With its vibrant culture, its romantic ambiance, and its stunning natural beauty, the Polynesian island of Tahiti is the perfect destination for world-weary travelers in need of rest and relaxation. But there’s more to Tahiti than picture-perfect beaches and tropical gardens. Its food scene is legendary, with local delicacies such as Tahitian chicken fāfā, po’e and firi firi made all the better for the amazing range of fresh, local produce on offer. As to where to try all these tempting dishes, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you’re looking to enjoy the best of the best, here are the ten best restaurants in Tahiti.
10. La Petite Auberge
La Petite Auberge is styled in the fashion of a rustic French bistro, with bare wooden tables, fresh flowers, and plenty of French artwork decorating the walls. The menu, meanwhile, is a delightful mix of French and Polynesian fare. Although it’s hard to go wrong with whatever you choose, you won’t want to miss the shrimp in coconut milk and vanilla. The dessert menu is equally delectable, with the sumptuous Le Vacherin Glace a la Vanilla standing out as a highlight. The service is friendly, and most of the staff are happy to converse in English when needed. Despite the quality of the food, the prices are extremely reasonable, making it a great spot for a cheap, cheerful lunch or dinner.
9. Vanira Lodge Restaurant
Vanira Lodge Restaurant is a charmingly intimate open-air restaurant set in lush, tropical gardens. The innovative menu gives a French spin on classic Polynesian dishes like fish rolls on breadfruit cakes and duck breast with lychees. Just bear in mind that the restaurant is tiny, with just a handful of tables available – to avoid disappointment, make sure to reserve a space well in advance.
8. Le Lotus
Considered one of the best restaurants in Tahiti by The Culture Trip, Le Lotus has an idyllic setting looking out over the lagoon. Although it’s part of the InterContinental Tahiti Resort, you don’t need to be a guest to dine here. The seafood comes highly recommended, although those with a more carnivorous streak won’t be disappointed by the fine selection of meat dishes on offer. The romantic ambiance is perfectly complemented by live piano music.
7. Chez Jimmy
Chez Jimmy is a popular eatery conveniently located by the Papeete Town Hall. Its Asian-inspired menu is a delight from start to finish, with tasty dishes like Thai Tom Yum soup and Vietnamese steamed dumplings. All the ingredients are sourced locally, lending a big punch of flavor to even the simplest of dishes. The vibe is informal and friendly, the service is warm, and the prices won’t leave you feeling the pinch.
6. Snack du Bout de Monde
Snack du Bout de Monde isn’t the kind of place you go for candlelit dinners. It’s not the kind of place you take your mother for a respectable Sunday brunch. It’s definitely not the kind of place you need to wear a jacket and tie to. What it is, on the other hand, is the perfect place to grab some supremely cheap, supremely tasty snacks, sandwiches, and grilled fish. There’s also a small but delectable selection of Chinese-style dishes that score low on complexity but high on flavor.
5. Le Carre
With its subdued lighting, romantic ambiance, and lounge music, Le Carre offers a sophisticated dining experience that’s ideal for special occasions. The menu is adventurous, creative, and designed for an adult palate: if you were hoping for cheeseburgers and mac and cheese, you’re out of luck. Top dishes to try include lobster ravioli with peppermint, ginger, and anise, breaded pig’s foot with roasted scallops and beets, and fish cassolette with smoked butter, vanilla, and Avatea liqueur. The views over the lagoon are as enticing as the food. It’s not cheap, but if you’re happy to blow the budget on a truly memorable dining experience, it’s most definitely worth it.
4. La Plage de Maui
According to Lonely Planet, La Plage de Maui has the best setting for a meal on Tahiti. With its views of the water and its beachside seating arrangements, it’s hard to disagree. The menu is regional and packed with fresh local ingredients. Taro, breadfruit, and seafood all feature heavily. While the dishes are simple, they’re bursting with flavor and vitality. If you’re dining out with the kids, there’s a good selection of burgers and child-friendly dishes available. Credit cards aren’t accepted, so be sure to have enough cash on you to save your blushes.
3. Le Coco’s
As fodors.com notes, Le Coco’s romantic ambiance and picture-perfect lagoon setting is ideal for a special night out. The menu is predominantly French with an emphasis on French Polynesian produce and ingredients. For variety, there’s also a small but delectable selection of dishes from Spain, Portugal, and Italy. If you can, try to get a seat in one of the small dining nooks on the outside terrace: the views over the garden and the sound of the waves gently lapping against the shore will complement your meal to perfection.
2. Blue Banana
According to usnews.com, the Blue Banana is one of the finest restaurants in Tahiti. Friendly, and with a convenient location on the lagoon in Punaauia, it’s the perfect place to try some top-notch cuisine. The wine list is impressive, as is the food menu, which centers around French and Polynesian fare with an emphasis on fresh local seafood. The views are stunning, while the warm, welcoming service is designed to make you feel right at home. If you want to grab an outside table, be sure to book in advance to avoid the queues.
1. L’O à la Bouche
If you want to wrap your lips around some of the finest gourmet French food you’ll get this side of Paris, there’s only one place to head: L’O à la Bouche. By combining classic French dishes with fresh local ingredients, it’s managed to create a menu you’d happily drive (or quite possibly, fly) miles to try. The seafood, as you’d expect, is incredible, but the meat and vegetable dishes are also more than worthy of a mention. Each dish is beautifully presented, with an understated flair that speaks volumes about the talent in the kitchen. The ambiance is warm, romantic, and complemented by an attentive, welcoming service.