Just about the most popular seafood restaurant on Walking Street is back in action after almost a full year of closure. Owner Mrs Premrudee Jittivuthikal (Toy), who has been supervising the King Seafood nightly for almost 30 years, admitted that the awful date December 30, 2020, was implanted on her mind forever. “Local officials closed all in-dining facilities with immediate notice and that was the final straw,” she said. “We had bought all the food for 100 guests at the new year celebrations and it all went to waste.”
The soft reopening was about four weeks ago and business is now brisk after an admittedly slow start. Asked about the prospects for Pattaya in 2022, Toy says the Omicron virus has certainly put a spanner in the works as international tourism is again on hold, but the resort has always handled different markets. “We have had the American era, the Arab spring, the Euro surge and more recently the Russian and Chinese arrivals,” Toy points out, adding that for the moment the customers are mostly Pattaya locals, Thais and expats, and the strong domestic tourism from Bangkok.
Toy and her family originally decided to open King Seafood in the aftermath of the Gulf War of the early 1990s. “Of course, we have made changes in the menu over the years to cater for different national palates, but our all-time favorites remain fresh seafood and our most popular dish is still fried crab with curry sauce.” There is also a selection of steaks for the determined meat eaters. Total seating is for 200 and the kitchen staff are led by an executive chef from Holland.
Toy, who was born in Ubon Ratchathani and first visited Pattaya at the tender age of 20, has confidence in the future of Walking Street. “It has already undergone many changes over the years and that process will continue,” she predicts. “Once the coronavirus issue is behind us, Walking Street will find new roles alongside the bars and clubs, but there’s always going to be a market for first-class seafood.” She adds that, even though some businesses are still closed, there is a heavy foot traffic every night along the most famous thoroughfare in Pattaya. “Tourists and locals are still fascinated,” she says.
It’s easy to understand the success of King Seafood over the years. With a balmy breeze blowing in from the sea, there’s nothing quite like a seat on the patio where you can enjoy freshly shucked oysters in a half-shell followed by fresh lobster, succulent crab and all the trimmings. You could even combine the catch of the day with a filet mignon. The restaurant and its owner are indeed Pattaya Survivors of the first order. You could call them Fin-tastic.