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Fiji: Where the locals dine

Fiji Insider
Preparing the lovo (earth oven) in the village of Navivi, Fiji (Photo: Lonely Planet Images / Liz Thompson)
Preparing the lovo (earth oven) in the village of Navivi, Fiji.
Traditional Fijian food is to die for — our Insider introduces you to the best of this and international cuisine on the islands.

Feasting with the Fijians

Most large resorts on Viti Levu have a lovo night once a week. This is a great opportunity to sample Fijian dishes and the buffet is usually accompanied by traditional dancing (meke). It takes time to prepare Fijian dishes properly and they must be served fresh, thus restaurants specialising in this cuisine are rare. One of the best known is Vilisite's Seafood Restaurant with locations between the Naviti and Warwick resorts on the Coral Coast. The Old Mill Cottage Café in Suva is popular with the staff from nearby embassies. Most locals get their ika in lolo (fish in coconut cream) from stalls at Suva Market.

The spices of India

Indian food is popular among office workers in Fiji as it's fast, tasty, and inexpensive. The open porch at Tata's Restaurant in Nadi, just down from the large Indian temple, serves excellent curry lunches. Suva has the largest number of Indian restaurants. The Hare Krishna Restaurant opposite the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Govinda Restaurant on Marks Street, and the Curry House on Waimanu Road offer an all-you-can-eat vegetarian thali lunch — a set meal with several curries, dhal, roti, and chutney, served on a metal plate. In Fiji's second city, Lautoka, you'll be invited to a vegetarian lunch if you join the congregation for the 11am Sunday service at the Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple.

Chinese dining

Virtually every town and city in Fiji has a choice of Chinese restaurants, many of them serving alcoholic beverages (most of the Indian restaurants are "dry"). In Nadi, Bohai Seafood Restaurant above a bank on the main street isn't as flashy as some of the nearby tourist restaurants but you're more likely to meet the local Chinese community there. Many of Suva's Chinese restaurants are along Victoria Parade, including Peking, Vine Yard, and Fong Lee. In Lautoka, try the Nan Ying Restaurant near the Lautoka Hotel. In Levuka, the Sunday evening buffet at Kim's Paak Kum Loong Restaurant is famous.

International cuisine

Pizzerias are almost as common as Chinese restaurants in Fiji and they need no introduction. For a juicy steak, there's Cardo's at the Denarau Marina in Nadi. In Suva, Tiko's Floating Restaurant downtown is known for its steaks and seafood. Otherwise, try JJ's in the high-rise building (a former YWCA) just across Sukuna Park from Tiko's. A number of upscale Japanese and Korean restaurants are also in Suva.

Have you eaten at any of these places in Fiji? Know of any others worth mentioning? Tell us about it using the comments form below.

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User comments
The Lunch In Suva blog at lunchinsuva.blogspot.com has reviews of dozens of Suva restaurants and eateries.
To sample International Cuisine in and around the Nadi and Denarau area of Fiji, you cannot go past Indigo Restaurant at Port Denarau Marina. Prices are 'international reasonable' and the food is amazing. Much better than Cardo's I have to say. A good new reasonably priced restaurant along the restaurant and hotel strip of Martintar (near Mercure Hotel) Nadi is Sitar. Serves Indian and Thai cuisine in lovely clean setting outdoors or in. Very reasonably priced. For Chinese, the best restaurant in Nadi now is Restaurant 88. Also a new one. For very cheap Indian food, try Mutu's in Nadi town where Chopsticks used to be. For those who prefer the safety of dining at a big hotel but don't want to pay too much, I'd recommend SALT at Sofitel at Denarau. Well priced, delicious food and great setting overlooking the beach. Best of all the hotel restaurants as an all rounder!

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