Best Restaurants In Rarotonga, Cook Islands juni 23, 2022 – Posted in: Cook Islands, Travel – Tags: , , , , , ,

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Mango, okra and bread fruit at Pungana Nui Market - SittingUnderAPalmTreejpg

Mango, okra and bread-fruit at Pungana Nui Market

Looking for recommendations for the best restaurants in Rarotonga? On the small Pacific island you will not find McDonalds, KFC or Starbuck – and fortunately for that. The Pacific Ocean and the island’s tropical climate produce a wealth of fruit and vegetables you rarely see anywhere else.

At the fishmonger you can buy yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi and blue marlin, which have just been pulled up from the sea. The trees abound in passion fruit, mango and papaya. From the palm trees the coconuts fall and along the road there are small stalls where you can buy fresh pineapples and bananas, picked the same morning.


Around the island and especially in the capital Avarua you will find good restaurants where the chef really knows how to conbine the local ingredients. However, the island also has many places that advertise with “$5 burger” and other snacks. The quality of the restaurants on the island goes in many directions, and if you want to be sure to get a great meal, then check out Tripadvisor.

Ika mata at Tamarind Restaurant - SittingUnderAPalmTree

Ika mata with breadfruit chips at Tamarind Restaurant

However, these 5 restaurants in Rarotonga are especially recommended if you are passing the small island:


One of the best restaurants in Rarotonga is Tamarind Restaurant, located east of Avarua, just outside the city. In the garden behind the large tamarind tree lies a gem of a restaurant. As you approach it, you can not help but notice the house itself, in which the restaurant is located. In the converted British consulate, there are still traces of the original owners, The Union Steamship Company, who in 1904 built the house in typical colonial style.

The menu at Tamarind Restaurant offers good, hearty food made from local ingredients. According to the locals, you always get great food here of the same high quality. Try choosing something unknown to you, for example the local delicacy Ika-mata, raw fish in coconut milk. Another specialty is Blackened Tuna with Pawpaw Salsa, served with snake beans and breadfruit. You know tuna, a pawpaw is papaya, but the meter-long beans and the starchy breadfruit must be experienced!

The Mooring Fish Cafe - SittingUnderAPalmTree

Tuna sandwich and mahi mahi wrap at The Mooring Fish Cafe

Sue Carruther, who runs the restaurant with her husband Robert Brown, is also the author of one of the only cookbooks with food from Rarotonga. If you feel like cooking all the exciting food at home, the book is an obvious souvenir.


With a view of the lagoon at Muri Beach, you can have a bite of an extremely delicate version of the fish sandwich that Rarotonga is especially known for. Feathery, white sandwich bread, perfectly matched dressing, crispy salad and then once freshly fried mahi mahi – no frills, just really, really good!

Kai Pizza - Rarotonga - SittingUnderAPalmTree

If you want to try a pizza with an exotic twist, stop by Kai Pizza, Rarotonga

At The Mooring Fish Cafe you definitely get the best fish sandwich on the island, and the locals, they know. The small tables are filled as soon as the restaurant opens.


As mentioned before, there are none of the big fast food chains in Rarotonga. Should you, on the other hand, be affected by an uncontrollable craving for pizza, you will find Kai Pizza just opposite the Punanga Nui Market in Avarua. Here you get delicious and crispy pizzas, often with a rather exotic filling. Here, pineapple on the pizza is completely standard!

Antipodes - SittingUnderAPalmTree

Crudo (raw fish) Rarotonga-style on Antipodes

A little tip: The locals are very fond of BBQ sauce and also like to put it on the pizza. Unless you are the type of person who loves the taste of BBQ on everything, including your oatmeal, ask to have the sauce served in a small bowl next to it. And remember, no matter where you are in the world, you’ll never go wrong with the classic Pizza Margherita.


One of the more exquisite restaurants in Rarotonga you will find a little south of the main town. Up on the green mountain with the most beautiful view over the bay at Black Rock, reigns the island’s finest restaurant, Antipodes. In the restaurant, which is built and decorated like a European medieval castle, you will find a classic Mediterranean cuisine, adapted to the local ingredients.

Punanga Nui Market - Rarotonga - SittingUnderAPalmTree

Pancake with fresh banana, freshly grated coconut and homemade mango syrup at Punanga Nui Market

The skilled waiters help to choose from the tempting menu. Maybe you want some oysters with accompanying bubbles? Parrot fish in coconut sauce? And would you like to finish off with a semifreddo or a zabaglione? Oh, it’s sure hard to choose. Between the many delicious dishes you can enjoy the beautiful view while the sun slowly sets in the ever roaring Pacific Ocean.


Every Saturday, locals and tourists flock to the Punanga Nui Market in Avarua. From early in the morning the small bus is full and the parking spaces behind the market are quickly occupied.

Cook's Oasis - Rarotonga - SittingUnderAPalmTree

A tempting selection at the bakery near Cook’s Oasis, Rarotonga

The many stalls on the market offer fruit and vegetables, but the vast majority come here to eat and have fun. Try a Nu, an unripe coconut with mouth-watering coconut water, one of the many stews, or a pancake with coconut and mango.


Around the island there are many small bakeries, where you can buy freshly baked bread from early on in the morning. Try a cheesebread (with a slice of baked cheese), one of the hot croissants or a fluffy date scone.

The bakers on the island are especially famous for their donuts with cinnamon sugar, and with one of those in your stomach, you do not have to think about lunch!


Rarotonga offers hotels, resorts and apartments in all price ranges. Here you get a few recommendations on some of the best hotels in Rarotonga, all of which can be booked directly through See more hotels by doing your own search here:


Right at the beachfront in the Blue Lagoon at Muri Beach lies the luxurious Muri Beach Club Hotel. Here you can enjoy the view of the small islands in the lagoon, while the tour boats sail past with tourists. When the body needs to cool down, there are few steps to a dip into the coral blue water. In and around Muri Beach there are also quite a few restaurants and bars.


There are few places on earth that are more beautiful than the Cook Islands – and with the south-eastern tip of Rarotonga at the very top of the list. Here on the coast is a gem of a beach hotel, the Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel. The hotel is for you who have flown many miles just to have the ultimate vacation. Here, all your needs are taken care of, which here on Cook Islands are quickly limited to blue water, hammocks all the way down to the beachfront and a bartender who is ready to poor you a cool drink.


Ten minutes drive from the main town Avarua is the large Black Rock. The stone marks the start of some of the island’s best beaches, located all the way down the coast. The area therefore also has many small and larger hotels and resorts, but the area is somewhat quieter than Muri Beach. Here you can swim from the sandy beaches and enjoy the sunset to the sound of the roar of the waves. If you are looking for a good value hotel, The Edgewater Resort and Spa is highly recommended. In the morning you can go straight out into the lagoon for a swim, and the island small bus has its own stop at the resort.

See more great hotels in Rarotonga here on!

Read the other articles about Rarotonga here!

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