Phuket is a traveling foodie's dream. Named a “City of Gastronomy” by UNESCO in 2015, this Thai island remains a fertile breeding ground for culinary ambition. Visit the restaurants in this list and you’ll find that ambition bearing fruit: Thai chefs plumbing the Andaman’s fresh seafood catches for sublime Southern Thai delicacies; foreign entrepreneurs whipping up Western dishes with a twist; and out-of-the-box thinkers creating fusion cuisine from both traditions.
After dark, when Phuket’s beaches close, head on over to any of these 12 culinary hotspots.
The name translates to “Monday” in Thai (วันจันทร์, usually spelled “wan jan”), but the interiors are nothing quite so dreary. The opposite, in fact, with a quirky vintage approach that suits its century-old Old Phuket townhouse location.
One Chun’s Southern Thai menu earned a Bib Gourmand award from the Michelin people—popular items include kang poo (curry crab) and tuna foo + yum mamuang (Deep fried tuna with spicy mango salad). Prices are at the upper limit of affordable, but One Chun is still a great value considering its family-friendly ambience and authentic food.
Found at the junction of Thalang and Thepkasattri roads, Sunday diners enjoy immediate access to the Phuket Walking Street Market.
Once the private house of artist and royal relative “Mom Tri," this wooden cliffside villa overlooking Kata Noi Beach now hosts a small luxury hotel (Mom Tri Villa Royale) and a restaurant whose stellar reputation overshadows its companion accommodations.
Dinner at Mom Tri’s Kitchen serves up equal amounts of flavor and romance. Going by its lamb shank in massaman curry and goong manow (prawns with mustard lime sauce), the menu bridges European continental and Southern Thai cuisine.
Diners can also choose from the Kitchen’s 700-bottle-strong wine cellar, 15 of which are served by the glass. An evening at Mom Tri’s Kitchen is best saved for a special occasion, as its prices are quite dear.
This Phuket Town restaurant is easy to spot, thanks to a massive lobster hanging from one corner of the traditional-looking mansion. Inside, diners find a cozy space serving up Southern Thai dishes at surprisingly affordable prices.
The Michelin-recognized dishes were inspired by the owner’s mother, Khun Linchii, whose serene portrait gazes over the clientele. Tu Kab Khao’s illustrated menu will save you some grief from deciding what to order: Classic regional dishes like sen mee gaeng poo (crab and thin rice noodle in curry) prawns in tamarind sauce, and moo hong (pork belly stew) range in price from 150 to 380 baht.
This unassuming shop just off Karon Beach has earned an outsize reputation for its delicious pad Thai, served piping hot in generous servings. It’s easy to miss, as the shop is relatively unadorned—just exposed wood, concrete and brick, and plastic chairs and plates.
The food is unmistakably the star here; beyond pad Thai, you can also order noodle soup or pad krapao (fried rice with holy basil and pork). It’s simple home cooking, all at 50 baht. Feel free to season your food further with the fish sauce, chili sauce, or dried chilis.
Best Old-World Ambience: Raya
This decades-old Phuket classic has only gotten better with age. Set in a 130-year-old Sino-Portuguese house in the heart of Phuket Town, Raya offers unadorned—yet undeniably delicious—Southern Thai food in a genteel throwback setting.
Every item on their Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded menu is a winner, but one is a must-have: their mee hoon gaeng poo (curry-infused coconut milk stew with crab meat, served with rice noodles) is a complete meal that balances spiciness, creamy mouth-feel, and umami flavor.
Order that and their moo hong (slow-braised pork belly) and you’ve got yourself a classic Phuket Thai dinner.
Best Variety & Value: Lock Tien Food Court
You don’t mess around with a winning formula; that’s why Lock Tien has been dishing out Peranakan and Hokkien favorites in Phuket Town for more than 50 years. The food court-style space recalls Singapore’s hawker centers and Malaysia’s kopitiam: a communal area with individual food carts serving separate specialties.
