Samui Wining & Dining
That’s Fine By Me

Just what is the ‘fine’ in ‘fine-dining’?

19If you could zip back in time about 700 or 800 years, you’d find this word being used a lot. And then, several centuries later, you’d hear it again, but, this time, after having being absorbed, digested and re-shaped. You see, the Latin word ‘finis’ means, in its simplest sense, ‘the end’. But it’s also used to mean, ‘boundaries’, or the ‘absolute limit’. And this same word was absorbed into the French language, and came to mean ‘delicate’, or ‘intricately skilful’. So, today, the word ‘fine’ means all of these things.

    The expression ‘fine-dining’ is a comparatively recent expression, and has come to represent the very best of the best – but there’s more to it than that. It doesn’t just imply superb cuisine, served in sophisticated surroundings. No – although that’s an obvious necessity, it’s more about an attitude … a state of mind. There’s no point in having a great chef if the waiters are half-asleep. And it’s annoying to find yourself having a marvellous meal, but spoiled by the noise and dust at the side of a busy main road. ‘Fine-dining’ has to be an overall concept – and it’s one where every element of the dining experience is perfect. And this is certainly something that’s not going to happen by accident! Consider the ‘recipe’ needed for a fine-dining restaurant ...

    Firstly, there’s the location and the surroundings. It needs to be relaxed and pleasant, but also have a definite ambience, created by the use of décor: furnishings, lighting, plants and ornaments all play an important part. Sometimes this will include live music or entertainment, but be assured that this will be discreet and unobtrusive. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in an ancient Thai wooden ‘sala’ or on the beach under a star-bright sky – that special ‘atmosphere’ is vital to the experience.

     Then, of course, the service needs to be first-class. The fine-dining managers on Samui really understand the importance of training their staff. And you can be assured that the staff you’ll meet in the island’s fine-dining restaurants will be great ambassadors of one of Thailand’s greatest national assets – its hospitality.


The fine-dining managers on Samui
really understand the importance of
training their staff.



      Then there’s the menu and the quality of the ingredients. Over the last few years, Samui has attracted an ever-increasing number of internationally renowned chefs – and, just as importantly, a great many highly experienced restaurant managers, too. Together, they’ll plan a menu based on the creativity of the chef, and the manager’s overall view of the concept and presentation. And, needless to say, the ingredients will be the finest and freshest, whether specially imported or locally bought. And that includes the drinks selections and the wines.

      But there is one problem about all of this. Just where do you go? Many of the finest restaurants are discreetly tucked away – perhaps out of sight on the beach, or out of town, or as a separate ‘signature’ restaurant attached to a big hotel. There’re certainly a lot of restaurants to be seen when you stroll along the Chaweng Beach Road. But which ones are special? Do you want a steak sandwich, or are you looking for a marvellously memorable culinary experience?

      Samui Wining & Dining to the rescue! We can tell you that Samui is fortunate to have one of the most unique publications anywhere in Thailand – even Bangkok has nothing quite like this. Look out for the Samui Dining Guide – you’ll find it available (free of charge) in all the quality-hotel lobbies, on stands around the island, and in the departure lounge at Bangkok Airport. It’s compiled of in-depth reviews of the best restaurants on Samui, honestly and frankly-written, and uncluttered by distracting advertising. It’s also endorsed by the Samui Culinary Circle, which is a recommendation in itself. And we think so highly of it that we feature listings from it down the sides of our pages.

      So, there’s no excuse! Samui has some of the finest international and Thai cuisine that you’ll find anywhere in the world, with standards of quality and service to match. And it doesn’t matter if you say it in Latin or in French, ‘fine-dining’ on Samui doesn’t get much better. Which is fine with me!


Rob De Wet


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