When you first imagine Koh Samui you would be forgiven for thinking that a tropical island in Thailand would be somewhat limited in terms of the dining options on offer. Sure there will be some decent traditional Thai food and not much else, but that could not be further from the truth. Samui now boasts a multitude of top class restaurants featuring cuisine from across the globe as well as more than just "decent" Thai food. While the majority of restaurants tend to be in and around Chaweng Beach it would be a mistake not to make the effort to explore farther afield as there are some fantastic restaurants spread all across the island. The following are just a selection of what Samui has to offer, and you would be well advised to try at least one of them during your stay – you certainly will not regret it!
Time for Romance
On The Rocks at Sila Evason Hideaway
Dining on the Rocks, the signature restaurant of the Sila Evason Hideaway & Spa, boasts uninterrupted 270 degree views of the surrounding sea and exceeding islands. With tables for two spread over no less than eight different areas, there are never more than a handful of tables in any one section. The most romantic spot however must be the single table which sits alone on its own private deck which is so popular with couples it is often booked days in advance. The menu is innovative and not only reflects a fusion of Asian and Western styles, but also offers some unusual contrasts which can best be described as "New Asian Cuisine" with a wine selection especially chosen to accompany every dish. Try the "Experiences" 10 course set dinner to get a real taste of what this restaurant it all about.
Chef Chom's at Tongsai Bay Cottages
This is one restaurant that can really claim to offer "Royal Thai Cuisine", as Chef Chom herself comes from a family who used to cook in the palace of the late Princess Vibhavadee Rangsit. Equally delicious is the more home style Thai cooking, which features the award winning "Tongsai Thai Salad with Seafood".
The restaurant itself sits on a low hill and is extremely spacious and airy, with seating both inside and out, and naturally offers some great views of the bay below. After being somewhat off the beat track at Choeng Mon Beach, it is well worth the effort to make the trip at least once during your stay.
Betelnut has now been around long enough to be classed as a Samui institution, offering casual yet elegant dining in an intimate setting. Operations are overseen by experienced chef Jeffrey Lord, who's innovative, creative and spontaneous dishes are a unique fusion of Thai, Californian, European and Japanese styles. Although the menu is small, it offers a wide range of flavors and textures. For serious food lovers, Jeffrey can design special tasting menus with advance notice. Among the dishes on offer are Blackened Wahoo with Samui Salsa and the intriguedly named Buddha Jumped Over the Wall (if you want to know what it is you will just have to go and try it for yourself!)
Zazen Restaurant at Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa
This exceptionally designed restaurant sits right on the waters edge between Maenam and Bophut. The menu could best be described as "Contemporary East to West cuisine", with a strong emphasis on the use of healthy organic ingredients wherever possible, something which surprisingly is not always easy to achieve on the island. There are a number of set menus on offer such as the "Asian Tropical Menu" featuring Oriental Cuisine from six different countries or the four course lobster menu for two, as well as an extensive a la carte menu. The wine cellar selection more than equals the food selection, featuring more than 75 different varieties of wine.