7 Best Places To Eat In Port Vila, Vanuatu

Best places to eat in port vila vanutatu

One of the things I look forward to on my travels is trying out different cuisines. Of course in larger cities you’d be overwhelmed by options – there’s no chance of seeing and trying it all.

The nice thing about spending a week in Port Vila is I was able to eat at almost all of the top rated eateries.. as well as some of the more obscure spots

(there were some hidden gems!)

In this post, I’ll share 7 of the best places I found to eat in Port Vila along with some recommendations on what to order when you get there!  

1. Three Pigs (Seriously Good Tacos and Pizza)

Tristan Balme Where to eat port vila three pigs
three pigs tacos vanuatu port vila

Highlights

  • Relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff
  • Modern vibe: This place would rival plenty of restaurants back home in New Zealand
  • Seriously good tacos and pizza.
  • More expensive than some of the local eateries

For a casual yet upmarket dining experience, you should pop in at Three Pigs. It’s a great spot for both a casual drink, or a full restaurant meal. The staff are friendly, the venue is modern, and the service is prompt and professional. 

Three Pigs specializes in western-style cuisine, all made with fresh and quality ingredients. I ordered their wood-fired Calabrese-flavored pizza, which had a thin and chewy crust and a generous amount of toppings and on another visit had their tacos (which were excellent!)

The restaurant also has a happy hour, which I recommend if you’re looking to enjoy a beer at a discount, as the price of alcohol on Vanautu isn’t the cheapest.

You can expect to pay anything from 1950 Vatu ($20-30) for a decent meal. 

2. Kucina Filipino

Tristan Balme Where to eat port vila cucina phillipino

Highlights

  • Authentic Phillipino food
  • Cheaper that a lot of places in downtown Port Vila
  • Option to order ahead for a takeaway
  • Not the classiest of establishments (but that’s part of the charm!)

Number 2 on my list, Kuchina Filipino is a bit of an underdog with a very unassuming shop front.. but let me tell you the food was incredible

(Better than a lot of the Filipino food I had in the Philipines!)

To satiate your craving for authentic (and affordable) Filipino food, you can’t go wrong with Kucina Filipino. This cozy restaurant boasts various dishes, but its specialty is chicken, pork, and fish-based dishes. 

I tried the pork adobo, a tender and flavorful meal coated in sticky sauce with a slightly tangy taste. The portions were generous and priced at around 800 vatu ($7). 

If you’re looking for a vegetarian dish, I recommend their Ginataang langka (jackfruit cooked in coconut milk). 

3. Port Vila Market (For Authentic Local Food)

Tristan Balme Port vila market vanuatu
Tristan Balme port vila market food

Highlights

  • THIS is where the locals eat, and it’s your best chance to try local food
  • Some of the cheapest prices on the island
  • Big portions too!
  • The stalls’ offerings change daily based on what mean and produce is available
  • Crazy busy at lunch time and after work.
  • Shop owners are very chatty and keen to get you to come eat with them, so this can be a little overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask what they’re offering (many places wont have a menu), and then go look at another stall.

Visiting Vanuatu wouldn’t be complete without a detour to the market. It’s within this vibrant and lively place where you can find authentic local food cheaper than any of the restaurants. 

And the cooks don’t skimp on quality. 

There are various food stalls to sample traditional dishes–laplap, tuluk, and poulet fish. The vendors make the most hearty laplap, which is a great snack for when you’re shopping around for other items. 

4. Bultahi Kava Bar (For The Local Kava Experience)

Tristan Balme Bultahi Kava Bar

Highlights

  • An authentic local experience with no other tourists in sight!
  • Party vibe: When I went there they had the BBQ pumping and music blaring. Definitly the place to go for a good time.
  • Strong Kava! (Every Nakmal reckons their kava is the best, and I’m no expert, but we sure left feeling the effects!)
  • A Bit awkward to figure out how (and what) to order since this is a locals’ bar and people may look surprised to see you there.
  • TIP: Try and get a local to show you the kava drinking etiquette

Bultahi is one of the many nakamals (Kava bars) where you can interact and bond with the locals over their traditional drink, kava. It’s newly built and attracts a lot of locals and tourists alike. The bar has a couple of windows leased to different vendors from various parts of Vanuatu. 

