Coco51 is a casual seaside restaurant located at the eastern end of soi 51 in downtown Hua Hin (any further east and you’ll be in the ocean). This gem of a restaurant is in its 11th year of operation and serves equal parts European and Thai cuisines. The ambiance with its cool sea breeze, al fresco seating, and lilting crash of the waves, might bring you here the first time, but it’s the food that will keep you coming back time and again. Popular with locals and tourists alike, Coco51 has the rare ability to cater to many different types of clients all at the same time. There have been more than one romantic marriage proposals at an intimate table on the waters edge. There have been countless birthday celebrations (current record is 5 in one night).
A group gathering of 30-plus people is not uncommon. All of these different events can be going on at the same time, yet one feels the restaurant is there just for them and their group. Coco51 is open from noon to midnight, seven days a week. The extensive menu remains the same the entire day. Monday through Saturday starting at 7:30pm, live jazz music is performed, while Sunday night is reserved for spicy Latin music. Sitting with proprietor Sirima “Lek” Narongrit after a lavish meal recently, I asked her where the name Coco51 came from. She laughed and said, “We are on soi 51 and there are a lot of coconut trees here, so Coco51”. Khun Lek is also involved with Father Ted’s Irish Pub & Steakhouse on Damnernkasem Road, soi 61, and Cafe Mekong on soi 94.
The signature dish has to be the Crab Meat Curry (gaeng poo). This turmeric coconut yellow curry is spicy, but not overwhelming, and is replete with healthy chunks of crab meat. Also not to be missed from the Thai menu are the Tiger Prawns with Tamarind Sauce (goong ma kham), and the Deep Fried Sea Bass with three-flavor sauce (pla sam rod) – the sauce on this whole fish is sweet, sour and spicy. From the European side, highlights include the Rock Lobster Thermidor, and the Lamb Shank (imported from Australia) and its delectable prune sauce. And what meal isn’t complete without dessert? Try the Thai-inspired Coco51 Homemade Ice cream with banana and mango flambé, or the European-inspired Crème Brulee with blueberry sauce. While there are 100 seats on the large patio and 30 more inside an airconditioned room, reservations are highly recommended – especially on Friday and Saturday nights when the restaurant is always fully booked. Address: 51 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachub.