In the midst of Phuket’s paradisiacal beaches, bustling markets and street food stalls, lies a world of culinary sophistication and artistry. Although best known for its natural beauty, Phuket is also home to a remarkable array of fine dining establishments – both nationally and internationally inspired – that elevate the eating experience to another level. World-class cooking from renowned chefs, meticulously crafted menus, impeccable service and warm Thai hospitality combine at these stellar establishments. And Phuket was the first Asian “City Of Gastronomy” named by UNESCO. So if you’re seeking to make your meal a memorable event, book a table at one of these fantastic restaurants.
The farm-to-table philosophy here runs very close to home. The restaurant has its own permaculture smallholding, Pru Jampa and is committed to replanting and sustainability. As such, the eatery has been awarded Thailand’s first Green Michelin Star and offers low carbon foot print dishes plentiful in fruit and vegetables, roots, plants, flowers and herbs. The name is an acronym for plant, raise, understand. And further ingredients are foraged from many different regions. From this produce, chefs create incredible six-course tasting menus for vegetarians and carnivores, with optional wine cellar pairings.
L’Arôme by the Sea
Dine overlooking Kalim Bay at this nautical restaurant and rooftop sunset deck. Swiss Chef Yannick Hollenstein brings a blend of the classic and the avant-garde to his interpretation of French cuisine, with a focus on his native Alpine region. French foie gras, Kristal caviar, Japanese Wagyu, Phuket lobster, wild-caught Krabi blue crab and hand-picked local clams are examples of some of his favourite ingredients, both imported and locally sourced. Naturally, the restaurant is inspired by the ocean setting, with a theatrical nine-course Prestige Tasting menu served. The dress code is “resort chic” with a dressy leaning after dark.
Part of a stylish resort in Mai Khao, La Sala is an all-day restaurant specialising in the flavours of the south. Service begins early, with an international breakfast buffet and live cooking stations. Lunch takes the form of street food platters to share and colourful salads, then from 2pm to 6pm, the space hosts afternoon tea with gourmet savouries, scones and patisserie. As evening falls, the emphasis leans toward spice, with curries, noodles, meats and seafood prepared Thai style. La Sala is set on and beside a truly beautiful lily pond.
Restaurante La Gritta
Craving Italian food? Book a table here, where Umbrian chef Giordano Roscini brings his ancient homeland flavours and Michelin-star experience to the island of Phuket. Recipes from across Italy are featured on the menu, with fresh, homemade pasta being an evergreen favourite. These are complemented by Italian-inspired craft cocktails and Italian vinos. The decor and atmosphere also help to create the Mediterranean ambience and a huge glass wall offers views over Patong Bay inside, with further seating out on the terrace. This is a relaxed and chic take on fine dining.
Choose between set and a la carte menus for dinner at Dee Plee. Executive Chef Hongz uses her native culture and the natural colours of Thailand as her muse, along with recipes passed down to her by generations of family members and Royal Thai cuisine. The result is an authentic and bespoke taste of this diverse land, where local and organic ingredients reign. Try dishes such as fried tiger prawns in sweet and sour tamarind sauce; wok-fried local melinjo leaves with egg and garlic; and sago from Phattalung with young coconut meat and sweet corn.
Blue Elephant Phuket
Where better to experience cutting-edge cuisine, than in a restaurant that shares accommodation with a leading cooking school. Blue Elephant is also a heritage landmark in its own right; housed in the Phra Pitak Chinpracha, a grand and palatial former governor’s house. It’s a beautifully restored example of Sino-Portuguese architecture, found in the historic neighbourhood of Phuket Town. Chef Nooror presents Perenakan (an expression of Phuketian tradition) and voyage menus, along with a la carte dishes, weaving together the past, the present and the future of cooking. After dinner, stay for cocktails in the glowing Blue Bar.
Set beside Kamala Beach, this restaurant is recommended in the 2022 and 2023 Michelin Guides. Diners are greeted with a welcome drink and canapés before embarking on a nine-course tasting menu. Produce is sourced from local farmers and fishers, with the intention of supporting those nearby communities. Chef Chalermwut (Nui) Srivolalkul brings a home cooking style to his exquisite dishes, with an in-house fermentation lab bringing unique flavours to the table. Be sure to try his signature Look Choke Curry and the zero-waste Choo Chii Goong (prawn bisque and curry). This restaurant is part of the InterContinental Phuket Resort.
Acqua Restaurant Phuket
Masculine, modern and design-led, the monochrome interior of this ultra-stylish establishment sets the scene for artistic, forward-thinking gastronomy. It’s the work of Sardinian chef Alessandro Frau (named one of the “Best 20 Chefs in Asia” by Now Travel Asia Magazine), who brings items like Sicilian red prawns, Puglian burrata cheese, Sardinian sea urchin, French oysters and American lobster to the table. Dine from the Signature Degustation menu, or from the huge a la carte selection which includes everything from gourmet wood-fired pizza to quail, veal, artisanal ravioli and raw seafood on ice.
Su Va Na
Something entirely different and utterly memorable immersive experience, Su Va Na transports you beneath sea level, into a state-of-the-art aquarium dining room. You’ll be surrounded by over 25,000 sea creatures and 300 species as you eat, as well as mesmerising nightly performances from underwater dancing mermaids and mermen. 13 and 16-course tasting menus are the standard here, although it can be hard at times to tear your attention away from the unfolding spectacle to look down at the many delights arriving to your table. Allow at least two hours for your meal.
Get the feel of eating in a Thai village, at this rustic-style restaurant made from repurposed materials and overlooking a secluded beach. Ta Khai is part of the Rosewood Hotel, with menus by Uncle Nun and Aunt Yai, the resident chefs, who’ve been married for three decades. Together they bring their expertise in old southern Thai food, creating simple and deliciously authentic dishes. The restaurant’s name means ‘fishing net’ and guests have the option to select seafood from the in-house tank, which will then be prepared exclusively for you. Private dining is also available in a dedicated sala, where your personal chef cooks tropical creations for you and your party.
Just 18 people per night (Wednesday to Sunday) have the chance to dine at Nitan, whose name translates as “determination”. The dining room is minimalist, Scandi-style, with a small window into the kitchen area. Architect founder Pang Keds designed the space which opened in 2019, while Chef Pom takes the lead in the kitchen with a new approach to Thai food and a specialism in fermentation. Expect artfully presented themed seasonal tasting menus with unusual inspiration (the Thai railways served as a recent one). Nitan has received the Michelin Plate in 2022 and 2023.