (just because), you can be assured of finding something that’ll hit the spot.
Scroll down for our guide to the best Phuket restaurants you ought to visit on your next trip. And no, you won’t get ripped off.
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Located near Bangla Road in Patong, No. 6 Restaurant is a perpetually crowded spot that attracts long queues at any time of the day. It serves an extensive menu of traditional Thai dishes such as tom yum goong, phad thai, and mango sticky rice — all at affordable prices. Particularly worth trying are the deep fried pork strips (which are gloriously crunchy and coated with crispy garlic), and stir-fried Morning Glory (kangkung tossed in garlic and packed with wok hei). The restaurant also runs a second outlet up on a hill on Phrabarami Road.
No. 6 Restaurant, 186 Ratuthit Songroipi Road, Phuket 83150, Thailand
If your itinerary involves visiting the culture-rich, more laid-back Phuket Old Town, be sure to swing by Raya House, which is popular among locals and tourists alike for its authentic Thai cuisine. Its highlights include crab curry (comprising fat chunks of crabmeat submerged in coconut curry and served with vermicelli), deep fried fish with tamarind sauce, and steamed pork with pepper and garlic. Another draw of the restaurant is its charming locale: It’s situated in a 90-year-old Sino-Thai house.
Raya House, 48 Dibuk Road, Talat Yai, Phuket Town, Phuket 83000, Thailand
(Photo: TripAdvisor/ Joyce S)
It’s a no-brainer to binge on Thai food when you’re in Phuket — or anywhere else in the Land of Smiles. But for those craving something different in a classy setting, head over to Acqua Restaurant for a hearty Italian feast instead. The fine dining restaurant offers degustation menus featuring dishes such as wood-fired suckling pig and Alaskan King Crab risotto, as well as à la carte options like pizzas, pastas, seared foie gras and grilled wagyu ribeye. Also available is a wide variety of wines, cocktails and champagnes.
Acqua Restaurant, 324/15 Prabaramee Road, Kalim Bay, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand, +66 76 618127
Enjoy sumptuous Thai cuisine and unobstructed views of the Andaman Sea at Kan Eang, which sits on the shore of Chalong Bay. The restaurant is known for its seafood dishes, with popular offerings like Tiger prawns cooked in butter, grilled lobster, and steamed chilli crab. It also serves Japanese and Western fare such as sushi, sashimi, tempura and sandwiches. For drinks, pick from a selection of cocktails, wines, beers and juices.
Kan Eang @ Pier, 44/1 Viset Road, Moo 5, Chalong, Phuket 83130, Thailand, +66 76 381212
Not too far away from the beautiful Bang Pae waterfall is this casual restaurant facing the sea and a mangrove swamp. But don’t let its rustic and unassuming facade fool you — the eatery is a hotspot for locals, due to its delicious and reasonably priced Thai fare. Its signature items range from lemongrass clam soup to deep fried fish and curry crab. Savour these, and then go for a leisurely stroll along the nearby beach afterwards.
Bang Pae Seafood, Moo 6, Baan Ao Por, Paklok, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand
(Photo: TripAdvisor/Hament R)