The Best Cafes for Breakfast, Lunch and Coffee on Rarotonga
Rarotonga might be an isolated island in the South Pacific, but when it comes to coffee it delivers! The island has a thriving cafe scene that may just trick you into thinking you’re back in Auckland (presuming, you know, you’re one of the many New Zealanders that flock here). Instead of being locked in an urban jungle, however, your morning coffee, cooked breakfast or Pacific-inspired lunch can be enjoyed with the alfresco ambience on the beachfront. Ah, paradise! We’ve listed the best cafes on Rarotonga, with a variety of tastes, vibes and budgets in mind.
Before you jump in, by the way, see what type of food to look out for in the 10 Foods to Try in the Cook Islands.
1. The Cafe
Sip on tea in vintage teaware and browse the oddities of the “Vinyl Revival Club” at the quaint courtyard cafe of “The Cafe“. Set among the historic Beachcomber Building with the Bergman Gallery just behind, there’s more than the smell of coffee to entice you here. Meet the friendly dog, Cookie, relax with a book from the book exchange, and/or chat with friends and loved ones over their signature “Marlin Bagel” or homemade cake. The Cafe is open from 8.30am to 3pm, Monday to Friday and until 12.20pm on Saturday.
Location: Beachcomber Building, Main Road (Ara Tapu), the eastern end of Avarua.
2. Beluga Cafe
Get your contemporary cafe experience in the heart of Arorangi at the Beluga Cafe. This trendy spot not only does great coffee (and the best hot chocolate on the island) but has a creative menu of Pacific and international fusion cuisine. Their seafood plates and even their vegan platter are enough to make you go “wow”, certainly elevating your lunchtimes. Speaking of vegan food, check out more sustainable dining options in the Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants! Find the Beluga Cafe open from 2.30am to 2.30pm, Tuesday to Friday with reduced hours on Saturday.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Arorangi (between the Discover Marine Wildlife & Eco Centre and the Mormon Church).
3. Deli-Licious Cafe
Home to the best custard squares on the island (despite what other cafes might say), Deli-Licious Cafe is a must-try in Muri. Dine here for their big breakfast, plant-based salads or omelettes or simply pop in for your morning coffee and custard square (FYI, they usually sell out by 10am). The cafe’s use of animal toys instead of table numbers is kind of fun, while saying hello to the friendly dogs is another reason to stop by. Opening hours are from 7.30am to 3pm, closed Saturdays.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Muri.
4. Charlie’s Cafe
Behind the colourful shipping container seen from the roadside hides a cool beachfront cafe. Charlie’s offers irresistible prices to go with their irresistible burgers, salads, huge sandwiches, snack plates and sharing plates – a great cafe on Rarotonga for meals together. The watersports hire here will give you another reason to stay longer. They are open for lunch and dinner with live music and happy hour from 4pm to 6pm. We also list this cafe in The Top Cheap Eats on Rarotonga.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Titikaveka.
5. Kai & Co.
Contemporary cuisine and sweet treats can be enjoyed for a reasonable price at Kai & Co. Their signature dish is their burger meals with a homemade (and branded) brioche bun, but the flamboyant counter cakes and doughnuts will surely tempt you. All in all, Kai & Co. is the place to come for Instagram-worthy food. They are open 8am to 2pm, Tuesday to Friday, and until 1pm on Saturday.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Avarua.
6. Bite Time Cafe
One of the many takeaway/cafe sheds just before you reach the Punanga Nui Market, the Bite Time Cafe offers a range of fresh seafood dishes for an ultra-affordable price. Try ika mata, sashimi, a gourmet wrap or their catch of the day at this popular little spot with the locals. They are open all week for breakfast, lunch and dinner except Sundays.
Location: Punanga Nui Market, Avarua.
7. The Lucky Rooster
The place to be in Avarua town centre, The Lucky Rooster is open from 8.30pm to 2pm, Tuesday to Friday, and until 1pm on Saturday. Enjoy contemporary cuisine, as well as local choices like ika mata, among the seating areas decorated with plants both inside and out. They also offer a wide range of beverages, from coffee to smoothies to cocktails. Check out more things to do while you’re in town in the 10 Best Things to Do in Avarua.
Location: CITC Shopping Centre, Main Road (Ara Tapu), Avarua.
8. Love Cafe
A good pitstop while road tripping around Rarotonga, Love Cafe is where to get your coffee-kart style beverages on Rarotonga. With coffee beans from Papua New Guinea, the locally owned cafe has alfresco seating under a verandah where you can also treat yourself to freshly baked cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, croissants or whatever they can tempt you with. The cafe is open daily, 7am to 2pm.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Matavera.
9. LBV – Le Bon Vivant
Another cafe option in Muri is Le Bon Vivant, which most know as LBV! Open from 8.30am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, the cafe is a good place to pick up a fresh baguette, cake or antipasto skewer from the counter or have something made to order from their generous breakfast menu or more limited lunch menu. Whatever takes your fancy can be enjoyed inside or out among the gardens.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Muri.
10. Tuoro Tapas Bar
Open for lunch only, Tuoro Tapas Bar offers a cool alternative to your typical cafes on Rarotonga. After swimming at the Black Rock snorkelling spot and historical site, head up to this hillside cafe with wonderful views of the lagoon. Food is made for sharing here with small but filling finger food that you can order individually or make your choice for a platter-for-two. Opening hours are 11.30am to 2.30pm, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Nikao (inland from Black Rock).
More Cafes on Rarotonga
That’s it for our list of best cafes on Rarotonga. If your mouth is still watering for more, check out other recommendations in the following guides:
- The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences in the Cook Islands
- The Best Places to Eat in Rarotonga: 10 Best Restaurants on Rarotonga
Finally, check out the hottest eateries across the country in The Food Guide to the Cook Islands: Places to Eat, Food Tours & Best Resorts for Food.