( $$$ ) = High end
It is now impossible to list all the restaurants on the island, but here are some of our favourites.
The ratings are simply to give you an indication of menu prices. Lower ratings do not imply lower quality.
It is now impossible to list all the restaurants on the island, but here are some of our favourites. The ratings are simply to give you an indication of menu prices. Lower ratings do not imply lower quality. Bon appetit!
Health Oasis Resort/Tao Restaurant $ Serves a wide selection of vegetarian, Thai and Italian food in a pleasant atmosphere. Also offers Thai massage, Thai cooking, meditation and yoga. Bang Po on Samui's north coast, Tel. 077 420 124.
BAN TALING NGAM
Baan Chantra $$$ An exquisite restaurant serving royal Thai cuisine prepared to the high standards you would expect from one of the worlds top hotel chains. Has both inside and outside seating and the choice between traditional Thai cushions or Western-style tables. Also has nightly entertainment by classical Thai musicians and dancers. Le Royal M?ridien Baan Taling Ngam, Tel. 077 429 100
Lom Talay $$$ Enjoy lunch or dinner at one of Samui's grandest viewpoints. The vista from the restaurant at the Le Royal Meridien Baan Taling Ngam is breathtaking. Lom Talay looks out 180 degrees over Ang Thong Marine National park to the south west and the picture perfect palm trees of Taling Ngam to the north. The view alone would make the trip worthwhile, but the international and Thai cuisine is equally outstanding. Le Royal M?ridien Baan Taling Ngam, Tel. 077 429 100 (
The Promenade $$$ Savoury seafood, including fresh sea bass, red snapper, deep-sea garoupa, lobster, crab and squid is served at one of Samui's most peaceful and exclusive beachside settings. The chef himself goes to the fishing village of Taling Ngam every day to buy the freshest supplies. This restaurant also serves breakfast, lunch and snacks including pizzas and salads. Le Royal M?ridien Baan Taling Ngam, Tel. 077 429 100
Angela's Harbourside Cafe $$ For all those who know and love the original in Maenam, the Harbourside serves Angela's outstanding array of freshly baked breads, cakes, pies and unique deli items with an added nautical twist. There are seafood items such as the smoked salmon and shrimp omelette on the breakfast menu and delicious "down East" style seafood specialities as well as a mean New England clam chowder, for lunch and dinner. Fisherman's Village, east of the ferry pier, 8:30am-10pm, Tel. 077 427 212.
Billabong Surf Club $$ The Billabong represents all things Aussie on Samui. That means that the beer never stops flowing, the food comes in huge portions and a friendly welcome is extended to one and all. Food includes Doorstop Sandwiches, Chip Butty's, Chimichangas and Nachos available as bar snacks throughout the day and night and Traditional Aussie Pies, Bangers and Mash, Fish'n'Chips, BBQ Ribs, Lamb Chops, Down Under Aussie Burgers, 600g Steaks and authentic Indian Curries served up as main courses. Fisherman's Village, 10am - 2am, Tel: 077 430 144.
The Shaqk 4 BBQ Fine Californian cuisine, including the juiciest ribs this side of Sacramento, complemented by regularly changing dips, marinades, rubs and sauces. Aussie steaks and lamb chops are slapped on the barbie every night and the homemade burgers are amongst the finest on the island. Fisherman's Village, Bophut, open for lunch and dinner everyday .
Villa Bianca $$$ Serving classic Italian cuisine with a seafood slant, Villa Bianca is nestled among the old converted Chinese shophouses overlooking the water in Bophut Fishermen's Village. Its stark white walls, classy objets d'art and well-spaced candlelit tables covered in crisp white linen give the restaurant an unmistakably Mediterranean feel. Fisherman's Village, Tel. 077 245 041. .
Shabash $ A huge, sumptuous selection of Asian food prepared Singapore-style. Diverse dishes include Indian curries and homemade mango, lime and mixed vegetable chutneys; Indonesian beef rendang and gado-gado; Middle Eastern home-made hummus and falafel; and Singaporian laksa and nasi lemak. Vegetarian friendly. Big Buddha, Tel. 077 245 035.
