Ten Good Places To Eat In Hat Yai
C e n t r a l- -F e s t i v a l
When Central Festival - the largest shopping mall in southern Thailand - opened in Hat Yai at the end of 2013 it completely transformed the face of shopping, eating and entertainment in the town. Many visitors to Hat Yai now come specifically to visit Central Festival.
Check out my comprehensive floor-by-floor guide to Central Festival in Hat Yai to find out exactly what's there.
Elsewhere on this site I have listed nine pages of restaurant options. The list below simply distills this information to 10 places that I believe are worthy of being recommended.
Comments: The owners of The Basil used to live in Phuket and because of all the foreigners in Phuket they understand Western food. They have attempted to offer a more upmarket dining experience in Hat Yai.
The appetisers, main courses and desserts are all very good and they also offer pizzas and an extensive wine list.
The reastaurant has a pleasant atmosphere and the staff are always welcoming and friendly. Over the years, my favourite restaurant for Western food in Hat Yai has changed but as I write (April 2018) it is once again The Basil.
More Information: The Basil
Comments: Bill, the owner/chef at Billin, used to be a chef at the world famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, one of the finest hotels in the world.
When he opened his own cafe/restaurant in Hat Yai he brought the same high standards from his former workplace. If you want to eat at one of Hat Yai's more upmarket restaurants, this is a really nice place.
It's a little way from the central tourist district around Lee Gardens Plaza, but worth taking the effort to find.
More Information: Billin Cafe Bistro
Comments: The Thai food at Bon Khao is fine, but I am including it here more for its location. It is located on the hill behind the municipal park where you can find the Hat Yai observatory and various temples.
Hat Yai town centre is very crowded and nosiy and I find it claustrophobic and overwhelming at times. It is a great relief to escape the city and eating at Bon Khao makes for a great escape. The restaurant is quite high up on the hill and offers great views over Hat Yai and the surrounding area.
More Information: Bon Khao Restaurant
Comments: My father belongs to the generation of English people that treats foreign food with much suspicion and the most 'exotic' dish he will consider eating is spaghetti bolognese.
When he visits Thailand it is a real problem finding food that he will eat because he will only eat the kind of food he is familiar with at home.
The fact that he enjoys eating at De Van Cuisine thus says a lot about the food. The owner, I believe, lived in New Zealand for a while and understands how to prepare Western food. The restaurants serves foreign steaks and they also serve a selection of pizzas. In addition, there is quite a reasonable wine list.
More Information: De Van Cuisine
Comments: The Donya is located quite near to Hat Yai airport, therefore a little way from the centre of town. It is very popular with large groups of Thais who want to go out to celebrate something.
Since I first ate there it has expanded in size considerably and as I write (October 2018) the restaurant is being extended even further. There is quite a large communal dining area and several private rooms. There is also a reasonably sized car park.
The Thai food is very good and they specialise in catering to large numbers. Some Western food is also served, including steaks and pizzas. They have a fairly good selection of wine, but buying imported wine in Thailand is never cheap.
The staff all work full-time and are very service oriented. As the restaurant has grown over the years, so the prices have risen, but it's still fairly reasonable.
More Information: The Donya
Comments: Great Western food including steaks, hotdogs, pizzas, burgers and even some Mexican food, which is very rare in Hat Yai.
An extensive cocktail menu, craft beers and live music in the evenings. The only problem is that the restaurant is quite small and because it is so popular it can be difficult getting a table in the evening.
More Information: Homeless Bar And Grill
Comments: Japanese food is immensely popular in Hat Yai among the locals and consequently many Japanese restaurants have opened in recent years.
The Fuji chain is excellent, but it is quite expensive and beyond the means of many Thais. To cater for the lower end of the market several small restaurants have opened selling cheap Japanese food, but the quality isn't always very good.
Kenta is the execption to the rule. It is very clean and I find the food to be on a level with Fuji, but prices are very reasonable.
More Information: Kenta Hatyai
Comments: This is the best Thai food dining experience in Hat Yai. The culture in southern Thailand is quite different to that in the central and northern regions, yet Krua Reurn Thai is the kind of restaurant that you might expect to find in the central or northern regions.
The inside of the restaurant, which doesn't seat many people, is just like being inside a traditional Thai teak house. The service is good and the food is excellent.
If I have guests visiting me in Hat Yai this is one place I definitely like to take them.
More Information: Krua Reurn Thai
Comments: This place used to be located on the road behind the university, but it relocated to a brand new building on the airport road.
The building is large, bright, airy and attractive, and the food is very tasty. It's a marked step up in quality over most restaurants in Hat Yai and it's not that expensive.
More Information: Sabannga
Comments: The food at all big hotels should be good, but unfortunately that isn't always the case in Hat Yai. A notable exception is at Saneha, one of the in-house restaurants at the Centara Hotel.
The 'à la carte' menu is very good with a selection of both Thai and Western food. However, what I really like is the buffet. Some other big hotels in Hat Yai offer a buffet, but the food is quite poor.
At Saneha it is excellent. There is a wide choice of food, it is all fresh, and it is really good.
More Information: Saneha Restaurant
Get The Best Deal On Your Hat Yai Hotel Room
Listed opposite are some of my personal recommendations for hotels in Hat Yai based on budget. I have lived permanently in Hat Yai since 2003 and my recommendations are based on a lot of local knowledge.
Each link will take you to the relevant page on the Agoda website where you can see photos, read reviews, and book on-line. I use Agoda to book all of my own hotels in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region. Agoda hotel rates are usually always the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people. Here is some analysis I did regarding booking hotels in Southeast Asia.
Booking.com used to be more expensive than Agoda, but when I have checked hotel prices recently I have found their rates to be quite competitive. Unlike Agoda, you don't need to pay at the time of booking with Booking.com - you can simply pay at the hotel when you check in. Also, Booking.com show you total prices whereas Agoda show you a price and then add on 17% for tax and service charge.
If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined.
Images of Thailand
- Buri Sriphu Hotel
- Centara Hotel Hat Yai
- Crystal Hotel
- The Habita
- Hansa JB Hotel
- Hatyai Signature Hotel
- La Pause
- New Season Square Hotel
- S Hadyai Hotel
Near Central Festival