What’s for dinner in … Tahiti! Discover Tahiti Travel Services Restaurant Bucket List for Papeete and Tahiti
Well… most people fly in, most people fly out.
But did you know that on the island of Tahiti, in Papeete and near the major hotels, there is in fact a huge selection of restaurants to enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Whether lunch while shopping and sight-seeing or a dinner experience to discover how the locals do it, the choice is vast!
So… here we go with some of preferred selections as chosen by our staff!
In and around Papeete in no particular order…
URBAN CAFE (Downtown Papeete)
LOCATION: 29 rue Dumont d’Urville Papeete. You can locate it with GPS. If you are near the Cathedrale, or Vaima Center or the Market, it is a short 5-10mn walk behind the Cathedral.
TRANSFERS: Not available. Easily accessible on foot. By car, it is difficult to find parking, so it is best to park at the Odyssey covered parking lot (Odyssey is a book store and the parking is adjacent). 200 XPF / hour for parking.
RESERVATIONS : Recommended if you want to take advantage of the outdoor garden terrace which is located BEHIND the restaurant (not in front). Phone : +689 40 83 39 99
OPENING TIMES : Open everyday. Monday and Tuesday 6am to 2pm. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 6am to midnight. Saturday from 6am to 2pm. Sunday from 7am to 12noon.
AVERAGE COST : €€
ATMOSPHERE : Walking into Urban Café, you feel yourself transported to New York! Retro-industrial décor with comfortable, leather couches, armchairs against the walls and café-style metal chairs and tables in the middle with a long bar running the length of the establishment. If you continue deeper into the café, you’ll discover a veritable garden oasis outside, a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Papeete, shopping and sight-seeing! The employees are young, enthusiastic and professional. You feel very welcomed here.
SIGNATURE DISHES : For breakfast, everyone is raving about the eggs benedict! However, I was tempted seriously by the French toast and their toppings.
CUISINE : Known for its fabulously delicious breakfasts, the café also serves a great lunch, dinner and tapas. More of a classic cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner but always with a twist! From hamburgers and salads and steaks to fish & chips, also including poke and Tahitian poisson cru, sashimi and carpaccio. The cocktails are divine, the coffees even better.
WHO TO TALK TO : As in all cafés, you usually end up talking to someone whether it is the people at the next table, the waiters or the coffee barista! Try and get the low-down on what to visit and see in Papeete by talking with the staff. One great idea is to find all the exterior painted murals around Papeete.
OUR OPINION : Exactly what the names says: an Urban Café combined oasis perfect for a break from sight-seeing or for a trendy breakfast, lunch, cocktails and dinner with delicious food!
CAFE MAEVA (Downtown Papeete in the central market upstairs)
LOCATION: Inside the local market on the first floor. Take the escalator to the first floor and the café is right there.
TRANSFERS: Not available. Easily accessible on foot as located right in the center of Papeete.
RESERVATIONS : Not required. Phone +689 87 24 16 46
OPENING TIMES : Open from Monday to Friday form 7am to 5pm. On Saturday from 7am to 3pm. Closed on Sunday.
AVERAGE COST : €€
ATMOSPHERE : Great local café with either café style chairs and tables or a long wooden table with stools to sit on! The café overlooks the ground floor of the market so it’s a lot of fun for people watching! On some afternoons there is even live, local music sending out that perfect vibe. You can see the world go by from people who are obviously tourists to the locals picking up their fresh produce and fish down below. Great and efficient service from the staff.
SIGNATURE DISHES : Once again the eggs benedict win for breakfast! But for lunch I’d go with anything made of fresh fish from the poisson cru, to the tuna tartare or tuna carpaccio. Accompanied by a smoothie, a cold beer or a barista coffee, you then have the perfect meal!
CUISINE : Definitely French-Polynesian with an accent on fresh fish and seafood although there are steaks, burgers and salads (with the French goat cheese).
WHO TO TALK TO : Let your eyes do all the talking! As you know here in Tahiti, we all talk with our eyebrows. There is so much to see and look at that your eyebrows will be exercising and your mouth will be busy chewing some great food.
OUR OPINION : A fun, local spot for breakfast or lunch in an easily accessible location in the market where you’ll probably end up anyways doing your souvenir shopping.
MEHERIO – TAHITIAN BISTRO (Downtown Papeete on the waterfront)
LOCATION: Place Jacques Chirac, right on the waterfront in downtown Papeete, next to the marina.
TRANSFERS: Not available. Easily accessible on foot as located right in the center of Papeete. Parking is available right underneath the restaurant, under Place Jacques Chirac.
