Dining is very much a part of the Vanuatu experience. With most resorts so close to Port Vila it would be a shame not to venture outside your resort. Sure, the resorts have good restaurants but there’s so much excellent cuisine nearby.


All resorts and hotels have bars.

g-inner-focus-image-4-1000x320[1]The Waterfront Bar & Grill has a bar in a lovely dockside setting and offers a free drink to travellers who present their boarding pass within a day of arrival in Vanuatu.

The Office Pub (Port Vila Pub & Flaming Bull Steakhouse) is an English style pub with a beer garden at the airport end of town. The Anchor Inn is casual (also with a beer garden) and is big with locals on Friday nights.

The Hemisphere Bar (top floor of the Grand Hotel & Casino) is good for sunset pre-dinner drinks, l’Houstalet has French atmosphere, La Tentation or the Namabwan Café are also nice for harbourside drinks and for late night fun there’s the Voodoo Bar, Elektro Rock and Rumours nightclubs as well as the casino at The Grand Hotel.


Dining is very much a part of the Vanuatu experience. With most resorts so close to Port Vila it would be a shame not to venture outside your resort. Sure, the resorts have good restaurants but there’s so much excellent cuisine nearby.

If you want to sample a Melanesian feast, many resorts have them (Erakor Island Resort is excellent and you don’t have to be an in-house guest) or you can book a tour to a traditional village (e.g. Ekasup on Friday nights).

Benjor 2There are more than 40 restaurants that we can happily recommend to be rewarding despite their difference in cuisine and ambience.

We give all guests who arrange travel with us a more comprehensive and up-to-date dining out guide.

Vanuatu restaurants are first class thanks to excellent local beef and fish and some excellent chefs. Here’s a thumbnail guide: The following are subjective comments (and did we enjoy doing the research!)…

Aqua on Erakor: Erakor Island Resort’s restaurant is a great spot for lunch or dinner and reasonably priced. The specialty is seafood and the outlook is very pretty.

Aquana (Eratap – on the way to Eratap Resort): This pretty little spot has become a bit of a favourite for the local winers and diners. Especially lovely to linger over lunch under a shady tree down by the water’s edge. Both the menu and service is of a consistently high standard.

diningAu Pèche Mignon (opposite the markets near Prouds Duty free): Cakes, pastries, and chocolates to die for – Wednesday morning crepes are good value – cooked fresh and inexpensive (citron et sucre… mmmm). Also makes good chicken and salad rolls for lunch on the run and home-made meat pies. It’s a busy little spot in the heart of town but a great place watch the passing parade. In French it means the ‘little sin’ (temptation), not the ‘little peach’ and the chocolates are certainly tempting.

Bay Watch: Used to be called La Bodé Vila. Has a nice relaxed harbour ambience (near Moorings) with well-priced lunches. It is a popular spot with the local Expats and a nice little spot to wrap up the day (Happy Hour 5pm-6pm to lead into sunset).

Beach Bar: On the beach opposite Hideaway Island this busy little bar serves up excellent wood-fired pizzas and burgers (also good curry) – inexpensive and relaxed. If you have kids, go on the Friday night for the fire twirling show. It’s a great family night and a good way to meet the local expats!

Benjor Officer’s Club: A good lunch spot, about 20 minutes out of town on Devils Point Road. Think Mediterranean with an Asian influence. Love the transparent spring rolls.

Breaka’s Beach Resort (Pango Road, past Le Lagon): There is both a bar and restaurant menu with a good variety. The setting is great by the pool and ocean.

g-visitor-info-mainChill Restaurant & Bar: Above Sea View to the left of the markets (take the stairs to the right). Chic, classy and value, especially their lunch specials – for a choice of main courses including a beer/wine/soft drink in an air-conditioned setting with harbour views.

Crystals: A fine dining option at the Grand with an extensive wine list (or head to the Hemisphere Bar for High Tea or pre/post dinner drinks). One of the more expensive options.

Elan: A new contemporary restaurant with a beautiful outlook. Well worth a visit for quiet lunch or dinner. Head on out past the Ships Port.

Eratap Beach Resort (30 minutes from Port Vila): While it is a distance from town, it could be just the thing for a lazy afternoon but you must book ahead. Take swimmers, towel and snorkel gear but bookings are essential.

