Well, we didn’t see this coming. Everyone thinks their little hole-in-the-wall restaurant is their secret. Who went and told Travel+Leisure magazine? Granted, they’re a little late to the party. We first wrote about Had Bang Po seafood restaurant way back in 2008 (on a website too ugly to be true). Still, we’re mighty proud of the little place for beating its way to the top –the very top – of the travel magazine’s article, Best Beach Restaurant in the World.
The accolades continue, for mighty Bang Po pops up in two more Travel+Leisure lists:
- ‘Best Seafood Restaurants Around the World’
- ‘Best Places to Eat by the Sea’
Getting the picture? Fish. Samui. Best. Beach. Seafood. Had Bang Po.
TIP! *Hungry? Or chronically greedy? Use The Koh Samui Guide to devour the *entire* island, one beach at a time. Get dozens of honest and varied recommendations for all tastes (with passionfruit mojito rampages when necessary). Arrive a savvy insider, then use detailed maps and 13 years of tips to tour the island like a pro. Just don’t blame us when your beach body turns to a happy, deep-fried mush!
Had Bang Po seafood: our review
Update! A recent September 2016 visit confirms everything is as good today as it was on our first visit in 2007. Since we’re confident we beat Travel+Leisure to this treasure box, here’s our glowing piece of prose – 9+ years in the making (with brand new, updated photos).
We covered this Bang Po restaurant years ago in our top 5 list for Koh Samui food (our vote for best beach lunch), but a recent visit required a dedicated review.
This is a true Samui restaurant, a roadside gem that belies none of its waiting charm. Fact is, you’d probably drive right past on your way to somewhere with an fancier sign or better advertising. Don’t!
On arrival, the staff seem genuinely grateful that you’ve stopped. After ordering, your waitress will disappear – she’s gone to cook your meal especially, while another staff member might sit and carve a garnish too pretty to be true. This is a private slice of paradise and real world concerns aren’t invited.
Had Bang Po is beachside, on the ring road just through Maenam (heading west) and into sleepy Bang Po. If staying on the north or eastern side of Koh Samui (Bophut, Choeng Mon or Chaweng), a lunch at Had Bang Po makes a nice halfway point while driving around the island – perhaps en route to some shopping in Nathon or touring Samui attractions elsewhere south.
Did we mention the price! A family of four can easily gorge themselves for under US$25.
What to order
Anything and everything seafood.
It’s not quick – but come hungry anyway. You’ve got to try it all. (Order a big Thai beer to pass the time – there’s plenty of view to enjoy).
TIP! As this is a small, family-run business, you’ll want to be on your best cultural behaviour: learn how to be the rudest tourist in Thailand so as to avoid putting a foot wrong (literally).
Why not stay nearby?
If you’re coming to Thailand for lots of quiet and beautiful beaches, staying in Bang Po would definitely fit the bill. That way, you can eat your way through Had Bang Po’s entire menu – lunches, snacks, dinner and drinks.