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Paulo and Alain, the owners of Pepenero Koh Samui
Paulo and Alain, the owners of Pepenero Koh Samui

Image: Thailand Magazine

PEPENERO - THE VERY BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT ON KOH SAMUI

This review is an ode to my Italian roots and my dear Italian family, especially to my Italian nonna e nonno (grandmother and grandfather) – Forever in my heart and soul!

Pepenero is located on the main road that runs past Maenam and Bophut. To be more precise, it’s located right in the middle of those two popular beach destinations of Koh Samui.

Bruchetta at Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant
Pasta dish at Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant
Pasta dish at Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant

Welcome

Just two days before our wedding on Koh Samui, we decided to visit and dine at the best Italian restaurant of Koh Samui. As we entered the grounds of the “ristorante” we were kindly greeted by Paolo, one of the two owners “Benvenuti, welcome at Pepenero!” said Paulo. 

The amiable Paulo brought us to an inside table and offered us something to drink. We kindly asked if there was a table in the garden and he said “the moment there is a free table, we will let you know” After less than ten minutes he came back and told us he had a nice outdoor spot for us. This was the kick off of an unforgettable alfresco dining experience. 

A table inside Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant

Image: Thailand Magazine

A table outside at Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant

Image: Thailand Magazine

Italian hospitality

“Would you lovebirds like a starter?”, to which we replied that this romantic evening was planned especially prior to our wedding. An evening with the best of Italy, which is why we had come to Pepenero. “Can’t you put together a nice pre-honeymoon menu?” we asked. To which Paulo replied: “from this moment on you are our special guests, Alain, my partner in crime and also head chef here at Pepenero, and I will do our very best for you two”. He gave us a wink and walked away, “a real Italian” said Ilonka, I nodded and thought “The Italian way”.

Banner outside of Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant

Image: Thailand Magazine

Interior of Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant
Tripadvisor awards for Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant

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Within a couple of minutes a friendly Thai waitress stood in front of our table with two glasses of sparkling Prosecco in her hands. “From the team to celebrate your love, congratulations and as Paulo said, we will take good care of you and your future wife” the polite Thai waitress said. Hospitality at its best! Despite its service, hospitality and courtesy, Pepenero does keep a few rules….

Rules of Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant

Image: Thailand Magazine

More rules from Pepenero, Koh Samui's best Italian restaurant

Image: Thailand Magazine

FOR YOUR INFO
In terms of taste, you simply have to taste these special and exclusive Italian dishes for yourself. We are not food critics, but one thing we know 100% for sure, the refined food at Pepenero is of extremely good quality and truly tastes heavenly!  

La Raspadura

Paulo returned, and how … while walking to our table, he pushed a large cart in front of him. When he stopped in front of our table, we saw a big cloth laying over something round and huge. Like a magician he removed the cloth and presented us with “La Raspadura,” a special cheese that is shaved right at the table with a large knife. After a few hefty strokes over the hard and gigantic cheese, Paulo made a nice plate, a few walnuts here, some grapes there and Paulo was done. A particularly delicious cheese!

La Raspadura cheese at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thailand

Image: Thailand Magazine

Paulo at work on La Raspadura at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thaialnd

Image: Thailand Magazine

Cheese flakes from La Raspadura at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thaialnd

Image: Thailand Magazine

Pancetta di Capitelli

After these fantastic flakes of cheese, Paulo came up with a plate of wafer-thin Pancetta di Capitelli. A tasty piece of Italian bacon prepared no less than three times. The Italian pork is first placed in the oven, where it is slowly roasted, then the pancetta is placed in a bath of honey and then smoked once more. The result is an unparalleled piece of meat that even vegans will (perhaps) make an exception for.

Smoked steak tartare

After we ordered two glasses of red wine, Paulo once again came and stood in front of our table with a culinary work of art. In his hands Paulo had a glass bell jar and said “this is our special smoked tartare, made with grounded tenderloin, a nice burrata and thinly sliced truffle on top”. Paulo the magician, placed the dish on the table and removed the glass bell jar. A cloud of smoke rose in front of our noses. After a few tense seconds we were looking at a beautiful dish that tasted sublime, what a subtle flavor combination!

Pancetta di Capitelli at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thaialand

Image: Thailand Magazine

Smoked steak tartare at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thaialand

Image: Thailand Magazine

Smoked steak tartare at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thailand

Image: Thailand Magazine

Chef Alain

Suddenly, a strong looking man stood at our table. Chef Alain, who owns Pepenero with Paulo, asked us if we still had room for a plate of pasta and his signature roasted pork, “piccolo piccolo” we said in chorus. Grinning, Alain (the little devil) gave a nod and walked into the kitchen. Not much later, the capo di tutti capi, returned from his kitchen. In his left hand a plate of pasta and in his right his signature dish, Pepenero’s Roasted Pork. For pasta you’re absolutely in a good place at Pepenero, but that piece of pork you MUST visit Pepenero. It took us to higher realms and tasted so delicious!

Pepenero’s signature dish

As we wrote before, come to Pepenero and taste it for yourself, it is impossible to describe the flavors and textures of these amazing Italian dishes. Even the baked potatoes that come with the roast are horrifically good. These perfectly potatoes brought me back to the table as a little boy with my Italian grandparents living in the countryside of la bella Italia! 

Alain and Paulo of Pepenero Ristorante on Koh Samui

Image: Thailand Magazine

Pasta at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thaialnd

Image: Thailand Magazine

Pepenero's signature dish on Samui

Image: Thailand Magazine

Torta di cioccolato

To cap off our evening, we were served a slice of mighty, creamy, but oh so tasty chocolate cake. A literally and figuratively bittersweet ending to the fantastic evening. Bitter because we would have preferred to stay for hours more with the charming owners and their lovely colleagues and sweet because this was simply a damn great evening to never forget!

Paulo, Alain e team >>> Ringraziamento per la bella serata e l’invito a cena. abbiamo avuto una serata splendida. Ilonka & Riel

Torta di cioccolato at pepenero, Koh Samui's very best restaurant, Thaialnd

Image: Thailand Magazine

Aperol bottles at Pepenero

Image: Thailand Magazine

Paulo and Alain, the owners of Pepenero as James Bond

Image: Thailand Magazine

General information about Pepenero Koh Samui

Open: From 18:00 – 23:00 hours, closed on Sunday
Google Maps: https://g.page/pepenerokohsamui?share
Menu: https://www.pepenerosamui.com/menu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pepenerokohsamui
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pepenerosamui/ 

Snacks at Pepenero, Koh Samui
Piece of meat at Pepenero, Koh Samui

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