Ariake Japanese Restaurant offers a thorough taste of the Land of the Rising Sun and is one of the favourites among the many dining options at Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort near Patong. The deeply immersive experience could easily fool the diner into believing they have taken a wrong turn and strayed into a different country!
The immersion began for us as soon as we passed through the ‘noren’ (traditional Japanese fabric flaps) at the entrance, to be greeted by the service staff in Japanese. We were seated at the Teppanyaki station and immediately fitted with large aprons, for reasons which would become apparent later. Around us, others were being seated in booths, window seats, at the sushi bar or in one of two private tatami rooms, with the low tables and straw mats traditionally associated with Japanese dining. By 20:00, spare seats were in short supply.
- 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
The drinking options are impressive, but the highlight is the range of sakes, served hot or cold. These start at 500 baht for a 200ml pot of the house pour and reach up to 1,200 baht for 250ml of Awamori Kura. More difficult to find in Phuket is umeshu - a potent plum wine, which is available at Ariake Japanese Restaurant from 550 baht.
The food menu comes with the usual favourites from Japanese cuisine (sushi, sashimi, Teriyaki, Teppanyaki, etc.) but, in contrast to the very traditional décor, the food comes with some contemporary twists. The Philadelphia Maki (500 baht), for example, contains the cream cheese which gives the dish its name, adding a surprising new taste and texture. The crispy salmon skin rolls (320 baht) have a similarly interesting texture in the form of the crunchy roll of skin in the middle of the high-quality fish. They are topped with green and red roe, giving it an almost Christmassy look.
The show really starts - and the reason for the aprons becomes apparent - when it comes to preparing the Seafood Teppanyaki (1,700 baht for a set, which includes miso soup and fried rice). Chef Somchart starts off with a display of dexterity to rival that of any samurai warrior, and he's just warming up! Pretty soon, he is having some fun with the honeymoon couple at the end of the counter; flicking food into their mouths, juggling eggs with a spatula and cracking jokes, all while preparing our food and theirs amid flashes of flame-grilling. The dish itself was superb – the crunchy vegetables complimenting the perfectly cooked and very tasty prawns, scallops, salmon and squid.
The whole experience of dining at Ariake Japanese Restaurant is a fun and filling one, particularly well-suited to Japanophiles, but also ideal for those who just really like sushi. It is found by passing through the hotel lobby and turning right along the row of restaurants. Ariake is the last one on the row.
Ariake Japanese Restaurant
- Opening Hours: 18:30 – 23:00
- Location: Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort, Patong
- Tel: +66 (0)7 637 0100
- Cuisine: Japanese