It may seem strange to head to a Mexican restaurant when living in Thailand, which is a culinary haven. But every now and then the desire for a chicken enchilada or beef burritos takes you over wherever you are in the world. Luckily for me, Koh Samui actually boasts an excellent Tex-Mex restaurant which always delights.
As soon as you walk through the door you know you are no longer in Thailand. Latin tunes serenade you and Mexican accessories and decorations abound. The restaurant, which is large and open on three sides, also spills into a tropical garden for those who like to enjoy their meals in the open air.
The menu is enormous with the usual Tex-Mex favourites as well as a great range of international dishes. When I went last week I ordered the Nachos Supremo as usual and was once again overwhelmed by the lashings of guacamole, cheese and sour cream. It is a great dish to share as a starter, but be careful not to fill up too much on it.
The main meals of course are also generous, especially the Off the BBQ selection which is a carnivorous feast. BBQ pork ribs and imported stakes are served with two side dishes of your choice and come with either a regular BBQ sauce or an extra spicy version. For non-meat lovers Gringos also has a good selection of vegetarian dishes, and most things on the menu can be ordered without meat.
One of my favourite things about Gringos is the ability to not have to choose. Because of the options available in a Mexican restaurant I always come over indecisive, but Gringos has the solution. It offers Mexican combo plates – Taco/Burrito, Enchilada/Taco, Burrito/Enchilada which are perfect for sharing with a partner or for gorging on if you want a bit of everything. The daily specials, such as Seafood Enchiladas, Prawn Burritos and Mexican Lasagne provide an even more bewildering, but delicious choice.
I never have room for dessert at Gringos but have been told that the deep-fried ice-cream and banana or pineapple crepes are the pick of the bunch. The wine list is extensive with a focus on New World wines, and the house wine can be ordered by the glass or carafe and is very reasonably priced. Piquant strawberry or lime margaritas also complement the meals nicely and add an extra zing to the evening.
The service is excellent and the restaurant prides itself on value-added touches such as homemade Jalepeño sauce. As I went with a some friends with young children I was also able to appreciate the foosball and mini-golf activities in the garden which kept them occupied for hours after dinner. The adults retired for a game of pool, accompanied by those margaritas which rounded off the whole evening very nicely.
For those who like their Mexican fare authentic and served in hearty portions, Gringos cant be beat. Ideal for families or couples it is a little bit of Mexico in the middle of Thailand, which strangely enough is exactly what you want every now and then.
FOOD and PRESENTATION 8+
DECOR and AMBIENCE 8
Restaurant guide rating for ALL categories is out of 10:
Very Good 7-6
Our highest score is 10
For a restaurant to attain 10 points it would have to have maintained the score of 9 for at least 1 year.
Note: For restaurants that have been recommended by others but have not been rated yet I have put TBR (To Be Rated) against the name.
Open 2pm 12am. 166/79 Moo 2, Bophut. Tel 08 189 214 16 www.gringoscantinasamui.com/