The dining scene in the Pacific continues to expand and revitalise as newcomers open and old favourites re-invent themselves. Here’s our guide to the best.
Coral Sea Resort & Casino
Newly opened in December 2015 Coral Sea Resort & Casino is a little piece of luxury to be found in Honiara, just a short walk from the city centre to Town Ground. Set in a architecturally designed building beautifully suited to the Pacific, Coral Sea is not only a Casino, where comfortable, air conditioned rooms offer blackjack, keno and poker machines, there’s more to enjoy here.
On hot days take a dip in the pool and order a drink or snack and enjoy it poolside. Boasting an open air cocktail and coffee bar where you can order drinks and light meals while catching up with friends. Or if you prefer just sit back and enjoy your drink while looking out beyond the pool to the turquoise ocean. The cocktails are a diverse array from your old favourites to some specially crafted unique cocktails only found here, it’s the perfect place to unwind.
The highlight for many is Haydn’s Steakhouse. As the name suggests steak is on the menu, if your after t-bone, eye fillet, rib fillet or rump you will not be disappointed. Beef sourced from Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu ensures the finest quality for guests. However steak is not the only item on the menu, Haydn’s presents a modern Australian influence with an Asian Pacific twist. Diners can enjoy beef ribs, duck rolls, fresh fish or the seafood tower. With live entertainment most evenings it provides excellent food, beautiful views and a great atmosphere. Open for lunch with burgers and chicken parmigiana or afternoon drinks with Asian platters for groups. Haydn’s is the place to get away from it all in Honiara.
– Bronwyn Norris
Craving a top-grade gastronomic experience on a Fijian island? Fiji astounds here too. Malolo Island’s Likuliku Lagoon Resort Fiji (likulikulagoon.com), just 25 kilometres from Nadi International Airport and reachable by boat or seaplane, is home to Fiji’s first and only water bure island resort. If staying in a villa on stilts positioned in ridiculously good-looking sea is on your bucket list, this is the place to head.
New Zealand-born chef Ihaka Peri has headed up the kitchen since 2013 and his passion lies in the yearning to wow diners with daily changing menus that excite. He sources fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs from the onsite garden (“Currently we have numerous types of heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, local watercress and spinach, lemons, limes, chilli, micro herbs, local sage, coriander, aloe vera, local chestnuts, pumpkins, pumpkin blossoms, mint for the coco mojitos, lemongrass, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, Thai basil and sweet basil,” he says without taking a breath) and together with the Likuliku team established the island’s first bee farm in August 2014).
– Tatyana Leonov.
Cardo’s at Denarau
The thing that’s great about Port Denarau is after the cruise ships have departed, the shops have shut and the sun begins to set, the locals come out to play.
The best known local is Richard (Cardo) Slatter, owner of Cardo’s Steakhouse. This fun, fiesty and flamboyant (well, perhaps well dressed is a better description) Fijian is the life and love of Cardo’s. A sharp wit and just as sharp a tongue, Cardo has been doing what he does best – restaurants and bars for longer than he cares to admit or remember.
Cardo’s is famous in Fiji for its steaks and fish served on a sizzling hot plate. Fresh seafood, wood-fired pizzas, Chinese wok creations, cocktails, delicious desserts and daily specials.
The Fijiian staff is fun and attentive, usually under the watchful eye of Cardo. The chefs select only the best prime New Zealand steaks, and have been doing it so well for so many years, the Kiwi meat exporters come to them daring to offer nothing but the very best.
Cardo’s is laid back and casual; sometimes with a live band, sometimes sport on the big screen. It’s the sort of place you want to hang out with mates, or join a table of expats and locals. It is a favourite of Pacific Island Living’s and we highly recommend it.
– Tiffany Carroll
V at Sofitel Fiji
Just a stone’s throw away from Port Denarau French chef Jean-Marc Ruzzene presents diners with a sophisticated French-inspired menu at the suave V Restaurant at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa. Unlike its perennially busy Salt Restaurant which overlooks the gigantic family pool V Restaurant is another realm,with an elegant interior, a colour scheme of browns, crèmes and beiges dominates the elegant room..
Here everything is beautifully presented (think crisp table linen and beautiful menus), service always comes with a smile, and dishes whizz out looking like artworks. An out-of-this world experience … in the tourist centre of Fiji.
– Tatyana Leonov