Ali Baba $$ Top quality range of Indian favourites, including classic vegetarian fare. Served in a cosy, friendly and centrally located restaurant between Chaweng Resort and Chaweng Cabana. Chaweng Beach Road, Tel. 077 230 253.
Betelnut Restaurant $$$ A small, no-gimmicks restaurant with one of Samui's best reputations for seriously fine dining. Owner-chef Jeffrey Lord made his reputation at Poppies before going it alone, and the island's gourmets have remained faithful throughout. Expect a small but highly innovative menu fusing Western and Thai styles. Chaweng Boulevard, opposite Central in Southern Chaweng. Tel. 077 413 370.
Samui Coral Resort - Da Papa $$ All your Italian favourites served up right on the beach. Italian owned and managed, Da Papa has been going strong for eight years now and is still as popular as ever. The cocktail bar is a great spot for a sundowner. Central Chaweng, 8am-11pm, Tel. 077 231 005.
The Deli $$ Superior sandwiches made from an impressive range of fresh breads including rye, cornpepper, malt, milano and panini. Fillings range from salami, Paris ham and liver sausage to roast lamb and beef, meatloaf and a fine selection of cheeses. For those in a hurry, everything is available takeaway, alongside other treats duck, goose and pork rilletes, chicken liver parfait, boncafe coffee beans and homemade cookies. The Deli, Central Samui Beach Resort Shopping Arcade, South Chaweng
The Dining Room $$ A recently opened offshoot of celebrated Thai cookery school SITCA, The Dining Room has quickly positioned itself as one of the finest Thai dining experiences on Samui. The restaurant serves cuisine from all around the Kingdom, but is particularly strong on its local seafood dishes such as Fish Soup with Tumeric, Red Snapper Fillet with Cashewnuts and Massaman Curry with King Prawns. Classics such as Deep Fried Fishcakes, Mixed Satay and Deep Fried Chicken with Lemon Grass are also taken to new height and there's a well considered wine list. South Chaweng, 7.00pm - 11.00pm, Tel: 077 413 172.
La Dolce Vita Restaurant & Pizzeria $$ La Dolce Vita has an extensive Italian menu featuring everything from salad caprese, to pizza capriccioso and spaghetti pescatora. The homemade pasta dishes are highly recommended and diners can take their pick from a wide selection of pasta and combine it with your choice of any of the 17 different sauces. Also boasts a decent wine list well selected by the friendly Italian and Norwegian management. Central Chaweng, 12pm-11pm,Tel. 077 413 295.
Drop In $$ Situated in a large open-air Thai house, the Drop In's menu encompasses Thai, Italian and international cuisine. Everything is very comprehensive - for example, there are seven different kinds of Thai curry, nine different steaks and fifteen different pizzas. The seafood dishes are among the best in Chaweng and include classics such as stir-fried broccoli with prawns and cashew nuts, lobster thermidor and charcoal grilled red snapper with olive oil and herbs. The wine list is also unusually wide-ranging. Central Chaweng, noon-11.30pm, Tel. 077 413 221.
Gringo's Cantina - Tex Mex Restaurant $$ Samui's finest Mexican cantina serves a different special every night of the week and a comprehensive range of south of the border fare. Along with Nachos, Quesadillas and Tortillas wraps,the main menu carries Fajitas, Tacos, Burritos , Echiladas, Tostadas, Chimichangas and a Combo section for those who can't decide. There is also a north of the border food selection of Chile con Carne, Burgers, BBQ Ribs, Steaks, Pizzas and Deep Fried Chicken. The menu has a good selection of Vegetarian dishes and a kids menu is available. Gringos remains the best spot for Jugs of Frozen Margaritas and red or white wine Sangria. Located behind the Islander Restaurant 2pm - midnight Tel. 077-413-267
Hagi Japanese Restaurant $$$ Adhering to the Japanese principle that a meal should always include "something from the mountain and something from the sea", Central executive chef Winfried Hancke has created a menu that dazzles the eye, the nose and the palate. Silk paintings adorn the walls, a soothing fountain features prominently and polished white pebbles lie elegantly dotted around. The attached lotus pond encourages further Zen-like relaxation. At Central Samui Beach Resort, 6.00pm-10.30pm. Tel. 077 230 500.
