Samui Wining & Dining
 Poppies Samui has been charming its guests for over a quarter of a century.

Poppies Samui has been charming its guests for over a quarter of a century.


Not many restaurants are able to keep up with Poppies; it’s acknowledged as one of the foremost places to dine on Samui. The surprise is that it’s been this way for over 25 years. Poppies was christened in 1994, and back then wasn’t so much a newcomer, but pretty much the first of Samui’s luxury restaurants.

If we say that it’s stood the test of time, that’s an understatement – it’s done a lot more than endure the passing of the years; it’s avoided becoming a staid old institution, and still has a fresh vibrancy about it. Poppies wins over its guests and delivers top quality food with the kind of effortlessness that make it appear easy. The reality is that a huge amount of dedication has gone into everything here. And there’s love too – staff have been here longer than in most other resorts, some since the day it opened its doors. All of this translates very directly into a better dining experience. Staff know what they’re doing, and no matter what the situation, they’ll know how to deal with it.


Poppies commands a top spot on the beach at the quieter end of Chaweng. The restaurant looks right on to the beach; step off the property and you’re right there on the sands. This is still Chaweng Beach, the island’s favourite, but is agreeably far from the crowds.Poppies Samui has been charming its guests for over a quarter of a century.Wherever you sit, your meal will be graced by the sea views and the sheer relaxed vibe of the place.


To get to the restaurant from Chaweng Beach Road, you’ll need to go into the atrium of Poppies (it is also a resort) and then follow a meandering path as it leads over a wooden bridge through vivid tropical foliage to the restaurant. Here and there you’ll glimpse the cottages that dot the property, and you can sit for a while and watch carp languidly swim around in a pool. Poppies has something of a fairy-tale feeling about it, and the approach to the restaurant is rustic going on magical.


But there’s also a completely different way to get to your table. Poppies has an unexpected feature – you can get to the restaurant via a hidden passage. Just beyond the atrium, staff will lead you through an anonymous door where you’ll find yourself in a room with a bookcase at the end. The bookcase hides a secret door that swings back to reveal the highly mysterious passage that leads off into the distance.Poppies Samui has been charming its guests for over a quarter of a century. Your chef appears half way along, amuse-bouche in hand - an original way to start off your dinner. You might by now be wondering what a hidden passage is doing in a resort. It serves as the major route between the restaurant, the kitchens and the outside world, leaving the gardens and cottages undisturbed. That’s why you won’t hear the noise of trolleys or see them. Poppies really do think of everything when it comes to guest satisfaction, and not surprisingly has garnered some major awards. TripAdvisor rates it as the number one hotel on Samui, and it’s the number one in the whole of Thailand when it comes to service.


The passage exits at the restaurant, where you’ll have plenty of dining choices, all of them excellent. Dine in the main teak pavilion or a smaller one a little closer to the sea. If that’s not close enough, there’s a sandy terrace that overlooks the beach or you can dine right on the sands. For the latter, it’s a real toes-in-the-sand experience.


And for food, the quality is unsurpassed. Thanks to Poppies having both a Thai chef and an international chef, there’s a huge range of options. You can select Thai dishes that are made in time-honoured ways, with the accent on top-quality meats and local fish, curries and stir-fries – everything you could ask for when it comes to gourmet dining.Poppies Samui has been charming its guests for over a quarter of a century.You’ll also find a full menu of vegetarian dishes, on both the international and Thai side. But that’s not all. There are further great surprises in store for those who love Thai food. As you probably know, Thais love to share food, and one of the best experiences around is to take part in a ‘Kantok’ meal.This is traditionally served on a rattan tray and consists of a variety of small main courses. Poppies is one of relatively few restaurants that keeps up this tradition, and you can choose between the following Kantokes: Four Regions, Vegetarian, Royal Thai or Seafood. Each comes with four courses then rounds off with a traditional dessert. You can also opt for the equally delicious ‘pinto’, two compartments of food, served Thai-style in a duo of wooden containers, which were traditionally used as a way of carrying food around.


If you come on a Saturday evening, you can watch traditional Thai dancing with live music. It’s definitely something that’s worth catching. At the same time, enjoy the handicraft fair, with a selection of traditional products.


Poppies is quite unforgettable and is quite literally a world apart. It’s guaranteed to delight in both expected and surprising ways, and when it comes to Thai and international cuisine, Poppies is one of a handful of must-visit restaurants on Samui.


Dimitri Waring


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