One of our favorite slices of Flores is the rice farming and fishing hamlet of Paga, halfway between Moni and Maumere. Its wide rushing river kissing the shore is a treat, so is the lovely beach and placid bay. But you’re here to lunch at the fabulous Restaurant Laryss, a tumbledown, beachfront fish joint, that is easily the best restaurant in Flores. Owner Agustinus Naban speaks German and English. Sometimes he has snapper, generally it’s tuna, plucked fresh that morning, rubbed generously with turmeric and ginger, squeezed with lime and roasted on an open flame flavored with coconut shells. It will be served with red rice and a buttery sambal that is hot but not scalding and full flavored. Or get the soul-stirring ikan kuah assam (tamarind fish soup), an oily, savory, spicy broth swimming with a chunk of steamed fish.
If you fall in love with Agustinus after such a magnificent feast, and why wouldn’t you, hire him as your guide, and he’ll show you megalithic stone graves and amazing ocean views from the nearby village of Nuabari. You can barely see his restaurant from the road east of town and buses won’t stop here, so you’ll need private transport. Drivers know it well.