Many people flock to Phuket for its southern-style cuisine, they also visit to eat the fresh seafood that is mostly caught straight from the Andaman Sea. If it is not a wild catch, then it has been farmed in the region and benefits from the proximity to the ocean. Visitors from overseas enjoy the seafood offerings mainly due to the price, you just can’t get this freshness and quality at the price point and throw in the spectacular settings that most of these restaurants are found in, some would say that their experience verges on priceless it is that good.
Undisputedly, Palm Seaside is the best place on Phuket’s west coast for fresh seafood and authentic southern Thai cuisine. The Head Chefs are going back to their roots and their new menu is brimming full of dishes that are unique to the southern parts of the Kingdom and to Phuket. For western palates there are fresh oysters and a plethora of Thai dishes that are familiar such as squid garlic and pepper, satay, spicy seafood salad, stir-fried spicy Vongole, and for those who really want to venture into real Phuket dishes you must try the Phang-Nga fern salad ‘Pak Kood’ with prawns, the Bang Tao Style hot and sour fish soup and the stir-fried Phuket lobster with shrimp paste and stinky beans! The ambience remains as a stylish venue with impressive fire and water features taking centre stage and views of Bang Tao Bay are truly memorable.
Recently noted as a ‘Michelin Bib Gourmand’ restaurant (friendly, tasty food with moderate prices). Mor (owner’s name) Mu Dong (canal where it is located) is certainly somewhere you really should experience in the southern area of the island on the Chao Fa Road if you want real local food. Cute salas (pavilions) are set within the mangroves and can seat at least six to twelve diners. As rustic as they are, the cuisine speaks volumes, and the amount of people frequenting this restaurant is testament to that. Expect quintessential southern Thai food and seafood that is fresh and creatively cooked. Their fern salad with squid is amazing, the spicy stuffed fish (Pla Tu Yat Sai) is very good too and the stir-fried squid with lime are all favourably endorsed. Their salted fish is also fantastic, you often find this in the local markets, and it is tender and moist – utterly delicious.
An oldie but a goody – Kan Eang @Pier has been serving up tasty seafood for decades. Genuinely Thai, the food here has a delicious taste of Phuket with spice and freshness combined. The large outdoor seating area offers stunning views over Chalong Pier and you can simply watch the world go by, or rather the boats coming in and leaving. A little less busy now to say the least this part of the island is very pretty, and the sea views are gorgeous. Must-try dishes are, ‘Hor Mok’, small, steamed fish curry mousse parcels wrapped in banana leaves, so very moreish. Be sure to order some ‘Bua Tod’, (our description doesn’t do it justice), freshwater greens are mixed with a batter and prawns and deep-fried, this is served with a sweet and sour sauce and we promise you will want more! The coconut husk smoked fish – ‘Pla Mong’ served with tamarind sauce is a real crowd pleaser and enough to share. Seafood platters and aplenty and expect to see the catch of the day on your plate, most typically squid, prawns, crab and fish. Phuket lobster is hugely promoted here, as you would expect.
Also found on the west coast on Bang Tao Beach, Catch is the daddy of beach clubs here on the island, the first to pioneer a destination by the sea where you can enjoy swanky eats and awesome music. As you would expect from its name, seafood and fish is a main staple on the menu and they even boast a raw bar with King Crab, oysters, mussels, sashimi and sushi on offer. Their daily menu features so many light and tasty dishes, some of our favourites are zesty tuna tartar, the ceviche, Spanish gambas and the King Crab and prawn salad. Main courses are just as delicious and we highly recommend the grilled jumbo tiger prawns, and both the salmon and tuna steak are divine. Spend the day at Catch and be sure to enjoy the pool, a private cabana and splash out on a magnum of rosé to wash down your ‘WOW’ Seafood Extravaganza, so generously packed with fruits of the ocean and best shared!
On Phuket’s east coast is the favourite restaurant recommendation of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, possibly because it offers a very local experience rather than too polished and the value for money is good. Laem Hin Seafood does a great tom yum goong and their soft-shell crab is delightful. The restaurant is a bit of a behemoth, but don’t let that put you off, they are a very well-oiled machine when it comes to delivering timely steaming plates of ‘Hoi’ (shells, such as clams) and service is always friendly. Its beachside location close to Coconut Island is also an attractive setting and it a stone’s throw from Phuket Town. You’ll be seated at a table with a beautiful view with the sound of the water lapping under your feet as the restaurant is on stilts. Be sure to mingle with the local people from town and on occasion you may be rubbing shoulders with some of the island’s dignitaries!