If you want to go on an affordable foodie adventure, spend some time exploring Phuket Town. Away from the beaches and resorts, you’ll be able to find family run restaurants with delicious food and affordable prices. Not only that, you’ll have a wide variety of food stalls to choose from as well. Locals inhabit much of this area, so cheaper prices and more traditional food abound.
Go Benz Phuket is our first choice for cheap Thai food. Get here at 6.30pm, hope to be one of the first in line, and prepare to make your order promptly at 7pm. The owners of this restaurant stick to a tight schedule, but it doesn’t seem to deter anyone. As long as you’re up for standing in line and eating on a first come, first served basis, you’ll love this place.
Order any of the noodle soups at dirt cheap prices. You’ll be packed in at the crowded seating area with the rest of the crowds, but it just adds to the lively atmosphere. (163 Patiphat Road)
Another great budget option is Mee Ton Poe. This restaurant is relatively small and modest, but the food is wonderful. Open since the mid 1900s, Mee Ton Poe serves the area-famous hokkien noodles to its mostly-local crowd. This is street food at its best with affordable prices to match. Expect to pay around THB60-80 for your entire, very large, meal. (Phuket Road)
Another popular Phuket Town gem is Ang Seafood. The wait time for service here can get pretty long since the place gets so crowded. However, we didn’t mind, as that’s a dead giveaway of some excellent meals on offer. Ang has an English menu, but if at all possible, come here with a Thai friend. The restaurant is known to charge higher prices to foreigners. This often can’t be avoided, but it does take away from the great quality of food. Either way, though, prices are cheap by western standards, and the food is fresh and delicious. (Phuket Road)
Phuket specialty dishes
If you’re in Phuket for long, chances are you’ll come across your fair share of restaurants offering hor mok, the island’s local dish. Hor Mok can best be described as a very spicy, semi-sweet fish puree. More accurately, it’s a steamed fish custard. As off putting as it might sound to some, local Thais love this dish, and it’s worth trying out at several different places; most restaurants or food stalls add their own spin to the Phuket classic.
A great spot for hor mok is The Family Restaurant near Kata Beach. This local eatery serves all kinds of Thai classics as well, so if fish custard doesn’t hit the spot, you won’t be without options. Try any of the seafood menu items and you’re sure to leave happy. Better yet, prices are very affordable for the location, and service is friendly and professional. (107 Khoktanod Road Kata Beach)
For a night of fine dining, visit Silk Restaurant, which serves award winning Thai and Western dishes. Silk is a part of the Andara Resort on Kamala Beach; the restaurant is definitely more upscale than your average Thai food stall to say the least. If you’re willing to spend the extra Baht, though, you won’t be disappointed. Order the deep fried prawns or green curry if you’re in the mood for modern Thai cuisine. For dessert, try the mouthwatering apple crumb cheesecake. Be sure not to miss the bar; the drinks are fresh, well prepared, and the perfect way to end a day spent on the beach. (15 Moo 6, Kamala Beach)
Another upscale western option is La Gritta Phuket near Patong Beach. The servings are very generous, as are the views over the ocean. We suggest saving this restaurant for a special occasion, as the prices are likely more than most travelers want to pay. If you can afford to go all on one night, though, this is the spot to do it. La Gritta serves a mix of Italian food, along with some wonderful steak options. If you’re going with a friend or special someone, order the Australian Tomahawk for 2 - a whole kilogram of beef. We’ll go ahead and warn you, the price tag is a hefty THB3250, but like we said, it’s more of a “special occasion” type of place. (2 Muen-ngern Road)
Cafe and Coffee Houses
For a quick pick-me-up, check out Mac Chiato House, a chic coffee shop with somewhat of a French vibe inside. This place serves above average coffee, decadent desserts, and even some local, craft beer. A cappuchino will run you THB60, but for a western style coffee shop, the prices aren’t that surprising. Come here to take a break from the sun or do a little work if you can keep your focus off the beaches for long enough. (48, Thalang Road, Tambon Talat Yai)
Make your next stop the Circle Coffee Boutique. With an adorable exterior and a clean, modern interior, Circle Coffee makes the perfect place to catch up with friends over some quality cafe fare. Though technically a coffee shop, you’ll find desserts, light food, and beer on the menu here, too. The coconut cake absolutely cannot be missed. Pair it with a latte or cappuccino for the full effect, and you’ll likely be returning here more than once during your trip. Again, prices are somewhat high at this western style cafe, but in Phuket, that’s the norm, so plan to adjust your budget accordingly. (109/3 Surin Circle Phjuket Road)