From upscale seafood restaurants to local haunts plating up authentic Fijian fare, we pick out nine of the best eateries so you don’t have to.
Set on a tiny island afloat in an azure sea, Wicked Walu is reached by a small causeway and creates quite the Fantasy Island experience, especially if you arrive in the evening when the path is beautifully illuminated by flaming tiki torches. The restaurant specialises in the freshest seafood platters piled high with lobster, mahi-mahi, mud crab, scallops and oysters, as well as char-grilled steaks and mouth-watering desserts like chocolate tart. Dine by candlelight on the beach or in the atmospheric, open-sided pavilion, and feel free to bring the kids – they get their own menu and can build sand castles or hunt crabs on the beach.
There are times when nothing beats a wood fired pizza or an Aussie grass fed rib eye with all the trimmings. Throw in a beautiful beachfront setting and relaxed vibe and you get the picture. Sunsets on this stretch of the Coral Coast are dramatic and definitely call for a fresh and fruity cocktail – try the frangipani flow with pineapple, strawberries, coconut and golden rum. Starters include a tasty kokoda – Fiji’s raw fish salad in coconut milk – spiced up with prawns and oranges. Gourmet pizza includes a vegetarian version with avocado, capsicum, coriander and chilli.
A rustic island-style café lovingly constructed in bamboo, decorated with driftwood and shells and run by a cheerful family who are so kind and friendly you will want to move in with them. At Eco Café it’s all about slow food and “homemade happiness”, so relax, sip a freshly blended juice or a coconut plucked straight off a palm tree and soak up the tropical vibe. Traditional Fijian food includes lovo with meat and seafood cooked in an underground oven, as well as pizza, pasta and panini.
Queen's Highway Votua Village
A small and cosy restaurant with live music, a casual seaside vibe and fabulous Fijian fare. Choose from the daily catch of reef fish – the delicious Fijian-style ika vakalolo (cooked in coconut milk, lemon and spices) is a must, while lobster can be prepared anyway you like, and authentic Indo Fijian chicken curry comes with homemade chutneys. Vegetarians won’t go hungry, with classic dhal soup, flavourful coconut spinach rou rou soup, spinach ravioli and a hearty vegetarian curry platter on the menu. Decent Australian wines are served and half price drinks at Happy Hour will get you in the holiday spirit. The menu is not extensive but covers all the bases, including western and gluten free options, and kids are happily catered for too. It’s a popular choice so you might need to make a reservation.
If you have a few hours to kill in Nadi and are looking for something outside of the pricey Denarau resorts, Taste is the place to head. More café than restaurant, you will find a good range of breakfasts, and Pacific fusion-style fare that isn’t particularly fancy, but is thoughtfully prepared and consistently delicious. Good coffee goes down well with fresh baked pastries, while the signature, much-raved about dish is the caramelised Vuda pork belly. Vegetarians also have a good selection, including a lovely baked ricotta, hearty salads, fragrant tamarind rice noodles with tofu, and moreish local root crop crisps.
History buffs, coffee lovers, brunch aficionados and anyone in search of a decent meal will enjoy stepping back in time and into this atmospheric museum-themed restaurant in the heart of Suva. Located at “Heritage Mall”, in a restored colonial estate alongside gift stores and boutiques, Governors is packed with fascinating memorabilia including black and white photos capturing life in Fiji in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Chargrills and Fijian seafood dishes are a specialty, while vegetarian options include specialty salads and a wonderful pumpkin soup.
Indo Fijians make up about half the population, so make sure to sample some authentic Indian cuisine during your Fiji holiday. Indigo, located right on the waterfront in Denerau, offers beautifully presented food bursting with the intoxicating taste and aroma of chilli and spices. Vegetarians hit the jackpot with a menu ranging from creamy palak paneer to piping-hot dal makhani, pindi chana masala and excellent stuffed paneer tikka. Naan bread and roti are just the way they should be, while zesty pickles and chutneys hit the spot. Non-vegetarians also have a huge choice, with masala crab making a popular (albeit messy) specialty, as well as a hot and spicy vindaloo, and Asian staples, such as Szechuan chicken and Thai green curry. The children’s menu goes beyond the more ubiquitous fish and chips by also offering curries and noodles.
Baka Blues Café
Take a holiday from your Fiji holiday and spend an evening at the groovy, New Orleans-inspired Baka Blues Café. Talented musicians jam out the blues in this atmospheric bar filled with hand picked memorabilia from America’s deep south, while the jukebox is packed with oldies, and the big screen streams live sports. Specialising in barbecue, Creole and Cajun food, generous meals include Route 66 chilli with garlic bread, sizzling baby back ribs, Texas T-bone, and a flamboyant smoked chicken in a pineapple boat. Kids can order from their own menu and occupy themselves with colouring books and giant Jenga. The bartenders mix a mean mint julep, while beer is packed on ice so your Fiji Bitter is always served super cold.
Hibiscus Drive, Pacific Harbour
Bulaccino and Hemisphere Wine Bar
From humble beginnings as a small café in Nadi, Bulaccino has spread its wings and now has a large branch in Suva, a fresh and breezy café on Denerau Island, and its own organic farm, which ensures lots of tasty produce. The Namaka branch in Nadi doesn’t look like much from the street, but don’t be put off, this café is a great-all rounder with a funky art deco style interior and lovely garden space at the back. Here you’ll also find the atmospheric Hemisphere Wine Bar serving up paella, fondue and tapas teamed with a good selection of wine. Refuel with a perfectly brewed signature organic coffee, frosted cup cake or classic high tea while flipping through The Fiji Times or a glossy magazine. Or keep it light with a fresh salad, fruit smoothie and a lovely grilled fish with lemon and garlic. Home baked crusty breads include gluten free options, and make the base for excellent club sandwiches.
Queens Road, Namaka
Image: Indigo Fiji