Located on the main road in Thong Nai Pan Noi village, opposite Rasta Baby, Hacienda is North East Koh Phangan’s only Mexican restaurant. It’s very good and we thoroughly enjoy eating there.
Hacienda has been run by a Thai/European couple for several years now. The restaurant is located on a site which changed hands numerous times over the past few years. Hacienda though looks like it’s here to stay as they have had a very good summer season in 2015 – at times they attracted a continuous stream of customers from 6pm in the evening through to nearly midnight.
Success has not come easily to Hacienda. The owners have recently had a baby which led to a year long hiatus in the food service – something which regular visitors to Thong Nai Pan constantly complained about. However, the 1 year break seems to have had a beneficial effect on the business which has now resumed its food service with renewed enthusiasm.
The service has much improved. On entering the restaurant you have the choice of either drinking at the bar or going straight to one of the tables, many of which are large and can accommodate groups of up to 8 people. The choice of drinks is imaginative. The selection of drinks goes beyond the standard choice of Leo, Chang and Singha beer with imported bottled beverages . There is an impressive range of ciders which you won’t find elsewhere in Thong Nai Pan. They do good cocktails as well.
This being a Mexican restaurant, the real test is the Mexican food menu. They pass that test with ‘flying colours’.
The menu is surprisingly long. They do most of the Mexican classics: fajitas, soft and crisp tacos, enchiladas, burritos and Mexican salads. The plates of food are substantial, which is good as they soak up the beer and cider. You can order the dishes to taste – more or less spicy depending on your preference.
One thing that has been a pleasant surprise this year has been the speed at which the food is produced. We have asked the owners about this and they told us that the secret is preparation of the fresh ingredients in the afternoon before the evening service. This is one of the great things about Mexican food: once the ingredients are prepared it is really quick to cook the food. For those of you who have been to Mexico you will know that many of the better known dishes are actually street food. You order it, wait 5 minutes, and it is handed over to you to eat there and then: a fresh, hygienic and tasty way of eating. They have the same concept at work at Hacienda, except you get to sit down comfortable and eat the food off a plate as opposed to wrapped in paper on the streets of Cancun or Mexico City.
The majority of the people who come to Hacienda are ‘farangs’ (Thai for foreigners) however we note that the food is something which Thai people also like. This is more surprising than you might think. Thai cuisine is very unusual and many Thai people find the unfamiliar tastes of Western cuisine, or even other Asian cuisines such as Indian food, unpalatable. However, Hacienda’s Thai food is actually quite popular amongst the local Thai people and with the Thai partners of the restaurant’s farang customers. This style of cooking is a well-received change to the standard Thai fare and indeed many tourists appreciate an occasional change from eating Thai food even if they are just on a short one or two week holiday.
If you are staying in Thong Nai Pan it is well worth popping along to Hacienda for a meal. It is not that expensive either. For two people with starters, mains, and drinks expect to pay less than 1,000 Baht (£20 or $30). For what you get it is well worth the price.