Wonderful small cafe & lunch bar in Muri with internet available as well. The best coffee for miles around, great fresh muffins, sandwiches and light hot lunch dishes. You can sit outside and watch the tourists and locals go by!
Favorite Dish: Pawpaw & apricot muffins are very tasty, vegetarian lasagne served with a salad is a great lunch option as are the burrito and tuna melt.
We popped into the blue note cafe for lunch. I tried Ika mata, which is a local specialty, and my wife had the seafood chowder. With a drink each the bill came in at less than $30 which was excellent value.
An institution in Avarua is Trader Jacks. This place does excellent seafood, and is reasonably priced given the quality of what is on offer.
There's a decent bar next door as well.
Favorite Dish: Go for the seafood platter for 2 at $60. Plenty of different kinds of seafood, and just delicious.
Blue Note Cafe is a laid back cafe/restaurant in Rarotonga's capital, Avarua. It is located just a 5 minute walk east of the Cook's Corner bus terminal, past the Cook Islands Trading Company shop.
The cafe has about half a dozen tables outdoors in its small garden and about ten tables indoors. The interior decor includes a large blue carved figuring of Tangaroa (the God of fertility and the symbol of the Cook Islands) and each table contains a bottle with a colourful flower in it.
The service is friendly and the atmosphere relaxed, with western pop music playing in the background.
The cafe's breakfast menu (served until 11:30am) includes eggs and bacon, crepes, croissants with jam and butter and cereals with yoghurt.
The lunch/dinner menu includes curries (beef, chicken, fish and vegetarian), soup of the day, mixed grills (steak, lamb chops, sausages, fried eggs, fried tomatoes....), parrot fish and chips, octopus, prawns, Greek salad and a range of other meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
An impressive selection of desserts includes Mississippi Mudcake with cream, local fruit bowl with yoghurt or ice cream, banana/carrot/caramel cakes and a very tempting looking Bailey's fudge cake with ice cream.
Favorite Dish: I opted for:
Local fruit bowl with ice cream - Cost: 7.50 NZD (approx. 3 GBP)
This selection of local fruits definitely included banana, orange and lime....and I *think* it included mango and papaya. Served with 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Cooks Lager - Cost: 4 NZD (approx. 1.60 GBP)
A 4.9% lager produced by the island's Rarotongan Brewery. The cafe also sells imported bottled beers (Heineken, Steinlager and Fosters).
A nice relaxing cafe with an extensive selection of main meals and tempting desserts!
Cook Islands Ice Cream Company is located in the centre of Rarotonga's capital, Avarua. It is located in a small cul-de-sac, just a few minutes west of Cook's Corner, and is surrounded by craft and souvenir shops.
This small cafe offers a range of sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, waffles, ice cream sundaes, fruit smoothies, milkshakes and various other sweet snacks.
Naturally, it offers a vast selection of ice cream flavours (strawberry, chocolate, banana, toffee, mango, mint choc chip, rum and raisin, papaya, coconut....)
The cafe has 3 wooden tables located outside, in the shade, amongst the souvenir shops.
Favorite Dish: I opted for:
Cheese and onion toasted sandwich - Cost: 4 NZD (approx. 1.60 GBP)
A couple of slices of toast with a fairly generous serving of melted cheese and diced onions. I've had better toasties, but I've also had much worse!
Chocolate milkshake - Cost: 5 NZD (approx. 2 GBP)
Served in a large cup brandishing a claim to be "the tallest drink in town". Made from blended chocolate ice cream. Milkshakes are available in all the flavours that the ice cream is available in. Nothing special, but a reasonable effort!
A good place to come for an afternoon snack.........or just to buy an ice cream cone in pretty much any flavour you can imagine!
Palace One Takeaway is located besides Avatiu boat harbour in Rarotonga's capital, Avarua.
Arriving at Avarua's Cook's Corner bus terminal, head west through Punanga Nui market place and you'll see Palace One located on the opposite side of the road to a large "Raro Fried Chicken" fast food restaurant.
