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Where to Eat in Suva
Dining out is obligatory for every Suva visitor. As the cultural hub of the South Pacific, this diversity is expressed in the city’s culinary landscape and farm-to-table dining has become a big deal. Unlike many so-called “developed” destinations like Hawaii, Fiji grows the majority of their own vegetables. Local fresh produce finds its into the hearts and stomachs of visitors.
Suva Restaurants range from traditional indigenous specialties to Indian, Chinese, and even fusion cuisine. Caffeine aficionados will not be disappointed either. Cafes, buzzing with activity are ubiquitous in Suva.
(A special shout out to Peter Sipeli, creator of Guided Walking Tours Suva, who keeps me current on all the latest news from the Fiji culinary world. Peter knows Suva!)
Tiko’s Floating Restaurant
Back in the day, Tiko’s Floating Restaurant used to be one of the few fine dining spots in town and to the owner’s credit, they manage to keep the quality up. As the name implies, the restaurant is on a boat but you’re not headed anywhere on this vessel except perhaps cuisine lomalagi (heaven). It’s an excellent choice for seafood, typical fare includes items such as grilled baby octopus, lobster cakes, whole fish, red curry shrimp and seafood Marguery. There are even ‘Fijian fusion’ dishes such as creamed taro with crab. Map
Fong Lee Seafood Restaurant
Located on Victoria Parade Fong Lee Seafood Restaurant is consistently good. Not to be confused with Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong or San Francisco, it’s still one of the better Chinese eateries in Suva. Popular with the embassy crowd and many expats. Map
In Fiji, curry is king but you need to know where to go. For first rate, local style curry you’ll do no better than the Curry House on 44 Waimanu Road. There are a variety of 6-8 varieties of curried up veggies–think spinach, pumpkin, long beans, bitter mellon, etc, and a nearly equal amount of fish, poultry and meat including duck, chicken, goat, lamb, etc. It’s a about a 10 minute walk up the hill from Victoria Parade, past throngs of shoppers crowding the sidewalks but well worth the effort. Figure on dropping around F$10-15 for your curries served with roti and dhal. It can get crowded and noisy during lunch hour. They are not open for dinner. Map
Jee’s hand-pulled noodles
If you have a craving for noodles Jee’s is the best place in town.
The original Jees is situated on 61 Marks Street, about a 10 minute walk from Tapoo Centre but there are also locations at Dolphins food Court, Damodar City Food Court and Village 6 Food Court by the theater complex.
Jee’s is a favorite among the Chinese food cognoscenti. Nothing fancy here, but everything is fresh and very tasty.
Jee’s offers soups, spicy salads, wonton, dumplings and, of course, hand-pulled noodles. If you’re there at the right time, you can observe a chef pull the noodles with relish. Clean and friendly, this small eatery is a favorite of the office lunch crowd. A good place to meet locals. Prices in the F$10-$20 range. Map
At one time, in an era not so long ago, you couldn’t get decent pizza, nor any decent Italian food for that matter, in Suva. Thankfully, those days are gone. Paradiso Ristorante has changed everything.
Tucked away next to the Suva Lawn Tennis Club, at the very edge of Albert Park, off Ratu Cakobau Road, it offers a variety of homemade pastas and excellent pizza. Prices are in the $F20-$30 range.
Its atmosphere is convivial and irreverent, which reflects the Dutch owner Roderic Evers. He said he founded the restaurant because he likes playing tennis and likes to eat good Italian food. That was the extent of his business model. It seems to have worked. His wife, Tarei, supervises the cuisine and the regulars say she brings “magic to the food”. One customer told me “when she’s in the kitchen managing that space very calmly (unusual in the restaurant business) the experience is always on point.”
I sampled a seafood pizza and chased it down with some Oregon Pinot noir. At my table, a Danish guest who ran a local NGO declared that the seafood he was eating was the best he’d ever had.
Peter Sipeli, creator of Guided Walking Tours Suva, said that the restaurant has morphs into a large live entertainment bar between Thursdays through Saturdays. There’s more of a music atmosphere with big tables of party goers ordering pizzas and enjoying the scene.
