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The best restaurants in Koh Tao

By Rocío García

27th November 2019

Koh Tao, is globally renowned as one of the paradises for scuba diving on the planet. However, besides diving, the island offers other charms, such as its beaches, viewpoints, a wide range of leisure activities, and of course, a diverse array of restaurants.

There are numerous places to eat on our favourite island. Restaurants in Koh Tao cater to all tastes, offering options for international cuisine, local dishes, vegetarian choices, or more exotic fare.

If you want to make the right choice of restaurant, here are some highly recommended options based on user ratings, but first, let’s delve into the typical cuisine of Koh Tao.

What to eat in Koh Tao

Authentic Thai cuisine differs significantly from what Westerners typically associate with food from that region. Throughout the country, it’s common to find food stalls and small eateries on almost every corner.

Local vendors often offer tourists local Thai fresh fruit, grilled or fried snacks, noodle soups, insects, French fries… Night markets and street stalls emerge in parking lots, on bustling streets, at temple fairs, and at local festivals in the evenings, when temperatures are more pleasant.

Despite being a small island, Koh Tao offers a wide variety of culinary options. One of the most traditional dishes is Pad Thai, Thailand’s most famous dish. It consists of a plate of rice noodles soaked in hot water and stirred with eggs and meat, shrimp, tofu, all seasoned with various sauces, dried shrimp, red chili, and palm sugar. Practically all restaurants in Koh Tao serve this dish.

Curry is another common ingredient in Thai cuisine. It’s very common for island workers to have rice with curry or fries and soups with this seasoning for lunch. Generally, Thai food is very affordable.

Thai green curry is a dish made from coconut milk and fresh green chilies. The sauce varies in consistency depending on the amount of coconut milk used. Green curry includes meat or fish balls as a protein source.

Best restaurants in Koh Tao

Living Juices 

Located near Sairee Beach, this restaurant is one of the highest-rated on the island. It receives high ratings on the specialized website TripAdvisor, as well as on Google, with 4.5 out of 5 stars. Of the 233 customer reviews, the majority highlight its quality. In total traveler ratings, over 95% rate this option as very good or excellent.

This restaurant, situated at 14/12 Moo 1 on the island, only accepts cash payments and offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Barracuda Restaurant & Bar
Situated at 9/9 Moo 1 in Koh Tao, near Sairee Beach, this restaurant is renowned for the quality of its cocktails. With its informal yet cozy space, it’s considered one of the best seafood restaurants on the island.

This establishment has a rating of 4.4 out of 5. On TripAdvisor, it’s considered the twenty-first best restaurant on the island. With over 2,500 reviews, this alone serves as an example of its success.

It opens from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM and primarily offers seafood and fusion dishes, although there are also options for various diets and intolerances.

Tukta Thai Food Koh Tao
Another restaurant with an informal but very welcoming atmosphere. This establishment has many options for vegetarians and typically closes early, at 10:00 PM.

It offers Asian and Thai cuisine and serves food from breakfast to dinner, including brunches. It is located at 10/1 Moo 3 inside the island, and consumers rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Cantina de Koh Tao
This venue is located at 9/62 Moo 1 in Sairee Beach. It’s ideal for children and closes early. Informal and cozy, like most restaurants on the island, it also has a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.

Customers highly rate the food, service, and value for money. This restaurant is one of the options to enjoy international cuisine on Turtle Island, specializing in Mexican and Central American food.

Reef Sports Bar & Restaurant
It’s a sports bar near Mae Haad specializing in European and British cuisine. It operates as both a bar and a restaurant, so you can either dine in or have a drink there. Its cocktails are highly appreciated by customers.

Its exact address is 5/15 Mae Haad. It has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, and customers highlight it as a good place on the island to comfortably watch sports, with giant screens, and a good space to enjoy a delicious burger.

Whitening Restaurant Koh Tao
With 4.2 stars out of 5, Whitening is the restaurant with the lowest rating among those listed in this list, but it’s still a good option. It stands out for offering a wide variety of dishes: European, Asian, Thai… and for serving good seafood and rich soups.

It is also located in the Sairee Beach area, at 9/246 Moo 1. In the evenings, it offers a lively atmosphere, and the value for money is quite good.

Yin Yang Restaurant
A different proposition is Yin Yang Restaurant, located in Chalok Baan Kao. It’s distinct due to its location on the island. It almost exclusively offers Asian and Thai cuisine, and while the prices may be slightly higher than other restaurants, the quality is also superior.

It boasts a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. It tends to attract a considerable clientele, with waitstaff proficient in English and providing fairly prompt service.

Thaita Italian Restaurant
As the name suggests, this restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine, although it also offers European dishes. It ranks fourth among Koh Tao establishments on Trip Advisor. Thaita Italian closes early, at 10:30 PM.

Customer ratings are 4.8 out of 5 stars. They only accept cash payments. Its terrace is one of its main attractions, along with the food. Located at Sairee Moo Baan 12/7, many customers consider this spot the best Italian on the entire island.

The Gallery Restaurant
This is another cash-only establishment. With a spacious terrace, The Gallery is located in the Sairee Beach area, specifically at 10/46 Moo 1.

Specializing in Thai cuisine, for many tourists, a visit to this restaurant is a must. In Koh Tao, The Gallery Restaurant is one of the best options for quality Thai food. Customer ratings are 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Seafood by Pawn
A final recommendation is Seafood by Pawn, which receives a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. According to TripAdvisor users, this restaurant ranks 13th among the island’s 200+ venues, based on ratings.

Located at 2/77 Moo 2 in Mae Haad, 94% of traveler ratings classify this restaurant as excellent or very good. Positive reviews highlight the quality of the fish for its freshness.

The venue closes early, at 10:00 PM. In addition to great seafood, this spot is a good choice for enjoying Thai and Asian cuisine.

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