Koh Samui has a wide variety of dining options available to travellers, from the cheap and cheerful, to the more formal high-end gastronomic experiences; with cuisines from all over the world, including some innovative fusions, from some world famous chefs. As well as, quite frankly, mouth-watering meals, there are restaurants with jaw-dropping vistas, live music, swimming pools, alfresco dining, private dining, unique cocktails, beachfront tables, and so much more.
With so much choice, and such a vast variety on offer, it can be daunting to know where to start, check out our list below to see some of our top recommendations of where to eat on Koh Samui.
Primarily an American style bar and grill restaurant, the shack offers a range of western dishes, cooked very well; choose the steak or burger and you certainly wont be disappointed; they also have vegetarian and seafood options that are highly rated. Meanwhile the wooden décor (it really is a shack) and jazz/blues accompaniments give an intimate and rustic vibe to an evening spent here.
The fusion of Western and Thai cuisine, coupled with an impressive selection of wines, at Happy Elephant will leave you satisfied for sure. However the biggest draw for this restaurant is the location, its stunning beachfront views, with some tables actually on the sand, will make you never want to leave.
Barracuda offers both tantalising food; a fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine that will leave you wanting more, and an intimate fine dining experience; the rustic décor and spacious interiors offering customers an enjoyable and relaxed evening. With a menu that changes every 3 months, and an array of mains and sumptuous sweet bits, if visiting Koh Samui, Barracuda is not to be missed!
Starfish & Coffee
Starfish & Coffee, named after the Prince song, has separate dining and bar areas (complete with pool table); all bedecked with Arabic/Indian style décor; red and gold furnishings and accompanying ambient music. Although its menu is not as adventurous as other establishments on this lists, it has something for everyone, and with stunning sea views and a chilled vibe, it is well worth a visit.
A modern, trendy, and ultimate kitsch dining experience; hailed for its food presentation and enthusiastic and welcoming staff (including the man behind the menu; Vivien Bella), Cafe 69 is unsurprisingly gaining huge success on the island. Its menu offers 'a new twist of Southern Thai Indigenous Cuisine'; meaning that you will find the usual Thai dishes here (done to perfection) but also some unique creations, such as the smoked duck, lychee and grape curry.
This long standing restaurant is hailed for its top-notch Italian food, a bit pricey for the budget traveller, but worthy of it's acclaim and success. Having moved from Chaweng, to the quieter Bophut's Fisherman's Village, the sea views and delicious dishes offer a lovely evening for diners. If you go here, do get a Juzza special pizza; we recommend the “Italian blues'; with blue cheese and Italian sausage. Delicious!
Red Snapper offers something rather different than the ordinary Koh Samui dining experience, yes it has delicious food (generally Mediterranean cuisine but also highly regarded sushi options), but it also has a live music lounge. Contemporary artworks adorn the walls, and with live jazz every night, except Sundays, this is a hot spot for the culturally savvy.
The great Italian food at Rice is not to be missed, hailed by many as having the best pizza on Koh Samui, they offer all the Italian classics, pastas, pizzas and luxuriant deserts. A trendy venue, with good food and ambient music tempered by an in-house DJ. After dinner (or even before!) check out the accompanying third floor lounge for some funky tunes, a wide range of cocktails, wines and cigars, and stunning views over Chaweng Beach.
Relatively new to Samui (opened June 2014) Stacked is a large restaurant (with funky interior design) that offers diners 'international comfort food'; their menu is varied, with something for everyone (although mainly north american cuisine). The stand-out option at Stacked is definitely their burgers; they offer customers the chance to 'build your own burger' as well as some innovative and scrumptious creations of their own, including the 'Aristocrat'; wagyu beef burger, aged manchego cheese, wild mushroom, beetroot, rocket, lemon parsley bun, truffle aiolio, demi-glace and salad. (Vegetarian options available).
There really is nowhere else quite like Tree Tops; this restaurant has 8 tables, each within their own 'tree house', accessed from raised wooden walkways (don't worry they are all safely roped off!); the surroundings are quite simply jaw-dropping. The food is highly acclaimed, but what really makes it stand out, is the privacy of the dining and the customer service; you can choose your own music and there is accomplished wine (and salt!) sommelier on hand to help you customise your meal. You pay top dollar, but if you can afford it, its definitely worth it.