RESERVATIONS : Highly recommended in order to have a table with a view. You can reserve on line: bit.ly or call Phone : +689 40 41 01 10
OPENING TIMES : Open everyday from 10am to 9.30pm. Happy Hour from 5 to 6.30pm everyday. Live music (either DJ, band or solo singer) on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
AVERAGE COST : €€-€€€
ATMOSPHERE : Meherio means “Mermaid” in the Tahitian language and this restaurant is aptly named! A mix of lounge – bistro – terrasse just exactly what our Marina needed! The restaurant is like a beautiful, white yacht perched on the marina’s edge surveying its domain! With views over the marina, the cruise ships, the Port of Papeete, Moorea and sunset, the restaurant’s cool, clean interior calms the soul and soothes the spirit! You can either sit downstairs for cocktails from the bar on the water’s edge and watch the passerbys or go upstairs to a ringside table overlooking the marina. Everyone – including myself – is raving about the excellent service from the Manager, Paul and his staff Marama, Teura and others !
SIGNATURE DISHES : For me it is the “Rossini Red Tuna Tartare”! Can you imagine red tuna tartare upon which is perched a seared foie gras, Porto sauce and truffles! So unusual and so different, love it!
CUISINE : French-Polynesian with a slight Asian slant. The bistro menu has an answer for everyone’s appetites and desires.
WHO TO TALK TO : The staff, Marama, Paul, Teura and the others. If you have just arrived in Tahiti, they can give you lots of suggestions and if you are at the end of your trip, they are delighted to hear all about it. Plus they take the time to show you around the restaurant and explain the menu.
OUR OPINION : A casually chic restaurant perfect for lunch, snacks, cocktails and dinner. A great location in the center of Papeete right on the marina catching the cooling sea breezes.
L’O A LA BOUCHE (Downtown Papeete)
LOCATION: Passage Cardella, right off of the main street of Papeete. GPS will find it for you. The restaurant is in a little side street called Passage Cardella so don’t be surprised.
TRANSFERS: Not available. Easily accessible on foot as located right in the center of Papeete. 3 different parking lots are nearby.
RESERVATIONS : Highly recommended as the restaurant fills up quickly for lunch and dinner. Very popular with the locals. Phone +689 40 45 29 76 or you can reserve on line at http://www.loalabouchetahiti.com/#reservation
OPENING TIMES : Open from Monday to Friday for lunch from 11.30am to 1.30p and for dinner from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Open on Saturday for dinner only from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Closed on Sunday.
AVERAGE COST : €€-€€€
ATMOSPHERE : The name alone when translated from French to English means “Water in your Mouth” and this restaurant surely makes your mouth salivate! L’O à la Bouche is an iconic restaurant in Papeete that has been around for 24 years always featuring a great gourmet cuisine without fail! We love going back again and again always sure that the food, service and wine will be perfect! Cosy interior with a mix of beautiful booth and table seating so reserve so that you get a booth!
SIGNATURE DISHES : The entire menu is a signature dish. We cannot recommend any particular dish as in fact you should come back again and again to taste them all!
CUISINE : A vast menu covering French favorites with a Polynesian influence.
WHO TO TALK TO : To each other! This is a place for celebration: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, honeymoons and more!
OUR OPINION : A sure bet for anyone looking for an exceptional meal in an elegant setting and great service.
BLUE BANANA (West Coast in Punaauia)
LOCATION: At P.K. 11,200, district of Punaauia on the West Coast of Tahiti. GPS will find it for you (just 5mn walking down the street from the Manava Suite Tahiti Resort)
TRANSFERS: Not available. Easily accessible on foot 5mn walking from the Manava Suite Tahiti Resort. Limited parking inside. Parking on the street outside.
RESERVATIONS : Highly recommended as the restaurant fills up quickly for lunch and dinner. Very popular with the locals. Also if you want a table on the dock stretching out over the lagoon, please reserve. Phone +689 40 41 22 24
OPENING TIMES : Open from Tuesday to Saturday for lunch from 12noon to 2pm and for dinner from 6.30pm to 10pm. Open on Sunday for lunch only from 12noon to 2pm. Closed on Monday.
AVERAGE COST : €€-€€€
ATMOSPHERE : Casually chic with a roof top that opens to the air and a dock stretching out over the lagoon. Interesting Asian wood furniture and eclectic decorations in an open, airy space framing perfectly the blue lagoon. Very comfortable surroundings perfect for focusing on what you are eating! Perfect for lunch or dinner. The main room can get quite noisy when all the tables are occupied so think about reserving ahead of time for the dock overlooking the lagoon. A dynamic and attentive team ensures that your every wish is granted. There is even a firewood pizza oven turning out some delectable pizzas!
SIGNATURE DISHES : There is something for everyone from the youngest to the oldest!
CUISINE : A vast menu covering all the major choices in a French-Polynesian cuisine serving generous portions so be warned!
WHO TO TALK TO : Each other from an intimate chat or to what you’ll be doing tomorrow!