Palace One is basically a glorified burger van.....in fact it isn't even *that* glorified! ;-) It does have a handful of wooden tables outside - some under a canopy and others on the grass amongst the wandering hens (don't stray over the road to Raro Fried Chicken, guys!!!). You can sit in the sunshine looking out across the harbour.....but don't expect too much action, it's not the world's busiest harbour!
I visited Palace One for a morning snack during my visit to Avarua in April 2006. Although the menu lists toasted sandwiches, calamari rings, mussels, fish, eggs and bacon amongst its meals.....at the time of my visit only burgers and hot dogs were available. Admittedly, the selection of burgers was fairly extensive (plain, steakburgers, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, a "Palace Special", burgers with eggs.....). There were also various cakes and puddings on offer.
Favorite Dish: I opted for:
Cheeseburger - Cost: 4.50 NZD (approx 2 GBP)
It wasn't particularly big or filling, but the burger was well cooked and the meat was very good. There wasn't much cheese on it, but it too was very well cooked (to the extent that it had ceased to be melted and had achieved crispiness!). Also filled with grated lettuce, carrots, tomato and ketchup
Bottle of Fanta orange - Cost: 2.50 NZD (approx 1 GBP)
Saltwater Cafe is a laid back cafe/restaurant with a bright friendly owner and colourful decor.
It is located a short walk (10-15 minutes) west of the village of Titikaveka, on the main coastal road directly across from a superb sandy beach. It is in fact located at the island's "half way" point.....it is 16km to the island's capital, Avarua, whether you go clockwise or anti-clockwise around the island's perimeter road.
The cafe hosts a number of outdoor tables under a canopy. The outdoor wall exhibits colourful paintings (beach scenes, sunshine, turtles, palm trees) and small cats wander around the tables hoping to pick up any scraps from the many diners.
The menu includes a variety of seafood dishes (including a half kilo of fresh prawns served with a selection of dips (28NZD) that I was very tempted to order!), Mexican dishes (nachos and quesadillas), burgers and Pacific-style curry (chicken, fish or vegetarian).
The cafe serves a selection of soft drinks, hot beverages and a good selection of alcoholic drinks including draught Cook Islands lager and imported (Aus and NZ) bottled beers.
The cafe is open for breakfast daily from 9:30am. Main meals are served from 3pm until closing time. Saltwater Cafe is open on Sundays, unlike many other restaurants on the island.
Favorite Dish: I opted for:
Pacific-style chicken curry - Cost: 19 NZD (approx. 8 GBP)
A mild curry with a tasty sauce and peas, carrots, onions and a selection of spices. A dish of chilli sauce was provided separately on the edge of the plate to increase the potency of the curry as desired. Served with a portion of white rice, two poppadums and a side salad (tomato, grated carrots and lettuce in a tasty mayonnaise dressing).
A schooner of draught Cook Islands lager - Cost: 4.5 NZD (approx. 2 GBP)
Ice cold and very refreshing on a hot sunny afternoon........but why do the Antipodeans insist on drinking from silly little glasses instead of proper pints!!? ;-)
A bright and friendly cafe, close to the beach, with a fairly extensive and varied menu. Good quality food and cold, draught beer! Recommended!!
I had dinner at FBI Fish & Chips one afternoon during my visit to Rarotonga's capital city, Avarua, in April 2006.
This no-frills, family-run fish and chip shop is located on Tutakimoa Road, just a couple of minutes walk inland from where the buses drop you off at Cook's Corner bus terminal. There are handwritten advertising signs on the main road to point you in the right direction!
It is run by a bubbly lady (with that characteristic Cook Islands friendliness and cheerfulness) and her family.......a host of children, young and old, seem to be contributing in their own little way to the running of the place!
This contribution admittedly amounted to sitting at a table playing card games at the time of my visit.........but it adds to the laid-back atmosphere of the place!
There are a handful of tables outside, some in the sunshine and others under the shade of trees. Eating hot fish and chips in the strong afternoon sunshine didn't seem a good idea, so I sat at one of the shaded tables to enjoy my meal.
The menu includes various types of fish as well as crab sticks, prawns and other seafood....and of course large portions of salty chips! One surprising item on the menu (maybe due to a Scottish influence?!!) was deep fried Mars Bars!!
