Unique restaurants in Phuket, Thailand

Unique restaurants in Phuket, Thailand

Unlikely gems

Text: Amy Van

When in Phuket, head to the waters, the hills and the old town for a delicious meal

La Gritta

Why eat Italian cuisine in Thailand? Why not — if the food is incredibly fresh and authentic?

Touted as one of Phuket's best Italian restaurants is La Gritta at the stunning Amari Phuket, a beautiful resort perched high on a cliff. This is a great spot for a celebratory dinner, or even just a hearty meal away from the Patong crowds. Built right by the sea and next to the inviting poolside, La Gritta is elegant yet casual enough for you to wear your sandals and bermudas. On a balmy evening, sit al fresco by the edge of the waters for the best sunset views of Patong Bay. If it drizzles, there's an indoor area. The menu here is divided into antipasti, handmade pastas, meat and fish courses, and desserts. 

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Ravenous diners can opt for the six-course Discovery Menu — the chef rolls out dishes such as grilled Hokkaido scallops, livened up with paprika mayonnaise sauce, salmon caviar, and bottarga powder; and a robust home-made pappardelle with pork ribs and fresh Italian sausages, mingling with a light tomato sauce. This is followed by mains of either slow-cooked wagyu beef cheek resting on mashed potatoes; or pan-fried seabass, partnered with orange juice and cognac sauce, grilled asparagus and pumpkin purée. Cleanse your palate with lemon sorbet before diving into the cannoli — a crispy tube filled with ricotta cheese, and chocolate chips.

You can of course opt to share just a salad, pizza or pasta, especially since the portions here are massive.  The adjacent La Gritta Bar offers premium wines, creative cocktails, aperitifs and digestifs. Meet the perfect spot for sundowners or a nightcap.

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Suay Restaurant

Stepping into the garden and courtyard of Suay in Phuket Town is like entering someone's charming home. This cosy restaurant is tucked way inside a quiet part of Phuket Old Town. The person behind this modern Thai concept is Chef Tammasak Choothong or Chef Noi, well recognised as one of Thailand's most distinguished chefs. Prior to starting his own restaurant, he was former executive chef of JW Marriott Resort in Phuket. In 2010, Tammasak set out to pursue his lifelong dream of starting his own restaurant, and opened the doors of the flagship Suay Restaurant in Phuket Town. He launched another one in Cherngtalay in 2017. The newer Cherngtalay restaurant is more spacious, and offers a stylish yet relaxed ambience. Besides its elegant indoor space, it boasts a bar and outdoor courtyard dining.

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The German-Thai chef weaves in modern European techniques with traditional Thai dishes for his menu at both restaurants. "Most vegetables and seafood are from local sources that we handpick every early morning from the fresh market in town," says Tammasak. The generously portioned dishes are great for sharing if you'd like to try different items. Suay probably serves one of the prettiest pomelo salads ever, which comes with grilled sea scallops, Thai basil, crispy fried dried shrimp, thinly sliced starfruit or radish, and edible flowers for garnishing. Superbly-executed mains include the signature braised beef cheek in massamun curry; instead of rice, the ultra tender meat is served with pillowy coconut gnocch and a side of edamame bean salsa and cashew nuts for crunch. Round off with a unique version of mango sticky rice — but in the form of a spring roll, and adorned with flamed mango and black sesame ice cream.

At Suay Phuket Town's new bar concept, you can also enjoy pre or post-dinner cocktails spiked with Thai flavours, like white turmeric martini, tamarind rum, and tom yum rum coke. Pair these with Thai-inspired tapas like tuna tartar or salted fish croquette with yogurt and chili dip.

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Three Monkeys

Perched on a hillside jungle, with stunning views of Phuket Town and the Chalong area, is Three Monkeys Restaurant. This hidden gem, reminiscent of your dream wooden tree house, seamlessly fuses with the lush suroundings within the Hanuman World attraction where you can do zipline and other heart-pumping activities.

The uniquely design restaurant is divided into several levels — at the top is an outdoor terrace where you can soak in the surrounding views. The highlight here is a unique platform sheltered by a curved-shape thatched roof. Here, you can sprawl or sit barefoot and enjoy your meal. There's also the air-conditioned indoor dining space and a superb bar with floor-to-ceiling windows to boot.

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Three Monkeys serves authentic Southern Thai cuisine, grilled dishes, and some Japanese-style bites like sushi and sashimi. We recommend the ubiquitous Thai items like the prawns cakes, mango salad and tom yum seafood, which are fresh and well prepared. Mingle with locals as you sip cocktails or a Thai iced tea at the al fresco area shaded by massive trees. Service wise, the staff here are extremely friendly, efficient and helpful. We hear that it can get crowded with local families on weekends, so best to go on a weekday if you're seeking a quieter ambience. 

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