We have a star! Earlier this year, the Michelin Guide announced that Phuket would be included in its newest edition.
It was Michelin’s first foray beyond Bangkok in Thailand, and the new guide also includes restaurants in Phang Nga. In a glittering ceremony in Bangkok last week, they finally revealed who made the cut. The guide is released as a book and the listings appear in more limited form online.
Michelin is an influential guide for foodies and culinary travellers and any restaurant that earns a star rating is pretty much guaranteed to get a flood of new bookings. It certainly also raises the visibility of any place included in the guide – a nice bit of free marketing for those who spend their days toiling in the kitchen.
The Michelin Guide’s presence in Thailand is not without its controversies. Thai tourism promoters lured the Michelin Guide makers into the country with a contract worth millions of dollars. Is it still possible to create truly independent reviews with this lucrative arrangement? And why would Phang Nga be chosen as a location rather than, say, somewhere in Isaan where some of Thailand’s most famous dishes originated? I’d be more interested in reading about the best som tam shop in Ubon Ratchathani over some random restaurant in Khao Lak, for example.
This year’s guide has also been
“Many of the restaurant descriptions in the Michelin Guide Thailand 2019 are dreadfully written, with poor use of English, are peppered with
clichés,and are too repetitive. There are way too many ‘charmings’, even for me, and I’m fond of the word. The descriptions often say very little about the actual food and they generally demonstrate little understanding of the cuisine of the restaurants reviewed.”
The Phuket listing has one glaring error that looks like a slapdash copy-and-paste job.
One place listed, La Gaetana, has a write-up that describes it as being “located hillside above Kalim Beach” in a large modern building with a “sociable Swiss owner”. I’ll bet the lovely Thai-Italian (not Swiss) couple who run La Gaetana would be surprised to read this. And the restaurant’s in a
Anyway, though the folks at Michelin are guiding people in the wrong direction to get there, I concur with them about including La Gaetana. It’s one of my long-time
Update: Yay, they’ve sorted it out. Here’s the guide’s much more accurate description: La Gaetana
A total of 38 Phuket restaurants are listed in the guide in three categories, with the farm-to-table restaurant PRU at Trisara luxury resort the only one to earn a star. I don’t know anything about Michelin’s selection process but they did come up with an interesting mix of places that show the diversity of dining choices in Phuket. They’ve included Hokkien noodle, roti and o-tao shops – oh yes!
Some restaurants/shops I’m surprised to see on there, but, well, reviews are always a subjective thing so there’s bound to be fierce disagreement over who belongs in the guide and who doesn’t. I’ve only been to maybe half of the dining spots listed so I’m looking forward to trying some of these out.
Readers, do you have any favourite Phuket dining spots that you think should have been included? Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Here’s the list of Phuket Michelin Guide restaurants:
Find the full descriptions and details here: Phuket Michelin Guide restaurants
Michelin “1 Star” Restaurant – “
High quality cooking, worth a stop”
“The Plate” Restaurants – “Fresh ingredients, carefully prepared: a good meal”
Black Ginger at The Slate Resort
Khao Thom Thanon Di Buk
Loba Bang Niao
Mee Ton Poe
Mor Mu Dong
O Cha Rot
O Tao Bang Niao
Pak Nam Seafood
Seafood at Trisara
Tu Kab Khao
“Bib Gourmand” Restaurants – “Inspectors’ favourites for good value”
Bang Pae Seafood
Hong Khao Tom Pla
Roti Taew Nam
Surf & Turf by Soul Kitchen