Oct 22 2012
Update: The Lighthouse has closed
The Lighthouse restaurant on the waterfront of Ao Chalong has long been a Phuket sailor hangout. But for anyone simply looking for a solid meal with a sea view it’s a fine place to linger.
Found along the narrow seafront road that leads south from Chalong Pier, The Lighthouse is out of the way enough that you’re unlikely to stumble upon it on your own. But if you do go looking for it, the distinctive lighthouse tower makes it easy to spot. The tower serves no function aside from forming a rather grand decorative entrance to the restaurant.
Unsurprisingly, the theme here is nautical, its interior adorned with sailing memorabilia and furnished with heavy tables and chairs that look as if they’ve been made of wood that’s been yanked from an old yacht’s hull. Several messages calling for crew are posted on the notice board, giving those with dreams of sailing the blue yonder some options to ponder.
The entire front facing the bay is open, allowing for unfettered views of the bustling boat activity and letting the sea breezes keep the non-air-con interior cool day and night. The Lighthouse was once a two-level restaurant and home to the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, which has since set up its own clubhouse down the road. The upper floor has been converted into rooms for rent.
With dishes priced at around 80 to 400 baht, it may not be the cheapest eatery in the Ao Chalong area but certainly one of the biggest. We’ve tried both Thai and Western dishes here and have no complaints either way. The Thai servings might be watered down a bit for Western tastes but every dish comes generous portioned. The Lighthouse special breakfast is huge and hearty, giving you two eggs, bacon, English sausage, baked beans, baguette, coffee or tea and juice for 220 baht.
One of our favourite Thai dishes is mildly spiced chu-chee curry with prawn or fish (150 baht), perfect for warming up your belly before heading off for adventures at sea. The burgers are consistently good, as are the pizzas. The Lighthouse’s Thai-fusion twists on pizza might strike horror into the hearts of Italian food purists, but the pizza topped by chicken with penang curry sauce has a delicious if unusual flavour.
The wine, beer and cocktails, priced from 90 to 150 baht, are more expensive than the offerings at the many beer bars up the pier road, but an ice-cold beer served with a sea view always seems to taste a little bit better.
With its big menu, The Lighthouse is a good choice for families, and it’s a relaxing spot to unwind after a day out diving or snorkelling. There’s a pool table at the back, and free WiFi so you can come here to catch up on emails while soaking up the yachtie ambience. The pace is unhurried yet the service is efficient and friendly enough. It never seems to get too busy, so it’s usually easy to find a table by the open window area.
The Lighthouse is open from 08:00 till 22:00; kitchen closes at 21:00. Some parking is available along the seaside road out front and more in the car park at the back. You’ll need to hold your nose as you cross the small footbridge connecting the car park to the back entrance since there’s a fetid open canal running under it.
45/33 Chao Fa Road East, Moo 9, Ao Chalong, Phuket
T: (076) 381 709
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.