The Best Food Experiences, Bars and Restaurants on Atiu
Atiu might be a tiny island in the Cook Islands that most people have never heard of, but it’s a surprising hidden gem for foodies. Its diverse environment includes the perfect conditions for growing arabica coffee beans, while Atiu also has its own culinary and drinking traditions that visitors can easily experience. What Atiu lacks in more formal restaurants and cafes, however, it makes up for in food tours and the ability to self-cater in your accommodation.
So, plan your foodie getaway with the best food tours and the best places to eat using this complete food guide to Atiu!
The 3 Best Restaurants on Atiu
Where are the best places to eat on Atiu? Well, it’s limited! Here’s our list of the best restaurants on Atiu.
- Kura’s Restaurant (Atiu Villas, Areora)
- Super Brown (Areora)
- “Restaurant on the Beach” (Sundays on request with Birdman George)
Scroll down to “About The Best Places to Eat on Atiu” to learn more about our top picks!
The Best Food Tours on Atiu
That’s right, Atiu offers several ways to experience local food through guided experiences. Tour Atiu’s coffee plantations and join a local hunting or fishing tour for an authentic self-sustaining experience.
Atiu Coffee Tours
Who would have thought that this tiny South Pacific island was the best place to go in the Cook Islands for a cuppa?! Join Mata Arai from Atiu Island Coffee who resumed her family’s arabica coffee plantation in the 1990s and has been going strong since. Her delightful coffee tour allows you to learn about the coffee bean growing process, what makes Atiu perfect for growing arabica beans and how to hand roast the beans on a tour of the Atiu Island Coffee plantation and roastery. You’ll also learn about the secret ingredient that makes Atiu’s coffee unique! The tour concludes with a taste of the good stuff along with yummy pikelets and coconut cream! Note that a minimum of two people are needed for the tour to go ahead.
Punarea Culture Tours’ Hunting Tour
Release your inner hunter-gatherer, with Joshua from Punarea Culture Tours‘s pig hunting tour. The three-hour traditional hunting tour takes you deep into the rainforest of Atiu (wear decent tramping shoes) where you’ll learn how to set traditional traps to catch wild pigs. With (or without) your success, the experience will conclude with an “umu” feast – a Polynesian style of cooking where food is slow-cooked in an underground oven. But hey, if you’ve made it to Atiu, you probably already knew that. The hunting experience is available all year round and is best suited to adults. Transfers are included.
Punarea Culture Tours’ Culture Tour
The team from Punarea Culture Tours are back again, this time with a more comprehensive cultural experience. Their signature “Culture Tour” not only offers fascinating historical context and crafting demonstrations, but a significant portion of the tour is dedicated to traditional Atiuan cuisine. This isn’t the “coconut demonstration” that you’ve probably seen a thousand times across the Pacific; you’ll see how “Tuki Poi” is prepared, as well as help your host plate up the umu which has been slowly cooking local meat and vegetables while you have been enjoying your tour.
More Food Tours on Atiu
And that’s not all the food scene on Atiu has to offer. Check out alternative food tours, such as:
- Joining a tumunu bush beer session (see below) or a tumunu tour with Atiu Safari & Fishing Tours
- Fishing for dinner on the reef with Andrew Matapakia or near Takutea island with Atiu Safari & Fishing Tours
- Experiencing an “island night” at Kura’s Restaurant
- Dining at Atiu’s intimate range of eateries…
… For elaboration on each activity, check out the 6 Best Foodie Experiences on Atiu.
About The Best Places to Eat on Atiu
Atiu might not have the selection of eateries that Rarotonga and Aitutaki boasts, but what you’ll find instead are much more intimate dining experiences and opportunities to try much more traditional cuisine.
