The options for nightlife in New Caledonia are by and large centered in Nouméa where almost all the bars, clubs and fine dining restaurants are located. The long period of French colonization means that Parisian food is very much a specialty of the islands, as are the French style bistros and cafés for which Nouméa is famous. Another national specialty is the Kanak bougna, a dish of chicken, meat, seafood or a combination of the three, basted in coconut, wrapped in palm leaves and cooked in an underground oven. Most of the food in New Caledonia has to be imported, which often means it is of exceptional quality and expensive. Aside from restaurants, Nouméa has a number of bars and clubs where visitors can relax over a drink or dance the night away to live music or local DJs.
Bars and Pubbing in New Caledonia
The bars, pubs and clubs tend to be centered in Nouméa, particularly in the touristy beach districts. In Anse Vata, trendy bars like the waterfront Bodega Del Mar (Ouen Toro Area, Anse Vata) or Poplight (134 Promenade Roger Laroque, Anse Vata) have cocktails, DJ’s and live music. Downtown, the cozy Muzz Bar (37 Rue Jean Jaures, Nouméa) is open for drinks, tapas and sometimes live jazz. A good place for sunset drinks is Le Bout du Monde (4 Rue de la Fregate Nivose, Quartier Latin, Nouméa) as it has rooftop views of Port Moselle Marina.
For those who fancy playing billiards over a beverage, the Best Bar (45/47 rue de Sébastopol Place des Cocotiers Area) has some tables. For gamblers, there are a number of casinos, with Casino Royale (55 prom Roger Laroque Baie des Citrons Le Surf Novotel) and Grand Casino (5 prom Pierre Vernier, Ouen Toro Area) being the two main spots for betting.
Dining and Cuisine in New Caledonia
The honor of being the oldest restaurant in New Caledonia goes to Le Miretti Gascon (Gabriel Laroque, Nouméa) which was established in 1970 and still serves fine French food in a converted house. The eatery is particularly noted for its duck and seafood dishes.
Other local French favorites include La Relais de la Vallee (39 Ter Rue De Charleroi, Nouméa, Grand Terre, New Caledonia), for its generous portions of seafood and La table des Gourmets (Aerodrome, 91 Rue Maurice Herzog, Nouméa) for beautifully presented Alsace style dishes in an authentic French Bistro.
Le Roof (Sur Le Lagon, Face au Palm Beach, Nouméa) has a reputation for fine modern fusion food in one of the best locations in New Caledonia. The restaurant is located on a jetty jutting out over the ocean with a hole in the middle of the floor so diners can see fish and if you're lucky sharks or dolphins swimming below. Another novel dining experience can be found in New Caledonia’s only revolving restaurant Le 360 (Ramda Plaza, 7, rue Louis Blériot, Nouméa) on the 19th floor of the Ramada Plaza. The restaurant serves food with a view, with a Polynesian buffet at lunchtime and high end innovative international cuisine at night.
While bougna is a national specialty, it is not necessarily easy to come by, due to its tribal nature. Chez Jeanne Forrest (Gite, Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia) is the first in Lifou to offer a bougna barbeque dinner which 24-hour advance bookings are required.