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A guide to the best restaurants and bars in Koh Samui

From traditional Thai dishes to French cuisine, Spanish tapas and Western comfort foods, Koh Samui has it all, writes Lynn Grebsted.

Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is known for its pristine landscape of palm-fringed beaches, lush rainforests and crystal-clear waters. This tropical paradise has myriad tourist attractions, from vibrant nightlife and luxurious resorts to awe-inspiring golden temples and bustling markets. Renowned for its idyllic beaches, vibrant culture and year-round warm weather, Koh Samui promises an unforgettable island getaway in Thailand. This is the ultimate guide to the best bars and restaurants in Koh Samui.

Fisherman’s Village

Coco Tam’s
Coco Tam’s is the place everyone comes to see. It may be a bit noisy but it’s super cool and serves up great Western food alongside fire shows almost every night. Get in early to claim one of the bean bags with hookah pipes on the beach.

The Shack
The Shack is where you’ll find the best steaks in Samui.

Two Fishes
Leo, the owner and chef at Two Fishes, is Australian and he cooks sensational local fish. It’s a small venue and is always packed, so bookings are essential. A larger new venue is planned to open on the beach between Fisherman’s Village and Bangrak.

Gusto Italian
This Italian restaurant is an age-old favourite with friendly staff and great food. Check out their new venue next door, Amare Italian Fish Bar.

La Paillote
With great ambience, beautiful décor and tasty food, this French restaurant and bar must not be missed.

Bar Baguette
Bar Baguette is a roadside café that’s the perfect people-watching spot with excellent value cocktails.

The Thai Tapas
The Thai Tapas restaurant plates up delicious small Thai dishes prepared by the former general manager of the five-star resort, Centara Reserve.

Burma Kitchen
Burma Kitchen is a new rooftop bar and kitchen with great Burmese food.

BaCaBa
Set in the middle of the village, BaCaBa is a cool restaurant with lovely surroundings and even better Thai and Western food.
Bophut

The Deck Beach Club
Rustic, laid-back and boasting a pleasant restaurant, The Deck Beach Club is a great place to while away an afternoon or evening.

Le Shelby Samui
Comprised of cottages and a beach club, Le Shelby Samui has a nice restaurant overlooking Bophut Bay.

Ad Hoc
Ad Hoc is a chilled-out little place for sunset drinks and dinner along the shore from Fisherman’s Village.

The Nature
Set within the jungle, The Nature is a charming local haunt.

MyCafe
Nestled around a lagoon, MyCafe serves excellent authentic Thai food and awesome cakes.

Bohem
Positioned between Bangrak and Fisherman’s Village, Bohem is a super cool bar with great cocktails.

Perusing the bars and restaurants of Fisherman's Village Night Market
Perusing the bars and restaurants of Fisherman's Village Night Market © Adobe Stock

Bangrak, Big Budddha and Choeng Mon

Secret Garden
Casual, chilled and right on the beach, Secret Garden has great Western and Thai food and pleasing drinks.

Blind Tiger Bar & Restaurant
With a pretty rear garden area, Blind Tiger is an uber-cool cocktail bar and restaurant.

Chi Beach Club
One of the coolest places in Samui, Chi Beach Club is an awesome spot for lunch, dinner or just hanging out while snacking on tasty food and cocktails.

Tembo Beach Club
Perfect for lunch, dinner or lazing by the water, Tembo Beach Club is a fun place to try out while away, boasting delicious light sharing plates and  beverages.

Sabiang Le Bangrak
With a focus on fresh seafood and traditional Thai cuisine specific to Samui, Sabiang Le Bangrak is a lovely restaurant right on the beach.

Sunset Bar
Bask in the colours of an epic sunset with excellent food at Sunset Bar, a popular local hangout.

Nahm
A new favourite among locals, Nahm is a fantastic Thai and Malaysian restaurant helmed by a wonderfully creative chef. Very chic décor and a cool ambience make it the place to be for sunset cocktails.

Foxtrot Bistro
Eat tasty Mediterranean-inspired food while sipping on tropical cocktails at Foxtrot Bistro.

Maithy at Unique
Boasting one of the best sunset views on the island, Maithy at Unique is a fantastic drink stop.

Salefino
Charming and romantic with authentic Italian food, Salefino is led by a wonderful chef and staffed with friendly people.

Suppatra
You’ll find some of the best Thai food on the island at Suppatra, but bookings are essential.

Antica Locanda
This Mum-and-dad Italian shop has been around forever, but people keep coming back to Antica Locanda for the tasty food, good value and great wine.

Baci Italian
Located on the ‘Ghost Road’, Baci Italian is a wonderful restaurant with excellent food and a quirky Italian owner.

Long Dtai by David Thompson
Long Dtai is the signature Thai restaurant at the exclusive Cape Fahn Hotel. If you’re into gourmet dining, this is the place for a memorable culinary experience.

PI Café
Set on Choeng Mon Beach, this new cafe has a great ambience, superb location and fantastic food.

a beach club on a Koh Samui beach
Some of the dining experiences on Koh Samui © Adobe Stock

Maenam, Bang Tai and Bang Por

Cielo
Cielo is a super chic beach resort with a gorgeous beachfront restaurant by French expats.

Pepe Nero
With an excellent selection of meats and cheese, Pepe Nero is the sister of Salefino.

The Tree House at Silent Beach
Massively popular among locals and visitors, Tree House is a German-owned beachside café with rustic bamboo, sand and the most delicious Burmese tea leaf salad on the island.

