Compared to many of Fiji’s significantly more developed and commercialized islands, the inconspicuous Vanua Levu may seem a little daunting. But there is no shortage of accommodation or fantastic local places to eat for the adventurous travellers who make it to the island’s forgotten shores. From lavish resort restaurants to pint-sized cafés that pack a punch, let us show you where to experience the culinary delights that Vanua Levu has to offer.
Surf ‘n’ Turf’s humble façade is deceiving. It is perhaps the most up-scale restaurant in the whole of Savusavu. It is therefore a little pricier than most other places in town, but its popularity is evidence to its quality, and its variety. The extensive dinner menu comprises shellfish, meats, pastas, and vegetarian options, as well as an ever-changing selection of innovative specials . It also has a very pretty veranda that extends right up to the waterfront and is surrounded by lush palms and exotic fauna.
Captain’s Table is situated at the optimal location for wonderful views across Savusavu’s gorgeous bay. The magnificent vistas are not all that makes this restaurant such a popular local haunt though. Its creative menu is a colorful blend of international cuisines and ingredients, European, Indian, and Pacific alike, and offers up a wide assortment of dishes from seafood to steaks, accompanied by a vibrant array of exotic fruit and vegetables.
For a truly sumptuous dining experience treat yourself to an evening at the legendary Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort. Its gorgeous beachfront restaurant with panoramic ocean views is imbued with exotic charm and immerses diners in a blissfully laid-back island ambience. Acoustic musicians gently serenade you throughout the night, whilst world-class chefs serve up the finest samples of Fijian and South Pacific fare, much of which is locally sourced or comes from the hotel’s organic garden.
The Namale Resort and Spa has long been considered one of the best boutique hotels in Fiji, and even in the world. Its exceptional restaurant is certainly befitting. Set on a terrace overlooking the ocean and immersed in the island’s magnificent beachfront flora, dining here is a truly magical experience. The creativity, care, and passion of the Namale chefs is evident in every dish that is served, you’d be hard-pressed to find more perfectly-prepared plates anywhere in the archipelago.
The majority of lively little Labasa’s residents are of Indo-Fijian descent, making this small settlement one of the best places to sample the Indian contributions to Fiji’s fascinating hybrid culture – a lasting legacy of the Indian laborers who first arrived in the Pacific at the end of the 19th century to work in the islands’ sugarcane plantations. The Labasa restaurant on the town’s main road is always busy – testament to the fantastic curries that are served here.
It might not look like much from the outside, but this small and unpretentious restaurant serves up some very fresh and very flavorsome Asian-Pacific meals. They are also happy to attend to you in the nearby Planters’ Club, another frequented meeting-place that is worth experiencing. This popular watering hole, imbued with colonial charm, used to be where plantation workers gathered to socialise in the evenings. It is now a laid-back bar where locals, tourists, and ex-pats enjoy drinks as the evening settles in.
In addition to a significant Indian presence, Chinese culture has had a considerable influence on the Fijian islands too. You’ll find that South Pacific dishes are often sprinkled with Asian touches. Labasa’s Oriental Bar and Restaurant is another disguised treat, it’s one of the more expensive (though hardly bank-breaking) places in town, which serves up some flavorful Chinese curries and soups.