The Islander $ Extremely comprehensive British-leaning menu. Start the day with their full monty breakfast then indulge in a selection of tortilla wraps, grilled baguettes and burgers for lunch. For dinner there's a range of nightly specials such as New Zealand roast lamb with mint sauce, beef and vegetable stew in red wine, roast chicken with sage stuffing and mixed grill. Basically, you can eat Sunday lunch fare every night if you like. If you don't, they have an excellent Thai selection, pizzas, curries and lasagne too. Central Chaweng near Soi Green Mango, from breakfast to late night, Tel. 077 230 836.
Khaosan Restaurant and Bakery $ Friendly roadside restaurant that briskly serves everything from breakfast pancakes to succulent steaks at genuine backpacker prices. The Khaosan also has some of the best authentic Thai food in Chaweng and there's an attached bakery that sells fresh takeaway cakes and pastries. Shows movies throughout the day and at 7.30pm and 9.00pm nightly. Central Chaweng. 7.30am - midnight. TeL: 09 967 5854.
Olivio $$$ A beautifully sited and presented Italian al fresco restaurant, by the beach just north of Chaweng. Ren? Oskam and his team concentrate on modern Italian cuisine, with such delights as angel hair pasta with lobster, cream and zucchini, and braised lamb shanks with saffron risotto. There are also some classical Italian dishes for those with more conservative tastes. If you have room, the lemon & thyme mousse with honey sauce should on no account be missed. Baan Haad Ngam Resort, North Chaweng Beach. Tel. 077 231 500.
The Osteria $$ Long established restaurant offering a wide range of traditional Italian fare, including eight different kinds of Brushetta, favourites such as Carpaccio, Penne al Arrabbiata, Gnocchi al Gorgonzolla and Scaloppina al Vino Bianco (beef in white wine sauce) and specials such as Osso Bucco and Rabbit Stew. The atmosphere is very friendly and easygoing. South Chaweng, Tel. 077 422 079. .
Palm Grove Restaurant $$$ Dishes like rock lobster tail salad served with avocado, hot and sour bell peppers with a yellow mango dressing and Fresh basil risotto with pan-fried sea bass accompanied by spiced tomato salsa and modena syrup brilliantly marry taste and texture in a host of imaginative and rewarding flavour combinations. The presentation is equally impressive: every dish is a work of art that looks almost too good to disturb on the plate. At Central Samui Beach Resort, South Chaweng, Tel. 077 230 500, 6.30am-11pm.
Poppies $$$ A Samui institution that has been open for over 10 years, Poppies creates the ideal balance for the island: delicious, imaginative cuisine coupled with a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant's location, beachside in Chaweng, is hard to beat for romantic ambience with its candlelit tables, elegantly attired, attentive staff and unobtrusive live music provided mostly by Khun Fadin, the restaurant's resident guitar player. Beach Road, south Chaweng. Tel. 077 422 419.
Samui Seafood $$ This sprawling restaurant has beautiful nooks and crannies that give it an intimate feel. Traditional Thai music, a waterfall and lots of greenery provide an elegant backdrop to a meal of almost any cuisine you can imagine. The menu offers an impressive selection of Thai, Chinese, Italian, German and international cuisine as well as steaks and seafood. Just behind the Baskin Robbins' shop in Northern Chaweng. Tel. 077 413 221-4.
