The low season has taken its toll on small businesses in Cha-Am, particularly in the restaurant and small hotel/guesthouse sectors. There are many ‘for sale’ notices visible as a sign of failed ventures, giving the impression that the future may be bleak or is that just necessary ‘natural’ attrition?
The good news is that there is a new breed in town. On the other sign of the coin, entrepreneurs are providing a new vibrancy ready for the high season to come. Another trend is the number of Hua Hin diners heading to Cha-Am, looking for a change of scenery, an escape from the traffic or perhaps a weekend away without too much travel. Here are some examples of the new look and a ‘taste’ of things to come.
There’s one theme that stands out; not a repeat of businesses next door with a tired format, but something different to appeal to an ever discerning customer base. Another feature is the ‘hands-on’ approach of each of these restaurants owners. They want it done their way, they prefer inexperienced staff; willing to listen and learn.
Paris Style Cha-Am, Bistro-Lounge & Guest House This is a casual fusion bistro serving a variety of comfort foods. While visiting Paris Style, you will get a full experience of fun unique foods, delightful craft cocktails, exquisite wine, friendly customer service, and a beautiful ambiance with exceptional live entertainment. How about lamb chops on grill with a forester sauce (sour cream, mushroom, a bit of French mustard -moutarde de Dijon-, Britanny salted butter, Cognac Napoleon and Thai brandy. Or boeuf Bourguignon, a marinated beef with a delicious red wine sauce and a Provencal seasoning or couscous royal, carefully overseen by Laurent to provide the French touch.
Open: From 5 PM to midnight, closed Wednesday.
Where: Narathip Road (north side of the road), heading towards the beach just before Chao Lai Road.
The Roadside Cafe first commenced operations on Narathip Road, but now provide a beachside, as well as roadside, setting. Shawn is the Thai owner with an American accent; returning to his home country after spending most of his early years in the USA. What’s on offer is his take on the US highway diner with unfussy, wholesome and keenly priced food ‘on the go’. All day breakfast, lunch or dinner is available; maybe southern style bar BQ spare ribs, chilli con carne, tacos or burgers however you want.
Open: Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday – 8 AM to 5 PM, Friday & Saturday until 11PM, closed Mondays.
Where: On the beach road, between Soi 5 and 6 south.
Cha-Am Lodge Steakhouse
Beautiful matured Australian and New Zealand matured steaks on a sizzling stone platter are the stars of this casual restaurant, full breakfast venue and sports lounge. Apart from that expect traditionally cooked European style cooking (try Hungarian goulash or real fish & chips. Thai food is also on the menu and cocktails are a specialty. May’s favourite is a blue kamikaze or maybe a mojito. There’s also the sports bar with English host Tony eager to show the Premier League with live coverage and also live music starting late October.
Open: From 8 AM ‘til late everyday.
Where: Soi Long Beach (north side); that’s between the beach road finishing at the Long Beach Hotel
Phone: 032 706371
Happy Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
After outgrowing the well-established pizza outlet on Narathip Road, the move to Chao Lai Road is to begin a real Italian dining experience, rather than a glorified take-away. Italian owner Matteo offers the authentic Italian pizza with a menu full of other Mediterranean favourites. Thai food is also on the menu. There’s plenty of room for a special party and a take-away service.
Open: 3 PM to 10 PM (closed Monday).
Where: Chao Lai Road South.
Phone: Phone 08970851141.
English owner Paul and his Thai wife Moi are the hosts providing weekly specials including a very popular Sunday roast with all the traditional trimmings such As stuffing and Yorkshire pudding. Friday is Bar BQ night. Bookings are recommended especially for Sunday roasts and don’t forget the Pavlova! Sports lovers also have the opportunity of seeing their favourite Euro-sports on the big screen.
Open: 9.00 AM to midnight
Where: Chao Lai Road, north of Soi Bus Station (opposite Soi 2 south)
Hello Sawasdee International Restaurant
Formerly known as DiDine Restaurant, a tasty and affordable menu with a new French chef with his own specialties and a Thai cuisine menu cooked by Thai Chef Phra is now available in renovated premises. Now ‘re-badged’ as Hello Sawasdee International Restaurant. French owner Alain offers regular specials such as Spaghetti tomato meatballs, sliced chicken Zürich style, rösti potatoes, cottage pie, green salad, pork steak, cream and mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, cold cuts roasted pork, roast beef, salami, Parma ham, French fries, green salad.
Where: Soi Bus Station, north side.