Pattaya – enjoying the city’s bar and restaurant scene

While in many of Thailand’s less commercially developed holiday centres visitors are happy to eat at the same places as the locals, Pattaya attracts holidaymakers who are often less ambitious and in search of some traces of familiarity where food and drink are concerned.

Fortunately, Pattaya has a wealth of venues that are tourist friendly including those owned by Thais keen to cash in on the steady influx of annual visitors and those owned by expats hoping to attract other expats and grab something of the tourist trade also.

Most hotels offer breakfast as part of the price of a room for the night and while they generally have facilities for providing lunch and dinner, many visitors are out and about during the daytime and will need to find somewhere on their travels that can satisfy their food needs.

There are plenty of venues open for lunch and visitors can choose from either Thai or western food. In the latter category, eateries that stand out include the Queen Victoria Inn on soi 6 with its fine selection of typically English fare and Pat’s restaurant on soi 3 offering similar grub. Between them, customers can expect to find fish and chips, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, shepherd’s pie and ploughman’s lunch up for grabs.

For fast food, Subway has a branch of its famous sandwich chain situated on Pattaya Klang road and offers its typical selection of Americanised fare, while the City Grill restaurant on Walking street covers all the usual bread and meat combinations such as hot dogs and hamburgers. For food of a similar ilk with that little bit extra, Bob’s BBQ & Grill is sure to please with its ribs, burgers and steaks.

Dinner time sees a greater selection of eateries, with many restaurants restricting themselves to evening trade only. Thai food vendors begin to line the streets once the sun has set, dishing up cheap yet authentic Thai cuisine from their mobile food carts. It’s possible to eat for less than 50 baht at these places, although the roadside setting won’t win any awards for being romantic or serene.

To enjoy Thai food in a restaurant setting yet at a reasonable price, try Somsak on soi 1 or Baan Thai on Central road where traditional fare with an haute cuisine edge can be enjoyed at higher prices than the former. Dinner with entertainment can be found at Adam & Eve’s at Sabai Jai Village and PIC Kitchen on soi 5.

When it’s got to be something familiar or something that is not spicy, then its time to try one of Pattaya’s many international restaurants. Establishments in this category include those serving the cuisines of England, France, Belgium, Germany and Japan. For spicy food of a different nature, there are also Indian and Mexican eateries.

Italian food is popular in Pattaya, as anywhere else in the world, and Duilio’s on Central road and Little Italy situated on the opposite side from Royal Garden Plaza are the among the best places to enjoy a plate of pasta or a pizza. For something from France, check out Au Bon Coin on soi 5 and Mon Ami Pierrot on Walking street; both delivering high quality, authentic French cuisine. Belgian food is best enjoyed at either Klein Vlaanderen on the Pattaya 2nd or Patrick’s Belgian at the Diana Arcade.

Go Japanese at either Yamato on soi Yamato or at either of the city’s Daidomon branches (Big C and Royal Garden Plaza), with the former being the best option in terms of authenticity. For nan bread, samosas and milky curries, head to Sher E Punjab on Beach road or Ali Baba on Central road, while tacos and chili are sure to be found on the menus of Mexican establishments Blue Parrot on soi 2 and Tequila Reef on soi 7.

After dinner, a cool alcoholic beverage is appealing and Pattaya has plenty of drinking venues on offer. Unfortunately, the main drinking zone, situated around Walking street, has a reputation as a haven for sex tourists and the kind of establishments that cater to them. If this is not your scene, there are still bars in the same area where visitors can drink and socialise without this kind of distraction.

Falling into the aforementioned category are venues such as the Bamboo Bar and Kilkenny’s Irish pub on Walking street; Hard Rock Café, Hopf Brew House and Rosie O’Grady’s on Beach road; and Shenanigans and the Queen Victoria Inn in the Pattaya 2nd road area.

Of course, there are some visitors who will want to avoid any chance of wandering into seedy areas and for them the safety of hotel bars is perhaps the best option. The big hotels all have their own bars, many of them attractively furnished and offering quality wines and spirits as opposed to locally brewed beverages.

The Sheraton in Pattaya Hill, All Seasons on Pattaya 2nd road, Marriot on Beach road and Royal Orchid Resort in North Pattaya are just some of the establishments with bar facilities. Customers need not be guests of the hotel to drink at these bars. It’s also worth considering that these hotels all have excellent in-house restaurants which are open to guests and non-guests alike. The standard of food is exceptionally high and both Thai and international cuisine are available. Non-residents should consider booking ahead, especially in high season.