Spice Island Restaurant & Treasure Island B.B.Q $$ Spice Island has one of the most comprehensive Thai menus to found anywhere on the island and has another 100 dishes on its menu encompassing all regional cuisines. If you've got a favourite Thai dish, you're more or less guaranteed to find it somewhere on the menu. The set menu's are highly recommended and offer as broad a tour around the Kingdom's myriad cuisines as you're likely to get in a single meal. At Central Samui Beach Resort, 6.00pm-10.30pm. Tel. 077 230 500.
Tropical Murphy's $$ Murphy's has easily one of the best atmospheres in town. Maybe that's because everyone's welcome. The food is just like home with large hearty portions served from 9am to 1am. Start the day with an Irish fry-up and move on to a sandwich for lunch. Favourite dishes include the thick Irish stew and the half roast chicken with veg, and bangers & mash. With over 100 items on the menu you can't go wrong. There's also a large Thai selection as well as a kiddie's menu available. Located across the road from McDonalds in central Chaweng. Tel 077 413 614.
Via Vai $$ The Cappuccio brothers hale from Naples, the home of pizza, which may help explain why theirs rates among the best on Samui. Baked very, very briefly in the wood-fired oven, their pizzas are guaranteed to be uniformly thin, crisp and delicious. As well as all the usual favourites (Marguerita, Bianca, capriccioso and calzone) they also serve some great variations like the Greca (ham, olives, mozzarella and feta cheese) and the excellent vegetarian Via Vai (mozzarella, ricotta and spinach). Central Chaweng, Tel. 077 413 431.
Yamato $ Relaxed and comfortable Japanese cafe serving delicious home cooking all personally prepared by owner/manager Koetsu Kagaya. The Sashimi and Sushi are ultra fresh and are made with a wide range of fish including Norwegian salmon, tuna, octopus, sea bream and mackerel. There are also rarer treats on offer including Okonomi yaki - a type of Japanese pizza and Nikujyaga (Japanese beef stew). To drink there's Asahi beer, an excellent range of sake, Soju (Korean Vodka) and Umesyu (sweet Japanese plum wine) a try. Central Chaweng. .
Zico's $$$ A new and sleekly modern Brazilian restaurant, gleaming in the national colours of yellow and green, Zico's has introduced both ? la carte dining and a seafood buffet. Even so, its mainstay remains the churrasqueria gaucho-style barbecue, with passadors bearing large skewers of every variety of meat imaginable doing a constant round of the tables. A must for carnivores, you can go on eating until you drop. Beach Road, southern Chaweng (opposite Central). Tel. 077 231 560-3.
The White House $$ Beachside dining at one of the most sedate spots on the island. The White House's Ruean Sai Lom restaurant has a good variety of immaculately presented Thai and international dishes. The cuisine ranges from smoked salmon, seafood fondue, Caesar and Nicoise salads to stuffed bell pepper, goulash, chilli con carne, pizza and an excellent selection of fresh steamed or grilled fish dishes. Choeng Mon Beach, Tel. 077 245 315.
Laem Set Inn $$$ Fine dining at the oldest and one the best-known boutique resorts on Samui. The set lunch and dinner menus change on a daily basis but always feature several Thai classics as well as imaginative Pacific Rim fare served in a traditional Thai sala pavilion. The sea view from the restaurant is fantastic. Ban Hua Thanon, Tel. 077 424 393.
The Reef Cafe $$ The Reef Cafe sits a few metres from the sea at the fringe of Central Samui Village Resort. The waves lapping nearby, the soft lighting and the al fresco setting make it the perfect venue for a romantic liaison. The long menu covers most bases from Thai favourites such as Mussaman Nuea (Beef tenderloin in Mussaman Curry) and Pla Kluk Kamin (Fried and Marinated Fish with Tumeric and Garlic) to hearty western fare like Lamb Fillet Tips in Pommery Mustard Sauce, Bacon and Roasted Potato and Fish & Chips (served in a copy of the Bangkok Post, of course). Central Samui Village Resort, 077 424 020. .
