The best local Thai restaurants in Kata Beach are quite often those furthest away from the fine white sands which make the destination so popular. Something of a victim of its own success, the vast majority of restaurants in Kata specialise in European cuisine and those that do offer Thai food often serve heavily westernised versions. To find the real local Thai cuisine, you have to search quite hard - and we did just that.
When you do find a Thai restaurant in Kata, they are generally very local, to the extent that almost none of the signs or menu items are written in anything other than Thai. If you want an authentic experience of one of the world’s most renowned and remarkable cuisines, though, these are definitely the places to do so. Not only is the flavour undiluted by western preferences, but the prices are also genuinely local.
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Opened in response to the increasing number of foreign restaurants and Thai places serving westernised dishes, Sugar & Spice’s concept is a return to the absolute basics of classic Thai cuisine – essentially, a typical market or road-side stand, but in a modern and comfortable setting. In that aim, it was a resounding success and it is extremely popular with Thais and tourists for serving authentic local food with high-quality ingredients and reasonable prices. The Yellow Curry and satay are particularly renowned, as is the friendly service.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 22:00
- Location: 98 Kata Road, in front of Dome Resort, Kata
- Tel: +66 (0)81 970 6503
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/sugarandspicephuket
The service at Kwong Shop Seafood is famous for being extra-friendly. The owner is known is “Mr OK” because of his habit of coming around to check on diners and repeatedly using the word “okay”. The seafood dishes are also highly regarded, particularly the whole fish with red curry for 300 baht. Unusually for a restaurant, games of Connect Four are available to keep you entertained while Mr OK cooks up your order, which adds to the very friendly and approachable atmosphere.
- Location: Taina Road, Kata
- Tel: +66 (0)7 628 5201
The Family Restaurant is astonishingly small in size, squeezed into a little triangular patch of land between the Khoktanod Road and a small access road. It compensates for its limited dimensions with high-quality Thai cuisine, very good and friendly service and lots of touches of greenery. There are two separate menus available for international and Thai cuisines, with the popular choices naturally being the Thai seafood. The fish fried with garlic is the top recommendation, costing 350 baht.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00
- Location: 107 Khoktanod Road, Kata
- Tel: +66 (0)89 855 3207
Koi Restaurant specialises in Thai seafood and, before you ask, Koi karp is not on the menu. What is there is a particularly good jackfish with southern Thai-style red curry for just 100 baht, which is one of the stand-out dishes there. It is a very simple sort of place, with a mix of plastic and wooden chairs and a corrugated metal roof, but the food is highly thought of by locals and tourists. A drinks stand under the same roof offers a better-than-average choice of beverages, including young coconut and a choice of fresh fruit shakes.
- Location: Patak Road, Kata
- Tel: +66 (0)7 633 0311, +66 (0)96 462 2239
True to its name, the Vegetarian Restaurant serves exclusively meat-free meals, including the popular spicy seafood soup – Tom Yum – without the seafood for 60 baht. The menu is entirely in Thai, but is pictorial and the staff speak enough English to help you out. The restaurant itself is quite big and smart, with a tiled floor, gingham tablecloths and a few patches of greenery. The frontage is a vivid yellow – the colour generally associated with vegetarianism in Phuket – making it difficult to miss on the inland side of Patak Road.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
- Location: Patak Road, Kata
The menu at Chai Thai Food has quite an extensive selection of European choices, including some impressive burgers, but it is obviously the Thai dishes which make it so popular, particularly with tourists. Their fresh and tasty crab with curry sauce is a particularly big seller, reasonably priced at costing 280 baht. The service is very friendly and the restaurant itself is quite smart, with its burgundy colour scheme stretching from the floor tiles to the table cloths.
- Opening Hours: 12:00 – 22:00
- Location: 135 Khoktanod Road, Kata
- Tel: +66 (0)87 626 5015
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/chaithaifoodphuket
Som Tam Kit is also known by the name on its hand-painted sign, calling it Tik Restaurant. The fact that the sign is written first in Thai and then in English tells you how much of a place for locals it is. It is the first of the little restaurants and bars along the hillside road leading south out of Kata Noi, so the stunning view (particularly at sunset) is naturally a big draw. The little bamboo-and-thatch restaurant is also popular for its menu filled with great Thai food at great, including ‘fried rice with squied’ and, as the name suggests, som tam.
- Location: Kata-Sai Yuan Road, Kata Noi
This place is so ‘local’ that virtually none of the signage is in English and the friendly staff only speak a few words of the language, which could make ordering quite a challenge. Luckily, there are pictures of their dishes around the walls of the clean but simple shop-house establishment, so you can always resort to just pointing and saying “this one”. The one notice with an English translation is presumably the dish they are most pleased with – Seafood Rice Soup. Being a very local place, the prices are universally low (most dishes are just 50 baht each) and the quality is generally high.
- Location: Patak Road, Kata
A super-local restaurant in Kata, where the signs are exclusively in Thai, Khem Tui specialises in duck dishes. It is quite a simple roadside place, occupying what amounts to a lean-to in front of a bike repair shop, with a little drinks stand connected to it giving you a choice of Thai teas and coffees. The kitchen area and tables are clean and neat, though, and the dishes could not be more Thai if they tried. Among them, if you’re feeling ambitious, is a whole pig’s leg (foot and all) for 400 baht.
- Location: Patak Road Soi 6, Kata
Kai Thai Food is quite heavily westernised, with a large amount of the menu devoted to European food and the 120-baht American Breakfast being prominently advertised. However, the choice of Thai food – particularly seafood – is excellent and it has the right mix of high quality with low cost to make it a local restaurant. Notable and somewhat unusual dishes include the deep-fried barramundi topped with crispy garlic for 350 baht. For the same price, you can also have it steamed with a spicy lemon sauce or deep-fried with a tamarind or sweet and sour sauce. In spite of being located in a shop-house, Kai has a colourful, clean and modern look, with a drinks stand outside for fresh smoothies.
- Location: Along the road to The Beach Boutique House