Kaab Gluay is a long-established restaurant located on Phrabarami Road in the northern part of Patong Beach. Entirely renovated at the end of 2013, this casual venue is famous for the quality of its food – it serves exclusively authentic Thai cuisine – for its down to earth atmosphere, and for its affordable prices. Kaab Gluay means ‘banana trunk’ in Thai. And if you’re really into entomology, the word Patong means ‘banana grove.’ So now you know. Still, Kaab Gluay is a restaurant that has more to do with seafood than bananas.
At first, the eatery gives the impression of being a glorified food hall, but then, as people start flooding in past eight o’clock, it starts to come alive of itself. It is recommended to come early as it gets chock-a-block full later on, and the parking spots are rather limited in the vicinity.
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The renovation of Kaab Gluay affords more space for customers: the original long open dining room is still here, and a two-storey building has been added to the restaurant, offering an air-conditioned dining room downstairs, and an open dining room upstairs on a covered terrace. Kaab Gluay will not win any interior décor awards – buffed concrete floor, brick walls, dark wooden ceiling frames - but the place is elegant in its simplicity, and spotless.
The atmosphere of Kaab Gluay depends on what time you choose to eat: early diners are subject to heavy traffic noise; mid-evening diners are subjected to other-diners’ noise and so on. It’s a delicious but pretty boisterous experience. Still, there are more Thai clients than foreign and this can only be a good thing in a tourist town. Service is cheerful and attractive and things get a bit hectic around eight o’clock but the (mostly female) green-uniformed staff handle it all with grace.
In a town where most menus feature such dubious delights as “deep-frei skid” and “Flench flies”, Kaab Gluay stands out as the spelling on the picture menu is almost word perfect, which probably shows that they mean business. And the cuisine is indeed impressive: predominantly seafood, the restaurant’s chefs work hard at preparing colourful and tasty dishes, such as whole sweet-and-sour fish (price according to weight), steamed prawns with various choices of sauce (220 baht), stir-fried crab with curry powder, tom yam seafood (110 baht) and stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts (120 baht).
Kaab Gluay is very much a Thai culinary experience and should be appreciated as such with multiple and shared orders. Each dish is as fresh as can be and is served in generous portions. It’s more of a group experience than a couple’s or single’s scene – if only because of the size of the portions although I did notice people coming in for takeaways. Prices are reasonable which means you can splurge a little. The drink-list features three beers (Singha, Chang – 65 baht, and Heineken – 70 baht), four wines (red and white by the glass – 110 baht, Cabernet Sauvignon Red and Chardonnay White – 990 baht per bottle).
Kaab Gluay Restaurant
- Opening Hours: lunch and dinner
- Location: 58/3 Phrabaramee Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 76 340 562