Spa Samui Resorts $$ Spa Samui Resorts serve some of the best and most imaginative vegetarian cuisine in the country at two locations in Lamai. Closely linked to the Spas' world famous fasting and rejuvenation programmes, its menu presents a mouth-watering array of healthy and delicious fare, including its signature salads, ultra-light soups and more substantial Thai and international fare. Spa Samui Beach, Tel: 077 230 855. Spa Samui Village, Tel: 077 230 976.
Talay Tai $$ Located at Lamai's hippest resort, Long Island, Talay Tai emphasizes healthy organic fare in their sandwich, pasta and salad section. Treats include plenty of wild rice, tofu, hummus, pita bread and the like. On a less healthy but damn tasty note, they also sell Big Joe's homemade British pies which are considered by many to be the best on the island. Long Island has also secured a supply of (very hard to find in Thailand) cranberry and grapefruit juice, meaning it's the perfect spot for a Seabreeze sundowner. At Long Island Resort, Lamai, Tel. 077 424-202.
Big John's Seafood $$ Big John's prides itself on serving some of the finest seafood dishes on Samui. Much of it is locally caught and bought market fresh daily. The menu offers an extremely comprehensive selection of almost every fish dish imaginable; a couple of outstanding ones are lobster massaman (succulent chunks of lobster cooked in a creamy Southern Thai curry sauce with peanuts) and steamed pomfret with plum sauce. It's also a great location for sunset dining. Take the ring road to the west of the island and turn off onto the paved road that leads to the ferry to Donsak, past Lipa Lodge, Tel. 077 423 025.
Angela's Bakery and Cafe $$ Amazing array of breads, cakes, pies, salads and sandwiches, all made fresh on the premises. If you're hankering after an English meat pie or a muffin, then you'll get it here. Or perhaps a bagel with cream cheese or cheddar or gruyere, pastrami or salami? Angela's got that too. Not to mention crepes, scones, smoked salmon, sauerkraut, meatloaf and pickles and chutneys. 8.30am-7.30pm, Tel. 077 427 396.
Roma $$$ Making the most of its beachside setting, Roma combines the easygoing tropical charm of Samui with the casual elegance of the finest Italian dining. The modern menu includes superlative treats such as crema di zucca ai pistacchi e aceto ai lamponi (pumpkin cream soup with pistachios perfumed with raspberry vinegar), filetto di branzino ai funghi porcini (grilled fillet of sea bass topped with boletus mushrooms, white wine sauce and a selection of Italian herbs) and involtini alla Romana con polenta al profumo di tartufo (veal roulade with parma ham and basil served with truffles, parfumed polenta and vegetables) as well as more classic fare. Paradise Beach Resort, 6pm-11pm, Tel. (077) 247 227.
Sala Thai $$$ The finest Royal Thai cuisine. From the light and meaty goong kra buang (deep fried minced prawns in a spring roll wrapper) to the delicately spiced hor mok hoy shell (steamed scallops in red curry served in a banana bowl, everything is a feast for the senses. All the classics like gaeng keaw wahn gai (green curry with chicken) are present as well as more unusual fare like geang som malakor kab pla insee (rich orange curry of green papaya and king fish). There's also a well-considered vegetarian selection, an excellent wine list and unusual range of herb ice creams. Santiburi Dusit Resort, Tel. 077 425 031.
About Arts and Crafts $ Excellent cafe in a handicraft shop, serving a delicious range of veggie breakfast options, homemade muffins, brown rice dishes and health shakes. Also does a decent cup of coffee. Oceanfront road, south of the pier, 9am-5pm.
Rimbang Seafood $ Long-established seafood restaurant just north of town near Ban Bang Makham, with spectacular sunset views over Ang Thong National Marine Park. Owner K Pisut prides himself on the restaurant's authentic Samui-style preparation. On Route 4169, near Ban Bang Makham. Tel. 077 236 047.
Prices marked ++ (i.e. 800 baht++) indicate the price plus service charge (usually 10 percent) and plus 7 percent VAT.