You certainly have a lot of choice when it comes to Mae Phim restaurants, as long as you eat seafood that is! Seafood is very popular in Thailand, in Bangkok there are huge restaurants which serve only seafood, and all 200 tables are full every night. Indeed it’s a major highlight of a Thai holiday at the beach!
Thai seafood restaurants line Mae phim’s beach road, showing off tanks full of crabs, whelks, prawns, lobster, mantis shrimp and grouper (see grumpy-faced fish below). There must be over 40 Thai seafood places in Mae phim alone, they look pretty similar and it’s anybody’s’ guess which is the best. We asked a couple of locals who said ‘they’re all good’! Very diplomatic but not very insightful! So we walked along and went with our usual method of picking a restaurant – which one has the most table of locals.
Pla-O had the most people so we took a pew and checked the menu. The good thing about these restaurants is that they always offer a couple of standard non-seafood dishes (Mr doesn’t do seafood). So he ordered pork with basil. Unfortunately they must have misheard him, as he was served squid with basil!! Oops! Nevermind, I had the squid, he had the basil….
Rather unexpectedly, and hopefully making up for the seafood mishap, Mae phim has a rather good selection of Scandinavian food. It seems a lot of Scandinavians and Germans have settled here and some of the local restaurants are doing a very good trade by catering to this crowd. I guess it makes a change from Thai, and judging from Mr’s grin, the food was pretty darn good!
So, you will find most of the restaurants along the beach. Towards the East end of the beach are permanent beach-hut style restaurants on the edge of beach. As you head west these give way to deck chairs on the sand where stalls will serve you fresh seafood in the shade of trees. On the other (non beach) side of the road there are a couple of resort restaurants.
Vienna is an Austrian restaurant that recently opened on Mae Phim beachfront. It’s located in the permanent restaurant area between a myriad of Thai seafood restaurants. Vienna offers Austrian and Thai (non-seafood) dishes. The chef lived in Austria for 17 years, and has brought back traditional recipes like schnitzel, sausages and potato dishes. The house wine is actually quite nice, and yes, the schnitzel is huge!
Tequiila Sunrise is an established restaurant on the beach a few doors up from Vienna serving schnitzel, sausages, hamburgers, pasta, salads and Thai food. They also have breakfast sets, a kids menu, a good range of cocktails and free wifi.
We didn’t venture outside Mae phim for eating purposes, other than to the fresh market (see the guide to Mae phim). However the range of food is pretty much seafood, seafood, Thai food, Scandinavian food. But seafood non-lovers need not fret, there’s plenty of Scandi fare for you to eat too! Just be aware you can’t eat these two things at the same restaurant….Show on map