One of the best things about visiting the Cook Islands is the abundance of fresh food. From the sweet mangoes that grow on the side of the road, to the freshly caught kai moana of the Pacific Ocean, a visit to Rarotonga is always accompanied by the tropical flavours of the Pacific. In true island style, you don’t need fine dining to enjoy fresh local produce, so we’ve rounded up the best places to eat in Rarotonga for casual dining.
It’s always worth checking in with our managers, Tim and Lucile, on which eating spots are on good form during your stay, because as with many things on our island, the one constant thing is inconsistency!
Beluga is one of the best cafés in Rarotonga where you can find us most days enjoying the best coffee on the island. We recommend trying their ika mata – a traditional Cook Islands dish of raw fish marinated in lime juice and served in coconut milk. Or try the parrot fish Thai curry for a local spin on a traditional Thai favourite. Beluga is also a great spot for brunch or lunch with all the classic café favourites – sandwiches, burgers, bacon and eggs, and salads – making it one of the top places to eat in Rarotonga.
Check out Charlie’s for a totally laid-back beach-hut experience. You can dine with the sand between your toes and a view of the ocean, and enjoy live music in the evenings. They do fantastic fish sandwiches, delicious tropical smoothies, and a have a great range of diner food. Make sure you go hungry as the portions are huge!
3. Mooring Fish Cafe
Set in a shipping container next to the sea, the Mooring Fish Café is top cafe in Rarotonga. They’re famous for their fish sandwiches made with the freshest local ingredients and homemade sauces. They also have a range of island staples like seared tuna, ika mata, fish and chips and salads. It’s quintessential Rarotongan eating – simple, delicious and no-nonsense.
4. The Lucky Rooster
Well worth the trek into town, The Lucky Rooster is one of the island’s best brunch spots. They have consistently great coffee, kiwi-style brunches, deli-style counter food and even locally made kombucha flavoured with Manuka honey.
5. Vili’s Burger Joint
For the best burgers in town, you can’t go past Vili’s. This popular little spot serves flamed grilled burgers filled with fresh ingredients. Perfect for a quick and easy takeaway.
6. Muri Night Market
The Night Market in Muri is a relaxed outdoor food market, buzzing with with locals and visitors alike it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat. With a great range of street food, choose from wood fired pizza, fish and chips, kebabs, Asian dishes, desserts and fruit smoothies.
Image Credit: Beluga and The Lucky Rooster