Dining in Fiji combines three main influences: the traditional Fijian dishes, the imported Indian cultural cuisine and the rest, made up of European and Asian ‘world’ foods found most anywhere. Fijian food, no matter where you try it, is not going to test you like some episode of ‘Survivor’, so be ready give it a go.
Top 3 Meals You Should Try
If one dish was used to represent the Fijian national dish, it would be the ‘lovo’, the ubiquitous earth oven found throughout the Pacific. Fish, meat and vegetables, particularly the root crops like taro and their leaves, are wrapped and buried in hot coals for a slow-cooked delight.
World travellers will be familiar with the South American ‘ceviche’ where raw fish is marinated in citrus juices. A similar dish defines Fiji and the Pacific nations, except that thick coconut cream is used along with local herbs and spices to create a uniquely flavoursome offering called ‘kokoda’.
When Indians workers arrived in the mid-19th century, they brought their culture with them including cuisine. Many dishes resemble those from India with subtle local variations. If you want something distinctly local, consider the goat curry, slow cooked for hours with ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
Top 7 Places You Should Dine
Ironically, the most favoured restaurant in Fiji according to TripAdvisor readers is a pizza bar on the highway called, Eco Cafe at Votua village on the Coral Coast. Wood fired pizza and lovo cooked dishes with a great view and relaxed atmosphere seems to sum up the Fijian experience.
Chantara Thai Restaurant
Back on Denarau the competition is hot and the Chantara Thai Restaurant is a firm favourite with guests of the Radisson Blu Resort as well as visitors who love the traditional Thai recipes like green and red meat curries from the aptly title ‘Phuket Menu’.
Kanavata Restaurant & Lounge
If awards mean anything, then the Kanavata Restaurant & Lounge at the Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji in Pacific Harbour is worth attention. It picked up the coveted ‘Dining Experience Award’ at the 2016 ANZ Fiji Excellence In Tourism Awards where organically grown produce and fresh caught seafood feature.
It seems the intimate IVI Restaurant at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort can’t do anything wrong. The Coral Coast resort’s inhouse fine dining restaurant just keeps garnering accolades. For maximum romantic effect, the restaurant recommends only adults enjoy their acclaimed creative ‘Pacific Continental’ cuisine.
It might take some getting to, but once you’ve found Red Bull baron Dietrich Mateschitz’s Laucala out beyond Vanua Levu, you won’t want to leave. Apart from some imported beef and dairy products, the majority of the produce comes from the island’s working farm.
For pure tradition and longevity, Sheraton’s Ports O'Call fine dining restaurant on Denarau should be on your shortlist. Patrons have been dressing up and lashing out at this international-standard establishment for nearly 30 years. If you long for traditional silver service and romantic ambience, this is for you.
Nadina Authentic Fijian Restuarant
If genuine Pacific-themed food is your objective, it’s hard to beat Nadina Authentic Fijian Restuarant located in the Port Denarau marina complex. You can even get a bowl of kava while you enjoy the sunset. Emphasis on seafood and vegetarian in a laid back Fijian ambiance.