A must-do at least once on Atiu is dining at Kura’s Restaurant. Located on the grounds of Atiu Villas, the restaurant is open to visitors across the island, just make sure to book before 3pm. A set two-course menu or buffet is served at 7pm under the thatched restaurant and bar area adorned in flags, while the occasional “island night” is sometimes arranged. Learn more about the Cook Islands’ cultural shows in the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
One of the cheapest options when it comes to meals on Atiu is the island takeaway/convenience store/fuel station/vehicle rental depot, Super Brown. They serve up takeaway burgers, toasted sandwiches and fish & chips for an affordable price. Opening hours are from Monday to Saturday, 6am to 10pm.
Finally, Sundays are when “Birdman George” (known for his birdwatching eco-tours on Atiu) does his famed “Restaurant on the Beach“. Enjoy an umu feast served by the beach! Note that the feast only goes ahead with the right number of bookings, so be sure to arrange with George or through your accommodation provider/visitor information centre.
See how the restaurants compare to those in The Food Guide to the Cook Islands: Places to Eat, Food Tours & Best Resorts for Food
About the Best “Bars” on Atiu
We can’t talk about educating your palate on Atiu without mentioning their infamous “tumunu”.
Tumunu is a direct descendent of the kava drinking ceremonies you may have heard of from other South Pacific nations. When kava drinking was banned during missionary times, tumunu appeared in its place. Instead of kava, however, the brew was orange or banana beer that was brewed in a hollowed coconut tree stump called a “tumunu”, hence the name of the activity.
Tumunu sessions are still held regularly on Atiu and offer a wonderful cultural and foodie experience for visitors to the island! You’ll find tumunu, open-air huts with a roof and tree stumps to sit on, on the edge of villages and plantations. The drink is typically served in half a coconut shell and is particularly potent! Bring cash, (NZ$10 per person is Ok) to contribute to the next brew.
The Best Tumunu on Atiu
Some of the most popular tumunu to visit include:
- Aretou Tumunu (Areora, open Monday to Friday from 5.30pm and Sundays from 12.30pm)
- Teponui Tumunu (Mapumai, open Monday to Friday from 6pm and Sundays from 11.30am)
- Vanilla Tumunu (Areora, open Monday to Friday from 5pm and Sundays from 11am).
Ways to Experience Tumunu
As with most activities on Atiu, it’s best to ask your accommodation or the Tourism Information Centre (Main Road, Teenui) where and when to find local tumunu sessions. They can also arrange local guides to take you to one or two, such as Timau from Atiu Safari & Fishing Tours, who leads tumunu tours incorporating more history and commentary on the tradition.
Alternative Things to Do on Atiu
As much as the food tours and places to eat on Atiu are enticing, you can’t travel all the way here just for the food. You’re on one of the most stunning raised coral atolls and bird sanctuaries in the South Pacific! So balance out your stay with some of the alternative activities, such as:
- Trekking through the jungle to Anatakitaki Cave
- Doing a birdwatching, eco and historical tour with Birdman George
- Scouting out all of Atiu’s 26 beaches
- Reef walking to The Three Grottos
- Swimming in your own natural aquarium at the Sinkholes (Coral Garden)
- Relaxing in the natural infinity pool at Konakonako Landing
- Listening to the glorious singing of a Sunday church service…
… and much more! Check out the details of these activities and get more inspiration in the 20 Best Things to Do on Atiu.
More About Atiu
That’s it for our food guide to Atiu and the best places to eat on Atiu, but not the end of our Atiu advice! Check out these other guides that might not necessarily fall under the “foodie” category, but are still pretty useful:
- The Complete Travel Guide to Atiu on a Budget
- The Complete Travel Guide to Atiu for Families
- The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Atiu
- The Complete Travel Guide to Atiu
Finally, discover even more foodie trip tips in The Food Guide to the Cook Islands: Places to Eat, Food Tours & Best Resorts for Food and plan your foodie road trip with the Cook Islands Food Itinerary: 14 Days, Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Food Itinerary: 10 Days and Cook Islands Food Itinerary: 7 Days.