Café des Amis is one of the more interesting restaurants in Pattaya. What began as a “promising” restaurant nine years ago, has developed to become one of the very best restaurants in town. Ask any of the local gourmets.
Café des Amis is situated at the bottom of Soi 11 Thappraya with adequate parking outside. The restaurant is behind a Thai-Bali wall with ornamental entry portal. After going through the doorway you become entranced with an unforgettable ambience which just takes you over.
It begins passing the central garden courtyard dining area under the stars, with an al fresco dining terrace for those who crave the open air. You then go further and the walkway takes you into the restaurant proper.
We were met with a tall immaculately dressed lady called Ben, the guest relations manager, who speaks German, English and Thai. She in turn introduced us to Maitre d’ Prasit, who speaks French, Italian, German, Swiss and Thai. With staff like this, you realize that Café des Amis has friends all through the western world. It is a restaurant with an international ambience and an international clientele.
On entering, you are first exposed to the cocktail bar, in which they have 150 gins from 20 countries, 100 whiskeys, 40 vodkas, 30 liqueurs, 10 tequilas, 9 ports and 70 wines. It certainly puts a new slant to “gin and tonic”!
Not being a gin enthusiast, I happily accepted a Ricard as a pre-dinner drink. And I do recommend that you sit down and carefully read the menu. It is not something you should gloss over, as it has menu items you will not have seen before.
Restaurant owner Blu assured us that they had the biggest steak choices in town, and it certainly looked that way. Descriptions of the classification of Wagyu steaks, for example, will show the depth of knowledge held in the Café des Amis kitchen.
Smoked snowfish is offered, which I think is the best way to serve what is often a somewhat tasteless fish with standard preparation. Oysters and mussels are always subject to availability, with half a dozen Fin de Claire size 3 for B. 600.
We decided on the two set menus, the first having four courses (B. 2,500) and the second has three courses (B. 1,650). I chose the first one and Madame the second, to which we added a French Onion soup (B. 290) to make it a four course evening as well.
Several wines are available by the glass and we settled on the 2009 Rioja which was very pleasant quaffing, and happily continued with it throughout the dinner.
Our first course soups were hot, very enjoyable so much so I was almost tempted to ask for another plate!
Second course was Japanese scallops with lettuce wrappings for Madame and a coconut wood smoked snowfish fillet for me. You could taste the wood smoke, this was an excellent dish and I enjoyed every morsel.
So to the third course, with NZ beef fillets with Dauphinoise potato for Madame and a USDA Beef fillet for me. Again these were excellent dishes and both cuts of beef were cooked exactly to our requirements. And with the delightful Ben checking on us, this was one step off heaven.
Another glass of Rioja and we were ready for desserts with chocolate fondant for Madame and a banana crème brulee for me. Perfect ending for a perfect evening, after a coffee, while waiting for the taxi.
So is Café des Amis the best restaurant in Pattaya? Trip Advisor would have you think that way. However, personally, I do not put too much stock on their ratings, which can be influenced by how well the restaurant pushes its position to new diners. But, the Dining Out Team can assure you that you will have a very rewarding culinary experience, and if it isn’t the best restaurant, it must be in the top three. An outstanding evening awaits you. Not cheap, but the best never is! Highest recommendation possible.
Open daily 5.00 p.m. until late (but closed Sundays). Plenty of parking outside.