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Phuket Restaurants

Baan Klung Jinda Restaurant
158 Yaowarat Road
Phuket Town
Phuket Town , Phuket
Tel: 66 76 221 777

This venerable building, an imposing 1907 mansion sitting behind a stately lawn, once served as the residence of the provincial treasurer. Today it's the place to go if you want to dress up for dinner. There are two opulent dining areas plus a smattering of private rooms, a jazz pianist plays in the main lounge, and the wine cellar is prodigious (never mind that it's on the second floor). The kitchen claims to serve recipes reproduced from antiquity, but who's to say? Dishes such as deep-fried shrimp wrapped in yellow egg noodles are certainly interesting, but almost besides the point. It's just a good excuse to check out the building. Closed Sundays.

Hotel Photo
Catch Beach Club
106/46 Moo 3, Surin Beach Road
Cherngtalay , Phuket
Thailand 83110
Tel: 66 76 316 500

Seafood barbecues dot beaches throughout Phuket each night. To find the best one, follow the Friday-night procession of expats down the lantern-lit path to the Catch Beach Club on Surin Beach, an extension of the Twin Palms resort. Sail-like awnings arch over tables in the sand; bands play till late in the night; and you can fill your plate with a mix of Thai seafood dishes and Western specialties. Or just get cocktails and mingle around the beach bonfire. The weeknights bring mellower crowds eating high-end Thai seafood dishes like fried rock lobster in red curry sauce and Andaman tiger prawns. And during the day, beachgoers stop in for crispy brick-oven pizzas and burgers.

Open daily 11 am to 5:30 pm and 6:30 to 11 pm.

China Inn Café
20 Thalang Road
Phuket Town , Phuket
Tel: 66 76 356 239

Thalang Road is a thriving area with charming vestiges of Sino-Portuguese architecture. China Inn Café is a good place to escape the noise, with a Burmese antique shop in front and a restaurant in the back garden. The mostly Thai menu isn't ambitious, which is a good thing: Noodles, rice, and seafood dishes are simple and elegant. If you like it hot, let 'em know—otherwise; the kitchen will render your dish bland in a misguided sop to the delicate farang palate.

49 Moo 6, Layi-Nakalay Road
Kamala Beach , Phuket
Thailand 83150
Tel: 66 76 302 000

The fare at this restaurant at the Paresa resort is a little heavier than the catch-of-the-day spots that line the beach. Diavolo's menu (as the name suggests) features Italian classics with a local twist, including prawn-and-scallop risotto with candied garlic, as well as ribbon pasta with a ragù of beef and pork. Located on Millionaires' Mile, the low-lit, crimson-accented dining room has a romantic vibe, but nearly everyone opts to dine outside for the Andaman Sea views.—Cynthia Rosenfeld

Krating Bar and Restaurant
Baan Krating Khao Lak Resort
28 Moo 7
Khuk Khak , Phang Nga
Tel: 66 76 423 091

Krating Restaurant is on the road to Phuket and seems to appear just when you're desperate to get out of the car. You're still not quite there: You have to climb down seven flights of stairs to get to the restaurant, built on stilts on a cliff facing Khao Lak Bay. It feels like a tree house with wild vines draping over the rooftops (don't be tempted to swing à la Tarzan—it's quite a drop). The food here is straightforward Thai, not dumbed down for the foreign palate. Go wild: It's inexpensive enough that if you get something you don't like, it's no big loss.

Mon Tri's Boathouse Wine & Grill
182 Koktanode Road
Kata Beach , Phuket
Tel: 66 76 330 015

The Boathouse is like the Thai version of Tavern on the Green—"fancy" in a dated sort of way—but it's still full of local color and character. It occupies a prime spot on Kata Beach, the waves nearly lapping the dining patio. Head chef Tammanoon Punchan, Thailand's answer to Emeril, has his fusion moments, like the lobster done three ways, with green curry, Armagnac, and thermidor-style. Simple dishes also shine: Try the spicy sea bass soup and the green curry with beef. Punchan teaches an interactive two-day cooking class every weekend—if you can follow his heavily accented rapid-fire directives, you can replicate the basics back home. There are two other Mon Tri restaurants in Phuket, one specializing in organic cuisine, the other in Thai-Japanese fusion.

Pansea Beach , Phuket
Thailand 83000
Tel: 66 76 324 333

With set menus priced between $190 and $250 (not including wine, tax, or tip), Naoki would be a costly restaurant in New York. In Thailand, it's a king's ransom, even among those with baht to spare. Is it worth it? Well, that depends on what you expect out of a meal. The simple open-air restaurant sits between an inky-black lake and the ocean at the sumptuous Amanpuri resort, but your focus will be on the open kitchen. There are only 21 seats, all arranged around the black granite bar, and chefs (one for every three diners) serve everything but drinks directly to you. Executive chef Naoki Okumura hails from Kyoto but trained in France, so his Japanese cuisine has European touches: Fresh fish and pomelo salad has a yuzu vinaigrette; sea urchin and crab come together in a custard. The ingredients are rich (think Wagyu sirloin) but Okumura maintains a light touch, in deference to the beach location. For foodies, the balletic preparation and procession of dishes will be fascinating. For those relatively new to Japanese food, it can be intimidating, and the language barrier makes explanations of unfamiliar dishes (and what you're expected to do with them) difficult. The bottom line? If your main focus is on the food, it'll be worth every dollar. If you're looking for the whole experience, opt for the more cozy ambience of Amanpuri's Italian or Thai restaurants.

