Pacific Islands are not generally known for their culinary achievements. (Although I think they should be, check out my Tongan and Samoan posts to learn more). But something sets New Caledonia apart. New Caledonia’s french colonial history, and strong ties with France today helps create an interesting combination of traditional French flavours with Pacific Island exotic flair.
The culinary epicentre of New Caledonia is the capitol of Noumea. This is where you will come across traditional French dishes, super markets full of different types of cheese, and of course, bakeries selling baguettes. Outside of Noumea your options become a little more limited.
There are three main areas where you can grab some good food in Noumea; the city centre, Anse Vata, and Baie des Citrons.
Baie des Citrons
The Baie des Citrons is a good place to start if you are not sure what you want to dine on. The strip here along the beach is one restaurant and bar after another. You can find everything here, from Australian coffee chains, to tapas joints, American style steakhouses and even a microbrewery.
None of the places along the strip of Baie des Citrons deserve a particular mention except for one. Microbrewery Les 3 Brasseurs really blew us away. A Pacific Island was the last place we thought we would find a micro brewery, but at Les 3 Brasseurs you can choose from blonde, amber, brown and sometimes a seasonal variety that are all brewed on site. Tasting trays are available and highly recommended. The food here is decent as well.
Anse Vata, just around the corner from Baie des Citrons is near another one of Noumeas beaches. The eateries are not as highly packed here as they are at Baie des Citrons, but there is still plenty of choice. If you are after a fine dining experience, we heard great things about Le Roof. This restaurant is at the end of a jetty overlooking the UNESCO heritage listed lagoon. We didn’t want to subject the other diners to spending their pricey meal with our little one, so we didn’t make it there personally.
One place worth mention in Anse Vata is a wine bar called Le Bilboquet Plage. I wouldn’t recommend it for a drink and a snack only. The wine choices were impressive for a Pacific Island, but the meals fell flat. That being said, the staff were incredibly pleasant and even give out toys to the children.
The City Centre
The city centre is where you will find most of the best French restaurants in Noumea. We only had time to check out one. We went to Restaurant La Chaumière one day and had the three course lunch. Highly recommended! Dan and I chose different entrees, mains and deserts, and it was honestly hard to pick a winner between the two of us. All the meals were delicious, and I highly recommend the desert sampling plate.
Tip: Visit the more expensive restaurants at lunch for a much better deal.