We've rounded up Phuket's best new eateries, cafes and hotels, just in time for your summer getaway.
Campus Coffee Roaster
This is no new kid on the block, though its latest digs are hipper and more rustic than its last. Set beneath the Romanee Classic guesthouse, the casual space is fitted out with simple wooden tables and potted plants. The high ceilings and large street-facing windows create a light, airy space, while the polished concrete floor and distressed walls exposing the brickwork beneath lend a moodily rustic vibe. The menu keeps it fairly simple, with baked goods like chocolate fudge cake (B55) and banana bread (B45), alongside coffee that uses beans sourced throughout Thailand, roasted in-house. Get the cafe’s signature Jelly Coffee (B75) that sees coffee jelly topped with frosty milkshake, or the basic hot drip (B90).
This quaint Sino-Portuguese teahouse’s faded baroque-style facade gives way to red brick walls, vintage picture frames, Chinese lanterns, and leather booths. If the weather’s on your side, enjoy a tea set in the petite courtyard out back, replete with potted trees and a water fountain. The food focuses on seafood dishes and classic Isaan and Thai faves (somtam, larb, naam tok moo, pad Thai lobster)—perhaps not the most normal accompaniment to tea, but at least it soothes the spiciness!
16 Phuket Rd., 090-915-9289. Open daily 11:30am-10:30pm. www.fb.com/khun.nai.sam
Here’s the treetop Phuket sushi-slash-southern-Thai restaurant your Instagram’s been craving. Spread out beneath a canopy of palm leaves, Three Monkeys is like a chic version of Tarzan’s treehouse but with added tastiness. In the dining room upstairs, low coffee tables make for a sit-on-the-floor kind of a meal. If that’s not your thing, take a spot in the industrial-style dining hall downstairs. The space triples as a bar, a restaurant and a cafe with a menu that sees sushi rolls, sashimi and Western dishes support traditional southern food. There are no twists here, just chunky prawn dips served with vegetables and coconut milk, and succulent chunks of charcoal-grilled pork neck—an absolute joy. There’s quite a selection of cocktails and house-roasted coffee, too.
105 Moo 4, Chao Fa Rd., 098-010-8838. Open daily 7am 9pm. www.fb.com/threemonkeysphuket
From its tiny venue on Phuket's Nai Harn Beach, Unni’s Restaurant takes a fresh approach to international and Thai food, serving colorful dishes filled with veggies—for breakfast, try a green smoothie bowl (B240) or avocado toast (B200). Not foregoing heartier, meaty options, the lunch menu features chicken avocado wraps (B299), while for dinner Swedish meatballs with mashed potato and lingonberry jam (B299) are on offer, alongside local dishes like massaman and panang curries (vegetarian, B169, or chicken, B189). Don’t forget to sample the fresh and punchy bacon bloody Mary (B260). You can either dine inside the cozy white-tiled house, or take a seat on the beach.
14/69 Moo 1, Nai Harn Beach, Rawai, 091-837-5931. Open daily 3am-4:30pm. www.fb.com/unnisnaiharn
Set on Rawai Beach, towards the southern tip of Phuket, Azzurro may be small in size, but it puts what it has to good use. The Italian restaurant takes heavy cues from the island's Sino-Portuguese heritage with an interior painted with the greenest of tropical murals. The menu spotlights flavorful pasta dishes like angel hair pasta with blue swimmer crab (B390) and corkscrew pasta with artichoke and asparagus cream topped with crispy prosciutto (B360). For those craving more protein, there's always the grilled Australian flank steak (B580) or the herb-crusted pork fillet served with mashed potatoes and lemon butter (B390). Diners can choose to sit in one of the semi-circular booths next to a stage which hosts live music or head for the more refined, white tablecloth zone beside the indoor pool. To drink, there are plenty of wines available by the glass and bottle.
57/45 Moo 7, Rawai, 088-821-7387. Open Mon-Sat 5-11pm. www.fb.com/insouthphuket
Offering an alternative to Phuket’s many fancy, overpriced Japanese-hotel restaurants, Aoi comes with minimalist wooden decor, allowing the light to shine instead on the fresh, flavorsome food—no twists, just simple, real-deal Japanese classics at reasonable prices. The menu offers a large selection of rolled-to-order sushi (B80-B130), sashimi (from B200), comforting donburi (rice bowls) and noodles. Try the hefty pork katsu curry rice (B220) or the fancy grilled wagyu on rice (B710). To drink, besides Japanese beer, they also have sake and umeshu (sweet plum wine).
77/4 77/25 Moo 6, Louang Pho Chaem Rd., 062-242-2330. Open daily 11am-9:30pm.
With its decor of dark woods and black and white murals, Phuket Town's Sedo Izikura feels more like a tattoo parlor than restaurant. The open-kitchen doles out a concise menu of ramen and Japanese bar bites like grilled skewers. Order the paitan ramen (B180) for fat chunks of braised pork, soft-boiled egg and tender pork belly in a mellow broth that's the result of several hours' simmering. Also of note are the organic noodles, made in-house daily, which hit the sweet spot between soft and chewy. Another house signature comes in the form of grilled octopus in wasabi sauce (B120), while the solitary dessert of panna cotta comes with the twist of being served inside a passion fruit (B50). Wash your meal down with a solid range of Japanese beer, sake and cocktails.
