Great Thai Food in an Old Mansion
Raya Restaurant (also known as Raya House) is a unique restaurant combining all the right ingredients to make it a perfect local experience. They serve great food, reasonable price, and a superb setting in an old Thai house kept just the way it has always been, no excessive renovation but well maintained. Raya is unpretentious and straightforward; it feels like being invited to a Thai home for lunch or dinner.
Raya Restaurant received a ‘Bib Gourmand’ rating from the new Michelin Guide for Phuket. Bib Gourmand means ‘friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices.’
Raya Restaurant on Dibuk Road belongs to two sisters and can accommodate many guests on two floors. They only use the second level when downstairs is full or for special occasions as a large balcony makes it convenient for small parties. You notice the decorated flooring tiles, so typical of the Sino-Portuguese houses, and these have probably welcomed several generations of feet. The green wooden windows with safety bars and Portuguese stained glass create the right atmosphere for the dining rooms.
For more than ten years, we regularly visited Raya house, and the place hasn’t changed much. At first, the restaurant was relatively quiet as those old houses were somehow under-appreciated and not yet considered ‘heritage’. The food was excellent, affordable and an authentic Phuket experience. Years after years, word of mouth spread the name. It didn’t happen overnight, and they didn’t do any visible advertising, but people talked. Slowly the place became well-known across the country, the way a good restaurant becomes famous for what it does best.
If you go for lunch, you still will get a table, of course, and in the evening, you might have to move upstairs unless a member of the royal family has booked the entire place. It is not unusual to see Bangkok celebs coming down here for dinners with their friends. You might not be able to recognise any, but you will know when one arrives! First, you’ll hear a lot of whispering and giggling; then, the photo sessions will start.
Usually, celebs play the game happily, so get in the queue and get one yourself. You might not know who that person is, but you’ll have a good story to tell once back home!
What to Eat at Raya
The food is the main reason to visit, of course. Everyone agrees that ‘Kaeng poo kanom jeen’, the creamy crab meat curry with rice noodles (Kanom Jeen), is their best speciality. Steamed pork with rice is great too, but watch out for the calories on this one. Pak Miang and Pak Liang are some excellent fried pan leaves cooked with dry shrimps or with pork. Then you have to try the Tamarind Prawns, a bit sweet, but many love it. For the rest, you can pick from their long English menu.
The restaurant is on Dibuk Road, just next to the bridge over the canal, a little hidden behind a newer restaurant. There is small dedicated parking in the back of the restaurant.
Photos of Raya Restaurant
Raya Restaurant Info
Location: Phuket Town
Address: 48/1 Dibuk Road, Tambon Talat Yai, Phuket Town, Phuket 83000
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Phone: 076 218 155
Cuisine: Southern Thai
Price: a little expensive
Raya Restaurant Map