The Larder is 'rustic fine dining' at its best; this restaurant has no pretensions, but wows customers every time. They offer good, not-so basic, food, and drinks; it is western style cuisine, with a select menu (something meat, veggie and fish; so you're guaranteed to find something you'll love) all done incredibly well. To top it off their drinks menu is a resounding success, with all the usuals and some unusual cocktails, including the peanut butter martini!
Although the food comes with the highest accolades from its customers (many of whom return time and again) it is the hosting that really makes La Taverna stick out from the rest; owner Carlo Magello, has a way of making it feel as though you are dining at the home of a close friend. Evenings are comfortable and relaxed (and you can even request meals off-menu the day before and they will be prepared freshly for you!). Unbeatable customer service and authentic, scrumptious Italian cuisine make La Taverna an unmissable establishment on the gastro tour of Koh Samui.
The French / Thai inspired cuisine is good, but the surroundings and atmosphere are something else. The restaurant and bar at Jungle Club comes with an unmissable view (it is recommended to book a table in advance to get the best view) and offers a relaxing experience; whilst soaking in your surroundings you can even sip cocktails and take a dip in the pool!
This Brazilian Grill and Bar brings a slice of South America to Koh Samui; live bands playing Brazilian music and samba dancers (in full colourful costume) provide the carnival-esque entertainment of an evening at Zico's. With unlimited BBQ served at your table from waiters brandishing steel skewers, Zico's offers a unique dining experience on Koh Samui; you won't be disappointed with an evening spent here.
Prego cultivates an alfresco dining experience (having almost no enclosing walls to the restaurant at all); an outdoor terrace and a variety of water features, including a pond that runs along the entire front of the establishment, make Prego architecturally engaging. But it doesn't just look good, Prego's Italian menu is to die for; with herbs and spices specially imported, the range of pizzas, pastas, wines and deserts, provide customers with authentic and highly acclaimed delights.
The setting of Kob Thai is simply stunning, with individual dining Salas offering intimate dining spaces on the side of a child friendly swimming pool, this restaurant offers romantic and family friendly dining experiences to be remembered. Although under French management, the cuisine is Thai and mouth-watering treats for affordable prices are on the menu. If you are heading to Kob Thai, be warned this restaurant is notoriously difficult to find, so make sure to check the location thoroughly before setting out!
Beach Republic is a beach resort/club that is also a romantic fine dining restaurant; which means that you can pop in for a sandwich and a drink or stay and immerse yourself in a five course gastronomic event. The food is high quality, and ranges from tapas, to pizza, to Thai and everything in between. Top this off with a DJ creating a relaxed yet fun atmosphere, a large swimming pool, beach frontage (with individual dining Salas available for reservation) and great service and you have the ingredients for a truly luxuriant dining experience.
Samui Shamrock is the place to go if you fancy a good breakfast, a pint of Guinness, live music and/or all kinds of sports playing on the big screens. As the name suggests, it is Samui's prime Irish pub, and has a fun and busy vibe in the evenings, with live music every night (open till 2am). They serve all the expected pub dishes, and you certainly wont be disappointed with their fish and chips or Sunday roast; they also serve pizza and Thai dishes if your feeling more adventurous.
Rocky's offer two dining experiences, both set in simply breath-taking surroundings coupled with beautifully decorated interiors. Check out 'The Dining Room' for a more formal high-end experience; the modern French cuisine, with beach frontage tables, offers guests something beyond luxury. However if you fancy something a bit more laid back try 'The Bistro'; a delicious fusion of modern and thai cuisine set in their contemporary gardens, completed with an outdoor show kitchen.
Dining on the rocks
Dining on the rocks is the signature restaurant of the Six Senses Samui resort; offering high end fine dining with unparalleled views. The food is a fusion of Western and Asian and offers innovative and unique combinations, such as the lamb rack vindaloo with black eye pea-cucumber salad, Goan curry sauce, saffron and honey. With tables set on weathered teak and bamboo decking, coupled with 270 degree panoramic vistas that really are unbeatable, Dining on the Rocks offers the ultimate romantic evening.
Nikki Beach club
Overlooking Lipa Noi beach, the restaurant at Nikki Beach club resides within the Nikki Beach Club resort, and offers guests jaw-dropping views, fantastic service and delectable meals. The menu is far ranging, with cuisine inspired by Mediterranean and Asian tastes, serving everything from pastries to sushi, and despite the wide variety everything is cooked superbly! They also have an impressive range of cocktails, and can cater for large groups, parties and events.