They also offer a fridge full of soft drinks and ice creams to choose from.
Favorite Dish: I opted for:
Fish and chips - Cost: 7 NZD (approx 3 GBP)
An enormous portion of salty chips and 3 battered and (almost) boneless fish. Excellent quality and very filling......wrapped in paper and very much what we consider *proper* fish and chips in the UK.....but far better value!!
Bottle of Coca Cola - Cost: 2 NZD
Super value, super quality.....highly recommended!!
A fantastic setting just out of the Rarotongan capital Avarua. Diners look out over the ocean with an uninterupted veiw as they sit in a grand porch with terrific meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If your happy to pay 20% more you can sit out on a deck right on the beach with your meals.
Favorite Dish: The Creme Brullee is the best.
Sails restaurant provides light lunches and snacks throughout the day, and then switches into full restaurant mode in the evening. With fabulous views out over Muri Beach you can sit and watch the windsurfers, yachts and swimmers while enjoying your meal.
Favorite Dish: Island fries and calamari - best lunch ever. Try a variety of the local root vegetables with delicious dipping aioli.
When I checked out restaurant reviews before going to Raro, Trader Jack's had a bad rep, even though it's great a great waterside location, downtown.
One day we got stuck in the rain at lunch time and figured "how bad could it be?" so we stopped in. It became one of our favorite spots for lunch. Casual, open air (on formal days, the wait staff wore flip flops, otherwise they were barefooted).
Good food and drinks and a very nice place to chill during the hit of the day, with a great view.
Favorite Dish: The island specialty, ika mata, is great here. The appetizer, which can easily feed three, is sort of like a polynesian version of ceviche -fish "cooked" with lime juice. Add some veggies, coconut milk and cilantro and you've got a taste of Raro!
The Flame Tree has the reputation as the best restaurant on the island for a good reason - great food, decent wine list, pleasant setting and a gay waiter snooty enough to make us feel like we were back in San Francisco.
Even though this is considered an "upscale" place, not to worry - most everybody gets around on scooters, so nobody looks all that well put together, between a day on the beach and a ride in a breeze.
Be sure to sit on the patio - no view, except of the geckos on the ceiling. The service is done on "island time", which was fine with us and gave us time to make bets on whose soup the next lizard would plop into (none did, darn!)
Favorite Dish: The coconut, cashew fudge pie was awesome (enough so that I bought the Flametree cookbook to get the recipe - email me and I'll send it to you).
Be sure to ask them to serve the pie warm.
Worth every calorie.
This outdoor cafe on the south side of the island (near Palm Grove resort) is terrific. Great food, good drinks, and very friendly service - all at a good price.
It's not on the beach, but the owners have gone out of their way to make this a charming oasis.
well there are many place's to eat on the Island, it all depends on what you enjoy, for some thing romantic the Manuia Beach Hotel in Arorangi would be my pick, for a nice group dinner the Kikau Hut also in Aoroangi in great, good food and great service, say hi to Cath and Mick for me.
Trader Jacks has great sea food, slightly over priced, but the beer is cold and they have enteranment most nights.
Castaway Resturant has a great chef in the name of Mick, try his Steak or Tuna, its the best I have ever tasted.
If you want too try some great Island food then Castaway's have a Island Food night on Sundays, $20 bucks gets you a over 20 choice's cooked by a local lady.
For a quick snack the Moko Cafe was good, its next to Island Bike and Car Hire and the Eat In Take Away Cafe in Vaimaaga has great Burgers.
Now for the lazy one's who don't want to cook in the morning, Mama's Cafe in town has what they call Mama's Power Breckfast, you won't be disapointed.
Mama;s power breckfast. Two of everything and free extra cups of coffee.
Kikau Hut. Great wine list.
Castaway's. friendly people great pool beside your table.
Eat In Take Aways. just the best burgers to be had.
Favorite Dish: Mama;s power breckfast.
Kikau Huts curry's are great, as hot as you want,
Castaway's Steak with extra mushroom
Castaway's Island night had the best octopus curry
Eat In Take Aways, Tuna burgers
On Muri Lagoon beach is Sails a beach restaurant. Food was excellent but prices were a little higher than average.