The sign says it all
PARTY ON A PERCH
If you're looking to meet and mix with a fun crowd, dance and enjoy a few drinks - all within sight of the sea - you have to visit WHATEVER!  The bar-cum-club is perched on a platform overlooking the beach so take care on the wooden steps at the end of your night out. Sadly, it's gone down in my estimation since my last visit in 2005...the place used to be buzzing all night long and it seemed a lot quieter even at the weekend.
Salsa
TASTY IN TOWN
If you prefer a less frenetic but far from stuffy venue, look no further than the centre of town and the stylish SALSA.   A superb menu with loads of daily specials make the mouth water.   And when your chosen dish is brought to your table, it really is almost too good to eat.  The presentation of the food is superb.  A word of warning though...service can be a bit erratic.  
You could be forgiven for thinking that the Cook Islands is not the place to go if you're looking for good food and a lively nightlife....but you couldn't be more wrong.   The capital Island boasts some great places.   This is a personal selection.
On the food front, a straightforward menu includes steaks, fish, chicken and mini burgers that are anything but mini in size.  And it's all cooked on a barbeque in front of you. WHATEVER! is on the same side as and just past Trader Jack's - turn left before Sava Duty Free. 
COLONIAL MAGIC
Imagine world class cuisine in an atmosphere of relaxed elegance with the beach as a backdrop.  Well, that sums up what's on offer at TAMARIND HOUSE - a superbly restored colonial property, right on the edge of the sea just a few minutes from downtown Avarua.  It was built somewhere between 1910 and 1915 to house the managers of the Union Steamship Company.   And thanks to today's owners, Sue Curruthers and Robert Brown it's been turned into something very special.  
OUTPOST OF ITALY
The traditional cuisine of Italy is alive and well and ready to relished within sight of picturesque Muri Beach at  Stefano's Italian Cuisine restaurant.  Have a look also at his fabulous pictures of Rarotonga if you can manage to take your eyes off the moutwatering menu which is also on line.    Stefano, Roberta and their beautiful children have have brought with them from Italy the traditional ways of making fresh pasta.  And round off your meal with what I personally think is the best tiramisu I have ever tasted!   
These are just a few of the many restaurants and varied cuisines on Rarotonga (none has paid for their mention).  My advice would be to wander round and if you like the look of the menu, try the place out.   Seafood is fantastically fresh wherever you choose to go, but there's everything from Indian and Chinese to traditional Cook Islands fare on offer.  
Is there somewhere you think deserves a special mention?
Send me an email telling me why.
Click here to return to home page
READER'S RAVE
Maine Karati wrote to me from New Zealand raving about the Nu Bar near the airport.  He says they have "the best rump steak ever" and it's only NZ$10 (UKĀ£3.63, US$7.11, CAN$8.25, 5.35 Euros) - NZ$13 with mushroom sauce.  Also highly recommended is "the most rich and delicious chocolate cake you can ever taste" (sounds like my sort of place!).   Particularly good for those who are on a tight budget.
 
POLYNESIAN PERFECTION
Small is beautiful, particularly when it comes to dining at THE LITTLE POLYNESIAN resort.  There are only a handful of tables but that adds to the atmosphere of easy going exclusivity.  Char grilled and marinated calamari and lamb which is slow roasted for six hours were two highlights for me.  But everythig on the menu is eclipsed by the chocolate demi souffle.  Almost sinful, says the Chilean born chef of his gooey sensation, but I promise you that you won't care!
Drool over the menu at The Little Polynesian's own web site
Stylish dining
Little Polynesian
Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner are all on offer (the Baileys and white chocolate cheesecake comes highly recommended by me!!).  If you're dining between August and October you might well see migrating whales just off shore.  Or any time of the year, you can enjoy evening cocktails as you watch the sun setting over the South Pacific.  Truly magical. 
Find out more at the Tamarind House web site
The dining area looks across the pool and down to the white sandy beach
Salsa is located next door to CITC and is open during the day as well as in the evenings, so it's a great place to take a break while you're sightseeing in town.
The best places to eat and drink on the capital island
Eating out in Rarotonga
 
POINTERS TO PARADISE:
RARO SEE AND DO     AITUTAKI     SITE MAP     HOME     SURPRISE ME!
OR FIND YOUR OWN PIECE OF PARADISE USING THE MENU ON THE LEFT
Switch Menu