The Best Waterfront Restaurants in Tahiti

Eating in Tahiti is best done with a stunning view of the water – and these restaurants make it easy
Eating in Tahiti is best done with a stunning view of the water – and these restaurants make it easy | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Sadie Whitelocks

Fresh fruit, seafood and coconut are staple menu items in the Islands of Tahiti. Base yourself by the water, so you can soak up postcard-perfect views while trying traditional favourites, from poisson cru to chicken fafa. Here are the best restaurants with a sea view on the main island, Tahiti Nui, and its neighbour Moorea.

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Taapuna Restaurant at Manava Suite Resort Tahiti

Just a ten-minute drive from the airport, the Manava Suite Resort is an ideal spot to start or finish your Tahitian adventure. The contemporary hotel is framed by lush gardens and has two restaurants. Its outdoor dining spot, Taapuna, is worth checking for its waterside location, sunset views, refreshing cocktails and buzzing atmosphere. The food menu features a nice blend of European and Tahitian dishes, with everything from caesar salads to catch of the day.

Pure at Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort

Hop over from Tahiti’s main island to Moorea via the ferry, which takes around 20 minutes. Here you will find a different kind of atmosphere and white sand beaches instead of black. One of the most popular hotels is the Sofitel, complete with lust-worthy overwater bungalows and a restaurant jutting out over the bobbing blue. Settle in at Pure to watch the sunset; there’s a high-ceilinged indoor dining area for use during cooler weather. Specialities include seafood linguini with whisky sauce and perfectly cooked duck breast finished with a vinaigrette, whipped up with Moorea honey.

Restaurant Bar at Musee Gauguin

Open since 1968, the restaurant at the Paul Gauguin museum in the southeast corner of Tahiti Nui enthrals visitors with its authentic atmosphere and friendly service. Over the years it has entertained a number of celebrities, including actors Bette Davis and Marlon Brando. The Polynesian-themed dining spot boasts a prime location overlooking glistening shallow waters and the island’s peninsula beyond. Tuck into dishes from the buffet or order à la carte. We highly recommend the trio of crème brûlées.

Moorea Beach Café

On the heart-shaped island of Moorea, another top spot to gaze out at the ocean while gorging on fresh seafood is the Moorea Beach Café. The restaurant, located in the northeast and very popular with yachties, has a laid-back atmosphere with tables spread over a wooden deck and yellow parasols providing shade. The sashimi and sushi platters are popular picks along with the wood-fired pizzas, while the truffle-infused offering is a must-try. Be sure to book ahead during peak season as this place packs out quickly.

Place Vaiete

Roll on down to Place Vaiete, a square on the waterfront in the Tahitian capital of Papeete, and be prepared for a meze of delights, courtesy of a battalion of food trucks. Each night the square plays host to several restaurants on wheels, with food ranging from Mexican to Thai. Crepes are also a food truck speciality, with savoury or sweet options; Nutella, banana and rum is a highly recommended topping. There are also many other food truck locations peppered along the Tahitian coastline for an informal dining experience.

Hiti Mahana Restaurant at Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts

Overlooking the black sands of Matavai Bay and fringed by palm trees, the Hiti Mahana Restaurant at Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts makes for a blissful dinner or relaxed lunch setting. Order sunset-hued cocktails at happy hour before sampling some of the restaurant delights in the open-air dining room. The poisson cru done in three ways is a great introduction to the dish but beware, servings are very hearty.

Casa Bianca

Sail over to Marina Taina in Punaauia and enjoy a waterfront dining experience at Casa Bianca. This spot wins when it comes to service, location and atmosphere. Red-and-white-check-clothed tables stand over manicured gardens, yachts and the island of Moorea beyond. The home-cooked, moreish pizza here gets rave reviews, as does the tiramisu.

Le Lotus at the InterContinental Resort Tahiti

Splash out with a trip to Le Lotus, which is located at the upscale InterContinental hotel, a 10-minute drive from the centre of Papeete. This overwater restaurant makes for a romantic setting, with soft lighting, dark wood furnishings and a small number of tables looking towards the volcanic peak on Moorea. There is an elegant dining menu – expect creations such as scallops cooked in hazelnut butter and beef tartare flavoured with green curry paste – while the wine selection also gets the thumbs up.

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