Khao Lak, Thailand is filled with great restaurants. Most of these restaurants are inexpensive Thai places serving up amazing local cuisine at prices that seem like complete bargains to most Westerners. You can’t go wrong. We spent a week in Khao Lak, and to say we had a pretty steady diet of pad see ew and curries would be an understatement. To vary things up a bit, though, we decided to try out two different places: Amici Ristorante Italiano and Enzo Bistro Khao Lak. While Amici was a pretty nice take on Italian, we found Enzo to be something incredibly special.
We made a reservation one evening, and we showed up hungry. While I didn’t take any pictures of the inside of the restaurant, it is definitely set up to look like you’re inside an authentic Japanese restaurant, all the way down to the super fancy toilet! In our experience, Thai restaurants didn’t typically have the nicest facilities, but Enzo bucked the trend, complete with Japanese toilet. We had to remove our shoes to enter the restaurant, and there are slippers to use by the restroom. All of the little details were taken care of, and I really liked our crane chopstick holders.
The menu was extensive, and we were hungry. We were served by Toshi, who owns and operates the restaurant. I mentioned to Toshi that everything looked great – I wanted sushi, tempura, and some specialties of the house. He suggested that the multi course degustation menu would be the way to go. While my wife and I don’t typically go for that sort of thing, we figured we would splurge and go for it! Course 1 is described as an appetizer, and it was brought out on a tray divided into four quadrants.
There’s a whole lot of variety in that appetizer.
Our next course was a sashimi sampler.
While I don’t recall the individual fish, Toshi described each to one, carefully pointing out that while some of the fish were traditional sashimi fish, he also liked to mix in some of the local catch to give the dish a fusion of flavors. He mentioned that the local fish were actually caught earlier that day. My wife and I are huge sashimi fans so that platter disappeared pretty darn quickly! It was impeccably fresh.
After downing the sashimi, Toshi came out another amazing dish served in a shell of some sort.
Yup. That was delicious.
After that, our main course came. The main course was a combination of assorted tempura and wagyu beef.
The tempura was airy and delicous, but the wagyu beef was the true specialty. It came out cooked, but purposefully undercooked. Toshi also brought out a hot stone, and he told us to sear the meat on the stone, a few seconds on each side, or until done to our liking, in order to have just the right tableside preparation. This wagyu beef was some of the best steak I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. No joke… And I’m a steak snob.
Note the portion size. Despite so many courses, the tasting menu isn’t going to make you uncomfortably full. The meal was paced and sized just right. And after some wagyu beef, how about a bit more sushi?
Again, the sushi was incredibly fresh and delicious.
And while we were slowing down and filling up, we of course had room for dessert: two small, warm, freshly prepared waffles and a scoop of chocolate ice cream.
After polishing off the dessert, we were done. Full. Satisfied. Smiling. Happy. We just had a beautiful assortment of Japanese creations, each one delivered to us and explained by a true master, Toshi. We thanked him profusely and left. As our trip wrapped up, we kept talking about how great our meal there was, and if we didn’t have such a desire to keep trying new places, we would have gone back again once more!
A few months after our visit, my parents and youngest brother took a similar trip to Khao Lak. That trip was this past May, conveniently hovering around Mother’s Day. My wife and I agreed that there could be no better Mother’s Day gift than the same dinner we enjoyed at Enzo Bistro! I got in touch with Toshi, sent money via Western Union, and arranged a reservation for my family. They would get the same degustation menu that we had. What were their thoughts? I think they raved about Enzo even more than my wife and I did!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
So if you find yourself in the wonderful town of Khao Lak, Thailand, definitely enjoy all the local food. It’s fantastic. Do yourself a favor, though… Skip lunch one day, build up an appetite, and make a reservation at Enzo Bistro Khao Lak. Let Toshi, the master owner, serve you a masterpiece of a dinner!