Bora Bora Insider presents Bora Bora Restaurant – Ratings & Guide each year – a brief, point-form format for ease of reference, it has become an indispensable gastronomic guide to visitors to these shores.
All restaurants featuring in the guide are covered separately & individually in the Reviews for 2015 – a report produced annually & updated throughout the year concerned.
The writer owned & operated a number of hotels in Australia each of which included various restaurant facilities. The writer’s wife is a qualified Cordon Bleu (Paris), on-trained for 2 years with the only member of the Acadamie Francaise in Australia at the time before operating her own restaurant in central Sydney. Two other collaborators, one born in Hong Kong, the other in Japan & both of whom have extensive experience in restaurant operation & management, make up the review team.
Featured Restaurants, Roulottes & Snacks
The only place to start a restaurant & snack review for Vaitape is surely with the roulottes – the ‘mobile kitchens’ which make up such a central part of current day Polynesian casual dining at water’s edge.
Although roulottes are sparsely scattered throughout the island, there are 4 or 5 who regularly service a loyal clientele in central Vaitape. The idea is to stroll around to check what it is that takes your fancy – each roulette has its own speciality ranging from local favourites like Poisson Cru or Maa Tinito to crepes, pizzas or a simple steak & chips. Take your choice at one roulette & eat with friends at another; have a main at one & dessert at another – it’s all VERY casual.
It’s clean, popular with locals, inexpensive & great fun. No better place to have a meal & a night out for just $10!
After dinner take a stroll along water’s edge.
There are a number of good restaurants further north of the town centre down past the 2 major shopping centres:
ST JAMES RESTAURANT
St James Restaurant can be found on the lagoon-side almost opposite Toa Amok (super-market) occupying the waterfront section of a small shopping centre. It’s a pleasant ‘open’ layout with a great bar ‘in the sand’ at water level.
Chef Make has plenty of flair, seen in the plats de jour which change daily to reflect the drive for quality, freshness & new taste sensations. French mediterranean cuisine focussing on fresh seafood backed up by a good selection of alternatives is the restaurant’s forte – there’s something on the menu to please every palate. The food is well presented with good service in an eye-catching setting. Needless to say, it’s very popular with locals.
Open for lunch & dinner except Sundays – lunch for around $20, dinner around $30. There’s a free pick-up service for dinner, or you can moor your boat alongside the restaurant!
Almost straight opposite St James Restaurant you’ll find the Panda d’Or, a chinese restaurant specialising in cantonese food
The Panda d‘Or is easily the best chinese food in Bora Bora. Prompt & efficient service, an extensive range of dishes & reasonable prices make this a popular venue with locals especially those dining in groups.
Easy parking, the restaurant also operates a good take-away facility.
A hundred metres or so past Panda D’Or but on the lagoon-side is the Mai Kai Restaurant & Marina.
The Mai Kai is situated in a large authentic Tahitian style fare offering that wonderfully warm feel of wood & pandanus. A large deck set over the water gives the restaurant both indoor & outdoor facilities, both casual & more intimate dining options. A majestically high ceiling, a good bar with an attached swimming pool into which you can flop if the entertainment takes you there & a fabulous setting overlooking the lagoon make for the perfect package.
And the package is there – Paris trained chef/owner Teiva cooks up a storm offering a delectable range of salads, carpaccios, tartars & sashimi, plus refined seafood & steaks where thought has gone into the accompanyments. It’s a succinct menu that offers a range of dishes to suit every palate with much attention given to detail & presentation. Teva thrives on direct contact with his customers & comes table-side to give diners mouth watering descriptions of the meals he will prepare for them.
Needless to say it’s the best facility for parties & as a live music venue. Reflecting the casual nature of a marina there are burgers & chips; Teiva having been born in Hawaii knows what’s required to make a great burger!
Prices reflect the quality with salads, carpaccio, tartars & burgers for around $18, sashimi $25, the seafood & steaks $27 & a choice of well made desserts for around $12. Open for lunch & dinner, Monday to Friday, dinner only on Saturday & closed Sundays. Open late with a great music & bar scene. Free transfers for dinner.
BORA BORA YACHT CLUB
A kilometre or so further on from the Mai Kai but still on the waterfront is the Bora Bora Yacht Club. Despite being hammered by Cyclone Oli in 2010 the BBYC has taken on a new lease of life………it always had that wow factor in terms of position, traditional building styles & relaxed ambience.
In keeping with being a yacht club, it’s more a bistro than a restaurant but the flexible hours & an easy going menu give it a certain appeal. $20 – $25 will see you happily fed.
The BBYC is a great place to throw back a beer or ten watching a Bora Bora sunset. For mine it’s the best afternoon ‘watering hole’ in Vaitape; an unbeatable place to revive if you’ve just climbed to the nearby cannons!