With this list of the best local Thai restaurants in Patong Beach, we're answering a question that the vast majority of people visiting Thailand ask: ‘Where can I find real Thai food?’ Thailand is famous for its cuisine and no restaurant in the world can capture the unique blend of herbs and spices quite like a genuine Thai eatery. Finding such a place, however, is not that easy. Many of the ‘really Thai’ restaurants – even in a tourist resort like Patong – do not advertise much and rely instead on word-of-mouth marketing within Thai-speaking communities.

    We've managed to uncover the best of the properly local restaurants around Patong. These are not the places which boldly advertise themselves as being a true taste of Thailand, but the places which don’t need to advertise because the locals already know that they provide the top Thai food at fair and reasonable prices. These are the places where you can really eat like and with the locals, even in a ‘touristy’ place like Patong.

    With its seafront location just south of Patong Beach and looking out across the bay, as well as its classy presentation, you wouldn't expect Pan Yaah to be what you would call a common Thai restaurant. Even so, its fantastic affordable seafood makes it extremely popular with locals. 

    Without booking ahead, you'll have to be extremely lucky to get a table. Top choices include goong ob woonsen (rice vermicelli with large prawns in a heavy casserole) and pla nueng manao (steamed seabass in lime sauce and chillies). With its cool sea breeze, fantastic view and genuine local cuisine, Pan Yaah is easily among the best local restaurants in Phuket.

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    Location: 249 Prabaramee Road, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +66 (0)76 618 248

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    Kaab Gluay Restaurant

    A long-established restaurant in Patong, Kaab Gluay's modern, western look can trick people into thinking that it's not really a local restaurant. But the reasonably priced Thai cuisine is far more genuinely Thai than any you'll find in the more ‘local-looking’ restaurants around town. 

    A predominantly seafood menu includes delights such as stir-fried crab with curry powder, whole sweet-and-sour fish and steamed prawns with various sauces. Its local popularity gives the clean and modern room a boisterous, food court-like atmosphere.

    Location: 58/3 Phrabarami Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 2 am

    Phone: +66 (0)76 346 832

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    No. 9 Restaurant

    No. 9 is a simple, no-fuss eatery that's a short walk from the beach and has an impressive menu of inexpensive Thai and international cuisine. It makes the place as popular with tourists as it is with locals – so much so that it can be a challenge to find a seat after 6pm. The staff are friendly and welcoming, serving up such delights as Penang curry and tom kha gai, along with great examples of all the top tourist favourites and an impressive choice of seafood. 

    A second No. 9 opened further up the road, close to the entrance of Rat-U-Thit Road, and is under the same management, with the same great food.

    Location: 209 Phrabarami Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)76 341 575

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    Briley Chicken and Rice

    Briley is so well known for the one dish on its menu – khao man gai (boiled chicken and rice) – that it's sometimes known by that name. A simple and inexpensive 1-plate meal originally from China and particularly common in Chiang Mai, it's known as Thailand’s answer to fish and chips. 

    This tasty and satisfying staple is especially well prepared here, making Briley a remarkably popular restaurant with both Thais and tourists, in spite of its extremely short menu.

    Location: 102 Ratuthit Songroipi Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)81 597 8380

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    Aroonsom Patong Food Park

    Aroonsom Food Park is a collection of extremely popular seafood restaurants along Rat-U-Thit Road and includes 89 Seafood and Kusuma Halal Restaurant, both of which draw big crowds of visitors and locals. It's noted for high-quality tom yum goong as well as great fresh fish, lobster and prawns, mostly in Thai preparations. 

    Having been widely discovered and attracting many tourists, it does now have a collection of touts attempting to draw you in, which might make you think that it is not really a ‘genuine’ Thai place. The food, however, speaks for itself.

    Location: Ratuthit Songroipi Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 1 am

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    Sam Chor Restaurant

    Sam Chor is commonly known by its slogan of ‘Delicious 24 Hours’ and is popular with locals for its great range of Thai cuisine, including fresh seafood and Isan favourites like som tam and spicy preparations of duck, squid and fish. It's also a good place to try out Thai breakfasts, including stuffed omelettes or rice soup. 

    It's popular with tourists for its genuine Thai food at good prices as well as a small collection of international favourites. Despite a grubby, weather-worn interior, the kitchen area is sparklingly clean and all the food is cooked fresh and tasty.

    Location: 39 Sainamyen Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Open 24 hours

    Phone: +66 (0)76 343 044

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    S&G Family Restaurant

    Its location close to Beach Road makes S&G particularly popular with tourists, though the genuine and affordable Thai cuisine also attracts locals, creating a friendly, bustling atmosphere. Although the menu also lists quite a few European choices, it's the Thai dishes like tom yam goong and sweet and sour pork that really excel, as does the friendly and efficient service.

    Location: 104/2 Soi Post Office, Thaweewong Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)7 634 0151

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    Soi Lao

    Soi Lao is a virtually unknown side street off Bangla Road, home to 3 small Thai restaurants which are the most popular places for the people who work on the busy nightlife hub to eat at. Offerings include a selection of seafood, numerous curries, omelettes and more. 

    The street is sometimes called 'Soi Hong Nam' (meaning ‘Toilet Street’) because there is a public restroom at the end, which is often the only thing which leads visiting tourists to discover this little hive of Thai food. Since most of the customers are Thai, the food is made to their tastes, making it probably the most genuinely Thai cuisine anywhere around Bangla Road.

    Location: Soi Lao, Bangla Road, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand

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    Big Chicken Restaurant

    Krua Thung Thong, a popular restaurant in Kathu, is better known by its nickname ‘The Big Chicken.’ It’s easy to understand why once you spot the enormous statue of a rooster in front of the venue by the side of the road in Kathu, between Phuket Town and Patong. 

    Most of the regular customers (many are family groups) come here for the authentic food and already know what to order first – the grilled chicken or kai yang. It’s well seasoned and cooked just right. It's perfect with sticky rice. Krua Thung Thong’s menu features a good selection of meat, pork, seafood and chicken dishes. They have quite a few vegetarian items, too.

    Location: Wichitsongkram Rd, Kathu, Phuket 83120, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)76 321 546

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    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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