Babu
You’ll find the best Indian cuisine with a Nepalese twist in Samui at Babu. Delicious.

Jun Hom
A super local and rustic venue with amazing food. Don’t miss the crab fried rice, yellow curried crab and wing bean salad at Jun Hom.

Hug Samui
This charming rustic beachfront restaurant and café in Maenam/Bang Tai has a great ambience, made even better by delicious rotisserie chicken and seafood. Hug Samui is perfect for watching the beach at sunset.

Nathon 

The Road Less Travelled 
A quirky cafe-bar with an art gallery, yoga studios and its own theatre, The Road Less Travelled is well worth a visit. 

Barril
A new French restaurant by the former owner of La Playa in Bang Por, Barril offers yummy steaks and home-style French meals.

Angthong National Marine Park
Angthong National Marine Park © Adobe Stock

Lipa Noi & Baan Talig Ngam

Nikki Beach Club & Resort
Nikki Beach Club & Resort is a chic and sexy setting for day-long lounging and dining. On the weekends, the restaurant has a superb brunch buffet.

Island View
Set on the beach with a spectacular view of the Five Islands, Island View is an all-time favourite of those in the know.

Air Bar @ InterContinental Samui
Air Bar @ InterContinental Samui is a spectacular spot that overlooks the Five Islands and serves an array of cocktails and canapes alongside Samui’s epic sunsets.

Thong Krut & Bang Kao

Sweet Sisters
You’ll find unbeatable Thai food at Sweet Sisters, which is located near the award-winning Kamalaya Health Resort.

New French Kiss
A rustic hideaway right on the seafront at Thong Krut, the New French Kiss is well known for its fusion of French and Thai cuisines. Signatures are moules mariniere, Belgian beef stew and its delicious Thai curries.

La Rhumerie de Koh Samui
Hidden within a gorgeous tropical garden, La Rhumerie de Koh Samui is a wonderful small-batch rum distillery. Tour the distillery then try the Ti Punch or Mojito cocktails – the food is highly rated, too.

Elixir Beach Club & Restaurant
A gorgeous spot on the beach at Thong Krut with unique food, elixir Beach Club & Restaurant is renowned for fusion dishes such as the squid spaghetti curry. Expect bean bags, hammocks and a fantastic view.

Mordin
Located near the beach in Laem Sor – not far from the Laem Sor Pagoda – Mordin has great food with vegetarian and vegan options.

La Java
La Java is a French Restaurant on the beach with a laid-back atmosphere and beautiful setting.

Coast of Koh Samui from above
Coast of Koh Samui from above © Unsplash/Zed Benson

Lamai

BaoBab
Enjoy European and Thai cuisine in a chic restaurant right by the sea at BaoBab, which has a casual, pocket-friendly menu.

The Door
The Door is a superb beachfront restaurant and bar with a delicious international menu ranging from smoked duck to cauliflower tempura bites. It’s a great place to hang out and relax in Lamai.

Salt Bar Asian BBQ
This sophisticated boutique bistro on Lamai Walking Street looks as good as the food tastes.

Luuma Spa Lamai
This eatery is found inside the Luuma Spa and offers Thai and Western dishes and a pool to lounge around when dinner is done.

Chaweng

Duomo
Duomo is an established Italian restaurant popular among the Choeng Mon set.

Prego at Amari
With excellent Italian cuisine and a sophisticated ambience, Prego is a glamorous Italian restaurant part of the Amari Resort.

Day & Night
A fantastic restaurant with a gorgeous rooftop bar, Day & Night is a superb place to hang out above all the hustle and bustle of Chaweng.

Elephant Beach Club
Expect cool contemporary beach club vibes with a fabulous view of Chaweng Beach at Elephant Beach Club.

Salt Society at the Cantera Reserve
While Salt Society may set you back a little more than most Thai venues, it’s a very cool beach club with a wonderful Sunday brunch menu.

The Library
A boutique resort with a red-tiled pool that’s always a talking point among visitors, The Library has a range of dishes to suit every taste.

Phensiri
Visitors will find excellent quality traditional Thai food at Phensiri, which offers a sustainable fine dining experience.

Mekong Fusion
Up in the hills overlooking Chaweng Noi, Mekong Fusion is a charming boutique resort that boasts the best Vietnamese restaurant on the island.

Jungle Club
A stunning mountain-top setting places Jungle Club ahead of the rest. This trendy restaurant has views of Chaweng out to Koh Phangan, plus fantastic Thai and Western food.

fire performances on koh samui
Fire performances on the island © Adobe Stock

Hotel bars and restaurants in Koh Samui

Sala Choeng Mon & Chaweng
The Tent is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon at the beach, with a selection of Thai, Western and seafood dishes in an attractive, open-air setting.

Melia Samui
Melia is a breezy beachfront locale with a fantastic Sunday brunch menu.

InterContinental Samui 
Visit the Air Bar at sunset for an epic night you’ll remember forever. Listen to the smooth sounds of a live saxophone while sipping on classic cocktails and overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.

Conrad Koh Samui 
Conrad Hotel has several options for lounging and dining, with sweeping views of lush landscapes and turquoise seas.

Kimpton Kitalay
A new hotel on beautiful Choeng Mon Beach, Kimpton Kitalay has several lovely restaurants. The FishHouse has earnt a Michelin award and serves up the freshest ocean bounty in new, mouthwatering forms.

Explorar Samui
Explorar is an adults-only beach resort in Mainam with a beachfront setting and a great bar and restaurant. Indulge in wood-fired pizza, Mediterranean delights or zesty cocktails.

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