Food and Drink in Noumea
Many of Noumea's restaurants feature European cuisine with a strong French influence. The multi-ethnic menus will take you on an imaginary trip to regions of France, as well as Indonesia, Vietnam and China. Meat tends to be beef, with not much pork or chicken. Restaurants specialising in island food serve deer, shrimp, coconut, crab or wild hog.
For a local taste, try bougna, a traditional Kanak dish of yams, taro, fish and shellfish. Ingredients are marinated in coconut milk and simmered in banana leaves for several hours. You may want to ask what's in each dish, as cooks sometimes add pigeons or candlenut worms. The white worms, served raw or toasted, taste a bit like hazelnuts.
A quick straw poll at the tourism office reveals that La Perle d'Eram is the best for bougna. The restaurant is located at 59 bis rue Sebastopole. It's also the go-to place for grilled lobster.
For lighter lunches of sandwiches, salads, pastries and noodles:
Au Delices de Noumea, a short walk from Coconut Square, at 29 rue Eugene Porcheron, is a gem of a patisserie, which shines with bakery goods, cakes, snacks and sandwiches. It's open daily at breakfast and lunch.
Almost diagonally across from the boulangerie you will find Boop's Cafe, where you can get a thoroughly decent coffee and killer croquet monsieur with green salad. The area is mobbed by hip, young locals and seems to be the place to see and be seen. 20 rue Eugene Porcheron.
Practise your French at Au P'tit Cafe de Noumea (8, Ave des freres Carcopino, Noumea) when you order fancy fare such as Chausson de porc a la pistache with creme de foie gras.
Atelier Gourmand, close to the Anse Vata beach at 141 route de l'Anse Vata, serves sandwiches and bakery goods. It's open Tuesday to Sunday, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For a longer or special meal:
Chez Toto, a French bistro, serves family-style, moderately priced meals. It's near Coconut Square, at 13 rue Auguste Brun.
L'Assiette du Cagou features a locally inspired menu, with veggies cooked as they would be in the countryside. The dining room is basic, but the owner mingles with guests. 15 rue Auguste Brun.
La Chaumiere House features a French menu with Asian and Pacific influences. Items like feta cheese flan, fish pasta, lamb, beef tartare and fish tartare are offered for lunch and dinner. It's closed Sundays. Reservations are recommended. It's located at 13 rue du Dr Guegan, Latin Quartier Latin. 24 27 62