Order these indispensable favorites for first-time Lock Tien diners: mee leung pad Hokkien sai kai (Hokkien-style fried yellow noodles), por pia (fresh spring roll), and for dessert, a refreshing oh eaw shaved-ice dessert (pictured here). Prices are very wallet-friendly; expect to pay 20 to 50 baht per dish.
Kan Eang has occupied this location at Chalong Bay for almost 50 years now; what started as a fishing spot eventually evolved into the sleek outdoor restaurant that stands here today.
True to its name (Thai for “at ease”), Kan Eang assures a relaxing al-fresco experience with local seafood cooked in a variety of styles. Delicacies like horseshoe crab, golden snapper, massive oysters, and rock lobster are guaranteed to be freshly caught; they are then grilled over coconut-husk charcoals before being served at your table overlooking the sea.
Look just beyond Patong Beach for Phuket’s premier Italian restaurant. Run by Sardinian chef Alessandro Frau, this award-winning joint serves up a mouthwatering lineup of fusion-Italian dishes that relies on Phuket’s immediate access to fresh seafood. You’ll be in good company—Acqua is a regular haunt of visiting celebrities, including Kelly Rowland and Dolph Lundgren.
Favorites include Sicilian-style red prawns au jus; yellowfin tuna carpaccio; and wood-fired roast suckling pig. Chef Alessandro personally curates the restaurant’s extensive Italian wine list; enjoy both food and heady drink in Acqua’s sleekly modern interiors.
An east coast restaurant serving Phuket’s freshest seafood, Laem Hin is a 30- to 40-minute drive from Patong Beach—but the effort is worth it. Set in an outdoor terrace next to the sea, Laem Hin gets first pick of local fishermen’s catch of the day; prawns, fish, and other seafood are cooked to each diner’s taste.
Seafood is generally charged by weight per 100 grams—to get your money’s worth, bring all your friends and order a variety of dishes. You’ll have your pick of Southern Thai seafood favorites, like tom praet talay (spicy seafood soup) and goong pad sataw (shrimp with thai stink beans), alongside hearty helpings of khao pad sapparot (coconut fried rice).
Set in Baan Chinpracha, a beautifully-restored former governor’s mansion in the middle of Phuket Town, Blue Elephant benefits from all the class of the restaurant’s grandiose setting.
Chef Khun Nooror Somany Steppe has created a menu that fits the surroundings, filled with pricey Thai delicacies that draw from Southern Thai and royal culinary traditions. Key dishes include seng wa goong pla duk foo (fried shrimp and Thai herbs drizzled in a sweet-and-sour sauce) and gaeng massaman kae (massaman curry with lamb). The staff is happy to recommend wines to go with your food, drawing from their extensive wine list.
For a more hands-on approach to Thai cooking, tourists can also sign up for Blue Elephant’s cooking classes.
Bampot’s owners are cheeky buggers; the restaurant name translates to “foolish person” in Chef Jamie Wakeford’s native Scottish, but rest assured that this Bangtao bar’s patrons are not taken for a ride.
Bampot offers a wholly British and continental menu. Expect fish pie, seared duck breast, and massive Angus steaks—all whipped up from their open kitchen. The extensive cocktail, beer, and wine list completes the picture; barkeep Martyn Nicol makes a mean “Faithful Scotsman,” a cocktail composed of Scotch whiskey, lemon, pineapple, and cumin.
Bampot’s interiors set a friendly, approachable tone, complementing the “Michelin Plate”-awarded menu. Prices are moderate, as far as nights out in Phuket go.
Best Dessert: Mango Moment
This shop at the new Porto de Phuket shopping center in Cherngtalay, Thalang has an obsession with mangoes, and hopes visitors can share in their fervor.
In Mango Moment's menu, you’ll find wonderfully modern takes on traditional desserts like mango sticky rice—their version infuses the sticky rice with pandan leaf, adding a delightful dimension to the dish. You’ll also find Thailand’s favorite fruit done up in other interesting ways, including mango smoothies blended with passion fruit and a store-made mango ice cream.
The place is designed to tease the eyes as well, with quirky mango-shaped furniture and Instagrammable spots.