Samui Wining & Dining
Art of Life is the quintessential French seafood restaurant on Samui.

Art of Life is the quintessential French seafood restaurant on Samui.Even though it’s packed out with eateries and restaurants, the dining scene in Fisherman’s Village in Bophut has reached new heights with the opening of the curiously named Art of Life, a dedicated seafood restaurant serving an appreciative clientele. Situated in the very heart of the village, at the main junction by the sea, many people simply stumble across it.


Art of Life is located in one of the original Chinese-style shop houses that are still to be found here, though are gradually becoming a rarity. This one has been lovingly refurbished, and is now an open-sided dining room that faces out onto the two roads that meet here. The setting makes Art of Life a convivial place to be, and certainly good for people watching. That doesn’t detract in the least from what’s going on inside – everyone enjoying the various seafood treats that are on offer, thanks to Chef Christophe Scali, who hails from France, where he trained in a seafood restaurant in Marseille.


Chef Scali has brought with him some of the great dishes that you’d expect to find in the south of France and you can savour them all here. As such the restaurant is unique, both on the island and doubtlessly far further afield; nobody prior to this had thought to establish a French-style seafood restaurant (there are no concessions to meat eaters, but here nobody seems to mind at all). He’s put together a menu that’s bound to please anyone who enjoys seafood, and there are additional items posted on blackboards around the dining room. There’s little on the menu that you wouldn’t find outside France, but for starters you can, however, try Japanese-style tuna tartare or a Thai mixed seafood salad.


Whatever you choose, there’s a great delicacy to each of the dishes. For example, either for starters or mains, you could try octopus salad with French dressing or pan-fried squid and shrimp, Art of Life is the quintessential French seafood restaurant on Samui.cooked in garlic butter and parsley. Other mains include fish of the day or salmon cooked on one side with caramelised bok choy, citrus butter and asparagus. There are also two pasta linguini as well, continuing the Mediterranean theme.


As could be expected, there’s a bouillabaisse, in this case Chef Scali’s own take; it’s a delicious rendering of the popular dish and is utterly moreish.


There are also sardines from the Mediterranean – most of the food is imported from there – and plenty of oysters. You can sample just one oyster, or six, or a dozen if sharing. You’ll find the ever-popular Fine de Claire, Marennes d’Oleron, Fines de David Herve, as well as Harty Oysters from Ireland. You can also opt for crab, shrimp, clams, king prawn, whelks, periwinkles and mussels. That’s already quite a line-up, but if you want a combination that’s bound to please, then you should opt for one of the four platters. They’re ideal for two people to share, and arrive at your tableArt of Life is the quintessential French seafood restaurant on Samui. beautifully but simply presented.


Mention has to be made of the desserts: lemon pie, chocolate caramel tart and a mango dish that is a Thai-style treat. Choose any one – they’re all good – and finish with the delicious whole Saint Marcellin cheese, another unexpected find here on Samui.


Despite just opening recently, Art of Life is doing well for itself, and is already highly popular. There’s an upstairs dining room too, in case the restaurant becomes really busy. People are welcome to linger, which is exactly what they tend to do, there’s no rush here at all. Much like in France, the idea is that eating is something to be savoured, and at Art of Life, you’ll certainly enjoy the fare that Chef Scali prepares. Open daily from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm, this is definitely the place to come if you want a great seafood experience. If you’re coming by car take the first turning to the left as you head into the village from the traffic lights and head for the car park, located in the first street to the left. Laurent Hartounian, the owner and manager, will reimburse you the 40 baht parking fee.


With the combination of a very professional chef, excellent food and drink and a relaxed vibe, Art of Life is surely set to go from strength to strength. Bon appétit!


 Dimitri Waring


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