Flaming Bull Steakhouse (before Chantilly’s/Moorings on other side of the road): Part of the Office Pub, this is a steakhouse in a beer garden atmosphere. We get good reviews from travellers, especially for the steaks. Family friendly.

Golden Port Chinese Restaurant: In former lives this has been The Galley, cartoonist Larry Pickering’s home, Kan Pai Japanese and Le Rendezvous which, despite the French name, was famous for the Hungarian goulash. The reataurant has great views over the harbour and Iririki Island Resort, with ample parking, opposite the Melanesian Hotel. Nice location – according to the locals, still settling in.

La TentationHarbourview Chinese (just out of town airport end): Yes, views of harbour and excellent Chinese menu – Not really cheap but feels like value because of the standard of cuisine… it will set the benchmark for Chinese back home!

Hideaway Island (15 mins from town, five mins on the ferry): Snacks for snorkelers – not ideal for dinner for non-staying guests because of the ferry/bus ride to get there, but for lunch it’s fine if you are there for a snorkel.

Island Time Café – was previously The Olympic Café – take away or eat at one of the outdoor tables – burgers, fish and chips and an easy, quick, affordable lunch.

Jill’s Café (near the ANZ bank, main street): Jill is American and she does fine American brekkies with hash browns or pancakes with bacon and lashings of maple syrup. Jill’s has a great name for well-priced, good sized lunches like burgers and milk shakes – but leave your diet at the door. Port Vilas answer to McDonalds – but far better!

Kan Pai (Wharf Road): You will not be disappointed if you like Japanese cuisine. Another favourite with the locals. A different harbour view perspective.

La Casa: A friendly good value spot for Italian/French – turn left heading out of town at the Kaiviti Motel – on the next corner.

La Grillade: At Starfish Cove (about 10 mins from town). Stylish with contemporary décor (feels like you are on the deck of a ship looking out at the water).

la-tentationLa Tentation: Previously where the famous Rossi restaurant was located on the harbour it is a good spot to stop for a morning coffee, lunch or dinner.

Lagoon Terrace: Le Lagon’s main restaurant. It is a good ‘resort’ restaurant and has themed nights (Melanesian feasts etc).

Le Café du Village (opposite Iririki): Lovely setting, French, sashimi etc – can be excellent, can be ‘okay’ depending. You can also just drop in for coffee and look across the harbour to Iririki.

Le Verandah: This is the Holiday Inn’s restaurant – another resort restaurant with a good chef… but it feels like a ‘resort’ restaurant. The resort’s Melanesian Feast is on Thursday nights and you can get burgers and snacks by the pool.

L’Houstalet (just past Au Bon Marche supermarket on the other side of the road on the way to Pango/Erakor Island): An institution in Vila – the menu hasn’t changed for over 30 years and maitre d’ Clement Martinez will look after you. He sometimes has a small value blackboard menu and is well priced on a la carte – no view, but atmosphere is good and they make a great pizza – also has the French stuff like snails on the menu and, for those willing to sample something different – wild pigeon or flying fox. Steaks are always reliably good.

Mangoes (Seaside, up the road from Poppy’s on the Lagoon): It gets good reviews for both the food and service (again, good steaks).

Iririki MichenersMicheners: Part of Iririki Island Resort – delightful harbour location – perhaps a little ‘formal’ in atmosphere but the service is relaxed – more an ‘occasion’ place unless you’re staying there – the adjacent bar snacks are good value.

Moorings (just past Chantilly’s from town): A nice little restaurant and good value for hearty steaks and has Rumours nightclub adjacent. There is a Sunday Roast from 5:30pm that is a hit with the locals and guests.

Nambawan Café (harbour front near the new markets): Great spot for a coffee/snack/juice and well-priced – owner Ivan shows free moonlight movies a few nights a week.

Paradise Cove Italian Restaurant and Bar (Pango Road): The restaurant is part of Paradise Cove Resort and is about 20 minutes from town (or 30, depending on the potholes). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a pick up and return transfer to your hotel can be arranged. Go in time to watch the sunset and ask for one of the two tables next to the water.

