Located on the water on the eastern end of Dili you’ll find the quickest servers, cheapest meals and some of the best views in town. They serve a variety of Thai and Lebanese food. Don’t leave Timor without trying their pad thai and Lebanese breads with dips, Y-U-M!
Don’t let the extremely long service times put you off, Victoria’s Restaurant serves the best fresh fish in town. Part of the fun is going around the back to choose the fish you’d like to eat. A good tip from my East Timorese friend is to go in the afternoon to order your meal so they’ll be ready by the time you arrive later in the night.
You haven’t had pizza until you’ve tried Food-L-Do’s stuffed crust Peperoni Pizza. Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. This little café located on the main road, Comoro Road, also has a great lunch, drink and desert menu. The staff are also incredibly friendly and polite.
Seems strange for me to have a whole ‘pancake category’, but Caz’s pancakes are so good they deserve their own category, in fact, they’re the best pancakes I’ve ever had. Super thin and smothered in butter, plus your choice of toppings (banana, maple syrup, sugar, lemon, nutella etc..) make these guys to die for. They also serve massive nachos and sandwiches. Good value for money too, it won’t break the bank but you might need to loosen your pants after your meal. And did I mention the location? Again, smack bang on the beach. Perfect for breakfast or afternoon beers.
For perfectly cooked Eggs Benedict, look no further than Hotel Esplanada. The whole place- food and décor- is stylish. Whether you are alone or meeting up with friends, there’s no where better to spend your Sunday morning than reclining on their lounges and looking out towards the ocean. But make sure you bring your sunnies because it sure does get bright there.
If cake is your thing, you can’t go past a bit of slice and coffee at RnR Cafe. Their selection changes daily but includes caramel slice, mud cake, cookies etc…They taste exactly like something Mum has slaved away at for hours making (but only if your Mum is an excellent baker). It’s a great little café located over near Audian, the UN side of town. And they’ve even got newspapers and magazines under the tables (if you’re lucky, and sit in the right spot you might even find some reading material that’s in date. Remember, reading material is hard to come by in Timor).
There’s always something going on or someone you know at Castaway. With live music nights and great food, this place can get pretty packed. Unlike many of the other restaurants around town, that sit up high on stilts, this one always seems to catch a breeze. This is the restaurant you should go to if you are looking for a good time or to meet new people.
With peaceful surrounds and happy staff, this is the perfect place to hide if you don’t feel like running into people. Just head inside to the air conditioned dining room and you can keep an eye on who is sitting outside. I rate this place for their good drinks, pastas, sandwiches and magazines.
Dili Beach Hotel
If you like watching sport with a great atmosphere, Dili Beach Hotel is the perfect spot for you. Enjoy a pizza, beer and take a pick at which sport you’ll watch from one of the many screens located throughout the restaurant. With the London Olympics on now, there is no better place to see the big races.
“One More Bar” (now closed)
If you like sausages or steak, “One More Bar”, is where you’ll live. There’s also massive screens where you can watch sports, music on a Friday night, board games and pool tables. Fun nights are to be had here without the crowds of Castaway, just make sure you can still walk when you leave because gee their stairs are steep.
“Steak on a Stone” (no idea the real name, located on the same road as ANZ but head the opposite direction to the shops, look out for the large orange building)
Choose your to type of steak and then cook it on your own piping hot stone. It will be the most fun you’ve had since you were learning to cook as a kid. Can’t say much more about this place because I was too busy focusing on cooking the perfect steak.
Pick and mix your own meal from Mama’s Resto (an Indonesian buffet). Super cheap, it should only cost you a few dollars. They’ve got rice, fried chicken, fish, vegetables, amazing deep fried garlic potato mash (that’s what I think it is anyway) etc… Watch out for the meat that looks like beef and is called “RW”, that’s dog!! If you’re feeling brave, but not brave enough to eat dog, try their chocolate and avocado juices (tip: you have to order your drinks for where you pay).
Expensive but good Japanese. Excellent to be able to buy sushi and edamame in Timor.
Obviously there’s a lot of competition in this category and like the name suggests, Ocean View, has got the best ocean views in town. The restaurant is set on decking raised above the beach and looking straight out at the water. It’s up the northern end of Dili, and it has the best sunsets. They’ve got comfy lounges setup and a great wine list.
Open 24 hours Tiger Fuel will meet your late night needs of snacks (chocolates, ice creams), alcohol (wine, spirits, beer) and they’ve even got a takeaway shop at the back called Chae’s which serves yummy pizza, hamburgers and chips. Trust me, you’ll be thankful for Tiger Fuel.
Order a small cheese and ham toasted roll and coffee, then sit back and dissolve into the cigarette smoke. The smoke is actually a perfect camouflage because it allows you to get a good view of all the foreign dignitaries, tourists and famous people (famous in Timor anyway) that hang out here. Also there’s quite a lovely restaurant inside too.
Not much of a view, across the road from Leader Supermarket and Timor Plaza, but worth it for the food. The eccentric Indian cook and owner of it sure knows how to cook up some special Indian dishes.
“Chicken on a stick”
You’ve seen how East Timorese eat fish sometimes, on a stick, well they also make chicken sticks too. You’ll find a variety of tent vendors on the beach across the road from the monstrosity of Beach Garden Hotel. There are plenty of plastic chairs you can sit and enjoy your feast of chicken sticks, fish and rice. They’ve got drinks too. Took me ages to work up the guts to go there and get amongst it with the locals and what a mistake that was! Trust me, it’s friendlier than it seems.