Eat in Phuket

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Raya

Raya

Dibuk Road

In this atmospheric two-storey Sino-Portuguese house, set on New Dibuk Road, with its tinted-glass windows, mosaic floors, vintage gramophone and walls hung with ‘30s Shanghai posters and sepia-toned photos, two sisters serve up the best Southern Thai food on the island. A favourite with Thai Royalty, celebrities from Bangkok, and local residents, its always buzzing, so make sure you call in advance. The menu is substantial with plenty to recommend though the standouts are the beautifully caramelised, braised pork belly, the deep-fried sea bass sprinkled with shallots and red chillies in a tamarind and lemongrass sauce, and the signature deep-fried chicken with turmeric. But don’t leave with out trying the moreish crabmeat...

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Joe Downstairs

Joe Downstairs

Prabaramree Road

Perched on a rocky headland with a stunning view of Kalim Bay and the sonorous sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below, its location is only one of the reasons that make this place a must go. All dressed in white, its comfortable outdoor deck offers front row seats for the island’s magnificent sunsets making it the perfect spot for a sundowner before your meal. But the main reason is award-winning Chef Aaron Hooper’s menu complemented by a wine cellar that regularly features in Wine Spectator magazine’s awards. New World cuisine is the name of the game with a delightful choice of Asian and Western style tapas such as “Szechwan Long Beans with Toasted Almonds”...

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Kan Eang @ Pier

Kan Eang @ Pier

Viset Road

Popular with locals and expats, this 40-year institution offers panoramic views of Chalong Bay and excellent grilled seafood. The secret here is that the chefs use coconut husks, a traditional southern technique, instead of the normal charcoal, as they cook slower and infuse the meat with unique flavours and aromas. Each morning local fishermen deliver live catch ensuring freshness.

Start off with the delicious prawn cakes accompanied by a piquant sauce and the delectable hor mok, curried crab mousse steamed in banana leaf. Continue your feast with their seafood basket for two that is a combination of tiger prawns...

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Vset

Vset

Viset Road

Award-winning chef Ronnie Macuja’s food is the star of this stylish restaurant that incorporates wooden finishes, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and an open-plan kitchen right in the centre.

Inspired bites such as scallop and smoked salmon salad with avocado salad, cucumber and orange roe, the goat cheese with beetroot, chard, caramelised mango and a red wine syrup, or blue-eyed tuna tartare, accompanied by pomegranate and radish are a good kick-off to the meal.

As mains, both the pork belly served scampi and the slow-braised lamb shank with grilled vegetables, and fresh horseradish butter is fork tender and hearty.

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Tatonka

Tatonka

Srisoonton Road, Cherngtalay

After a career straddling 17 different hotels in eight countries, rambling chef Harold Schwarz finally put down roots in Phuket to fuse Asian, Latino and Mediterranean influences into a menu he calls “Globetrotter Cuisine”. Located near Bangtao Beach, just outside the Laguna complex, the 50-cover Tatonka has a Native American theme running through it. A painted canvas stretched over the ceiling gives it a teepee feel, and Harold himself painted the murals on the wall of warriors hunting buffaloes (which is tatonka in Native American).

Mostly using local produce, his tapas-style menu offers delightful seafood and vegetarian dishes such...

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Ka Jok See

Ka Jok See

Takua Pa Road, Phuket Town

Hidden away down one of Phuket Town’s quiet back streets in an beautiful Sino-Portuguese house, no signage announces this place. Nor does owner Lek advertise anywhere. Word of mouth keeps this place swinging on the days it’s open, so don’t go without a reservation. Inside the décor is eclectic and the lighting low, reflecting off the stained glass windows (which Ka Jok See in Thai). From the high ceilings, lined with wooden beams, hang chandeliers, while candles and roses add a touch of romance. The menu lists all the popular Thai dishes, but no one comes for here for the food. During the course of the night, the dining hall transforms into dancehall, and the jazz playing morphs into cabaret before stepping it up to techno.

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Rockin Angels

Rockin Angels

Yaowarat Rd

Another great place for a night out, especially if live blues music is your scene. Red brick walls, framed singles, LPs and posters, neon beer signs and other Americana decorate this small bar on Yaowarat Road. Nicky’s Handlebar are cheap, the beer nicely chilled, and the music rocks. Singaporean owner Patrick Chua gets his groove on most nights with the house band. But a host of friends sit in on session and guests are encouraged to join in too. Best suited for couples and groups of friends.

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Nicky’s Handlebar

Nicky’s Handlebar

Patong Beach

Bang in the middle of Patong, this restaurant-bar-garage is dedicated to the spirit of motorbiking and the theme runs through the whole joint. The stools are made from motorcycle seats, a V-twin engines sits on the bar, and posters and photographs glorifying the way of life hang on the wall; one of Roger Waters’ guitars also decorate the wall. Five large screen show sporting events from around the world, while the blues and soft rock is the preferred soundtrack here. Take a group of friends to the party. The menu here is a mix of fantastic Thai, Western, and seafood favourites, and the drink lists offers a wide range of cocktails and beers. The owner, a passionate biker, is one of the main organisers of the Phuket Bike week, and also runs Harley tours around the island.

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Rock City

Rock City

Patong Beach

For a dose of Metallica, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Aerosmith and more, head over to this dark two-storey club. The large stage is encircled by round tables, while an overlooking balcony also provides seating. Get here by 9pm when first two bands take to the stage with a playlist of classics from the 70s to the 90s, Think Bon Jovi, Led Zep, Guns N Roses. The following acts are tributes to the gods of metal rock, Metallica and AC/DC. The bar stocks the usual suspects and sensibly priced. Rock on with a group of friends.

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Ska Bar

Ska Bar

Patak Road, Kata beach

Nestled into the granite boulders at one end of Kata Beach, this bar wrapped around a giant ancient tree is popular for its casual island reggae vibe and sunset views. Post sun down, candles and stings of fairy lights give it moody atmospheric feel, while fire-twirlers add drama to the scene with their acrobatic antics. Hip-hop, R&B, dance and reggae add their bouncy beats to the ambience. The dreadlocked Rasta Family, as the staff here are called, serve up cold beers and exotic cocktails, and make sure everyone has a good time. From time to time they throw huge parties with live concerts and a BBQ, so be sure to check the local listings. Suitable for groups of friends or couples.

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