Travelling to a tropical island as two vegetarians, we knew we were setting ourselves somewhat of a culinary challenge. Vanuatu is known for two things food wise – seafood (including coconut crabs, which don’t actually live in water!) and beef – neither of which were much help to us! We did a bit of research before we left but there was very little information available, so I thought I would share my experiences with you all in case it can be of any help to someone in the future!
The first thing to say is pizza. We ate a lot of pizza. Apparently it’s the go-to non-meat option at almost all restaurants in Port Vila, particularly for lunch! Luckily a few places had more than one variety of vegetarian pizza, so we still had a little choice, but something tells me it will be a little while before I eat pizza again!
It wasn’t all bad though! We did come across a few places that catered pretty well for vegetarians – so much so we may have eaten at some of them more than once!
Jill’s Cafe is on the main street in Port Vila and is a popular lunchspot, particularly when the cruise ship is in town. It does American style burgers and mexican food, as well as simple sandwiches and salads, so we had a few choices which was a nice change! We both went with the vegetarian burrito and it was delicious – filling and flavoursome!
Nambawan Cafe is located on the bay, behind the main street and is a very popular spot for tourists and locals, particularly thanks to the free wifi! They do a moonlight cinema screening 3 nights a week, and we went along for dinner on one of those nights. It was pizzas again, but their whole dinner menu is pizza so that’s okay! We also stopped in for lunch one day and they have a lot more vegetarian options including sandwiches, all-day brunch and rotating salads. B had a cheese & tomato croissant and I tried out two of the salads. They also do a huge range of juices including one of the most delicious combinations we had all trip, so it’s worth a visit!
La Tentation Restaurant
This restaurant was a bit more upmarket than some of the others we visited, with nice tablecloths and a more fancy vibe. It also had the most extensive vegetarian list of anywhere we discovered! It also had a great view over the bay back towards our apartment, so it was a lovely place to spend time over an evening meal. We had dinner there one of our first nights and went all out with both entrees and mains (there were options, we couldn’t help ourselves!). We had a vegetable stack and asian bean cakes for entree and then B had spaghetti with eggplant meatless balls and I had a potato dhal with chickpea fritters. Sorry about the quality of photo – I only had my phone with me and the lighting wasn’t great! The food however, was delicious.
We went back for lunch one day and although it was the end of their lunch service (they had packed up the salad buffet which would have been a great vegetarian option!) we were able to get veggie burgers that were quite nice, although the patty was more potato than anything else! The chips were tasty though!
Tilly’s on the Bay
Tilly’s Restaurant is part of the Chantilly’s Hotel and was, as the name suggests, right on the water at the other end of town to where we stayed. We had heard they did great Sunday brunch so headed there our very first morning and were not disappointed. There was heaps of vegetarian options, and they happily left the bacon out of one of the specials for me. The restaurant was also a little on the fancy side, with excellent wait staff and delicious drinks. For brunch B had the baked eggs and I had banana french toast. Delicious!
We went back to Tilly’s on our last night in Port Vila and had a few of their tapas options – they had about 5 vegetarian tapas options, plus some vegetarian entrees and mains, so plenty of choice which was great! We just shared three of them and then had dessert!
And that was that! I don’t think we did too badly all things considered, and whilst we might have been short on choice a few times we also ate some really lovely meals so definitely no complaints! Just please don’t offer me any pizza for a while!
Have you struggled to find vegetarian food somewhere before? Resorted to eating the same thing for days on end?!