Telephone: 086 6904042
Address: Lay-Pang Beach (north end of Bang Tao beach)
Style: Casual beachfront, Thai-international
Price range: Very reasonable, especially if you drink. Not so much a happy hour, as a happy day and night. Cocktails and long glasses are at 99 baht all the time. Plenty of international food, including a double cheese burger (190 baht) shrimp burger and french frieds (130 baht). Salads, sandwiches, international regulars. But the emphasis is on Thai cooking, and what are probably the most reasonable prices in this five-star resort zone.
Specialty: Lobster thermidor, red and white snapper. The menu explains wonderfully well how red snapper makes an ideal meal steamed or deep-fried, while the white snapper cannot be more tasty than barbequed in banana leaves. That shows this chef really cares. Som tam, the spicy seafood salad, (100 baht) also sounds superb.
What the manager or chef says: Rudi, the Dutch husband of Khun Som, the owner and chef, believes this restaurant is setting new standards for beachfront ambience. He has scuba-dived most everywhere in Asia and thinks Phuket is the best place in the world to live. He is delighted to see his wife's restaurant become the first two-storey diner along the Bang Tao-Lay-Pang beachfront.
What Phuketwan says: We wandered in off the sand for an early lunch and Khun Rudi and his pet hound bounded up, eager to engage in a friendly conversation with a total stranger. He told us that the restaurant name, Som, was appropriate for two reasons. It was the name of his Thai wife as well as being the national color of his homeland, the Netherlands. After eight years in Patong (you will have to ask him what he think of the food in Patong) Rudi and Som were pleased to move north not long ago. Signs are that the two Soms will set new standards here, both in taste and value, the twin ingredients that always excite Phuketwan reviewers. A neat new casual lounge bar greets people who arrive off the street. Upstairs, the sturdy tables are set with well-weighted cutlery that last graced the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. You'd be surprised what a difference it makes, having a real fork and spoon (and sometimes a knife) in your hands. Phuketwan ordered a tiger prawn sandwich (150 baht) for lunch. Is there anywhere else in the world where you can order a tiger prawn sandwich? Somehow, we think it's unlikely. The rest of the menu looked really good, too, a mixture of Thai and international, but leaning towards Thai when it comes to prices. A lot of hard work is already evident and deserves to pay dividends. We are bold enough to express the opinion that this is a great place in the making. Go now, and tell your friends. We remember the colour orange fondly from a youth misspent on newspapers. Australia has a town named Orange, and the heading of the year once was reckoned to be: MAN FOUND DEAD IN ORANGE.
How to find it: Drive through Laguna Phuket, turn right towards the Allamanda and the Banyan Tree, and continue on to the beach. At the tee junction, turn left. Som is 300 metres on.
Parking: The road is unmade but there's space for plenty of cars.
Phuketwan restaurant reviewers pay for their meals. If someone else does, we tell you so