In 1939, Siam cast off its colonial name in favor of one that reflected its diverse population’s dominant ethnic majority: sweaty backpackers carrying Lonely Planets. A few years later, Backpackervania changed its name again to Thailand (national motto: Tiger Uppercut!) and thus it has remained up to today’s deal: for $20, you get $40 worth of Thai dining and drinks at Koh Samui and the Monkey in South Beach.
Named after one of Thailand’s largest and most self-sufficient tropical islands (and the monkey), Koh Samui and the Monkey’s lunch and dinner menus go far beyond the typical pad thai, treating diners to flavors as rare as they are spicy. Fireproof your mouth beforehand with an appetizer of house-made Chiang Mai–style pork sausage (minced pork with egg, ginger, and turmeric, $10). The sweet heat of the Southern Kur-Kling (sautéed ground roasted chicken stir-fried with Thai herbs and served with steamed jasmine rice, $11) will spice up a noontime sojourn from the office. At the sound of the dinner bell or supper sousaphone, teach your taste buds how to Thai box by pitting them against the formidable Fire Cracker Monkey's Wok Dish—a sizzling-hot plate of prawns, squid, scallop, crab claw, and a spicy peanut sauce ($18). Equally spicy but more seasonal is Koh Samui’s aromatic pumpkin curry, which blends chicken and bell pepper in a spicy red-curry sauce and serves it in a pumpkin ($16). After your meal, the pumpkin is discreetly disposed of by two baseball-bat-wielding teenagers. Vegetarians, meanwhile, can skip straight to Buddha's Delights and select an order of eggplant tofu sautéed with bell pepper and fresh basil in chili and garlic sauce ($9).
An exotically humid saffron light suffuses Koh Samui’s chic, modern interior—glinting off its polished surfaces and the traditional Thai theater masks that guard the rows of illuminated bottles behind the bar. Miniature Buddhas shelter the candle sconces at your table, and couples are often seated below a giant stone etching of a smiling Siddhartha (be sure to offer the Enlightened One some food, or he’ll spend the whole meal showing you his vacation photos). Treat first dates and fellow tongue travelers to a taste of a distant Asian beach with today’s Groupon to Koh Samui and the Monkey.
Not valid with happy hour. Reservation required.
Zagat reviewers give the food at Koh Samui and the Monkey an excellent rating. Nearly 600 Yelpers give the restaurant an average of 3.5 stars. Citysearchers give it an average of four stars and OpenTable reviewers give it a 3.5-star average.
- One of the best Thai restaurants in town. They don't under-spice and over-sweeten the food and it tastes really authentic. I have liked everything I've eaten, but my special favorite is Kao Soi. – JenniferB2791, Zagat
- Consistently good. Delicious food, excellent service, pleasant and interesting decor. – OpenTable.com reviewer who dined on 07/01/2010
Koh Samui & The Monkey
Travel has long helped rejuvenate the mind. Proving that point, Koh Samui & The Monkey's owner's extensive journeys have served as inspiration for a menu that plays with flavors and spices, along with the ideas of traditional and modern. Mieng kum plates a pillar of traditional Thai cuisine with spinach leaves, which act as a wrap for chicken or tofu. Concerning the aromatic pumpkin curry, the San Francisco Chronicle's restaurant critic Michael Bauer praised it in his review, writing that "the pumpkin curry, crushed scallops and fried bananas are exceptional."
The artistry in each dish extends from the recipe to the presentation. Beautiful, colorful dishes first entice the eye as they're presented on crisp white tablecloths, on which candles cast the flickering shadows that keep the dying art of hand-puppet theater alive. The drink menu shakes and stirs with similar creative flair, mixing hip, top-shelf cocktails such as the pineapple-spiked Monkey in Paris.
415 Brannan St.
San Francisco, California 94107Get Directions