Gitano Restaurant has closed.
Unusual, unique and unforgettable; these adjectives have been liberally used to describe the dining experience at Gitano Restaurant & Love, an eccentric restaurant decked out in outrageous colours and décor, between Cherng Talay and Surin.
It certainly is unusual and a one-off event dining there and, alongside Natural (Tamachart) Restaurant in Phuket Town, it excels at being different.
Gitano is a veritable kaleidoscope of colours with yellow being the common theme running throughout.
Owners Lin Prachakrich and Miguel Kirjon have long been known in Phuket as innovators and Miguel’s artwork is prevalent throughout with ‘crazy paving’ colourful ceramic floor tiles, a centrally located fish tank, 3D acrylic paintings, a headless mannequin on the toilet door and much more including an exchange bookshelf and, over in the corner next to the semi-open kitchen, a Kids’ Club with Disney Channel on its large LCD screen, kids’ books and toys.
This is one fun place to be compared to the average, rather staid décor of its rivals.
There have been previous versions of Gitano Restaurant & Love and each one featured standout music choices. This incarnation is no different, with Beatle tunes redubbed into salsa, pure Country & Western, Sinatra and more – all at a pleasant conversation-friendly volume.
Obviously, the colour scheme has a lot to do with the lighthearted feel to the place but the cheerful and smiling wait staff also plays an important part in making diners feel welcome. This is not the place to take a date if it’s romance you’re after but if you’re up for a bit of fun and a laugh with your meal, or if you’re with kids, it’s perfect.
Gitano has a simple, 14-label wine list with the equally distributed white and red selection coming from New Zealand, Italy, Chile, Spain, France and Australia. The house wine is a Chilean Talamanca Sauvignon and is the only wine from the list that is served by the glass.
It’s a young yet full wine with a crisp, even body and it adapts extremely well with the dishes on offer. If you really want to push the boat out you can order a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Brut Reservé NV Champagne.
Some people drink up and run away as soon as a photo menu is brought out but Gitano’s menu (photographed by Miguel of course) is a mine of information. Featuring one page of Mexican choices and several of Thai dishes with a back-page children’s menu, you can choose the piquancy of ordered dishes and sample such delights as stir-fried grated white snapper, crispy chicken in a sauce reminiscent of both panaeng and massaman curries, and moving to the Mexican side, an outstanding chile con carne along with a near-perfect chicken enchilada.
The beauty of this food is that it is complementary, with Thai ingredients intermingling in the Mexican dishes and clever touches to the Thai offerings. There’s even a lunchtime set menu (changed every two weeks) with lemon ice tea thrown in at very reasonable price. As for the kids, they can choose between quesadilla, spaghetti, a six-inch pizza, fried rice and more.
As mentioned, the service here is all smiles, considerate and charming. The constant presence of Lin helps as she has good dish suggestions and adds glamour to the amiable wackiness that is Gitano Restaurant and Love.
Where Is It?
Gitano has the advantage of standing out like a light bulb in a dark room by the side of the road leading from Cherng Talay to Surin, near the Laguna Complex.
Standing on the opposite side of the road to the Tesco Lotus/McDonald’s enclave, the bright yellow-and-pink façade is not easily missed. And relax, there’s plenty of parking space.
Gitano Restaurant & Love
- Opening Hours: Daily 11:00 – 22:00
- Location: 100/30-31, Cherng talay, Thalang
- Tel: 076 324 292 or 081 892 2419 (Lin)