It seems there are two types of people in Thailand’s catering world: Those who believe that quality domestic beef is a real possibility and those who don’t and import it at cost.
The Dining Room in Karon Beach’s Pacific Club & Spa, however, swings both ways and does so successfully. The restaurant’s philosophy is simple; create great dishes at minimal price. And who in their right mind can argue with that?
The Dining Room is built on a large scale with high ceilings, terracotta floor tiles and wide spaces. Pastel and mustard-coloured walls and fittings dominate.
The Dining Room depends more on breezes wafting through than on artificial ventilation so it might be wiser to choose a table near the open side or near the window. All in all there is a hacienda feel to the restaurant and, except for the modern salad bar, it could be in Texas or Mexico a century ago.
This is a peaceful eatery with plenty of space for privacy and romance. Soft, tasteful background music wafts through the night air and there is an intimate atmosphere and no wonder – as owner Eric Conger looks on the place as his own “Dining Room”.
The clientele is mostly hotel guests and there is no leaning towards a particular nationality. The lighting is rather on the dim side and may take some getting used to for those who aren’t that sharp of eye.
The wine list shows two whites and five reds, mostly Chilean, but in fact diners can order house wine by the glass (125 baht), a demi carafe (195 baht) or by the litre (495 baht) or bottle (495 baht).
The Chilean Shiraz Santa Alicia 2004 is especially recommendable. Prices are astoundingly low and this is definitely one of the restaurant’s many plus points.
Heineken, Tiger, Singha and Chang beer are all available. House cocktails are also very inexpensive at 130 baht.
The Dining Room is supplied by Choice Foods, who import meat weekly rather than in bulk. The same method is used by the top hotels in Phuket so this means that what you eat at this restaurant, meat-wise, is on par with a five-star hotel, only at a fraction of the cost. The rib eye steak is an exemplary dish and along with the Thai beef filet balsamico one can see that the chef means business in the meat department.
The menu is incredibly varied, from Thai to Mexican to Italian to Chinese – it’s certain that there will be something for everyone. The salmon Florentine, a sensational creamy affair, is another good example of the quality and inventiveness available here. If this restaurant was in the middle of Patong it would shame its neighbours into cutting their exorbitant costs and upping the ante in the kitchen – it really is that good.
A further recommendation is the fettucine shrimp Alfredo, a scrumptious sauce over black squid fettucine with giant shrimps. Like the salmon, this is inventive and delicious seafood. All in all, definitely worth hiring a car and searching out; there are not a lot of restaurants of this caliber in Phuket and none that can top it, price-wise.
The wait staff is made up of long time employees and exudes a friendly laid-back manner. Several of them actually worked on the construction of this 40-unit hotel!
Where Is It?
On the only road heading up the hill opposite the lake in Karon on the Patong-Karon Rd. Take a left at the “Bernie’s Bistro” sign if coming from Patong (and vice versa if coming from the opposite direction) then follow the signage for Pacific Club Resort. There is quite a bit of construction and the soi, after hanging a right, is somewhat narrow but don’t worry, the climb is certainly worth it.
The Dining Room
- Location: in Pacific Club Resort
- Address: 16 Soi 24 Patak Rd. Karon Beach
- Tel: 076 398 350-2