Phuketwan once proposed a nomination for the island's most iconic dish: the tiger prawn sandwich. Perhaps the tiger still rules, at least in our value-for-money hunt for a moderately-priced Restaurant of the Year.
Yet Phuket's reputation as a five-star food destination definitely also remains on the rise. For that reason, we asked five foodie ''stars'' on Phuket this week to each nominate Phuket's five best quality restaurants.
One of those stars, Sue Ultmann of the Baan Rim Pa Group, quickly revealed her top five. She also told us that Baan Rim Pa this week had achieved a culinary historic first: a review in the 'Miele Guide'.
The second annual selection of top restaurants around 16 countries in the region was celebrated on Wednesday with a gala launch dinner at The Fullerton Hotel in Singapore that Sue described as ''a spectacular event.''
''To be honest, I would have liked to see a couple more Phuket restaurants represented, not just ours,'' Sue told Phuketwan. ''As time goes on, people will become more aware of the 'Miele Guide.'''
The Miele people seem serious about establishing standards for great eating in all 16 countries that make up the neighborhood, with Phuket breaking through to appear in the 2009 edition, reviewed among a total of 450 restaurants.
Presumably, as Baan Rim Pa is the only Phuket restaurant mentioned, that makes it the island's best restaurant, according to the 'Miele Guide.'
Will other Phuket restaurants cut it next year against the best that Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong can muster? If ambience counts (and of course it does) then Phuket already has a head start.
Baan Rim Pa's anonymous Miele reviewer mentions the spectacular sunset, as well as the grilled Andaman lobster.
In seeking our top five, Phuketwan asked our five foodies to put to one side the restaurants with which they were associated.
Here's Sue's top Phuket handfull: 9th Floor, Les Anges, Acqua, Sala Bua and Mom Tri's Regatta.
Nick Anthony, managing partner of Indigo Real Estate, quickly nominated these five: Le Winch, Boat Lagoon, La Gaetana, Phuket Town, Taste, Surin Beach, Trisara and Acqua, Patong.
One of our five foodies cried off for lack of time to indulge, another failed to respond in time.
There are other trends, too. More restaurants these days are catering for special food requirements, including halal and vegetarian.
Sylvie Yaffe, Public Relations Manager at Mom Tri's Villa Royale and Mom Tri's Oasis, told us she eats in a lot of the time, and as a vegetarian nominates Capannina as her Number One option and for Thai, Nee's in Nai Harn.
Phuketwan would be delighted to hear more Phuket Top Fives, provided those who nominate them have no commercial associations with their suggestions. And we would also be interested to hear more ideas for the Phuketwan Phuket Restaurant of the Year, coming soon.
For the record, the Miele Top 20 restaurants in the region, with last year's position in brackets, are:
1. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Hong Kong, China. (2)
2. Iggy's, Singapore. (1)
3. Robuchon a Galera, Macau, China. (6)
4. Jaan par Andre, Singapore. (-)
5. Les Amis, Singapore. (3)
6. Mozaic, Bali, Indonesia. (5)
7. Gunther's Modern French Cuisine, Singapore. (4)
8. Laris, Shanghai, China. (-)
9. Ku De Ta, Bali, Indonesia. (-)
10. Yung Kee, Hong Kong, China. (8)
11. Bukhara, New Delhi, India. (14)
12. Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck, Beijing, China. (-)
13. Zanotti II Ristorante Italiano, Bangkok, Thailand. (19)
14. M on the Bund, Shanghai, China. (17)
15. Nobu, Hong Kong, China. (16)
16. Caprice, Hong Kong, China. (11)
17. Antonio's, Cavite, Philippines. (10)
18. Aubergine, Manila, Philippines. (-)
19. Fook Lam Moon, Hong Kong, China. (18)
20. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Tokyo, Japan. (13)
After dining out at a large number of Phuket restaurants for 12 months, we have cast our votes for the Phuketwan Restaurant of the Year. With a rumble of stomachs rather than a drum roll, here it is.
Phuketwan Restaurant of the Year 2008 Award
2007: Restaurant of the Year Award
Phuket City is renown for good Thai food but the Restaurant of the Year for 2007 adds its own special touches and is consistent in quality as well as having a sense of culinary adventure.
2007: Restaurant of the Year Award