OUR OPINION : Again a sure value on the West Coast of Tahiti in the district of Punaauia just a short 15mn drive from downtown Papeete. Always incredible food for the past 20 years that I’ve been living here, with fresh ingredients, generous portions and a fun atmosphere!
L’INSTANT PRESENT (West Coast in Punaauia)
LOCATION: Inside the Marina Taina at P.K. 8,400 in the district of Punaauia on the West Coast of Tahiti.
TRANSFERS: Not available. Lots of free parking available in front of the restaurant.
RESERVATIONS : Highly recommended if you wish to have a table overlooking the lagoon. Phone : (+689) 40 57 00 08
OPENING TIMES : Open 7/7 non-stop from Sunday to Wednesday from 11am to 11pm and non-stop from Thursday to Saturday from 11am to 00h30. Happy Hour everyday from 5pm to 6.30pm. Live music often from Thursday through to Sunday in the outdoor, covered Lounge, Bar area.
AVERAGE COST : €€€-€€€€
ATMOSPHERE : Live the “Instant Moment” which is what L’Instant Présent” means! Lounge, terrasse, bar, open-air restaurant and even a Teppanyaki restaurant all rolled into one! A chic bistro environment with a clean, zen feel completed by cosy, white furniture. The perfect place to stop for a casual cocktail or glass of wine (champagne!) to hanging with your friends at sunset for Happy Hour to a “bistronomic” lunch or dinner in the open-air restaurant with stunning views of the sunset, lagoon and Moorea in the distance. Incredibly included in the food offerings is an authentic Teppanyaki restaurant with a delightful cooking show!
SIGNATURE DISHES : Try one of the beef tartars : Asian, Italian, Traditional or even the Thai Duck Tartare accompanied by their hand-cut French fries or sweet potato fries! If not, definitely reserve at the Teppanyaki restaurant for a surreal experience of Japanese cuisine in a tropical environment!
CUISINE : A traditional, quality Bistro menu focusing on French cuisine with fresh ingredients, products from the sea (mahi mahi, red tuna…) and generous portions.
WHO TO TALK TO : A millionaire yachtie! Tied up right near the restaurant are million-dollar yachts so who knows you might meet the millionaire of your dreams!
OUR OPINION : A fun and good vibe place to be right on the lagoon guaranteeing the perfect ending to your stay if you are a traveler returning to your home country.
TAHITI LA PLAGE – SAPINUS BAR (West Coast in Punaauia)
LOCATION: At P.K. 13,200 in the district of Punaauia on the West Coast of Tahiti right on the seaside and black sand beach.
TRANSFERS: Not available. Free parking available in front of the restaurant as well as 100m down the street.
RESERVATIONS : Highly recommended if you wish to have a table overlooking the black sand beach, lagoon and Moorea in the distance. Phone : (+689) 40 58 21 08
OPENING TIMES : The restaurant from Tuesday to Saturday from 11.30am to 9.30pm and Sunday from 11.30am to 2pm. The Sapinus Bar is open Tuesday to Saturday from 2.30pm to 10.30pm.
AVERAGE COST : €€€-€€€€
ATMOSPHERE : A unique Beach Bar Restaurant located in Sapinus Bay overlooking a black sand beach (Sapinus is a type of pine tree growing in the area) facing the sister island of Moorea. During whale season (from July to November), you are almost guaranteed to spy one of these majestic creatures in the bay. The team is involved in respecting sustainable development so you will not see single-use plastic. A great groovy vibe fills the air here with the crashing waves in the background and chill-house sounds from the speakers. The deco is an eclectic mix of Newport Beach meets Paris to end up in Tahiti with a white-sand floor, wooden benches and tables, white high tables and parasols. Don’t be surprised to see your gorgeous Tahitian vahine wearing her priceless, stunning pearls sitting next to a family of four fresh from the beach with sand still clinging to their feet and flip flops!
SIGNATURE DISHES : I frankly cannot go without always eating my “Burger de la Plage” or more commonly known as the Beach Burger with a freshly made Brioche bun, Black Angus chopped beef, slathered in Reblochon cheese, smoked bacon, locally sourced salad, tomato and BBQ sauce! (Have I made you hungry yet?)
CUISINE : Bénédicte, a French pastry chef extraordinaire and owner of Tahiti La Plage accompanied by her sidekick, Thierry showcase locally sourced products preferably organic! From fresh nibbles to very original salad “bowls” to uniquely made hamburgers and the quintessential French dishes with a Polynesian touch! And leave room for desert!
WHO TO TALK TO : The owners’ 2 Labradors, Nikita and Gucci, who make perfect beach mascots!
OUR OPINION : A very relaxing atmosphere, perfect for viewing the sunset if, as a traveler, you are on the last part of your journey back home. Just chill and hang out anytime of the day with delicious food, efficient and friendly service.