Where to Eat
Southern Thai food turns everything up to 11. It’s fiery and spicy but sweet and mild, sometimes all in the same mouthful. It’s difficult to go wrong food-wise on Samui, whether you’re braving the expensive luxury prices or being brave and getting fed in the street with the locals.
Bophut’s Barracuda does modern Mediterranean using local produce – and plenty of fish. The interior is an attractive mix of burnished wood, concrete and metal giving it a modern vibe while still referencing Bophut’s fishing heritage.
2. Dining on the Rocks
The design of this place is stunning, with nine weathered teak terraces jutting from the cliffs of north Samui into the blue beyond. But it’s no mere photo op – the menu is an experimental mix of Asian and modern which regularly hits the Best Restaurant lists.
Instagram-worthy fare is plentiful in this contemporary Chaweng kitchen. They’re most famous, though, for their burgers and there’s even a monster burger challenge featuring four patties that’s free if you can get it all down in 20 minutes: or 1,000 THB otherwise.
4. Haad Bang Po
Every island needs a secret spot that serves the best authentic local dishes. Haad Bang Po is a rough and ready bamboo and sand joint where a granny and granddaughter team whip up fiery southern Thai classics – although they’ll tone down the heat for the less brave. Tricky to find – head west of Maenam Beach – but worth it.
5. Café 69
The fun and funky (or is it kitsch and tacky? The jury’s out) décor of this Bophut restaurant gives an indication of the kind of dishes it serves. Thai staples are playfully remixed so curry gets a mango twist and crab is paired with papaya.
6. Street Food
Granny’s out there nightly, cooking right on the street, using secret recipes given to her by her granny. Street food is fast, fresh and even if you don’t speak a word of Thai, just point and smile. Dive in; it might just be the best meal of your trip!
7. Casa Lapin x Samui
This hip Fisherman’s Village coffee spot also serves and all-day café menu featuring seafood recently plucked from the right-next-door ocean as well as some local southern Thai specialities. It has detox smoothies for the health-conscious and cocktails for the less-conscious.
8. The Boudoir
Head to Maenam for this silky den of fine French cuisine. Sink into deep purple and gold pillows and peruse the menu of Francophile favourites such as foie gras, escargots and decent cheeses. The house wine is a decent drop too.
9. Casa Italia
More of a café vibe than a restaurant, but it does serve what many think is the best Italian food on the island. The pizzas and pastas are delicious but the top prize goes to the gelato. Find it on the ring road near Bophut.
10. Som Restaurant
There’s nothing fancy about this place, just decent seafood and Thai dishes served by the beach between Maenam and Nathon. It’s more of an old school, friendly and family-run Samui experience, and something you should definitely try. Fresh fish and strong cocktails are recommended.