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For a pretty small town Vila has an excellent array of restaurants for those interested in food: French, Chinese, Australian fusion, Japanese and Vietnamese are all available in addition to the usual cafe style food (although surprisingly no Indian restaurant yet). Overall the quality is great although the prices a little high at times. The historical French connection comes through in many of the other cuisines, adding very positively to the culinary experience. (In general the food is better quality in restaurants outside of the resorts so if you are staying in one of the resorts you should get out at least on a few occassions and try some of the other places listed below).
(Also being such a small place, directions and addresses of the restaurants are not included here. You only need mention the name to your hosts or the bus or taxi driver and they will know where you want to go).
The more gourmet eaters are well serviced by Tilly's (at Chantilly's on the Bay) , Tamanu and Tropik Bistrot. For those who want a harbour view while they are eating then the following three places have varied offerings: Nambawan Cafe (right on the seafront near the north end of town - great coffee and good light food, not too expensive), Cafe du Village (in the very French-looking white arcade next to the large new hotel downtown, run by the charming Christophe) and Chantilly's (on the road out to the airport). Tamanu also has wonderful beach views and is a 20 min drive out of Vila on Efate's east coast - a wonderful place for a long slow Sunday lunch (or for a wedding reception).
A trip to Vila should include at least one meal at the French restaurant and bar, L'Houstalet, which has been going for more than 30 years now and was where Vanuatu's constitution was worked out in the early hours of the morning of 30July 1980. It is one of the few places where you can sample local flying fox and pigeon. Les Alizes is another French restaurant offering authentic dishes and with a superb view over the town and lagoon.
Harbourview Restuarant and the Bamboo Royal are the best Chinese restaurants, although there are numerous cheaper, family run businesses aruond town for those travelling on a budget. A small Vietnamese cafe in the middle of town has great Pho and other Vietnamese dishes with a French influenced offerings as well. And the Japanese restaurant has re-opened in new premises along the Wharf Road and still offers a very high level of Japanese cuisine that would rival many good Japanese places in Sydney. Cafe-style places include El Gecko (more French influenced with its newer owners) and Jill's Cafe (American influences with decent Mexican food available)
Some of the cheaper places to eat around Vila include:
There are also two new restaurants worth checking out - Chez Willie's down near Le Lagon, and an eclectic Sri Lankan/Hungarian restaurant!