KANU, is one of the newest, coolest fine dining spots in town. The restaurant, formerly known as Governors, is now run by Lance Seeto. A chef and an entrepreneur, Seeto hails from Papua New Guinea and on a visit to Fiji, fell in love with the country. His cuisine, according to his website, is a “ contemporary interpretation of Fijian flavours that showcase unique native ingredients.”
Chef Seeto incorporates a farm to table philosophy with ingredients sourced from organic local producers and farmers. Imported meats and veggies are the exception.
KANU also offers a wide range of mixed drinks, imported beer and selection of New Zealand and Australian wines.
Aside from the food, which is reportedly excellent, the venue is also notable. Located on 46 Knolly Street the setting is a colonial style bungalow that was once home to Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, the progenitor of modern Fiji. The walls, appropriately enough, are adorned with photographs and South Pacific memorabilia.
KANU prepares breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a wide array of options including seafood, meat and vegan specialties. One of the contributors to this site sampled the Crispy Fish Suruwa for dinner, a fried whole juvenile rock cod, Fijian tomato and coconut curry with steamed rice. Our correspondent said the fish was succulent and served with ota (river fern), a traditional Fijian green not generally found in restaurants. He couldn’t have been happier.
Prices in the F$20-$55 range for entrees.
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Treat your taste buds to some oriental cuisine at Daikoku, located on Victoria Parade opposite the Fiji Development Bank, is the only Japanese-owned restaurant in Suva. It’s the only Japanese restaurant I’m aware of in town, but the good news is, it’s excellent. It’s got all the usual favorites, sushi, tempura, sashimi, etc. They also have a selection of teppanyaki style dishes, cooked on an iron griddle. They also have an restaurant in Nadi. Given the quality of fish available in Fiji, you’ll find their sushi and sashimi outstanding. Most dishes are in the F$20-40 range. Facebook | Map
In Fiji, curry is king but you need to know where to go. Last time I was in Fiji I ate at Ashiyana’s three days in a row for dinner. Located at the old Town Hall building next to the Library on Victoria Parade, their food is a bit more expensive ($F15-25 range) than the average local fare but it’s really tasty worth the extra few bucks. Their specialty is Tandoori curries, particularly Tandoori Lamb and Roghan Josh (cooked in oil at intense heat). I tried just about all of their vegetarian fare which was also excellent. They serve the main dishes with rice or naan (a leavened, oven-baked flatbread). Service is great, and you can get cold Fiji Bitter to wash down that spicy food. You simply will not go wrong at this restaurant, whatever you order. Map
Another great place for first rate, local style curry is the Curry House located conveniently next door to Ashiyana. There are a variety of 6-8 varieties of curried up veggies–think spinach, pumpkin, long beans, bitter mellon, etc, and a nearly equal amount of fish, poultry and meat including duck, chicken, goat, lamb, etc. Figure on dropping around F$10-15 for your curries served with roti and dhal. It can get crowded and noisy during lunch hour. They are not open for dinner. Map
Eden Bistro & Bar
At corner of Bureta and Maharaj Street near the Kundan Singh shopping complex in Tamavua is Eden Bistro & Bar, one of the premier restaurants in Fiji. You’ll need a taxi to get there from central Suva. It’s located in a residential area home to a lot of Embassies and the Vodafone offices and that’s probably not an accident. Most of the clients are foreigners who have more disposable income. However, as they say, you get what you pay for.
I’ve never seen such a varied menu nor wine list in Fiji. The chef gets really creative with local foods so there’s definitely a fusion thing happening. Just a few items included mud crab, Pacific lobster, pork belly, goat curry ( order a side of papadams), the duruka ( wild sugarcane cooked in coconut cream), kokoda with ota (ceviche-like marinated fish with local fern) and the list goes on. When I dined there my friend gobbled down a great steak and I had a memorable pumpkin soup. Prices in the F$30-40+ range for main courses. Facebook | Map
5 Princes Restaurant
Located in the 5 Princes Hotel, a boutique property names because of its address on 5 Princes road, heading up the hill from town to Tamavua. Located in what once was a colonial era home, it’s a huge wooden plank deck with a wonderful view of town. Primarily catering to clients of the hotel, they will occasionally cook for non-guests, as they did me and two colleagues. You definitely need to call them ahead of time They don’t believe in menus and will cook you whatever you desire so long as the ingredients are on hand. In our case, we all had grilled ahi, which was perfectly cooked and served with mint sauce. They usually have a decent selection of wine. We had an excellent New Zealand Pinot Gris which complemented the fish. Website | Facebook | Map
BSP Central Suva Food Court
Food courts do not make for a romantic rendezvous, but the BSP Central Suva Food Court, on the BSP Building’s second floor, is centrally located, especially if you’re staying at the Quest Suva.
