Eating out in Koh Lanta is like everything else on this blissfully laid-back island - simple and casual. Offering everything from roadside shacks to upmarket fine dining and every kind of beach bar and cafe in between you'll be spoilt for choice. There's a wide variety of cuisines on offer from with Italian, Indian and western flavours as well as the usual Thai favourites.

The best bit for us is how brilliantly everywhere is set up for kids - we never struggled to find a highchair (unlike the rest of Asia) and most places had toy boxes and play areas galore. We relished the chance to eat in peace whilst the girls were kept happily amused.

As it's such a laid back, easygoing island people tend to eat out early and head for dinner straight after a sundowner. After many evenings in Europe sadly rattling around in deserted dining rooms it's a real bonus to be somewhere packed with an atmosphere even at 7pm! We loved all the eating opportunities in Koh Lanta and having spent well over a month there we didn't find a restaurant we didn't like.

The restaurants and bars are clustered around the main beaches on the island - our handpicked favourites by location are:

Phra Ae/Long Beach:

On Long Beach you can find plenty of places dotted right on the sand - just perfect to grab a bite to eat whilst the girls play and we watch the sun go down.

At the northern end of the beach is Mr. Wee’s, the pizza here is legendary. Next to it is The Ozone Bar where the vibe is very chilled and another great spot for delicious Thai cuisine is Funky Fish.

Lanta Castaway not only offers outstanding food, but the service, beachside atmosphere and the sunset margarita's keep you coming back for more. Serving up a good mix of both traditional Thai and western food and the best spaghetti meatballs we've tasted in Thailand.

Away from the beach there are some superb places to eat along the roadside. Okay, they may be a bit dustier and noisier but the food more than makes up for it. Mays Kitchen was our staple family favourite and we must have eaten there a dozen times or more. No matter what you order it is consistently fantastic.

Patty's Secret Garden is a kids (and parents) paradise. Set amongst a lovely garden there is a huge kids play area complete with kitchen, bicycles, punch bag, books and toys galore. The kids were so content we barely saw them as we enjoyed a few frosty beers and delicious red & green curries. The tofu here is so mouthwateringly good it's worth being veggie for the evening!

For delicious homemade cakes, fresh bread and sandwiches try Living Room or Faim de Loup and Two Scoops serves up the most delicious ice cream on the island

Klong Nin:

Shanti Shanti is the place to go for authentic crepes, delicious gelato and imported French cheese platters. Beachfront House is perfectly placed for sundowners and dinner overlooking the sea. Mango Garden is exceptionally well rated if you're craving a good old steak.

Kantiang Bay:

Drunken Sailors is a brilliantly laid back spot to kick back and settle in for some delicious Thai and Western cuisine and coffee that hits the spot. Laze in one of the shady hammocks or settle into one of the cushions scattered about as you watch the world go by. The service here is fantastic and every dish we ordered didn't disappoint. It's worth checking out Pad Thai Rock'n'Roll too for reputedly the best Pad Thai in Thailand!

Beachside, Same Same But Different is a perfect beachside bamboo bar serving up tasty treats.

Old Town

We found some lovely places to eat and drink in the unique, characterful Old Town. Sandy's does the best brownies on the island and without doubt Aspara has the top table in town for a memorable dinner jutting out on stilts over the tranquil water. Mango House is a cool bar with delicious burgers, milkshakes and coffee. But be warned the Old Town goes to bed at 9pm sharp and after that everything shuts up shop.

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