I was informed that the leasers prepare the drink as they traditionally would in their villages. A shell costs around 300 vatu ($2), and after gulping down a few from 3 different booths, I noticed that some were more pronounced and potent than others. 

Regardless of where you buy it, I recommend you chew on a piece of fruit or a lollypop to mask the bitterness, if it’s your first time trying kava. There is also a small shop on the premises where you can grab a snack or light meal. 

4. Sol Wota Beach Club

Tristan Balme Sol Wota Beach Club

Highlights

  • Serene and scenic atmosphere, right on the beach
  • Awesome pizza
  • Generous and welcoming hosts (we ended up drinking Kava with them!)
  • A bit of an adventure to get there (It’s about a 30min drive for downtown Port Vila)

I liked this option for the relaxed vibe and scenery it had to offer. The hosts are extremely friendly with a vast knowledge of the area. 

And they serve the most amazing pizzas too. 

I ordered the Narpow Works flavored pizza, which was baked to perfection and had generous toppings. You can expect to pay around 1750 Vatu ($22) per dish, which I think was reasonable for the quality and the setting. 

Tip: While in the area, go next door to Tamanu on Beach and grab a couple of drinks at their bar. They’re one of the more high end resorts on the island and have a beautiful setting looking out over the ocean!

5. Mangoes Resort Restaurant & Bar

This is an upscale and cozy eatery overlooking the Erakor Lagoon and has a serene ambiance. You can sample a range of seasonal contemporary dishes, all made with fresh, local, and organic produce. My highlight was their tender and juicy Vanuata Santo Beef Tenderloin braised in red wine, which cost me around 3500 Vatu (around $40). 

Highlights

  • An elegant and relaxing atmosphere (more fancey than most resurants)
  • Scrumptious international and contemporary cuisine
  • There’s something a bit weird about going to another hotel just to eat at their restaurant?
  • A more touristy place to eat (obviously)

6. L’Houstalet Restaurant

L’Houstalet serves French cuisine with a twist. One of the locals recommended it claiming they offer some of the best exotic and specialty meals, like flying fox and coconut crab.

And I don’t regret dining there. 

I tried the flying fox. I spent around 3000 Vatu ($27) for the main. Bear in mind, though, the price you see on the menu doesn’t include VAT. Expect to pay an extra 20% when you get your bill.

A fine french restaurant in Vanuatu may seem weird, thought having just come from New Caladonia we were used to it.

Highlights

  • French cuisine (and french wine!)
  • Been around since the 1970’s
  • One of the more expensive places to eat on the island
  • Mixed reviews, with some claiming it’s ‘gone downhill’ in recent years

Bonus: 5 Foods You Must Try While In Vanuatu

1. Coconut fish curry

This creamy and spicy dish is a staple in Port Vila. And reasonably so given they have an abundance of seafood. It’s made with fresh fish cooked in coconut milk and a medley of spices. It’s usually served with rice or breadfruit and has a rich and satisfying flavor. You can find this dish at many restaurants and hotels, but the cooks at Mangoes Resort Restaurant & Bar take the cup. 

2. Laplap

For a taste of Vanuatu cuisine, I recommend you try lap-lap. It’s an underground-baked pudding made from grated root vegetables–mostly taro or yam–coconut milk, meat/fish, and wrapped in banana leaves. It’s hearty and filling with a subtle earthy flavor. If you’re wondering where to get the best one, the market is the place to go.

3. Poulet fish

Poulet fish has a pinkish-red color and a firm white flesh with a chicken-like flavor. It’s usually grilled and served with a side of rice or breadfruit. I especially loved the one prepared at L’Houstalet Restaurant. 

4. Tuluk

Similar to laplap, tuluk makes for a great snack when exploring other parts of the city. It’s a blend of cassava, minced meat, and spices wrapped in banana leaves. The mixture is steamed, producing a soft and moist treat with a savory and sweet flavor. Port Vila Market offers a variety of flavors and sizes, so I recommend you sample it there. 

5. Kava

As mentioned, kava is to be the go-to drink for locals. And as a tourist, you have the opportunity to join in on the tradition. The drink is made from the roots of the kava plant and has a calming and numbing effect. It’s bitter with earthy undertones and a muddy appearance. After a few shells (I gulped down 3), you’ll feel relaxed and happy. Bultahi Kava Bar is the place to go for a strong and authentic drink. 

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