The Sunday Times, the New York Times and Lonely Planet are pretty big names. And when you hear of a place on Samui that’s recommended by all of them, you’ve got to sit up and take note. Thailand Tatler did (they’ve actually listed Ocean 11 as one of ‘Samui’s Best Restaurants’ continuously from 2008 until 2015 – and now for 2016) and now it’s our turn. So, it’s my great pleasure to include Ocean 11 as a recommended restaurant in Samui Dining Guide.
“…The décor is smart; the tables and chairs are comfortable; the lighting is cosy; the staff are friendly, attentive and informative without being overbearing; and, probably the main reason why you’re there, the food is exceptional!”
And when you visit the place, you’ll understand why people just love it. For a start, it has a tropical beach location that many can only dream about. It’s in Bangrak (Big Buddha Beach), just two kilometres along from Fisherman’s Village as you’re heading to Big Buddha and the clearly-signposted side lane leading to it is almost directly opposite the first 7-11 store that you’ll reach.
So, drive the 20 metres down the lane, park up on the right and you’ll see an archway to the left with a beautiful 60-year-old wooden Thai house to the side (this is a part of Ocean 11 called Ocean Residence, and has 6 rooms that you can actually stay in). Go through this entrance and you’ll pass a contemporary waterfall feature and smart walled garden to the right, a lounge to the left and the recently renovated open-on-three-sides restaurant directly ahead, with the swaying palm trees, pristine beach and ocean beyond.
And although there’s easily space for 50+ diners at Ocean 11, there’s seating for just 30, making this intimate eatery spacious at the same time. Choose to sit in the main restaurant area in front of the bar or pick the table which stands alone on the individual wooden terrace to the right (reservations are a must for this one). Alternatively, weather permitting, you could always dine at one of the tables especially set up on the raised ‘beach’ section directly in front.
Yes, at Ocean 11 you can dine under the stars alright, but you can also dine with the stars as many big international names of film, sport and fashion also choose to dine here when on the island – which is hardly surprising.
So, I’ve established the fact that many other people love dining at Ocean 11, now it’s time to give you a few more reasons why. Well, to start with, there’s an overall ambience of understated ‘finery’. The décor is smart; the tables and chairs are comfortable; the lighting is cosy; the staff are friendly, attentive and informative without being overbearing; and, probably the main reason why you’re there, the food is exceptional!
And it should be when you realise that the restaurant was created by the enigmatic Bernd Schillig. Not only was he in the food & beverage and hospitality industries for many years (being the general manager at several of Samui’s top resorts) but Bernd was also one of the earliest members of the Samui Culinary Circle (formed over 10 years ago) and its president for many years.
The cuisine here is predominantly Mediterranean, with a selection of Thai favourites, too, and it really is excellent. For starters, do try the exquisite Seaweed Salmon – pan-fried Tasmanian salmon on a salad of crisp seaweed, or the marvelous Goat’s Cheese. Both will give you an indication of how good the food here is.
And the main course dishes are equally delicious and they include Ocean 11’s signature dish, the famed – Rack of Lamb. And this comes oven-baked on a potato röesti with grilled zucchini and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Another popular dish, for very good reasons, is the succulent Pan-fried Scallops on potato pancakes with green asparagus on a bacon-leek stew.
Do leave room for some dessert, as they are excellent, too. Especially the Chocolate Soufflé with fresh fruits (my personal favourite) and the innovative Fried Banana & Chocolate Spring Rolls topped with vanilla ice-cream.
“…Yes, at Ocean 11 you can dine under the stars alright, but you can also dine with the stars as many big international names of film, sport and fashion also choose to dine here when on the island – which is hardly surprising.”
And, as you’d expect from a place of this standard, there’s a well thought-out wine list incorporating a good selection from both the New and Old World. Plus, should you be an aficionado, Ocean 11 carries a wide range of fine cigars, too.
Yes, I’m more than happy to join the world’s finest publications in recommending Ocean 11 as one of Samui’s best restaurants. In fact, it’s long overdue.
Ocean 11 is open from 2:00 pm until 10:30 pm (kitchen).
For reservations and further information, telephone 0 898 135 715 or 0 891 232 364
Ocean 11 Samui
Bang Rak Village
Google Maps link to the restaurant