The first night in Phuket we drove 30 km to Phuket Town, located on the south end of the island, to enjoy a fantastic dinner with Stuart and Piyawat. The venue was this hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant called La Gaetana. And let me tell you, it was without question the best dining experience I have had in Thailand.
That may sound like hyperbole, but Polermo native Gianni and his Thai wife Chonchita run the most charming of restaurants with the most attentive service I’ve ever received in the Land of Smiles. The restaurant, located in a charmingly decorated 80-year old building, seats just 32 so reservations are a must.
The food is great, atmosphere is cute, etc. but what really makes the experience worthwhile is the passion with which Gianni and his staff, many of whom have worked there for years, attend to your needs. His tableside bottle-opening and decanting is a show in and of itself, and illustrates just how much care is given to each detail of the dining experience.
Here’s a video that shows it all.
Lest you don’t want to watch the video, here it is in pictures:
Italian antipasto platter. Yummy!
Grilled veggies in the back and a variety of bruschetta in the front.
Minestrone soup with fresh ground pepper.
Palate cleanser of passionfruit sorbetto.
Homemade spaghetti with pancetta and sundried tomatoes.
Grilled salmon with lemongrass sauce and spinach.
Homemade fettuccine with mixed seafood and tomato sauce.
Grilled bistecca (angus) served with veggies. Very lovely cut with lots of flavor.
For dessert, Gianni displayed the same attention to detail as he did when opening the wine bottles, garnishing each dish before it was served.
The desserts had a very French feel to them. Here, a tarte tartin.
Classic crème brûlée
Baba au ruhm with more sorbetto.
Finally, an Italian dessert! A tiramisu “island” with cinnamon and basil “palm tree”.
This is exactly what I could imagine myself doing in the future. Running my own small restaurant in some idyllic town, spending my days making my guests happy and ensuring they enjoy excellent food, wine and service.
What fun dishes! Are you supposed to eat the cinnamon sticking out of the desserts?
That is awesome!!!
You forgot to mention that the professional-looking sugar caramelization on the crème brûlée was done by Tawn. Nothing like a little audience participation in the preparations!But yeah, this restaurant is amazing. I am so glad you were able to come to Phuket to try it. Oh, and by the way, here’s the write-up I did earlier this year, if anyone wants a second opinion! Excellent Italian Dinner at La Gaetana, Phuket Town.
@sgtowns – Wonderful cross-promotion!@secade – Nah, just decoration.@yang1815 – When are you and Sugi coming for a visit so we can go there?
@christao408 – No plans yet but maybe next year when I go back to Taiwan?!
Seems like a worthwhile eatery to try in Phuket Town! I like the attention to details on each dish. The “island” dessert looks interesting!
@yang1815 – Oh, you planning for 2010, too? Gosh, I can barely get beyond next month.
@christao408 – LOL! I just booked a trip for next year!!!
@CurryPuffy – I thought the whole palm tree motif was hillarious.
BTW, any news on hotel next month???
Very nice … I love small restaurants which serve excellent food!
GOD these look so good. I know I have put on at least three pounds as I gazed at these pictures. I marvel at the way you look; how come you don’t put on weight Chris.?
We’ll put that on our list of eateries for our next trip. Hope it’s still in business then. The girls will be happy for some “regular” food, as well as your sister.
Everything looks so scrumptious! I’ll be going to Phuket next year with the bf, so definitely will put this restaurant on our list.
tawn always looks so happy :Dthat mixed seafood fettuccine is really catching my eye..!
Everything looks so good. I love, love, love the tiramisu island with the palm tree. How cute is that?
@yang1815 – I need to book that this weekend. Probably will do one of the local places near your parents’ house that you recommended. Will email you when done.@TheLatinObserver – Aren’t they the best?@ZSA_MD – Sadly, I have. I’ve fallen out of my (modest) exercise routine and need to get back into the habit or will start 2010 five pounds heavier than 2009!@jandsschultz – There’s plenty of regular food for them! Ha ha…@Rm2046 – Please let me know if you guys make it into BKK; would be nice to meet you in person.@iskrak – We select only the most flattering of photos! =D@TheCheshireGrins – Good note for future dinner parties: decorate dessert as an island.
Looking at the food display, makes me hungry. If I could only say abracadabra ….then presto….Thanks for the pictures.