The Food Court’s culinary options range from Chinese to pizza, but my favorite is the Govinda Vegetarian Restaurant, which also has locations on Mark Street and Laucala Bay Road near the university. The food is healthy and reasonably priced, and the variety of curried vegetables — such as okra, pumpkin, potato, eggplant and mung bean — is seemingly endless. There’s also dhal, roti, sweets and homemade ice cream in flavors such as coconut, mango, watermelon and passionfruit.
Peter Sipeli of Guided Walking Tours reminds me that there are food courts also located at MHCC, Harbour Centre and in Tappoos at FNPF Plaza on Victoria Parade. The good thing about these food courts is the prices tend to be less expensive than restaurants without diminished quality of food.
More Decent Restaurants
Veggie Restaurant, 54 Bau Street, Nacovu district, commonly called Flagstaff, is worth the walk from downtown. Excellent food and a second delicious vegetarian option to Govinda.
Great Wok of China, 70 Bau Street, Flagstaff, just steps from the Veggie Restaurant, has excellent fish and Chinese dishes. Its signature deep fried fish is a favorite.
Maya Dhaba, 281 Victoria Parade, has wonderful Indian cuisine — an alternative to Ashiyana and the Curry House. Good service, large portions and reasonably priced.
Cafe Society | Suva
Good coffee is no longer a rarity in Suva. Nowadays, caffeine addicts have a variety of spots to hang out, sip cappuccino and nosh on homemade pastries.
Mana Coffee is one of those hidden treasures. Located at 8 Selborne Street a few minutes walk from Suva’s central district, it is still very close to the action.
Mana Coffee in Suva is the brainchild of Mue Bentley Fisher, who manages the establishment. She and her husband Darran have gone out of their way to run a sustainable business, using only plant-based biodegradable and compostable takeaway packaging. Not only do they offer excellent coffee, they also offer baked goods and a full breakfast menu — sausage, hash browns, eggs Benedict, waffles, avocado toast or an omelet — for about F$20. Even kava is available.
Upstairs from the café is Mana BnB, also run by the Bentley Fishers, with clean, well-appointed rooms starting at $59. Map
Moments on 3 Scott Street is also a great place to hang out the whole day. Originally more of a cafe venue, it has evolved into a full fledged eatery. In addition to freshly made pie, sausage rolls, scones, pastries, eggs, roti and other treats it also serves lunch dishes such as curries, kokoda and a host of deserts such as brownies and cupcakes. There’s also bar so that you can pair that food with beer, wine and spirits. Literally something for everyone and a great atmosphere to boot.
Ginger Kitchen (Fiji Museum)
On the deck of the Museum, the Ginger Kitchen is open to the breeze, making it one of the few outdoor cafes in Suva. Coffee, sandwiches and snacks are excellent, and you can also get a gluten-free breakfast.
The aesthetics are great; you have a lovely view of the garden and there are several outlets near the tables where you can plug in your computer. If you need respite from the streets of Suva, this is a great place to hang. Map
Lazy Beans is a café located in the very heart of Central Suva, 2nd floor, Suva Jack’s store–opposite the Prouds Shopping Complex. It’s as central as you can get, with a view from their deck of the shoppers and traffic below.
The outdoor setting, opposite the often garrulous crowd at Club Garrick in the building next door, contributes to a lively atmosphere. It has a wide range of coffee concoctions, juices, salads, sandwiches, gourmet meat and chicken “pies,” cupcakes and brownies. Lots of pastries. And don’t expect “health” foods. Nice atmosphere with the option of indoor or outdoor seating. Map
A Local Favorite Cafe Noir located at 217 Victoria Parade (Next to Bad Dog & O’
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