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Authentic atmosphere inside La Gaetana

La Gaetana, Phuket City

Sunday, October 19, 2008
Best Restaurant of 2008 contender

Telephone: 076 250523/ 081 3971221

Open: Lunch Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, noon-2pm. Dinner 6pm-10pm, closed Wednesdays. Bookings are advised, which presents the opportunity of ordering your meal off-menu.

Address: 352 Phuket Road, Phuket City.

Style: Italian

Price range: Reasonable. The menu offers plenty to delight the taste buds and there are usually some specials as well on the board. The menu also says that any other meal a guest would like to try can be ordered in advance. Chilean house wine (180 baht a glass) Italian (130 baht).

Specialty: Pasta, authentic Italian.

What Phuketwan says: Somehow we always seemed to turn up at La Gaetana when it was closed. A handsome Vespa would be parked on the pavement out the front. But the door was shut. Then one night, we found it open. And we are extremely glad we did. Plenty of restaurants lay claim to being the best Italian restaurant on Phuket. At some of them, it has to be said, the outcome depends on the mood of the chef. La Gaetana is a model of consistency. As for authenticity, it wins hands down. Through the door, diners find a homely slice of rustic Italy, wedded to professional service. The service takes many forms. A group of six elderly diners arrived soon afterwards and were issued with a small torch each. This allowed them to read the menu without harsh lighting that would have destroyed the romantic atmosphere for us all. There are restaurants on Phuket where we have almost gone blind trying to make a choice in the dark. Host Gianni is welcoming and charming, but only as chatty as you wish him to be. When we decided to have a house wine, we were offered a small sample of the choices, Chilean or Italian. There are plenty of other pleasing touches, including sorbet between courses. Unlike one Japanese island outlet that charges by the minute, the pace of the evening here is leisurely, and set by the diners. ''Are you ready for the main course now?'' we were asked politely. The glasses of water are refilled, sachets of homemade butter come with the bread. We are determinedly picky, but everything here was perfect. Even the prices produced no cause for alarm. And the food? First-rate. If there is a better Italian restaurant experience on the island, we'd like to know where.

How to find it: One door back from the intersection of Phuket Road and Kra Road, just a short walk from Robinson/McDonald's in Phuket City.

Parking: On the street, or in the Chinese temple opposite.

Phuketwan restaurant reviewers pay for their meals. If someone else does, we tell you so

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Monday July 13, 2020
Phuketwan - Your sweet Phuket, every day

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