The Top Cheap Eats on Rarotonga©
The Top Cheap Eats on Rarotonga

The Top Cheap Eats on Rarotonga


Where to Get Cheap Food on Rarotonga

Don’t worry, Rarotonga isn’t about going from resort to resort blowing all your hard-earned cash on an overpriced burger. If you go where the locals eat, then you have some irresistible food deals at your fingertips. From casual cafes on the beachfront to food trucks giving you a good reason to picnic, you’ll find some amazing cheap eats on Rarotonga. We list some of the highlights, right here!

Before we begin, see how these cheap eats compare to the rest of Rarotonga’s dining delights in The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours or plan your whole trip using The Complete Travel Guide to Rarotonga.

5 Tips to Save Money on Food on Rarotonga

Before we dive into the cheap eats of Rarotonga, here are some extra tips to help you save the cents on scram…

  1. Vegetarian food is significantly cheaper than meat and fish dishes (and usually pretty good too – we’re talking about you, “kae taco” at The Kai Guy food truck!)
  2. Some tours like lagoon cruises include a substantial lunch that will probably dissolve your appetite for a large dinner, so keep this in mind when weighing the costs of your tour
  3. Choose self-catering accommodation to make your own meals
  4. If you can’t live without snacks, cheese, a bottle of wine, etc. then bring these from home if you have space – food is a little more expensive than in New Zealand, Australia and especially the US. Check out our advice in Taking Food to Rarotonga: What You Need to Know
  5. Eat out at the cheap restaurants and takeaways we list in this guide to the top cheap eats of Rarotonga!

Check out the rest of our budget-friendly tips in the 15 Ways to Save Money on Food in the Cook Islands.

The Top Cheap Eats on Rarotonga©

Cheap Eats on Rarotonga – $10 and Under

The great thing about Raro is that you’re never too far from an affordable dining experience. Here are some of the cheapest restaurants, cafes and takeaways on the island. If all else fails, you can always rely on the street food at the local market.

Cheap Cafes on Rarotonga – $10 Burgers!

A trendy wee dining venue on the shores of Titikaveka, Charlie’s burgers and snack baskets are an excellent option for lunch, all for NZ$10! What’s left on the menu – ika mata, salads and sandwiches – won’t send you over NZ$20.

Dine with your toes in the sand at the casual beachfront venue of Vaiana’s Bistro & Bar (Nikao). All of their burgers are NZ$10 or under, wraps are around NZ$12 or you could treat yourself to NZ$14 fish and chips. Either way, the location is awesome.

At the northern end of Muri, Vili’s Burger Joint offers a welcome relief from the nearby resort restaurants. Enjoy casual dining out in the courtyard or under the verandah with a choice of burgers and fried chicken for under NZ$10. Their pizzas are around NZ$20.

And don’t miss Palace Takeaways (Avarua) for their famous Wednesday NZ$3.50 burgers!

Cheap Dessert on Rarotonga

Treat yourself to a naughty loaded waffle with sauce, ice cream and sauce, or go all out with sauce, ice cream and fruit! The Waffle Shack (Avarua) near the Punanga Nui Market has been a dessert favourite for years.


The best market for cheap street food is the Muri Night Market on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings from 5pm. It’s when the island’s food trucks gather together for a whirlwind of tastes.

The vibrant Punanga Nui Market is the place to be on a Saturday morning on Rarotonga. Try an array of tropical produce, smoothies and other treats at the food stalls, as well as browse plenty of locally-crafted souvenirs.

Learn more about the markets in the 5 Best Markets in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

The Top Cheap Eats on Rarotonga©

Cheap Eats on Rarotonga – $11-$20

For those with a little more budget to spare, NZ$10-$20 opens up plenty of options between seafood takeaways and gourmet food trucks.

Cheap Seafood and Fish & Chips on Rarotonga

One of the many takeaway sheds just before you reach the Punanga Nui Market, the Bite Time Cafe (Avarua) offers a range of fresh seafood dishes for under NZ$20. Try ika mata, sashimi, a gourmet wrap or their catch of the day. If you don’t go to Bite Time, try Michele’s Cafe (Avarua) just down the street, with mouthwatering sashimi with “secret sauce” and irresistible Vietnamese-style coffee.

More fishy goodness can be found in the bright blue and yellow hut of The Pacific Fish & Chip Shop (Arorangi). A standard fish and chips meal is around NZ$12 or go big for about NZ$18!

More Cheap Restaurants on Rarotonga

Firing up some pretty darn authentic European-style wood-fired pizzas, Kai Pizza (Avarua) offer a range of classic and island-inspired pizzas for around NZ$15-$20. Try something with chicken, as they smoke their own.

Contemporary cuisine and sweet treats can be enjoyed for a reasonable price at Kai & Co (Avarua). Their signature dish has to be their NZ$15 burger meals with a homemade (and branded) brioche bun. This is the place to come for Instagram-worthy food.

For your food truck fix, we recommend The Kai Guy (Avarua). Indulge in fresh ingredients used to make affordable tacos, gyros and burritos. They also do some wonderful vegetarian options.

More About Food, Saving Money and Restaurants on Rarotonga

That’s it for our complete guide to cheap eats on Rarotonga. If your mouth is watering for more, check out these other handy guides:

And don’t forget to bookmark The Complete Travel Guide to Rarotonga on a Budget and The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours – they’re pretty useful too.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, a local government body representing the tourism industry. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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