Oh wow… (I can’t play the video anymore btw) – the food looks very good, I would love to try that pasta dish and the beef too. If you do open a restaurant, I’ll be eating there and be the anonymous food critic that will drive you nuts. hahahaha….
This is wonderful. I just tried to watch the video, but it gave me some kind of error =/These are the kinds of restaurants I love the most. I actually tend to avoid the really high end places, I much prefer small “mom and pop” joints that treat you like family, and serve food that’s filled with love. After all, that’s what I enjoy — it’s not the food itself, it’s the food love.I’m starting to plan for a trip to Thailand. This place is definitely on my list, thank you again 🙂
look at the portion the two appetizers could be my main meal aldy
@christao408 – O no no please feel free to pick whatever hotel you would like and we will make it work! 🙂
That is a great find.
What an experience!!! The spaghetti looks wonderful, but I am so pedestrian…I would need garlic bread and a big salad with it!!! I would have to pass on the seafood fettucine….after all, I was in Maine for an entire week and ate NO SEAFOOD!!! But everything else looks so wonderful and I agree the presentation and attention to detail is fabulous!!! And the company looks wonderful too!!! I am glad that you shared the experience with us!!! Ruth Ann
This was so fun to see – I loved the video! As for opening your own place – you have seen it done right and already have your name and logo. So when does the dream become reality??
What a beautiful spot! It’s almost romantic xDYour friends needless to say are adorable to
Wow, very nice video. I’m doubly impressed now at the attention to detail. What song is this by the way?
@yang1815 – They look nice enough and prices are reasonable. Any reason we wouldn’t want to stay at one of those two places?
@ElusiveWords – Video is fixed. Yes, if I open a restaurant and you’re there as a critic, I suspect I’ll recognize you. Not too many people look like a red boat.@chow@ireallylikefood – Video is fixed. Agreed about what to look for in a restaurant. If the people working there aren’t passionate about their food and about their guests, the rest of it will not fall into place.@WilldrawsRainbows – Oh, it is a very romantic place. Thanks, I’ll be sure to let my friends know they have an admirerer.@murisopsis – When we have a whole bunch of cash we want to blow! Ha ha ha…@Redlegsix – No seafood and you were in Maine for a week? What did you survive on? Blueberries?@amygwen – Yes. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone about it. =D@agmhkg – Thankfully, the meal stretched out more than two hours so it didn’t feel like too much food. Plus we had six people.
Dinner looks fabulous. I don’t there’s anything there that I wouldn’t devour. =)
Does he give that kind of detail to all his customers? That is absolutely amazing. I am certainly looking forward to eating here.
@jandsschultz – I believe that his service is par for the course.
I enjoyed watching him open the wine and love that decanter. I can hear my dad telling me, “We have to let the wine breath”. When I was a kid, I couldn’t figure out what he meant. I’ve never seen anyone take the temperature of the wine before – that’s interesting. I guess he stocks it cool – around 55 to 60 degrees? By the way, the music to your video is very nice too. What is it? You have a knack of finding the right music for your videos – same with the last video of the rain.
@christao408 – No frequent hotel points??? I would think the whole English thing wouldn’t be a problem though.If price is comparable, you may feel more comfortable staying at the internationally-known hotels because they would be more used to having English-speaking customers that’s all.
Actually I DID have blueberry pancakes several mornings for breakfast!!! But I survived mostly on chicken….some very wonderful dinners…one of them in particular you would have approved of….baked chicken breast stuffed with a smokey flavored cheese ( who’s name has escaped me!!!) and delicately baked in a wonderful raspberry jalapeno glaze!!! YUM!!!!Ruth Ann
Yummy gastronomic Italian dishes! Now I can see the pictures again and even add in my comments. From your travelogue to Phuket, it is good incentive for me and James to return to Phuket (since 2000) to catch up the changing scenes such as this Italian restaurant. Can’t remember having seen it in the town!
@Redlegsix – Did you really? Oh, it is 10:30 Sunday morning and the idea of blueberry pancakes sounds WONDERFUL right now! Was it Provelone cheese? That has a mild smoked flavor?
@susanloo2002 – Rumor has it you’ll be up in Thailand during the Christmas holidays this year. Is that correct?
Loved the video and the photos! Wish there were a restaurant like that here in The Hague. And, on a random note, you sure are a handsome man.