In my mind, there is no greater meal than brunch. Yes, you can have a fine breakfast or a hearty dinner, but there something in a brunch that just lightens the soul a little. Perhaps it is the pairing of salmon and vodka, or eggs and smoothie… but for whatever reason brunch simply the champion of meals.
Phuket is a strange place. It is almost an international zone. If you want the best Thai food, this isn’t the place to come. But with its vast numbers of expatriates and tourists, it is surely one of the best places in Asia to find a good international menu. Within a five minute drive from my house, there are too many options to count, with at least four Italian restaurants, five Germany bakeries, three Russian cafes, two Swiss restaurants, and a good few French cafes.
When it comes to brunch, the biggest problem around here is narrowing it down. There is simply too much to choose from. As such, I have made this list to help you. You might well wonder why you wouldn’t just go on Google or Tripadvisor to find the best places for brunch, but unfortunately most cafes and restaurants around here offer free coffee in exchange for good reviews. As a result, you cannot trust what you read there.
This list is obviously just my opinion, but it is at least an honest one. I have not been paid by any of these establishments, nor have I received anything for free in exchange for favourable reviews. These are just my experiences of brunching around Phuket. This was first written in late 2019 and may be updated in future to reflect changes in the quality of these locations.
Gallery Café, Chalong
Gallery is a small chain of cafes in Phuket, with at least three branches that I know of – Phuket Town, Chalong, and Rawai. I live closest to the Rawai one, but have not yet been there. I instead have visited the Chalong branch because it’s close to the home of my friends, who invited me there for brunch one rainy Sunday.
This is a pleasant little place with only a few tables. It has a nice, quiet atmosphere and seems to be frequented by a number of digital nomad-type people who take up the tables with their laptops. Although the café is open most of the day, it seems to cater mostly to the breakfast and brunch crowd, and offers an array of upscale options. These are similar to a number of other cafes in the area – avocado toast, full English, pancakes (including gluten-free), and the breakfast bowl smoothies that seem so popular nowadays.
I elected for a bagel, which came with a generous portion of salmon, a less generous portion of cream cheese, and a bit of salad. It was hard to eat as it sort of spilled everywhere, but the taste was good and it was filling. It also cost a very reasonable 230 baht. I had a mango and passion fruit smoothie, as well, which was wonderful. There was no added sugar and it came with a reusable bamboo straw, which I thought was a nice touch. Gallery is a pleasant café with decent prices and a big menu of good foods. Everything that was ordered by our group was highly rated, and there seemed to be a good selection of baked goods for sale as well, although no one ordered any.
Flip Side, Rawai
I had been pondering a visit to Flip Side since first seeing their slick advertisements on Instagram. I’m not one to be impressed by Insta-ads, but these were impressive, to say the least. They showed stunning foods and an amazing view.
When I showed up at Flip Side one Saturday morning, I was surprised to find it entirely empty. It seemed like the sort of place that would be crammed full of people at any hour, particularly in high season. However, it was just me and the view. Admittedly, the view could have been better – you can see the sea, but it’s behind some trees for the most part.
I ordered avocado toast with salmon and a lime sorbet smoothie. When it came, I was impressed by the appearance. The food was fine… but it looked better than it tasted. The toast came with vast quantities of cucumber, which I don’t like, but that was my misreading of the menu. The smoothie was about 95% sugar, but there you go.
The menu is extensive and impressive, if a bit overpriced. A mango smoothie, which can be had for 40-60 baht in many places, costs a staggering 150 baht at Flip Side. Alcoholic beverages start a good bit north of that… Thankfully, there are daily specials on food and drink that make it more affordable if you pay attention, and overall the service and view make the expensive worthwhile. Although my selections were not the best, I was nonetheless convinced that Flip Side is a good place for Brunch, and I will be back.
Mame, Phuket Town
Most of the best brunches in Phuket can be found in the south or west of the island, where there are beautiful views of the sea and countless tourists to spend their baht on Bloody Marys and eggs benedict. However, there are few good brunch spots in Phuket Town, too, including this small café. One might argue that it is more of a breakfast spot than a brunch one… and the fact that there is no alcohol on the menu is damning evidence of that fact. But brunch is what you make of it, and to my mind waffles and eggs and coffee at 11am is pretty darn brunch-y.
At least those are some of the options on offer. I personally took a different route and chose a croissant and jam, yoghurt and banana muesli, and a mango-passion fruit smoothie. It was absolutely spot-on and the total bill was a measly 200 baht. You’d struggle to beat that anywhere on the island. In addition, the service was fantastic, the room was air-conditioned (which was good considering the pavements were practically melting that day), and everything was spotlessly clean.
In short, if you’re in Phuket Town at brunch o’clock, get yourself to Mame.
Greze Greek Café, Ya Nui
If you like your brunches healthy, probiotic, and packed with protein, then you’ll love Greze in the south of Phuket. There are no alcoholic options here, though. Instead, Greze offers up a wide array of Greek dishes or Greek-inspired brunch options. Most things come with a serving of Greek yoghurt, as you might well expect.
On my last visit, I ordered the “signature pancakes,” which are rather healthy and protein-packed compared to the usual sugary sort that you find around Phuket (and most of the world). These were very tasty and came with banana. For a little extra, you can have them heaped with Nutella and other fruits. There are a great many fruit shakes, smoothies, lassis, and coffees to choose from, too. Most of the options on the menu come with nutritional information, which is good to know.
Greze is a small café with all the tables outdoors, so unlike all the other options here, it does not have air conditioning. However, it is on a picturesque, quiet side street and this part of Phuket usually has a pleasant breeze. The staff here were all very friendly and even though it is quite basic, they make it a lovely place to sit and enjoy the late morning.
Bonus: the Wifi is super-fast compared with most Phuket cafés and restaurants.
@ Bakery, Rawai
Although I have never actually had brunch here, I must include a nod to the fantastic @Bakery (yes, that’s its name) in Rawai. This is by far the best bakery I have tried in Asia. I have not yet sat in to have breakfast or brunch, but once or twice a week I will stop by for a pain-au-chocolat and they are simply the best in this part of the world. Phuket has many great bakeries but none can hold a candle to this one. Do yourself a massive favour and head along if you’re in the south of the island (but don’t eat all the pain-au-chocolat, please).
Around Rawai and Saiyuan, there are many great breakfast and brunch locations. It’s been a long time, but I recall having an excellent brunch at Coffee Tribe (halfway between those two places) and another good one at Hokhoelee, which does some of the best coffee in Phuket. I’ve heard that Wilson’s is good, although it’s always too busy to bother going in, and Spoonful of Sugar is a pleasant little place to sit, but the food wasn’t that great.