by Kristie Rodgers
Ko Phangan Om Ganesh
Hat Rin 84280 Tel 0-7737-5123
An excellent antidote to the hectic pace of partying on Hat Rin, Om Ganesh serves delicious, authentic Indian cuisine for those who can stomach the spices. Try the lassi (refreshing drink made with yogurt in water, salt, pepper, and ice), Indian vegetarian dishes, and chicken tandoori. Also a great breakfast venue.
Ko Phangan Cucina Italiana
Chalok Lam 84280
An ideal setting for a mug of beer and a pizza, Cucina Italiana is located on the northern coast of Ko Phangan.
Although the name overstates the variety of food on offer, the restaurant serves excellent pizza. Try the Italian chef’s home-made pasta dishes and fresh, grilled seafood.
Ko Phangan Beach Club Bar & Grill
Ban Pranburi, Hat Thong Nai Phan Noi 84280 Tel 0-7723-8599
One of Ko Phangan’s most popular spots, Beach Club Bar & Grill is an excellent place for seafood grilled at live cooking stations. Diners can watch the skillful chef work the flames, as they sit at bamboo tables andchairs placed on the sand, within splashing distance of the sea. An ideal setting for a romantic dinner.
Hin Kong 84280 Tel 08-9289-7133
Serving immaculately prepared European food, Me’n’u is an ideal place for those who want to try something other than noodles and roasted chicken. Located on lush, tropical grounds on the west coast of Ko Phangan, the restaurant is open only in the evenings.
Ko Samui Black Diamond
Hat Lamai 84310 Tel 0-7742-4392
Popular with the locals for serving authentic Thai food at reasonable prices, Black Diamond keeps diners entertained with a pool table. Otherwise a no-frills restaurant. The chef is from Bangkok, who makes standard central Thai dishes such as kaeng khiaw wan gai (green chicken curry).
Ko Samui The Islander Restaurant
Chawang Beach Road, Hat Chaweng 84320 Tel 0-7723-0836
Both Thai and Western dishes are on offer at this budget eatery famous for its generous breakfasts and fish burgers. There is a kids’ menu, a few pool tables, and a TV which can be used to view the latest movies. Worth a visit for its reasonable prices and good Thai food, toned down for foreign palates.
Ko Samui Billabong Surf Club
Fisherman’s Village, Bo Phut 84320 Tel 0-7743-0144
A friendly and inviting place with plenty of beer and generous portions of food. Famous for doorstop sandwiches, chip buttys, chimichangas, and nachos as beer snacks, as well as main courses such as BBQ ribs, lamb chops, Down
Under Aussie burgers, 21 oz (600g) steaks, and authentic Indian curries.
Ko Samui Elephant & Castle
Big Buddha Beach 84320
An authentic London pub in Ko Samui, Elephant & Castle is popular with British expatriates. An ideal place for an afternoon or evening pint. On offer is sausage and mash, fish and chips, steak and kidney pies, and baked spuds among others. Famous throughout the island for its Sunday roasts. Good selection of vegetarian dishes.
Ko Samui Shabash
Chalee Bungalows, Big Buddha Beach 84320 Tel 0-7724-5035
A Singaporean couple with Indian, Jewish, and Chinese roots and former residents of Indonesia, bring the most diverse culinary background on the island. A wide variety of Indian curries as well as plenty of Middle Eastern (even kosher) specialties made with fresh condiments and spices from the kitchen garden. Good vegetarian fare.
Ko Samui Will Wait
Hat Lamai 84310 Tel 0-7742-4263
One of the original “we cook everything” venues in Ko Samui, Will Wait has branches across the island. Serves Thai, Chinese, Western, and Japanese fare, but neither the food nor the decor is inspired. The place is clean and the price right and they offer good home-made bread and pastries.