Phuket Food and Drink
Given its over-supply of beautiful beaches, dining with a view in Phuket is desirable and eminently practical. In recent years, government crackdowns have seen a lot of al fresco beach restaurants and bars forcibly closed, but you can still eat well within sight of the sea as well as inland.
To say that Phuket has its fair share of bars too is stating the obvious. But in Phuket, it's all about knowing where to go; and most of the nicest bars are attached to restaurants or are part of luxury hotels.
Mom Tri’s Kitchen at Villa Royale
A Phuket institution overlooking Kata Noi beach. This is fusion food at its best, with Thai and western dishes co-habiting happily. The restaurant is known also for its impressive 700-label wine cellar. On the pricey side.
Kopitiam by Wilai
Terrific Thai and Peranakan food in the heart of old Phuket Town, with an emphasis on home-style cooking. While the building is relatively new, the style and decor recalls Phuket Town’s Chinese heritage, with photos of old Phuket adorning the walls.
Rang Hill overlooks Phuket Town, 140m above the city, and the views are as good as the food. Mostly traditional Thai, with curries, pad thai, steamed sea bass and chicken with cashew nuts among the recommended dishes.
Sam’s Steaks & Grill
Located at Patong’s Holiday Inn Resort, this is an expat favourite. There is an open-air section as well as an air-conditioned lounge. Steaks are the highlight, with other grills including rack of lamb on the extensive menu.
Even if you’re not staying at the resort, Seafood is worth a visit. As the name suggests, the focus is on quality seafood, with dining on an outdoor terrace by the beach or in an air-conditioned indoor section.
Situated right on the sands of Kata Beach, the Boathouse is perennially named as among Phuket's finest restaurants. There is a mixture of classical Thai and French cuisine, while the cellar houses about 6500 bottles of wine. Boathouse also doubles as a bar; the rooftop Sunset Lounge is the place for cocktails, while the Beachfront Bar offers 32 wines by the glass as well as cocktails and a wide range of beers.
The setting here, in the colonial grandeur of the 100-year-old former governor's mansion, matches the splendour of the food. Royal Thai cuisine is the focus, with such dishes as black chicken green curry and fresh lime sea bass. Also home to a renowned cooking school.
Natural Restaurant Thammachat
Trees, vines, small waterfalls, tables made from slices of tree trunk – and some of the best-value food in Phuket. Thammachat in Phuket Town serves good, unpretentious Thai food, with main courses generally less than $5. It spreads over four levels and is good fun.
This is mostly a restaurant, but the bar shares the fabulous view over Patong. There are open and covered sections to the bar, which features an impressive cocktail menu. As the name suggests, the décor is on the sumptuous – some might say gaudy – side.
At Kalim Bay, overlooking Patong, this is a gorgeous spot for a sundowner. Joe's is right on the rocks, just a metre or so above the waves, and its all-white décor is suitably dazzling. The wine list is of particular note.
Chalong Bay Distillery
The distillery produces Thailand’s only domestic rum. It’s good enough to have won several international awards and is now exported to 11 countries. You can see the production process and then repair to the bar for a tipple. The cocktails are highly recommended.
Wassa Homemade Bar
High above Patong, and with a sweeping view of the city and bay, Wassa enjoys cool breezes on even the hottest Phuket days. Don’t expect fancy cocktails – this is more a beer, spirits and fruit juices kind of a place.
Siam Supper Club
The best place for a drink near the Laguna Phuket complex, Siam Supper Club's long bar is the centerpiece of this clubby place. It's stylish and jazzy, with live music some nights. There is also a spectacular range of 'reserve' wines, including Grange.
Quip Sky Bar
Sitting above Quip Bed & Breakfast, this is Phuket Town's first rooftop bar. Without a stunning seascape to rely on, Sky Bar simply offers a charming setting overlooking the old town's historic buildings. Be aware you'll need to climb up five floors.
Hock Hoe Lee for coffee
Hock Hoe Lee was established in the late 1950s mainly as a supplier of coffee to workers in the tin industry. Later it developed its own range of teas, before returning to the roasting and promotion of coffee. Enjoy it on the spot, or take home a bag of beans.