Bora Bora is famous for its romantic lagoon, and its overwater bungalows. The dining scene has historically taken a back seat. The island is quite literally in the middle of nowhere, so: a) top chefs aren’t exactly racing here; b) getting fresh produce isn’t always feasible (although fresh fish is a given); c) it’s super expensive to get stuff delivered. There are some restaurants, though, that have mastered this dining dilemma thanks to hardworking and imaginative chefs. Head to these top-notch restaurants where you’re guaranteed to have the best meals in Bora Bora.
La Villa MahanaLa Villa Mahana, Leeward Islands, French Polynesia
Most guys pack light for their Tahitian getaway, but if you want to eat at La Villa Mahana, you’re going to want to bring some nice pants and a button up. La Villa Mahana is Bora Bora’s most exclusive and romantic restaurant and it only seats six couples a night (that is not a typo), so you’ll have to reserve months in advance. The gorgeous setup inside a Mediterranean-style house–classical music, candles, walls clad with Polynesian artwork–make for an incredible intimate dinner experience. The five course menu features unique Polynesian dishes made with classic French technique, and everything here is extraordinary (even the free coconut bread that comes wrapped in a banana leaf is delicious). The menu constantly changes based on the freshest ingredients and catches, but you can almost always expect seared ahi tuna with vanilla oil, lobster risotto and duck liver with sweet spices and potatoes. With wine, you’ll spend about $200 a person here.
Bloody Mary'sBloody Mary's Restaurant, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bloody Mary’s is one of the most iconic restaurants in Bora Bora and it’s a total magnet for honeymooners. The atmosphere is authentic French Polynesian retro: the dining area is right on the water, the floor is covered in sand, the chairs are the Polynesian equivalent of squat bar stools, and the bar has a thatched roof. It doesn’t get any more tiki than this. You can order up favorites like marlin, shark, and mahi mahi, and they easily serve the best rock lobster on the island, grilled with drawn butter and lime. Bloody Mar’s has been kicking it since the 60s, and it’s been visited by so many celebs that there’s not one but two walls of fames.
Lagoon at St. RegisThe St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia
Be ready to spend at least $400 at the most upscale restaurant in Bora Bora. Lagoon by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the signature restaurant at St. Regis Bora Bora. The design blends into the environment with floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass floor right over the lagoon. You’ll see rays, fish, and the occasional nurse shark swim on by while you’re eating a $100 steak. It’s a world-class dining experience with French and Asian influences, and you can expect $50 entrees like Crusted Black Papio with spices and nuts, and Mahi Mahi with white sesame and lavender, as well as appetizers like black pepper octopus and seared foie gras not too far behind in price. You’ll want to order a bottle of fine wine as well, since Lagoon is the best resort restaurant for imported vino.
St. JamesRestaurant St. James, Vaitape, French Polynesia
One of the highest rated restaurants in Bora Bora, St. James aims to please. Most couples arrive by private boat or water shuttle as it’s right on the water, and you can sit down to a beautiful sunset or stingrays swimming by under the moonlight. It’s as romantic as it sounds, and the French-Polynesian fusion cooking is exceptional. Even locals chow down here, which says a lot considering how expensive it is. We recommend the tuna prepared 4 ways, their specialty, and make sure you nab a seat out on the deck. Reservations are a must, and with drinks it will set you back about $240 a couple.
Bora Bora Yacht ClubBora Bora Yacht Club, Bora Bora, Leeward Islands, French Polynesia
Bora Bora Yacht Club is one of those laid-back waterfront restaurants where you’re thankful you can just kick back in flip flops and drink your beer straight from the bottle. You can make a day trip out of it by swimming with fish and rays in the lagoon, shacking up at the bar (the piña coladas are made with freshly squeezed coconut juice), or taking a boat out on the water. Like most of the restaurants in Bora Bora, the cuisine is Polynesian with a French twist: look for dishes like poisson cru (basically raw tuna with coconut milk) and carpaccio. They’re known to grill up some insane steaks too, like the Entrecôte Black Angus with Roquefort blue cheese sauce, if you feel like taking a break from all that fresh fish.