To say that we ate well while we were in Rarotonga would be an understatement. Whether it was dinner at a beach front restaurant or a quick breakfast in the center of town, we were never disappointed with the selection of food, or the service. One thing that I do want to note is that most restaurants and bars in Rarotonga close around 9 p.m. so if you’re planning to go out to dinner it’s best to head out on the earlier side. We had a hard time adjusting to this (let’s be serious, in NYC we don’t eat until 9 p.m. at night), so it’s definitely better to go into your trip knowing this.
That said, if you’re traveling to Rarotonga in the near future, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner spots below, along with general pricing for each.
- Cafe Salsa ($$) – Located right in the center of town, we popped in this cute little spot for a quick bite after spending the morning shopping the local gift shops. Not only did the menu offer a range of options, but everything looked just as good as it tasted. I opted for the cold oats bowl topped with papaya and coconut (pictured above), and guys, it was amazing! In addition to the food, the staff was super helpful and accommodating, given that we had tons of questions regarding all of the options on the menu. Not only was the outdoor seating incredibly nice, but the actual restaurant itself was super cute, with the nicest plant wall I’ve seen. I highly recommend checking out this spot if you find yourself exploring the shops in town.
- OTB (On the Beach) ($$) – One of my favorite food spots of the trip, we ate here quite a few times for lunch and to this day, I still dream about those fish tacos. Located in the Arorangi district, it was only a 10-15 minute walk on the beach from our Airbnb so it was a nice way to “exercise” after relaxing and drinking all day. We’d head right up to the outdoor seating in our bathing suits (no need to put on real clothes – the best part!) and ordered food and drinks from the same Fijian waiter every time. Such a great place to take a break from the sun, have a few drinks and enjoy some delicious food. Plus, they have a great happy hour!
- The New Place Cafe ($$$) – Also located right in the center of town, this was our first stop on our first full day on the island. We headed here to fuel up for the day after taking a 25 minute drive around the island – yes, that’s really how long it takes! This was probably the most unique meal that we ate the whole trip. I opted for the Mexican frittata, which ended up being delicious, and an iced coffee with almond milk, that actually turned out to be frozen, which was so odd but I actually really enjoyed it. I mean, travel is all about trying new things, right? It was the perfect way to kick off the first of many food adventures throughout the trip.
- Crusues at Castaway ($$) – This was our go-to spot throughout the whole trip; I kid you not, we probably ate here at least four times in the week that we spent there, given that our Airbnb was less than a 5 minute walk away. Every time that we went there the food was not only affordable, but also very tasty. We tried a range of plates over the course of our meals there, such as the yakatori skewers, tuna sashimi and more. It’s also such a great spot, with tables scattered along the beach and a fire pit going every night – the epitome of island dining. Plus, it’s also super casual – I wore sundresses and cutoff shorts every time we went there. I cannot say it enough, this place does not disappoint.
- The Rarotongan ($$$) – Although we didn’t have a traditional dinner here, we did host a small cocktail party with appetizers and drinks, which to this day I cannot stop raving about. Throughout our few hours there, we had a range of tuna sashimi, tiger prawns, spring rolls and more. The resort itself is also stunning – there is greenery everywhere and the beach is absolutely beautiful! I highly recommend checking out this spot for some appetizers or a drink and enjoying the view.
- Waterline ($$) – We headed here for a late dinner one night as it was located only a short walk away from our Airbnb. We arrived around 8:30 p.m. (on the later side for dinner) and placed our orders. My mom and I shared the mixed grill with muscles, scallops and fish, my friend had the beef curry and her mom had the tuna. Although it wasn’t the best meal that we had on the trip. it was still a tasty meal at a cute spot on the beach, with the friendliest staff around.
If you follow me on Instagram or my Insta stories, you know I’m a major foodie. I love trying new things while on my travels and cannot say enough about these spots that we tried in Rarotonga – these short descriptions and photos just don’t serve them justice.
Stay tuned for more Rarotonga posts on what to do while you’re there!5