Poppies Restaurant is a highly respected Thai and international cuisine restaurant towards the southern end of Chaweng Beach. Part of the Poppies Restaurant and Cottages complex, it is situated right by the beach, making it one of the most romantic and atmospheric restaurants in town, if not in the whole of Koh Samui.
To get to the restaurant itself, you first have to walk through the picturesque gardens of the resort’s bungalows. By night, in particular, the subdued lighting makes the well-manicured greenery feel like a walk through a forest path crossed by babbling streams (albeit one with a carefully maintained path and a series of sturdy wooden bridges). The restaurant itself has a very traditional Thai look, with tables under palm thatch roofs, out in the open, by the beach and in a particularly smart wood-walled structure.
With this heavy Thai influence in the décor, it is no surprise that Poppies Restaurant is best known for its Thai menu. While there is a second menu for western dishes, most of these also have a slight Asian twist to them. We tried the pad krapow moo (320 baht) and neua kratiem prik Thai (beef with garlic and pepper sauce – 320 baht), which were served with two quite hefty spoonsful of complimentary rice; one of jasmine rice and the other of red rice. In both dishes, the meat was tender and well prepared, the ingredients were fresh and the spices were perfectly balanced to create a very tasty experience.
The introduction to the menu states that “the use of chilli in our Thai dishes is deliberately toned down to suit western tastes,” but the very efficient and friendly service staff will ask you how spicy you want, so you can request the full ‘taste of Thailand’ experience. To complete said experience, you should aim to dine at Poppies Restaurant on a Saturday night, when they have their ‘Thai Night’, featuring traditional music and dancing.
The drinks menu has an interesting collection of signature cocktails alongside the usual spirits, soft drinks and beers. Priced at between 225 and 270 baht, you can have a Ladyboy Surprise (Malibu rum, Midori, pineapple juice and cranberry juice – 225 baht), Poppies own take on the Long Island Iced Tea (vodka, Bacardi, tequila, gin, orange juice, lemon juice and Cola – 270 baht) or revel in the GM’s Downfall (Dark and white rum, Heering cherry liqueur, crème de banana and lime – 270 baht). We had a Happy Ending (Absolut vanilla, Malibu rum, mango juice, cranberry and lime juice), which was quite fruity and had a subtle impact which crept up on us over the course of the evening.
Being notably more expensive than most Thais could afford for an everyday meal and being technically a hotel restaurant, it is not that much of a surprise that much of the food is designed for western tastes. While notably less spicy than the genuine article, the food at Poppies Restaurant earns its value through the excellent use of high-quality fresh ingredients and a tasteful, moody setting, making it a great place to enjoy a really special meal in Chaweng.
- Opening Hours: 11:30 – 22:30
- Location: Poppies Restaurant and Cottages, South Chaweng Beach Road, Chaweng
- Tel: +66 (0)7 742 2419
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Poppies-Samui-128900617159835