Rum you’ll love and fresh small plates and meals at this tropical restaurant in Phuket’s laid-back Rawai neighborhood, which features outstanding Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

         by Amy Bensema

          Rum Jungle Phuket has been a staple on the island’s dining scene for 13 years. The open-air restaurant boasts a lively atmosphere and features a large premium Rum list, a fine selection of Italian wines and classic cocktails that pack a powerful punch. I appreciate that they always have Cranberry Juice on hand to mix with a bit of vodka and lime. While everyone likes to belly up to the bar, it is no secret that what Rum Jungle does best is food.

          Fresh ingredients, secret recipes, a dash of creativity and a whole lotta love goes into each and every dish at Rum Jungle. The food is simple, flavorful and really high quality. The restaurant features a set menu of classic favorites such as pasta & risotto, a variety of delicious salads, bruschetta (I highly recommend the tuna & caper choice), and fresh mussels. Mains include Eggplant Parmigiana, Fish N Fries and an Australian Beef Tenderloin. Specials and desserts are featured on a blackboard. Most specials change throughout the week depending upon which fresh produce and seafood is available at the local markets.

          The night we arrive for dinner at Rum Jungle is a typical low season night. It’s a bit rainy and we are led to a table straightaway. Chef Tony came out to greet us almost immediately, asked if we had any preferences or food allergies, and took care of our drinks. Before I go any further, it should be noted that Rum Jungle Phuket was once of the first restaurants in the neighborhood to give up the plastic straw. The staff are happy to serve your soft drinks or cocktails with a bamboo or metal straw, the choice is entirely up to you.

          After a bit of small talk, Chef Tony retreated to the kitchen to prepare our feast, and as my dining partner and I are sitting next to the kitchen, we are fascinated by the wonderful smells. Although chatting and catching up, we are highly anticipating the food. Trust me when I say that we were not disappointed when the first dishes started to come out.

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          Piping hot bread with olive oil is accompanied by a fresh Beetroot & Lentil Salad with red onion and balsamic dressing, a yummy Mushroom Salad and a delightfully light Tuna Tartare with fresh avocado. The dishes are exceptional. The ingredients are obviously top notch and the flavors burst with every bite. This type of fresh, light fare is absolutely delicious and a perfect start to the evening.

         More menu items are brought out, including one of my favorite dishes at Rum Jungle Phuket, the Risotto Al Funghi made with braised Arborio rice mixed with mushrooms, parmesan and fresh herbs. The Risotto Al Funghi is simple with rich flavors, and the serving size is huge. We are also presented with an enormous bowl of Seafood Soup featuring a healthy dose of shells and prawns, as well as Spicy Giant Pork Ribs which are extremely tender. One of the last dishes that we get to sample is a lush homemade Spinach Ricotta Ravioli with Sage butter. It is divine. It’s light and creamy and the sage butter really adds to the overall flavor of this classic Italian dish. We are completely stuffed by the time we finish dinner, and decide to pass on dessert. Next time!

          A dining experience at Rum Jungle Phuket truly is perfection. This Italian & Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of Rawai offers up food that is always excellent, service that is continually spot on and an atmosphere that is lively and enjoyable. Plus, in addition to being very good, the background music always provides an eclectic soundtrack for your dining experience.

          Rum Jungle Phuket truly is one of the most authentic, affordable restaurants in southern Phuket and completely worth checking out if you have never been. Trust us, once you go you will go back again and again.

Rum Jungle Phuket
69/8 Moo 1, Sai Yuan Road
Rawai, Phuket, Thailand

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday at 5pm
Tel: 076 388 153