The Family Restaurant in Chalong is a favourite amongst the local expats and is also a rare bird: A genuine Mediterranean restaurant that serves up Thai food, but with a strong line in Middle Eastern dishes. Simple in design with a warm feel to it, The Family is helmed by Ovadia Shicartzy, an Israeli with a deep font of amusing stories, witticisms, anecdotes and aphorisms. Ovadia and his Thai wife set up the restaurant some years back and have never looked back since.
Stepping inside the air-conditioned and fan-cooled restaurant, it’s immediately clear that the owner is a music lover as the atmosphere is enhanced by swirling background ambient music. The restaurant is in a prime spot right next to busy Tesco Lotus on the Chalong-Rawai road, so take advantage of the shopping centre’s parking space if you’re driving.
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- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
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The thick English-and-Thai photo menu (there’s also a Russian-language version and Hebrew descriptions of certain platters) is a veritable smorgasbord of international dishes ranging from pizzas to spicy Thai food but it also features hummus, pita bread, falafel balls, and all things Middle Eastern with a Mediterranean slant. You won’t find another place like The Family in a hurry, and certainly not in Phuket. Ovadia explains that the ‘family’ tab is not just a name but a tangible concept and his gregariousness towards his customers is legendary. The very soul of hospitality, he greets diners as old friends, often sitting down to chat with them.
We sample a signature ‘Mediterranean Plate for Two’ that consists of falafel balls, hummus, an outstanding eggplant salad, a delicious slow-cooked tomato sauce, pita bread, marinated chicken, boiled eggs, coleslaw, crinkled French fries and much, much more (450 baht). It’s an astronomical, gastronomical journey to sample these plates and to say that it’s a delicious combination would be to flirt dangerously with understatement. In short, it’s filling, satisfying and just how each flavour complements the rest is not easy to understand but very easy to enjoy.
Any combination seems to work: The hummus with chicken and pita is great but also mixing the falafel balls with coleslaw is just as good, while the eggplant salad is a perfect partner for any of the above. And the portions are generous – well enough for a satisfying meal for two hearty appetites.
The Family also has a three-table terrace to cater for smokers, as well as a cute outside wooden ‘sala’. Special mention must be made of the ‘Hall of Fame and Shame’ that leads to the toilets; it contains posters of some of Ovadia’s favourite musicians (he’s big on the blues) and quotes from famous people such as Einstein as well as humorous quips: “I love Thailand, it reminds me of home; the more I stay the less I understand.”
Dining out at The Family is an experience; something you’re not going to forget in a hurry and for many reasons: the atmosphere; the friendliness, and most of all the massive portions of that delicious food.
The Family Restaurant
- Opening Hours: 12:00 – 22:00 Closed Mondays
- Location: Directly next to Tesco Lotus on Viset Road
- Tel: 076-280454