Phu Quoc, Vietnam, is an island on the up, with new hotel developments and restaurants cropping up as fast as the island will have them. Regardless of this, the island’s cuisine is at its best when staying true to its traditional trades, namely fish and peppercorn cultivation. The best restaurants we experienced on the island all had this in common – day boat fresh seafood and a host of other local ingredients, all cooked with a lightness of touch and respect that the product deserves. Here are our 5 IDEAL restaurants on the beautiful island of Phu Quoc.

RED RUM

Could there be anything better than fish so fresh that it still smells of the sea? Yes, as a matter of fact there is – to enjoy that fish on the beach, with nothing but the lick of flames to cook it and the only soundtrack being the waves lapping the shore.Lowly lit in the evening and with a really natural feel, this pavillion-esque restaurant is tastefully decorated to highlight the wider environment of sea and sand, as well as allowing the focus to fall on the amazing food. Go in the day for laidback dining and stunning views of the surrounding nature, or at night for a more intimate affair. Or you could do both! The menu is dependent on the local fishermen’s catches of the day – emphasizing just how fresh and delicious everything is. Local seafood that’s grilled to perfection and served beachside is worth it any time of day.

Read our full review of Red Rum here

MANGO BAY

Perhaps the most romantic dining spot we’ve ever been to. The outdoor wooden deck overlooking the sea is the ideal place to watch the sunset while imbibing on good food and drink with your lover.The location and atmosphere of On The Rocks is unrivaled on the island and the food is good too.  There’s a specials board largely adorned with sea creatures, and the waiters will steer you towards the most popular dishes of a similar bent from the longer menu.  There are a number of delicious sounding Thai dishes on the menu, which makes sense as the restaurant overlooks the Thai Gulf.

Read our full review of Mango Bay here

THE CRAB HOUSE

Shellfish this fresh should never be overwhelmed with frippery. Crab House realises this and does everything in its power to celebrate the lure of sweet, moreish crab. For us, that is everything one can ask for from a restaurant celebrating one, beautiful ingredient.

Read our full review of The Crab House here

ITACA

Catalan chic and hospitality is at the heart of Itaca. Strut into a candlelit front garden, smooth grooves soundtracking your entrance, and you’re immediately welcomed with a warm, gracious greeting. Tapas are the focus and we were flown straight to the bouqerias of Barcelona with our first bite of pan con tomate and tortilla. Everything was clean and fresh, yet hearty, and super authentic. To say we were transported straight to Spain would do a disservice to the wonder of the island of Phu Quoc, but Itaca manages to stay both true to the traditions of Spain and celebrate flourishes of southern Vietnamese décor and ingredients. What you’ll certainly feel on arrival, wherever you’re from, is very much at home.

Read our full review of Itaca here

PARADISO RESTAURANT

Located on Sao Beach,  one of the most beautiful and remote beaches on Phu Quoc, Paradiso Restaurant is a spacious affair with a large seafront patio, seconds from the sea. Fish is fresh, brought in from day boats visible from the restaurant, and cooked on the grill to order. With sweet service and ice cold beers, the paradise in the name is certainly done justice.