Apia Samoa Restaurants

Apia, the capital of Samoa on the island of Upolu, has a large selection of places to eat. At the budget end, Skippy's (closed Sunday), in the arcade beside the Westpac Bank on Beach Road, has fish, chicken, or sausage with chips for S$6. SNPF Food Court (closed Sunday), at the back of a passage just west of Molesi Supermarket on Beach Road, has six lunch counters selling inexpensive dishes (including breakfast).

Many of Apia's cheapest eateries are near the corner of Vaea and Convent streets, most of them open only until 1600 weekdays and 1300 Saturday. Here you'll find restaurants which dish out huge lunches to huge Samoans, but you'll need a strong stomach to join them. For example, Pinati's has no sign outside and no menu inside, but the large crowd of locals tells you it's something good. There are only a few choices, including curry, chop suey, fish, and chicken, all around S$3.50 a big plate. A step up is Gourmet Seafood and Grill (Monday to Saturday 0700-2200) on Togafu'afu'a Street with lunch specials, sashimi, fried fish, and steaks. While the food certainly isn't "gourmet" it's substantial, the outdoor thatched roof setting is pleasant, and prices are fair. You must pay the cashier first and get a number. More Samoan-style fast food is scooped out at Cam's Food Bar, a block and a half behind the Chief Post Office. Cam's is great for lunch, passable at breakfast, but overpriced at dinner. The oka (raw fish) is a bargain at S$3.50. A cold coconut is S$1.50.

Substantial Chinese meals are served at the Treasure Garden Restaurant (weekdays 1100-1400 and 1700-2200, Saturday 1700-2200) on Fugalei Street near the vegetable market. Most meals cost S$13-15, seafoods S$28-38. Although the food is good, the air conditioning may give you a chill. On Sunday (0900-1200) all you can get is takeaways from the counter inside (always a good option if you've rented a car and want to carry a cheap dinner back to your hotel).

Some of Apia's finest dining is available at Sails Restaurant and Bar (Monday to Saturday 0715-1500/1830-2300, Sunday 1700-2300), above Crabbers Bar on Beach Road. Their airy terrace provides pleasing harbor views to complement the fancy seafood, steaks, pastas, and sashimi, just count on paying at least S$25/40 pp for lunch/dinner here. Proprietors Ian and Livia Black managed top hotels in Tahiti and Fiji before settling in Apia. Thanks to Samoa's location next to the international date line, Sails can claim to be the last restaurant in the world to close every day. The wooden restaurant building itself was built by trader Harry Moors, and Robert Louis Stevenson himself stayed here before Vailima was built.

The Blue Lagoon Bar and Grill, above Bad Billy's near Sails, offers a view similar to that of Sails for half the price (main dishes S$13 to S$25). The kitchen is open Monday to Saturday 1100-1400/1800-2200. The Rainforest Restaurant (tel. 25-736; weekdays 0900-1500 and 1800-2200), nearby on Beach Road, really lives up to its name, with the wood shavings on the floor and potted plants. Rainforest usually opens weekdays only, serving breakfast and lunch 0900-1500, dinner from 1800 until late.

Bistro Tatau (closed Sunday) opposite the Flea Market is an upscale restaurant with white linen table clothes which serves mains (S$46-60) like barramundi pie and twice cooked duck after 1830.

Giordano's Pizzeria (Tuesday-Saturday 1500-2200, Sunday 1700-2100), near the Hotel Insel Fehmarn on the road connecting the National Hospital to the Cross Island Rd., has the best pizza in town and the candlelit courtyard dining area is agreeable. Italiano Pizza Bar on Beach Road between Rainforest and Crabbers has pizza for S$14-36, pastas S$18, and sashimi S$15.

For lighter fare try the Cappuccino Vineyard (Monday to Saturday 0700-2200), on Beach Road in the passage beside the National Bank of Samoa. It's a trendy cafe with specialty coffee, pastries, and upscale appetizers like sashimi, oysters, wings, and American-style hamburgers. It's owned by Sails Restaurant and the recorded music is good. Le Moana Cafe (weekdays 0730-2130, Saturday 0730-1400 and 1830-2130), in the Lotemau Center off Convent St. behind Air New Zealand, prepares good medium-priced meals and is also nice for a coffee. Breakfast runs S$9-22. Weekdays Nettie's Minimart serves a good breakfast of coffee and pastries on their terrace overlooking the harbor near the corner of Beach Road and Matautu Street.

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