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PHUKET: Located on the very busy Wichitsongkram Road, near Prince of Songkhla University in Kathu, is one of the best places in Phuket to satisfy all Italian cravings.

Caffeine Food and Coffee Bar has been part of the Kathu community since October 2013.

Opened by Andrea Capucci and his wife Kui, Caffeine offers up some of the best authentic Italian coffee, wine, desserts and main dishes you could ever hope for.

Decorated like an outdoor cafe with books, inspirational wall quotes, and even a porch swing, it is easy to forget that you are in Southeast Asia.

The original oven was only able to make two pizzas at a time, but the customer demand became so high for Caffeine’s pizza and calzones that Mr Capucci installed an outdoor, wood-fire oven in May 2014, thus creating Capucci Pizzeria.

Main dishes ranging from salads, homemade lasagna, calzones, pizza and even paninos on wood-fired sandwich dough, make it easy to taste the authentic Italian recipes that have been passed down through generations.

The pasta is always cooked to the perfect al dente and any dish that includes a cream sauce is highly recommended. Alfredo is a treat, and though it is no longer on the menu, as they change it according to the popularity of dishes, it can be made upon request. The sauce is creamy and sometimes has a hint of nutmeg.

The calzones and pizza leave you feeling content. The flavor of the homemade sauce and fresh ingredients, with an abundance of fresh cheese, makes this food and coffee bar a step above the rest.

One of the items that is not to be missed is the bruschetta. The quality of the olive oil is apparent and the added flavor of a little drizzle of some high quality balsamic vinegar sets it apart from any other.

It is advised not to get too full during the meal and to save room for dessert.

If the bruschetta is not to be missed, then the tiramisu is an absolute must. It is heavenly and full of flavor, without being too heavy or sweet.

And if that isn’t enough incentive to visit this wonderful family-owned eatery, Caffeine is also one of very few places in Kathu that is open in the morning, offering a western style breakfast, breakfast sandwiches (some with pesto!) and that wonderful Italian coffee.

Caffeine is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 10pm and is a truly wonderful place to relax, dine, indulge and enjoy the company and conversation of good friends. It is also a place that will almost certainly leave you wanting to go back time and time again.

— Katie P Arnold