Where to Stay Where to Eat in Moorea Like a (Wealthy) Local

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Where to Stay and Where to Eat in Moorea

Where to eat in Moorea? Well, the first thing you should know about Moorea is – it’s really expensive. I’m not kidding. A beer at a beach bar can be $5 or more. Dinner can easily run $50 a person. We paid $100 for a bottle of wine to go with a special meal. Even the staples are expensive. A dozen eggs will set you back $7. But you know what? New York can be expensive. Paris too. Don’t get me started on Tokyo! If you are going to enjoy Moorea you might as well accept the fact that some damage will be done to your wallet.

Still, if its any consolation, the drive to Belvedere Lookout, the jungle hike to the waterfalls and swimming in the bright blue lagoons are all free. And that’s exactly how you’ll spend most of your time on Moorea.

Where to Stay and Where to Eat in Moorea

Villa Lagon, Moorea

Where to eat in Moorea

Where to Stay in Moorea

Villa Lagon: We stayed with a group of friends for 10 days at this estate-style home near Maharepa. It’s large and luxurious and has a beautiful private beach with the best snorkeling we experienced on Moorea. The island-style architecture will make you swoon. As will the shimmering tile pool in the courtyard and the all-stainless commercial-style kitchen. The house is very close to restaurants, gas stations, banks, and grocery stores. It comes with two kayaks. It’s probably the best house available for rent on the entire island. It’s not (at all) inexpensive, but the villa is special beyond my wildest dreams. On the downside, the tropical climate has made the house is a little ragged on the edges. Which might bother some folks, but it’s nothing serious to me. I live in a 90-year-old house with a few maintenance issues that cannot easily be addressed without destroying the very thing that makes the house beautiful. I also have to mention security. Petty theft is a big deal on Moorea. This house could be more secure. Be careful with your valuables. Our group had cash and small electronics stolen from us right under our very noses as we dined on the patio.


Fare Tokoau: We found this place on Airbnb and fell in love with the simple way of life it offers. It’s four duplex-style fares set on a lovely little beach on the west side of the island. The sunsets are SPECTACULAR. So are the starry nights as this is the much darker side of the island. The accommodations, though basic, are clean and very authentic to the Moorean way of life. There are a few too many brightly colored children’s toys competing with the view for my taste. But this is a family home. This small annoyance is more than made up for by the joy of watching a mother nap with her toddler in a hammock and a father frolicking in the lagoon with his son.

Fare Tokoau, Moorea

Fare MitiWhile we did not stay here I couldn’t help noticing this beautiful little bungalow courtyard each time we passed these thatched-roof fares. The property sits on one of the best west-facing beaches on the island. There are kitchenettes, but no restaurant or bar.

There are, of course, a few beautiful full-service resorts on Moorea including: Hotel Sofitel Resort, InterContinental Resort & Spa, Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, and Manava Beach Resort & Spa.

Sofitel Moorea

Where to Eat in Moorea

Coco Beach: Enjoy an unforgettable day on the tiny island of Motu Tiahua located just off shore from the Intercontinental Hotel. Burgers, steaks and fresh fish cooked over an open-air grill make the dining casual and delicious. The ride over on the Coco Beach pontoon boat was a wet but invigorating top ten moment for me. 

La Paillote: Tasty free-range grilled local chicken is served along with island favorites at this casual roadside eatery. It’s the very best value on the island.

Le Mayflower: Fine dining. Fine atmosphere. And the finest wine list on the island. Don’t miss this place no matter where on the island you are staying. Our best meal – easily!

Mano Arii: Just off the roadside (and way off the radar just south of Ha’apiti) Mano Arii is my favorite pizza on the island, though I admit they have serious competition with Allo Pizza (in much easier to find Maharepa). Both serve brilliant thin-crust, wood-fired pies in remarkably similar ingredient combinations. I had the Marseillaise (fresh tuna, capers, and anchovies) in both restaurants and preferred the lighter hand and crisper crust of Mano Arii. Formerly known as Pizza Daniel, this place is primarily a take-out venue where in-the-know-locals call ahead to order their pizza to take home. Which makes sense as we dined at the small counter and waited 45 minutes to get our pizza. It was an enjoyable wait however, and I loved watching the locals and the more adventurous tourists pop in and out in a steady Sunday night stream.

Moorea Beach Café: I’ll admit I was a little disappointed with this place the first night we dined here. Because without a daylight view of yachts bobbing in the blue lagoon this smart and sexy French Riviera inspired café lost the very thing that made it special. However, a second visit and a boozy birthday lunch convinced me that these are the chicest eats (and drinks) on the island.

Pinapo: Another must visit. They serve excellent raw dishes and creative curries with the kind of feet in the sand and eyes on the ocean experience I seek when I travel to tropical locations. As a bonus they occasionally have popular beach parties with live music and coconuts roasted on an open fire.

Rudy’s: Casual fun and delicious. They are well-loved for their crab-stuffed parrot fish. It’s also (rightfully) a very popular spot among tourists. Call ahead and arrange the restaurant to pick you up if you don’t feel like driving.

Snack Mahana: “Snacks” are small, casual eateries that serve mostly local-style food. They are located all over the island in seemingly random places. Some have views. Some do not. Some are good. Some are not. You get the idea. However we loved Snack Mahana both for its ocean view and delicious food. Expect very cold beer and the best sashimi we experienced on the island.

Snack Moz: Another favorite located in the heart of Maharepa. Get in line with locals and order from the counter. The Tuna Tartare and the Crab-Shrimp Burger get high marks.

Ti Hanu Iti: This place is set on a dock overlooking Cooks Bay where they feed the sharks right from your table! It’s also listed in the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die. Which may sound like an exageration but many claim it’s the best French food on Moorea. They opened up the restaurant on a Monday night especially for our group. I’m sure I’ll die before any restaurant ever does that for me again!

GREG

Allo Pizza Moorea Snack Didier, Moorea Tipaniers Moorea Cocktails Pinapo, Moorea Poisson Cru Moorea Moorea Beach Club Nicoise Snack Mahana Moorea Fruit Tahiti Iti La Plage de Maui dinner, Tahiti

Where to Eat in Moorea Where to Eat in Moorea Where to Eat in Moorea

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