Tag Archives: beach

White Sands Beach Hotel (Kendwa, Zanzibar)


While we ate quite well in Stone Town, most of our meals on Zanzibar’s beaches were somewhat mediocre. The one major exception was a beachfront restaurant in Kendwa, at the White Sands Beach Hotel. The atmosphere at the restaurant is pretty basic, but the location is excellent, with nice views of the Indian Ocean from the outermost tables (where we were sitting).

On the waitress’s recommendation we ordered the prawn coconut curry, which was stupendous. The prawns were by far the largest we had in Zanzibar, and the tomato-based coconut curry was spicy and reminiscent of south India.

We also had the catch of the day, red snapper, which was seasoned with local spices and grilled. The fish was tender (not overcooked like much of the fish we had this week), and served with rice and tomato chutney.

If you’re on Kendwa beach (or at nearby Nungwi and sick of the same-old, same-old), definitely stop by the White Sands Beach Hotel and sample the coconut curry. Your tummy will thank you.

Prawn coconut curry
Amazing prawn coconut curry

Grilled snapper
Grilled red snapper

White Sands Beach Hotel
Kendwa, Zanzibar, Tanzania
+255 (0)777-411326

Poon Restaurant (Phuket, Thailand)


On our first day in Phuket, we were approached by a very friendly man on Nai Yang beach. His name is “Mr. Poon” and he is the man behind Poon Restaurant. He is also a full service beach entrepreneur. He provides beach chairs, beer and other drinks delivered to you in your lounger, and will hook you up with a massage or any other service you need. He runs a tab for you until the end of your vacation. You also get Mr. Poon’s humor thrown in for free. We had two lunches at Poon Restaurant, and they were both quite enjoyable.

The first day we had garlic pepper chicken and prawns in Thai sauce. The garlic pepper chicken was fine, though nothing special (in general garlic+pepper sauce has been a bit of a let down on all but one occasion in my Thailand experiences, but that one time was amazing). The prawns in Thai sauce were phenomenal. Spiced at ~4 stars, it was garlicky, of medium thick consistency, and had a greater depth than most soy/oyster-based sauces. It was somewhat reminiscent of Thai Tom’s “#4”. He also showed us how to carve a pineapple.

The second time, we had a repeat of the prawns in Thai sauce and chicken with cashew nuts. We even got a cooking lesson, so now we can make Poon chicken with cashew nuts at home! It was a tasty mix of garlic, chili sauce, oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce, onions, chilies, and more.

Mr. Poon’s friendliness, reasonable prices, and big personality have earned him a loyal following. We saw many of the same people hanging out at Poon’s section of the beach day after day. Lauren dubbed this crowd the “Poonatics.”

He told us that next time when we come back, maybe he’ll have a second story where people can hang out and have a view of the ocean. We’ll find out when we return. 🙂

Me and Mr. Poon
Hanging with Mr. Poon

prawns in thai sauce
Prawns in Thai sauce

chicken with cashew nuts
Chicken with cashew nuts

fruit plate on the beach
Fruit plate (mangos, pineapple, watermelon) served beachside

Poon Restaurant
Nai Yang Beach
Phuket, Thailand

Daily: Lunch, Dinner

La Plage (Aswem, India)


Before we left Bangalore, our friend Josh gave us a few Goa recommendations. He said:

Go to Mandrem. Stay at the Dunes. Have dinner next to the Dunes at a place called Well Garden that makes awesome wood-fired pizzas. Aswem, the next beach south, has a fancy European restaurant called La Plage. You can walk there or take a short cab ride.

OK, you could say that he planned most of our Goa trip for us. The first day on the beach, we tried to find La Plage for lunch. We walked down the beach for about a half-hour, fording a knee-high river formed by the tides and scrambling over rocks along the way. We asked a few people we passed, both tourists and touts, none of whom had heard of La Plage. Ultimately we turned back and had lunch in Mandrem. Our hosts at the Dunes told us that we had gone the right way, just not far enough. They said we would be able to see it from the beach and to just keep going.

The following day we left around 11AM for our lunchtime adventure. We passed the river, the rocks, and a long stretch of beautiful beach with nothing but sea creatures and waves to keep us company. Finally we spied a line of red beach chairs under the waving palm trees, and a little bit beyond them was an enormous sky-blue sign signaling that we had arrived at La Plage.

The food at La Plage is about 3 times the price of your average restaurant in Mandem (which puts the dishes at $4-$7), but it has the nicest atmosphere in town and delicious food. The two vegetarian dishes we had for lunch were fantastic. The chilled avocado soup would have made the grade in a top California restaurant, and their tomato tart was flaky, buttery goodness. The “grilled spicy chicken” just reminded me that I should stick to vegetables and seafood in this part of the world (though the accompanying green papaya and peanut salad was yummy).

The next day we went back for more, and discovered our two favorite dishes. The first was gnocchi with porcini mushrooms. The gnocchi were homemade, deliciously chewy, and topped with real parmesan cheese and a porcini mushroom sauce that was rich without being heavy-handed. The second was the “La Grande Salade de La Plage", which we had spied earlier on another table. It’s a collection of dips, cheese, and vegetables served with fresh baked bread.

We had a few more lunches there, and dinner with Sean and Freeman last night. Dinner was a bit of an adventure. Lauren and I again walked along the beach, but there were a few differences. It was dark, which we had planned for with our headlamps. However, when we got partway through the river crossing, we realized that the tides were much higher in the evening! Fortunately it was still warm enough out for our shorts to dry on the other half of our walk, and we joined Sean and Freeman for a dry cab ride home.

The other dinner hiccup was the food coursing. All of our dishes, from appetizers to main courses, arrived simultaneously. This meant that there was not enough room on the table for everything, and that much of the food got cold before it was eaten. The staff let us linger over cards for hours afterwards, but it was a shame to have such a rushed eating experience.

Overall the food at La Plage is delicious, especially the vegetarian dishes, and the lounge-y beach setting is paradise. If you’re in north Goa, it’s worth the journey (by cab or river crossing) to check it out!

Arriving at La Plage
The big blue sign beckons you from the beachfront to this oasis

Chilled avocado and apple soup
Chilled avocado and apple soup with lime leaves and pomegranate

Gnocci with porcini mushrooms
Gnocci in porcini mushroom sauce

La Grande Salade de La Plage
The famous Grande Salade de La Plage

Tomato tart
Tomato tart with basil and arugula

La Plage
Aswem, Goa, India
+91 982-212-1712

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner