It’s always nice to let your hair down and really party and Phi Phi’s the quintessential destination in which to do just that. Still, it’s sometimes equally beneficial to aim a little higher and celebrate life in a classier way. Enter stage left Le Grand Bleu, probably Phi Phi’s best stand-alone restaurant and, opened in 1992, almost an institution – an absolute must-do for visitors staying several nights on the island.
Le Grand Bleu (named after a 1980s French movie with the worst soundtrack in the world) has a deceptive façade. What appears to be a small bamboo-lined café entrance actually leads into an Aladdin’s cave-like dining room in the back, replete with a mini waterfall, mature frangipani, generously proportioned wooden furniture and soft lighting. Before entering into the culinary fray we have a couple of drinks in the centrally located bar and munch on complimentary spanking-fresh spring rolls served with a medley of sauces.
Food & Wine
This restaurant, a favourite scuba-diver hangout (Le Grand Bleu, get it?), manages to pull off a combined Thai and French menu without dipping its fins into the dangerous waters of fusion cooking. And just as well, too, as much of the charm of this cuisine is in its simplicity. Daily recipes are changed according to what’s fresh and available on the island (it’s not as though the chef can nip out for a quick shopping jaunt) and as a result it’s a one-off with a complete lack of pretentiousness that is so often annoyingly prevalent in five-star hotel cuisine… and it’s all at half the cost, too.
Even the wine list, a 15-label international collection, features bottles for as little as 695 baht, and that’s cheap by Thai standards. We choose a hearty French rosé Terraces D’Azur that perfectly complements our dishes of fish filet in pesto sauce, fresh mixed salad, deep-fried battered shrimp rolls, mustard chicken and French fries.
In short, dining at Le Grand Bleu is an occasion – an event ably aided by restaurant manager Khun En, from Krabi. She possesses a natural ebullience and an easy going nature that perfectly mirrors the enjoyably relaxed but classy atmosphere at Le Grand Bleu.
Le Grand Bleu
- Opening Hours: 18:30 – 23:00
- Location: Tonsai Main Street towards the pier
- Remarks: Reservations recommended
- Tel: 081 979 9739
- Cuisine: French and Thai
- Price Range: Affordable