Ocean 11, despite its name, is not a Las Vegas heist-themed restaurant, but a fine dining establishment which skilfully combines the best of Italian, French, German and Thai cuisine into unique fusion dishes. Located right on the quiet Bangrak Beach (also known as Big Buddha Beach), it is a great choice for a romantic meal.
Opened by Chef Bernd Schillig in 2007, the restaurant is housed in a well-maintained 60-year-old villa, which happens to be the birthplace of his wife. The main entrance can be a little tricky to locate because it is not right on the road. You need to drive into the rough-surface car park behind The Boardroom Beach Bungalows, where you’ll find the restaurant’s glowing sign and elegant entrance through a gate in a stone wall, surrounded by creepers and trees.
The Ocean 11 Restaurant itself has a classy and sophisticated style without being too pretentious. You can sit indoors amid chic European décor or outdoors on the decked area leading up to the two tables closest to the sand for the optimum romantic atmosphere. The whole place can seat about 25 people and its popularity means that it can fill up fast in the high season, so booking ahead is recommended.
Chef Bernd has a long and star-studded cooking career under his belt, which he puts to good use in preparing a modest selection of high-quality dishes. From the starters, we tried the famous French dish, vineyard snails (430 baht), which the menu rather quaintly informed us are “served in their own bungalows”. Since the diner is equipped with the proper tools, the snails are easily evicted and very easily enjoyed as they have been perfectly cooked with a tasty garlic and herb butter. Other notable starters include mango prawns (440 baht) and crab meat tortellini (410 baht).
The mains menu is split into seven gnocchi and pasta dishes priced around 450 to 490 baht and nine more meaty options for 650 to 980 baht. We went for a fusion of Italian and Thai cuisines with the penne and prawns (490 baht), which saw the well-known tubular pasta served with tiger prawns, all tossed together with fresh garlic, chilli and basil. It creates and unusual but very enjoyable combination of flavours and styles which suits the setting very well. Other good picks from Ocean 11 Restaurant’s menu include the signature lamb rack (served on a potato rösti with baked garlic and grilled zucchini – 980 baht) and pan-roasted sea bass (coloured with red pesto and served in a creamed bacon sauce – 630 baht).
The beachfront location, well away from the main road, with the added bonuses of excellent food, a good wine list, friendly service and charming décor makes this one of the most romantic dining options in the Bophut and Bangrak area. The fact that the restaurant is so small amplifies the effect because it will never get overcrowded. Only the use of electronic candles slightly dampens the mood, but it is hardly a deal-breaker.
Ocean 11 Restaurant & Lounge
- Opening Hours: 14:00 – 22:00
- Address: 23 Moo 4, Route 4171, Bangrak, Bophut
- Tel: +66 (0)7 724 5134, +66 (0)89 123 2364