Chaweng. Thai cuisine is legendary throughout the world. With its inventive use of fresh ingredients and spices, many visitors are surprised at the variety of dishes available compared with the standard fare available in Thai restaurants in other parts of the globe. Once you have tried all the curries you can handle, do not despair; Koh Samui is also blessed with a truly international mix of eating options.
If it’s a slightly more familiar eating experience you desire, many large pubs such as The Islander pub and Tropical Murphy’s have reasonable menus offering both International and Thai dishes. If you can’t stand another day without Irish stew, Pasta, Fish & Chips or a Sunday Roast, you won’t have to suffer too long. Surprisingly perhaps for a tropical island, all the usual suspects from the world of fast food can be found on the island too. Grease-lovers and cholesterol-collectors can gorge themselves on Pizza, burgers or fried chicken until they burst.
Bophut/Fisherman Village. There is no better way to spend a quiet meal, than at Bophut Beach. Reported to be one of the best places to eat on the island, it certainly proves an excellent option. Gracing the skyline, as one looks out on the bay from one’s resort or street-side restaurant the islands of Koh Phang Ngan and Koh Tao create a picturesque backdrop. A charming feature of Bophut is that it’s not quite as crowded as the famed, somewhat hectic, Chaweng Beach, thus if seeking a more romantic lunch or dinner escape, you won’t go wrong, dining here. One of the more popular eatery areas here; considered one of the oldest places on the island, is at Fisherman’s Village. Step back in time and dine in style as you gaze out on nostalgic wooden houses and quaint local shops reminding one of days gone by in Samui. In addition to a wealth of Thai dishes you’ll find French, Italian, barbeque, Indian. Mexican and seafood outlets. There are also several pubs and a couple of bakeries offering standard European style snacks and typical British and Australian pub food. If you are a lover of fresh fish… don’t miss a chance to satisfy your hunger pangs at one of the proven seafood eateries found here.
The beach road rich in its unique variety of restaurants, from the most elegant to the most basic, offers further dining discoveries. Here visitors can opt for a variety of both international and local cuisines that can be found within charming old Chinese shop-houses now converted to use as restaurants and cafes. Crowding the narrow street, these are well worth trying and you are bound to be enamoured with your choice. All up, no matter what cuisine you prefer, Bophut has a lot to offer, food wise. And at night, the place is charming, making it a perfect location for a romantic evening with someone special.
Maenam/Bangpo. Maenam has one of the best beaches on the island and is considerably quietier than Chaweng. Located along the main road in central Maenam are a great choice of inexpensive restaurants at fantastic prices serving mainly thai food. Beachside next to the pier you will find a selection of extremely laid back restaurant bars serving fresh barbequed fish and every thai dish imaginable. Further down towards Nathon direction you will find Santiburi hotel a 5 star resort with 5 star prices.
Opposite Santiburi entrance slightly more up class you will find CAFFE’ E CUCINA serving many tasty homemade Italian dishes and serving Expresso coffee. Further towards Bang po you will find Napasai resort’s signature restaurant offering a choice between French or Royal Thai cuisine. The main restaurant is perched on a hill and its huge windows give panoramic views of the stunning coastline. For customers requiring more privacy there are four outdoor wooden salas providing a secluded, romantic experience.
Big Buddha/Bangrak. Big Buddha & Bangrak beach might be one of the quieter beaches on Samui but there are still lots of fine restaurants and eateries for you to choose from along the main road or nicely positioned on the beach. The selection ranges from delicious pub grub to quirky cafes with deliciously inventive dishes on the menu. There are plenty of excellent local Thai food restaurants on offer as well as international cuisine.
Lamai. Lamai has a great selection of dining options ranging from roadside curry stalls where a meal can cost as little as 30B, to the first-class establishments attached to smart hotels. On the beach road area you will find a wide variety of reasonably priced international cafes catering to foreign visitors and ex-pats, including British, Italian, Indian and Scandinavian food. There are also some relatively new bistro-style eateries on the outskirts of Lamai towards Chaweng like The Cliff Bar & Grill and Dr Frogs with thoroughly contemporary cuisine and breathtaking views of the sea, meaning you no longer have to head into Chaweng for top-class international dishes.
South East/South/West. Step off the beaten tourist track and discover Samui’s hidden culinary gems. The south east to south west coast is still fairly untouched by tourism and this shows in both the great prices and rustic settings but is designated to be Samui’s future high end development area’s. Check out Huathanon Seafood on the outskirts of Samui’s only Muslim fishing village. Hugely – and justifiably – popular with local Samui folk, the restaurant serves up superlative treats. Most of the fish used comes straight from the restaurant’s live tanks, ensuring it’s fresh and full of flavour. Get there around 6.30pm if possible, so there’s time to enjoy the sunset from the balcony with an ice cold Singha or two before eating. A lot of Samui’s fish are caught on the south east coast so if you love seafood this is where it’s at its freshest. Dine on the beautiful pristine beaches and imagine what the island was like 50 years ago.
On Koh Samui’s west coast is a great place to go to enjoy local dishes in a secluded atmosphere. On this side of the island the cuisine is mainly traditional Thai fare at great prices, but don’t miss out on Five Islands Restaurant at Ban Taling Ngam, where you will find you can view the best sunset on the island and eat at one of the most renowned establishments, not to be missed!
South East/South/West. Nathon is well known for its local shopping along the main high street and being the main commercial and banking town for koh Samui. There are several local thai restaurants serving breakfasts, lunches, a nice place to relax overlooking the port after a hard days shopping!. At certain times of the year there are food festivals serving up typical tasty thai dishes at extremely low prices, definitely worth a visit.