If you had to choose just one thing that Phuket is famous for, many people would opt for its sensationally fresh seafood. Phuket’s surrounding waters teem with the sort of marine life that would leave Jacques Cousteau dancing the calypso and wise visitors make sure that they benefit from this abundance.
As a result there are many seafood restaurants on the island yet only a few can boast a great view in an easy-to-find location. But Palai Seafood can.
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience
- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
None, as such. There are two areas: a garden-like affair with concrete ‘faux-bois’ tables and an indoor aircraft hangar-like food hall complete with tin roof. And there doesn’t seem to be any given colour code as regards table cloths but let’s face it; the great view replaces the lack of décor here.
Phuket’s east coast is a whole different world from its western side and Palai is located on an eastern-facing mangrove beach so don’t expect west coast sunsets, although the moonrise over the headland can be exceptionally beautiful here.
The view stretches out in a panorama that encompasses Panwa viewpoint to the north to Bon Island in the south. There are aquariums to remind you that you’re in a seafood restaurant but not a lot of effort has been put into beautifying the place.
Be prepared for a rough and tumble, totally Thai experience at Palai. Blend in and you’ll have a great time. The al fresco part of the restaurant is busy from early evening on and just keeps getting busier as minivans arrive and diners file towards the tables so you’re not exactly getting one-on-one, gold card winning service from the very young staff.
There is one singular facet to Palai’s atmosphere, however: the prerecorded background music is top class – if you are a jazz lover. John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughn et al blow away to beat the band until nine o’clock when more sedate Thai music comes on.
There is no wine served at Palai. Beers range from 40 to 80 baht and the drinks list doesn’t own up to the price of a bottle of Sang Som ‘whiskey’ (in fact sugar cane rum). Many people bring their own bottle and buy mixers and ice from the restaurant.
And talking of ice, make sure to drop some into your beer because if you don’t you’ll be drinking that most British of beverages – warm ale.
Unless you point out that you would prefer less spicy food, Palai will serve your dishes with enough chilies to melt down a nuclear reactor. “Mai pet!” means “Not spicy” and you should use this phrase when ordering.
All the old favourites feature at Palai; tom yam pla (spicy seafood soup), steamed lemon sea bass, seafood salad served with fresh squid and, without being world class, they’re good, fresh, and hearty.
Yet Palai doesn’t just serve seafood. We also sampled fried chicken with cashew nuts with a mixed salad.
Point to the menu when ordering – the level of spoken English is not exactly Shakespearean at Palai and some of the wait staff look refreshingly new to this game. Nevertheless, we encountered no difficulties and got exactly what we ordered. It is recommended to go there for lunch rather than dinner for a more quiet atmosphere...
Where Is It?
Couldn’t be simpler: On the same road as Phuket Zoo, right at the beach end.
Soi Palai is located halfway between Phuket Town and Chalong. Palai (and the zoo) is well signed at the junction.
There is a parking lot outside the restaurant.
- Opening Hours: 9:00 – 22:00
- Location: Soi Palai, Between Chalong and Phuket Town (past the Phuket Zoo)
- Tel: +66 (0)76 282 174