by Kristie Rodgers
Thailand’s upper western Gulf Coast (particularly Cha Am) offers great beachside eating, great fish & shell dishes, very affordable & served direct to your deckchair…..heaven or what!
CHA-AM Beachside Seafood Stands
Ruamchit Rd 76120
A favorite among locals, Cha-am’s simple beachside seafood stands sell some of the best fare from the surrounding sea. Freshly caught fish is sold raw and cooked to order. Unlike a night market, most stands consist of buckets of fish swimming in salt water and a wok to cook them in.
CHA-AM Da Vinci’s
274/5 Ruamjit Rd 76000 Tel 0-3247-1871
An excellent place to try European food in Cha-am, Da Vinci’s emphasis is on seafood. However, there are plenty of other choices. The chef is Swedish, as is much of the clientele, so the food may taste a bit different. Try the excellent Italian dishes.
CHA-AM Poom Restaurant
274/1 Ruamchit Rd 76120 Tel 0-3247-1036
In the same area as the seafood stands, Poom offers a relatively more refined alternative – comfortable chairs and tables and even air-conditioning. It has a considerably wider menu as compared to the beachside stands, including various shellfish. A favorite with locals.
Verandah Resort & Spa, 737/12 Mung Talay Rd 76120 Tel 0-3270-9000
A trendy, white, open-air sala (pavilion) right on the beach at Cha-am is the setting for this relaxed Thai fusion restaurant. The menu has a strong emphasis on seafood. Try the excellent, although seasonal, oysters, a delicious tom yam kung (spicy and sour shrimp soup), and stir-fried soft-shell crab.
CHUMPHON Khrua Pagsod
10/32 Paradorn Rd 86000 Tel 0-7757-1731
An ideal place for vegetarians, Khrua Pagsod (fresh vegetable kitchen), offers a wide variety of vegetarian choices including Western and Asian cuisines, made with farm-fresh vegetables. The food is excellent, and the ambience is chic and contemporary.
CHUMPHON Papa Seafood
188/181 Krom Luang Chumporn Rd 86000 Tel 0-7751-1972
A standard indoor/outdoor seafood emporium, with the “choose from tank” option available. It is distinguished by the good service, attention to cleanliness, and vibrant atmosphere, including live music. Only open in the evenings. The adjacent disco, however, is not very alluring.
HUA HIN Chatchai Market
Soi 72, between Phetkasem and Sa Song Roads 77100
A vibrant, crowded market with dozens of fresh food stalls, Chatchai Market is ideal for a taste of inexpensive, yet delicious, Thai street food. The standard of cleanliness is high. Try the classic phad thai with fresh shrimps, hoi thot (fried oyster omelette), a variety of noodle soups, and generous portions of fresh fish.
HUA HIN Chao Lay Seafood
15 Naresdamri Rd 77100 Tel 0-3251-3436
A large outdoor restaurant on a wooden pier, Chao Lay Seafood is a favorite with both visitors and locals. The proximity to the ocean is key to the focus of the menu – seafood. With ample seating and fresh food, it is a great place to enjoy some Thai specialties. Service can be a little disappointing.
HUA HIN Baan Itsara
7 Napkehad Rd 77100 Tel 0-3251-4517
Operating from a seaside bungalow a few miles north of Hua Hin, Baan Itsara, meaning “House of Freedom”, was once the home of a Thai artist. The atmosphere is quite casual and relaxed and although the food is standard Thai seafood, it is prepared with exceptional skill.
HUA HIN Monsoon
62 Naresdamri Rd 77100 Tel 0-3253-1062
A stylish interior with a Sino-Vietnamese ambience and a smooth lounge soundtrack greet diners at Monsoon. The restaurant offers an eclectic, refined cuisine of mainly Asian origin from the open kitchen. Try the delicious platter for starters and the duck breast with ginger sauce as the main course.