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. Suva Restaurants range from traditional indigenous specialties to Indian, Chinese, and even Italian cuisine. Caffeine aficionados will not be disappointed either. Cafes, buzzing with activity are ubiquitous in 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$10-12 for your curries served with roti and dhal. It can get crowded and noisy during lunch hour. They are not open for dinner. Map
At one time, in an epoch not so long ago, you couldn’t get decent pizza, nor any kind of 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, they offer a variety of (homemade) pasta and some very good pizza. Prices are in the $20-30 range.
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. I sampled a seafood pizza which was excellent 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. The Friday night I walked in, a live band with some excellent guitarists (Peter and Patrick Fong) played to an adoring audience. I was definitely coming back. Facebook | Instagram | Map
Governors on 46-50 Knolly Street, should also be on the to do list for any self respecting foodie. Located in a colonial style bungalow that was once home to Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, the progenitor of modern Fiji; a favorite of the culinary set. The walls are adorned with photographs and South Pacific memorabilia. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a wide array of options. For dinner you can get ocean fresh Fiji sea food, stuffed crab backs, giant sea prawns, NZ lamb, char grilled steaks and vegetarian dishes. You can definitely call it a fusion restaurant where they will take a Thai or Italian favorite and spin a delicious variation on the theme.
They will occasion serve “themed” dinner from Italy or the Middle East with a complete menu of offerings commensurate with the place. I had an amazing ota (river fern) salad topped with calamari that was healthy and tasty. Weekend brunch is incredibly popular, as is the live weekend evening music. Prices in the $20-30 range from entrees. This should definitely be on any visitor’s Suva bucket list. Facebook | Map
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$20-40 range. Facebook | Map
Last time I was in Fiji I ate at Ashiyana’s three days in a row for dinner. Located at the old Town Hall building next to the Library on Victoria Parade, their food is a bit more expensive ($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
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
Another killer Indian restaurant you don’t want to miss is Yellow Chilli, whose exterior is painted, not surprisingly, a distinct yellow. I love this place. Not only is the food authentic and tasty, it has enough offerings for both carnivores and vegetarians to keep customers happy or years. The vegetarian section along numbers more than 20 items. Their signature offering is Chicken Yellow Chilli but everything there I’ve tasted is great. It’s cozy, with a maroon color scheme that would not work in a bordello but is perfect for this eatery. Good service too. Friendly patient servers who will answer your questions. Gets busy at dinnertime so book ahead to ensure seating. Priced in the F$15-30 range. 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
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.
Weta Coffee is one of those hidden treasures. Indeed, it is hidden inside a Mobil Station just off Victoria Parade, opposite Kadavu House. Those from New Zealand, who know their way around coffee will be familiar with the “Weta” name—it’s an iconic coffee roaster and expresso bar in Auckland. Weta in Suva is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Darran Fisher and his wife Mue, who runs the establishment. The couple have gone out of their way to be sustainable, using only plant-based biodegradable and compostable takeaway packaging. Suffice it to say the coffee is great. I treated myself to a cappuccino while there. The hot chocolate is excellent and they offer baked goods and a full breakfast menu—sausage, hash browns, eggs or an omlette for about F$20. Darran and Mue have also opened a second location on 8 Selbourne Street, a block or so away from the Tanoa Hotel.
One of my favorites is Moments (3 Scott Street) just off Victoria Parade is a gem of a coffee house and the only one I know of that has both indoor and outdoor seating. In addition to great coffee they offer a variety of delicious quiche, salads, juices and healthy fare. A great respite for locals and visitors trudging along Suva’s sidewalks. The owner, Fedlia Ah Sam, also runs another well regarded local eatery, Cafe 30, 30, McGregor Rd in Suva. Facebook | Map
A Local Favorite Cafe Noir located at 217 Victoria Parade (Next to Bad Dog & O’
My Kana cafe
Near the post office, My Kana is run by two sisters. The name is a play on words, a variation on the Fijian term for mai kana (come and eat). Kana is also the word for food. The restaurant/cafe has an informal outdoor setting that’s makes a perfect respite from the chaos of the market and bus station just few steps away. They serve great coffee (I sampled their cappucino) and, are one of the few cafes that serve genuine local food such as kokoda, curries and an eclectic mix of favorites such as cottage pies, wraps, lasagna and even pancakes. You can catch vans on the street adjacent to the cafe that will take you to Lautoka and Nadi. Facebook
Mad Hatter Hutt
Another recommendation is the Mad Hatter Hutt, which can be found in a cluster of storefronts along 22 Disraeli Road in Suva, stands called what Islands Business magazine called a “flamboyant little coffee house.” It’s stands out with its striking greenish blue exterior and large red and white mushrooms on one side of the shop window. On the opposite side is a display of colorful children’s clothing. Great coffee and food. Facebook | Map