7/1 Suthat Rd., 087-627-4082. Open Tue-Sun 5:30-9am, noon-7pm. bit.ly/2HwBiqd
With colorful, vintage Japanese prints lining its walls, hanging red lanterns and upturned beer crates for seats, EKO Izakaya certainly boasts a cheerful atmosphere—just perfect if you're looking for a fun, unfussy spot to kick start your night. Located along Chanacharoen Road in Phuket Town, this could well be Phuket's first izakaya (Japanese-style tavern) and the menu reads like a greatest hits of casual Japanese cuisine: expertly charred delicacies from the grill (think salmon teriyaki), good ol' fried stuff (chicken karaage) and fresh sashimi. The place's self-anointed signature dishes are the bowls of donburi—like the mixed raw fish topped with their secret spicy sauce (B258)—and flavorful sushi bites like the salmon aburi (B218). Wash down your meal with some beer, which comes in three sizes: Samurai (355ml), Shogun (640ml) and Emperor (1,200ml).
54 Chanacharoen Rd., 063-564-4535. Open daily 4:45pm-12:30am. www.fb.com/EKOizakaya
Far from the chaos of the city, Cherngtalay’s Thai-Italian restaurant Seasoning takes on a cozy standalone brick house hidden among the trees. Inside, the space is minimalist yet homey, contrasting oak floors with raw concrete walls and lush dangling plants. Food here manages to do fusion without compromising on authentic tastes, as in the crispy soft shell crab spaghetti with crabs’ eggs (B195). If you’re in the mood for feasting, go for the grilled rack of pork ribs slathered in barbecue sauce (B270), served with a side of mashed potato and salad.
2/1 Cherng Thalay Soi 3, 080-520-8666. Open daily 11am-9pm. www.fb.com/seasoning.phuket
Taking its name from the crunchy pork cracklings it sprinkles on all its dishes, Kak is a tiny hut—and we mean tiny—hidden down a small side street of Phuket's Yaowarat that’s causing a stir for its menu of Thai single-dishes. Little more than wooden slats and a thatched roof of dried palm leaves, this surf shack-look-alike doles out classics like mixed crispy pork belly and grilled pork noodles (B70) and stir-fried chicken noodles topped with crispy pork (B60). The place is often packed to the rafters with locals, but if you’re lucky you can claim one of the bar stools out front. Open 11:30am-2pm for noodles only, and 3-7pm for rice-based dishes.
240/14 Yaowarat Rd., 081-750-7273. Open Mon-Sun 11:30am-2pm; 3-7pm. goo.gl/27LevF
From the outside, this spot in Patong could easily be mistaken for just another pretender promising “authentic” Turkish cuisine. Don’t be fooled though, because The Zula Phuket is the real deal—from the hummus (B130) and the Beyti kebab (B370) to the coban kavurma (lamb casserole, B370) and Turkish tea. The vibrant, busy interiors mash up French bistro and industrial-chic, with faux brick walls and tiled flooring punctuated by an array of hanging plants, lights, airplanes, fake birds and cages—it’s a little messy, but we like it.
5 Sirirat Rd., 076-540-827. Open daily 11am-midnight. www.fb.com/thezulaphuket
For a traditional southern feast with added comfort, head to Maimorn on the ground floor of Central Floresta Phuket mall. Here, authentic, pungent dishes are rustled up in a bright and spacious setting, dotted with dangling ferns, brown leather seating and illustrated walls. Try the baked pineapple fried-rice (B250) with melinjo leaves in coconut milk, the stir-fried sea crab with roe (B450), or the dried shrimp dip and assorted vegetables (B195). For dessert, the durian with sticky rice and coconut milk (B190) makes an interesting choice.
G/F, Central Floresta Phuket, Wichitsongkran Rd., 086-952-7340. Open daily 10am-10pm. www.fb.com/maimorncuisine
Within an unassuming townhouse in the Old Town, head past rows of vibrant green potted plants and you’ll find an exclusive three guest rooms, each with a fresh white and blue color scheme (from B1,500). The suites come with either a hot tub (B3,000) or balcony (B2,650)—ideal for observing the surrounding Indo-Chinese architecture and local goings on.
The five-star U Zenmaya Phuket has recently undergone a refreshingly modern makeover. Sino-Portuguese influences—ceramic blue tiles, polished concrete floors, deep mahogany elements—can be seen in the spacious rooms, each of which comes with a king-sized bed, a Jacuzzi and a balcony overlooking the quiet Kalim Beach, just a little north of Patong (rates start at B2,339 a night). Other facilities include an ocean-view lounge, a romantic cliff-side restaurant and bar, a fully equipped gym, a library and a spa with five treatment rooms.
6/181 Kathu Rd., 076-336-888. www.uhotelsresorts.com/uzenmayaphuket