Editor’s note: This is the third of three posts on the Hilton Bora Bora. Check out our other posts here:
Like the rest of French Polynesia, Bora Bora has a rich food tradition with heavy French and Chinese influences. Unfortunately, the Hilton maintains the brand’s tradition of serving very average food at marked up prices – so what’s a hapless foodie supposed to do?
Eating at the Hilton Bora Bora – The Bad
The Hilton Bora Bora has three restaurants:
- Tamure Grill – serves breakfast and casual meals
- Iratai Restaurant – serves Polynesian cuisine or Mediterranean food (i.e. French)
- Upa Upa Restaurant – located at the Spa. Serves some sort of mystery cuisine.
After reading flyertalk posts, I figured the hotel food would be mediocre and over-priced. As it turns out, the prices were fairly reasonable (at least by hotel standards).
EATING AT THE TAMUR GRILL
Mrs. Selfish and I ended up eating a few meals at the Tamur Grill before we got wise. Since the menu is the same for lunch and dinner, I’ll post ‘em all here.
The Fish of the Day (2900 XPF – about $31) – a firm white fish served on top of a bed of vegetables with a side of fries and a vanilla sauce. Mrs. Selfish was excited to try the vanilla sauce, which was supposed to be a specialty of the region. Unfortunately, the hotel’s version was simply too sweet – the fish itself was decent, but at $30+ this was pretty disappointing.
Tuna Burger (2400 XPF – about $25) – tuna with tomato compote, daikon shoot, wasabi mayo, and Japanese pickles. The tuna was nice and firm and the pickles with mayo were excellent, but I found the overall flavor combination to be more than a little strange.
VERDICT: Maybe – if you’re really into quasi-Japanese fusion.
Moorea Pizza (2490 XPF – about $26) – tomato sauce pizza topped with pig confit, red onions, and pineapple. The pizza crust was surprisingly crisp and tasty, but the toppings were a bit of a miss. It was large enough for Mrs. Selfish and I to split for lunch after a decent breakfast, however.
VERDICT: Good quantity for cost, but otherwise just ok.
Carbonara (1900 XPF) – tagliatelle pasta, large slices of parmesan, small chunks of bacon, parsley, all topped with a raw egg. This was the surprise of the stay – the carbonara was rich, creamy, and delicious.
VERDICT: Best bargain at the hotel, and quite tasty!
EATING AT IRATAI
Mrs. Selfish and I also tried Iaratai, the Polynesian style restaurant at the Hilton. The food was surprisingly good, though service was a little slow – here’s what we ordered:
Curry Shrimp (2400 XPF – about $25) – the Moorea shrimp in curry came in a small wooden bowl with sliced zucchini, carrots, and onions, with coconut flavored rice. The shrimp were tender and the curry was flavorful.
VERDICT: Tasty, but not as memorable as some of the other dishes.
Grandmom’s Dish (2800 XPF – about $30) – roasted pork served in a rich, flavorful gravy, topped with toasted coconut and a side of rice. Delicious, succulent, and packed with savory spices. This was my favorite Hilton dish.
VERDICT: Order it immediately!
The Bounty (1200 XPF – about $13) – a local cookie, served on top of ice cream with hot fudge, topped with whipped cream and a thin slice of chocolate. Pure. Deliciousness. The cookie added a nice crunch and the ice cream was rich without being cloyingly sweet.
VERDICT: An awesome dessert. I’m sad we split one.
Eating at Viatape’s Many Roulottes
If eating on-property isn’t your idea of a good time, the Hilton provides guests with a “complimentary” shuttle boat which costs 700 XPF round trip for the day. Thinking of eating dinner out with the Missus? Be prepared to pay an extra 1500 XPF per person for the privilege of using the shuttle at night.
Costly, yes, but man, is it worth it.
Sure, you could eat at some of the town’s restaurants, but like Tahiti, the Roulottes are where it’s at. The food is fast, cheap, and above all delicious. It’s also, consequently what most of the natives eat.
Here’s the trucks we ended up sampling, in case you find yourself in Viatape one of these days.
Serving up all sorts of hot rotisserie chicken options, Dom Poulet can be found across from Viatape’s church during lunch hours – closing up shop around 1:30pm.
Mrs. Selfish ordered the half chicken + fries (650 XPF – about $7.25) and I ordered the Sandwich Complet (650 XPF), which was a sandwich stuffed with chicken, fries, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, and mayo.
Portion sizes were ridiculously large. The fries were nice and crispy, and the rotisserie chicken was rich and succulent. Definitely worth the money.
VERDICT: Well worth the money, if a little basic. For something a little different try the curry sandwich.
Recommended to us as “the red truck,” by servers at the Hilton, Chez Terava is usually parked in a small shopping center close to the main church. They serve classic French Polynesian dishes, French food, burgers, and Chinese food variants.
Our group ordered the Steak Frites (1000 XPF – about $11), Crevettes aux Curry (Shrimp curry – 1600 XPF- about $18), Poisson Cru au Lait du Coco (1200 XPF – $13), and Chow Mein Special (1200 XPF – $13).
While the Chow Mein, Shrimp Curry, and Poisson Cru were all excellent, the real star of the show was the Steak Frites. Thin slices of medium-rare beef served with a slice of herb-butter draped over perfectly cooked fries, and served with a side of gravy. Finger-licking, amazing goodness.
VERDICT: Get the Steak Frites, you’ll thank me later.
Typically found next to Chez Terava, Pizzeria Alfredo’s serves up honest-to-goodness thin slice pizza – all out of the truck. The only downside is Pizzeria Alfredo isn’t out every night (at least not on Mondays).
We ordered a large “La Royal” (1350 XPF – about $15), which was topped with tomato, olives, peppers, ham, mushrooms, crème freche, eggs, and cheese. The crust was amazingly crispy, despite the short cooking time, and the combination of ingredients made for an intoxicating rush of flavors.
VERDICT: If you’re hankering for a good pizza, look no further. Who knew food trucks could make such good pizzas?
The last Roulotte we tried was Chez Chris, which is located next to the church and is available for dinner (though not on Mondays). Chez Chris serves similar fare to Chez Terava, though their menu seems to be slightly larger.
We ordered the Tartare du Thon (Grilled Tuna – 1500 XPF – about $17), and the Boeuf Braise (Braised Beef – 1300 XPF – about $15).
The Tartate du Thon was firm, fresh, and delicious – especially when paired with the gravy that came on the side. Where the Tartare du Thon was good, the Boeuf Braise was magnificent. Served with caramelized onions in a sauce that tasted like it must have been passed down for generations, the beef was extremely tasty and tender.
VERDICT: Our favorite roulotte. I was very sad to find they were closed on Mondays.
And that’s that for Bora Bora. Next up we’ll be talking about further adventures in the land down under, starting with diving the Great Barrier Reef!