Cook Islands - Eating
”We live to eat, not eat to live!” This is a popular saying you will hear said time and again by the Cook Islanders. If you enjoy your food, you will take great pleasure in the Cook Islands. Food is the essence of life, and with the seas of the South Pacific lapping at their door and fertile volcanic soils producing fine produce, dining at any level is sure to be enjoyed.
Island Nights, which are often included in the weekly entertainment at many resorts, are not to be missed for their mix of a plentiful tantalising local fare. A feast of seafood, meats and vegetables is followed by traditional entertainment where locals adorned in colourful costumes proudly display their authentic Cook Island culture through drumming, singing and dancing. The evening entertainment is usually completed with a Ura Piani (invitation dance), where visitors are given the chance to match the hip shaking of the locals. This is a fun night for all ages! More than 50 restaurants and cafés can be found around the island of Rarotonga alone.
Tamarind House is situated only a 3 minute drive from the city center. In the beautiful surroundings and a fantastic restored heritage colonial house, you can enjoy coffee, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is one of the best and internationally well-known.
Vaima restaurant is another great alternative, set right on the beach on the south side of Rarotonga, in the village of Vaimaanga. This high quality restaurant offers you the possibility to eat a terrific meal on the beach, with a beautiful sea view in front of you.
To sample more local cuisine, visit the food market on Friday evenings at Punanganui Markets in Avarua. A huge variety of stalls offer tempting delights and the fresh samosas with chutneys from the fruits of Rarotonga alone are worth attending for. Saturday is the main day.
Windjammer restaurant is known for great service and maintaining a steady top quality menu. They serve world class European and Pacific Cuisine.
For great seafood, check out Trader Jacks by the water’s edge at Avarua Wharf, the harbor at Avarua. The restaurant is an institution in the country and have even been described by politicians and journalists as the Cook Islands second parliament and true financial centre of the economy!