Koh Samui’s restaurant scene is wide ranging. From local Thai dishes, to Italian, French and more. You’re bound to find places that fit your taste and mood.
It’s also a great place to experience Thailand’s street food culture, which I elaborate on further down below.
When it comes to cheap eats in Koh Samui, you’ll be spoilt for choice. In this section, I list some of the best and most popular restaurants that will satisfy your appetite on a low budget.
Spices Café is located just a short walk from Mae Nam Beach. Run by a former Four Seasons chef, the restaurant serves a wide range of traditional Thai cuisine and fusion dishes.
Due to its popularity, it’s best to make reservations to avoid being disappointed. The green curry, som tam and larb gai (chicken salad) are crowd favourites, so do try them if you drop by 🙂 Read more on TripAdvisor…
Located down a side street opposite Chaweng Beach Resort, Green Bird is another popular place to get delicious Thai food on a budget.
It’s a good option if your travel group includes vegetarians, as Green Bird has a decent selection of meatless meals, and the chef will also prepare vegetarian versions of dishes with meat upon request. Read more on TripAdvisor…
Thai food isn’t the only cuisine you can enjoy on a budget at Koh Samui. Food Lab is a small, roadside restaurant near Lamai Beach. Their specialty is Italian pork dishes, including pastas, burgers and paninis.
One of the most popular dishes at Food Lab is the porchetta roll, or rolled pork belly, prepared by the friendly Italian owner. Give it a try if you fancy a break from Thai dishes! Read more on TripAdvisor…
If sticking to a tight budget isn’t an issue, try these mid-range restaurants which offer more variety in dishes, and an enjoyable dining experience.
Hemingway’s on the Beach
Hemingway’s on the Beach is a charming restaurant located right on the shores of Thong Krut Beach. It’s a good place to enjoy fresh seafood and Thai cuisine with panoramic views of the beach.
If you’re looking for things to do beyond dining, you can even hire boat tours, fishing expeditions, or even taking a Thai cooking class at Hemingway’s! Read more on TripAdvisor…
Kob Thai Restaurant
Located a short distance away from Lamai Beach, Kob Thai is a good place to try if you’re up for something more than budget Thai cuisine. The restaurant offers reasonably priced Thai degustation menus, alongside an a la carte menu.
You can enjoy your food in rustic little bamboo pavilions arranged around a garden, or take a dip in the swimming pool in the middle of the restaurant while waiting for your meal to arrive! Read more on TripAdvisor…
The Boudoir is a cozy restaurant run by a friendly French couple, located slightly off the beaten path at the Mae Nam Beach area. They serve reasonably priced authentic French dishes in generous portions.
The restaurant only accepts reservations, so do book well in advance if you plan on visiting. Do give crowd favorites like the baked camembert, foie gras and tenderloin a try! Read more on TripAdvisor…
If you’re on a top-dollar budget, check out these restaurants which offer some of the best Thai and international cuisine you’ll find in Koh Samui.
The Tent Restaurant and Bar
The Tent is a sleek new restaurant on the lively Chaweng Beach, offering a wide variety of both international and Thai dishes, including vegetarian options as well.
In addition to the regular menu, you can also visit The Tent on Tuesday nights for “Thai Night”, where you’ll find a Thai buffet menu, live Thai music and dancers as well! Otherwise, the restaurant also offers Sunday brunch specials – perfect if you like your brunches boozy 🙂 Read more on TripAdvisor…
Namu – W Koh Samui
Attached to the W hotel at Mae Nam Beach is Namu, where you’ll find great sushi, sashimi, and other seafood dishes, as well as Japanese specialties like wagyu beef.
For an even more interesting experience, try sitting at the bar opposite the open kitchen to watch the chefs in action making your artistically prepared dishes! Read more on TripAdvisor…
Dining on the Rocks
Dining on the Rocks is set high up on rock formations overlooking beautiful Bophut Beach. The restaurant offers Indochina and European cuisine in 3, 5 or 8 course meal sets paired with wine.
To enjoy the stunning views of the sea at the restaurant, try arriving before sundown so you can catch the sunset for a romantic dinner 🙂 Read more on TripAdvisor…
Here are some of the popular local street food dishes you’ll find on the island, especially at the night markets.
Som Tam (Papaya salad)
Som Tam is a cold dish that originates from northeast Thailand. It typically includes shredded green papaya, chilli, garlic, tomatoes, peanuts, and asparagus beans, and sometimes preserved crab. It’s a dish for when you feel a little adventurous, as it may get rather spicy 🙂
Roti (Thai pancakes)
Thai pancakes are one of the most popular snacks you’ll find on Koh Samui. Orignally from India, this flatbread is usually served with egg, condensed milk, bananas, chocolate sauce, jam or other toppings and condiments. It’s also a relatively cheap snack, costing up to 50 baht.
Kao Mon Gai (Chicken and rice)
Kao Mon Gai is a simple dish of poached chicken breast with rice, originating from southern China, and adopted into Thai cuisine. You’ll usually find it served along with a small bowl of chicken broth, vegetables, and chili sauce.
On your trip to Koh Samui, you’ll have plenty of delicious Thai food to try, and many other international dishes if you need a break from Thai. Besides, with the wide range of price points, everyone from backpackers to luxury travelers looking for something special will be satisfied.
Hope this guide helps you make the most out of your culinary experience on the island!
P.S. If you’re having breakfast, you may also want to check out Koh Samui’s Top 12 Things To Do to make an itinerary for the day. Or if you’re having dinner, have a look at The Ultimate Guide To Koh Samui’s Nightlife to finish your evening with a fun night out 🙂