Night Markets
Ong Sim Phai Road
Phuket Town , Phuket

Any traveler who comes all the way to Thailand without visiting the food-centric night markets has missed an essential part of the Thai experience. Phuket Town's night market is a block-sized collection of food vendors serving up the freshest (and cheapest) fare you're likely to see on the island. Two people can gorge to excess, with beers, for under ten bucks. Things start stirring around six in the evening and usually peter out toward midnight.

On the Rock
Marina Phuket Resort
47 Karon Road
Karon Beach , Phuket
Tel: 66 76 330 625

A grottolike seafood-and-barbecue restaurant carved into the southernmost rocks of Karon Beach (it's part of the Marina Phuket Resort), On the Rock has both an exemplary menu and a spectacular ocean view. It puts out the full spread of standard Thai dishes plus some delectable combinations like baked mussels served in a hot pot and rock lobster baked in an oven and topped with cheese. But what makes the uphill climb worth it are the seafood satays: all manner of marine creatures impaled on sticks and grilled over a flame. The place is no secret, so call ahead to secure a table.

Hotel Photo
Oriental Spoon
106/46 Moo 3, Surin Beach Road
Surin Beach , Phuket
Tel: 66 76 316 500

The look here—all white leather paired with dark woods and chrome—is familiar to anyone who's been inside a W hotel, but it's an anomaly in Thailand, where loud neon colors are the rule. Oriental Spoon is part of the Twin Palms Resort on the west coast's Surin Beach. Despite touches like a martini bar, the food is surprisingly authentic, serving complicated and deeply spiced "country" dishes: grilled duck with red curry and coconut milk, fried blue river prawns with tamarind sauce. The presentations are traditional, too: Squeamish types who don't like to work for their food should avoid the whole shrimp, whole crabs, and whole lobsters. If you're ready to temporarily abandon the relentless tropical heat, ask to sit in the temperature-controlled wine vault, which doubles as a private dining room.

Anantara Phuket
888 Moo 3, Tumbon
Mai Khao Beach , Phuket
Thailand 83110
Tel: 66 76 336 100

Mai Khao Beach makes an ideal setting for this laid-back eatery. Couples and families gather on the sprawling deck during the day. The indoor dining room is mainly for rainy days and after dark, when tiny lights twinkle from the ceiling and the panoramic windows frame the ocean dotted with fishing boats. Those boats are the source for the extensive menu, including fresh catch served with the signature lemongrass, coriander, and lime sauce, as well as sesame-prawn toast. After dinner take a walk down one of Phuket's longest stretches of sand.—Cynthia Rosenfeld

Zeavola Resort
11 Moo 8
Laem Tong , Ko Phi Phi Don
Tel: 66 75 627 000

Opened in 2005 on the northeast tip of Koh Phi Phi Don, Zeavola is a boutique hotel whose suites have walls that slide, roll up, or otherwise disappear, mimicking the open setting of a rural Thai village. This concept of "outside" living is carried over to the restaurant. While Tacada has an actual dining room—very pleasant, with mint-green and daffodil-yellow plastic mats cleverly used as ceiling cover—the spicy seafood kebabs and fresh fruit cocktails are more enjoyable on lounge chairs or tables on the sand. Lobster, squid, and beef filets are wrapped in bamboo and leaves and put into a charcoal fire in the sand—producing tasty Thai-style barbecue. The chic atmosphere is supplemented by the chill-out lounge music you'd expect to hear at the Hôtel Costes in Paris. Wear your best bikini, though—the trust-fund kids who stay here are watching.

White Box
247/5 Prabaramee Road
Kalim Beach , Phuket
Thailand 83150
Tel: 66 76 346 271

This minimalist beach house turned Thai-Mediterranean restaurant and lounge is worth a night's escape from any of the island's fine resorts. White Box is located right on Kalim Beach, north of Patong (they offer complimentary pickup), which means you can watch spectacular sunsets on the Andaman Sea from the rooftop deck while a jazz band swings. Fresh seafood dishes blend Eastern and Western flavors, like Phuket lobster ravioli and goong sayong prawns wrapped in crispy yellow noodles. Follow those with mango sticky rice or chocolate soufflé, then work it off to house and techno tunes on the dance floor.—Cynthia Rosenfeld

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.