Sky Garden: Up the hill past Government House. If you like Korean you are on to a winner.

Spice (opposite Au Bon Marché Numbatu): An authentic and popular Indian Restaurant. Perhaps not a good choice for location and ambiance, but excellent for authentic Indian food. Butter Chicken has never tasted better!

Sunset Bungalows (Bungalow: Ate): Just past Vila Chaumières right on the lagoon, this is a pretty spot with a deck over the water. They have weekly chef specials and sensational eye fillet steaks.

vanuatu-restaurantThai (up the hill from town): This is the Melanesian’s restaurant –the Thai dishes are fine and well-priced but the service can be patchy.

The Beef House: Behind the Island Time Takeaway (was previously El Gecko) – ‘beef’ and ‘Vanuatu’ are synonymous so it’s a reasonable bet that they will serve up good steaks – and if they don’t, they won’t last too long with so many other restaurants around town serving up excellent beef!

The Havannah: One of the most up market Restaurants and Resorts on Efate, you are best going for lunch because of the drive. Plus of course, you can then make the most of the stunning views and ambience. Serving Pacific Rim Cuisine, the menu and service will not disappoint. Don’t take your children – this is strictly an Adults Only Resort!

Tilly’s (airport end of town – a walk from town): A good restaurant because of the original chef’s vision – tapas, NZ lamb etc… ask for a table outside overlooking the harbour and if it is for dinner, consider an early one because the sunsets can be spectacular… While part of a resort it doesn’t feel like it.

Tsang: Another good Chinese and favoured by many locals – just up from La Parisienne bakery before heading on to the Holiday Inn roundabout (or up the hill and straight ahead past the roundabout on the right if coming from the Holiday Inn). For visitors, there are more attractive options for ambience and views.

OVila Chaumières: Romantic location with the lagoon lit at night. Good French food (the Beef Wellington is the signature dish but only for those who really like paté). The service can seem a little starched on occasions but the location is great… it’s a little out of town (5 minutes by taxi/bus). Table 4, out over the water is the best in the house to enjoy the floodlit lagoon and fish skimming across the surface.

Wahoo Bar: Best visited by day, take a pretty half hour drive out of town past Cascade Falls and over the hills to the Havannah Harbour. You won’t get fish any fresher than here, in fact the chances are you will see some come in and weighed. The Smoked Sail Fish Sashimi is to die for and the Deep Fried Whole Poulet is a real treat.

Warhorse Saloon Bar (on your left driving out towards Mele Village): Complete with singing moose heads, covered chuck wagons and other obscure memorabilia from the Wild West. A great wet weather hangout with karaoke and pool tables. A great place to take the family for a fun night out. Good for ribs and pizza.

Waterfront Bar & Grill (opposite Iririki, next to Anchor House): Good for a snack and the T-Bones are huge – also specialises in Mexican. Great setting for evening drinks and if you present your boarding pass or plane ticket within 24 hours of arriving you get a free glass of wine, beer or soft drink. There is live entertainment some nights and it is a good placxe for visitors to get a ‘feel’ for the town.

Watermark Restaurant: Iririki’s ‘second’ restaurant – a little more casual, still with good service – have only tried it twice but had a very nice Asian chicken noodle dish and great fillet steak (and well-priced as well).

Wild GingerWild Ginger: Le Lagon’s other restaurant, adjacent to the Lagoon Terrace offers excellent Asian Fusion cuisine including Teppanyaki with 5-star décor. Not cheap, but recommended.

For the best pies in town – La Parisienne bakery – also from the Chew Store in town (up the hill from Mega Mall). For the best BBQ chickens for that picnic on weekends – Traverso Frère (near La Parisienne).

Or, drop into the supermarkets, grab a bâtarde (French loaf) and some meat/salad and make up a sandwich. Most supermarkets and shops sell nems (spring rolls) and, for the adventurous there’s always lap-lap at the markets…

Of course, you won’t have time to sample all the restaurants in town so to pick our favourites at the moment – for breakfast Au Peche Mignon or Nambawan Café… for lunch: Chill Restaurant, Eratap or The Wahoo Bar… for dinner, l’Houstalet, Harborview Chinese or Aqua at Erakor.

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