5 must-try lunch spots on Rarotonga

Tayla Beddoes
Photography By
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation

Kia Orana Everyone! Warmest greetings from our little paradise. Questions that come up often on social media and also in our visitors centre are; What are the best places to grab lunch?

Where exactly are they located? On average how much does a meal cost?  Are the portions good? (By the way, the portion sizes are ALWAYS good in the Cook Islands) Anyway you get the gist.

These questions prompted me to recommend 5 of my favourite lunch spots that you must try on your next holiday to Rarotonga.


A TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner for 2016 and by far one of the most popular places for lunch, The Mooring is located on the waterfront in Avana. Famous for the F.O.B fish sandwiches, they also serve up amazingly fresh sashimi and ika mata (raw fish) dishes, fish and chips, salads and more! I don’t want to spoil it for you, all I’ll say is your taste buds haven’t truly lived unless you’ve eaten at The Mooring.

The Mooring is open Monday - Friday from 10.30 til 3.30pm, and Sunday from 12pm til 4pm


Both are located side by side in downtown Avarua on the outskirts of the Punanga Nui Market grounds. BiteTime offers up a great range of cooked meals, wraps and sandwiches as well as freshly caught fish dishes, for extremely great prices. We recommend their Gourmet Fish/Chicken Wraps for only $10 - you won’t be disappointed.

What I personally love BodyFuel Cafe for are their various fruit smoothies and super juices, $10 sushi packs and mouthwateringly good $5 chocolate brownies… But that’s just me. They also have a range of gourmet salads and have a great espresso range for all you caffeine addicts out there.

Bite Time is open Monday - Saturday, 8am til 4pm. On Fridays they’re open until 8pm

BodyFuel is open Monday - Saturday, 7.30am - 3pm.


My not so guilty pleasure; I go to Michele’s Cafe at least once a week for lunch and almost always order the exact same thing each time: ‘Sashimi with Rice and Secret Sauce’ - $13 for a regular and $15 for large. Thankfully it’s close to work, and is actually located a few shops down from Bite Time & BodyFuel at the markets. Now I would probably be ridiculed by my mum and the entire Cook Islands Tourism team if I didn’t also recommend their Carpaccio dish - it’s an office favourite. They also offer Vietnamese style coffees for $3 and iced coffee/tea for only $5 (Something I haven’t tried yet but have heard they are absolutely amazing!)

Michele’s is open Monday - Saturday from 9am - 3pm.


This is my favourite place to grab a pizza on the island. It is located in downtown Avarua across the road from the Punanga Nui Market (next to the The Bond Store). Their cheapest and one of the most popular is their wood-fired Cheese + Garlic Pizza for only $8. Other pizzas are roughly between $15-$20. Kai Pizza have also extended their menu now to not only include a great range of pizza’s but also gourmet salads and wraps available for lunch only. There are two choices for now; the Asian Wrap/Salad or the Caesar Wrap/Salad. Both are exceptional but I tend to lean slightly more towards the Asian wrap. For only $11, their wraps are MASSIVE and easily well worth it.  

Kai Pizza’s lunch is available 11am-2pm, Tuesday - Friday and open for dinner Monday -Saturdays from 4pm-9pm


If you’ve ever driven past Avatiu wharf on a Wednesday (or any time of the day really) and noticed TONNES of vehicles parked on the side of the road, and cues of people surrounding a little shop, that’s Palace Takeaways. For anyone that hasn’t been there yet, be sure to order a ‘Wet Cheese’ burger with a side of fries. I know, I know, the name of the burger itself doesn’t sound that appetizing but trust me, it’s probably the most ordered burger on the island that even has people buying them to take on the plane back to wherever they came from. When people go to that extent you know it’s got to be good.

Palace One Takeaways is open from 8am-late Monday - Saturday* and from 12pm - 10pm on Sundays.
*Palace Weekend hours:
Friday 8am-4am (Saturday AM)
Saturday 8am - 2am (Sunday AM) 
Sunday 12pm (After church) - 10pm

These are just 5 of the many great lunch spots to enjoy on Rarotonga. Check out Part 2 - Must Try Dinner Spots

Discover more great restaurants and dining experiences

Tayla Beddoes was raised in Rarotonga and is Digital Coordinator (and part-time drone pilot) for Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.