Where to Eat Out in Nuku’alofa
Nuku’alofa has a fantastic array of eateries, from Tongan-style takeaways to more sophisticated sit-down dining experiences. Nuku’alofa’s top restaurants cannot only be found in the city centre but lining the waterfront. Try Tongan-style cuisine, like ota ika (raw fish marinated in coconut cream) or lu (meat in coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves). Alternatively, many international flavours can be seen across Nuku’alofa’s menus. Check out some of our top recommendations for sit-down dining in this quick list of the best restaurants in Nuku’alofa.
For more recommendations, see our Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Nuku’alofa, as well as the Top Cheap Eats in Nuku’alofa.
1. Waterfront Cafe
After strolling down a quaint garden pathway, you’ll arrive at the spacious Waterfront Cafe. A Tongan flair is present right across the restaurant, from its decor of carved pillars to its menu. Try large “Tongan-style” portions of seafood prepared in many ways, succulent steaks, homemade pasta and more. Tongan-inspired dishes include lu as an entree, as well as fish of the day, such as mahimahi beautifully pan-fried or grilled. Leave room for dessert, whether it’s for the cassava tart or refreshing tropical cheesecake. The Waterfront also offers accommodation, see our 7 Best Luxury Accommodation in Nuku’alofa for more details.
Location: Vuna Road, opposite Faua Wharf
2. Chef Zero Restaurant
While a little out of town, Chef Zero is well worth getting to for an upmarket dine-in experience in Nuku’alofa. The family-run restaurant specialises in fresh ingredients transformed into European-style cuisine. Have steak with a wide choice of sauces, pork with tasty apple sauce, or fish cooked Polynesian style, mornay or blackened. Try some of the freshest sashimi platters or keep things simple with pizza or garlic bread. What’s more, the restaurant is B.Y.O wine or beer!
Location: Tamakautonga Road, Popua
3. The TOP Restaurant
Get amazing views of the Nuku’alofa CBD and the tops of the Royal Palace from The TOP Restaurant. Easy to miss on Wellington and Taua’ahau Roads, the entrance is simply an elevator taking you to a large lounge and dining area. Dine in or enjoy your drinks al fresco under the fairy lights as you gaze across the city as the sun goes down. As for the menu, choose from an array of international dishes, from tacos to seafood to gourmet burgers, where there’s something for just about anyone. When it comes to dessert, you’ll get to see the offering before you choose. It’s likely that the chef and operator of the restaurant will come out for a chat.
Location: Corner of Wellington and Taua’ahau Roads
4. Little Italy Pizzeria Restaurant
Probably the most out-of-place restaurant in the islands of the South Pacific, Little Italy transports you to Europe in its cuisine, decor and architecture. Everything about it is typically Italian, but damn, it makes good pizzas. Dine in or eat al fresco in a quiet location on the waterfront, a short walk from the west side of the Royal Palace. There’s a wonderful choice of creative pizzas, as well as safe favourites. Pasta, steak, lobster and fish are also on the menu. If you’re eating outside, you’re likely to eat your pizza to the sad eyes of a stray dog. The restaurant also has a hotel upstairs – learn more in the 10 Best Family Accommodation in Nuku’alofa.
Location: Vuna road, Kolomotu’a, Nuku’alofa
5. Billfish Bar and Restaurant
An open-air restaurant on the waterfront, Billfish Bar and Restaurant has been a popular option with locals and visitors for more than 20 years. There’s so much to see here between the woven ceiling to the mounted bills and taxidermies of award-winning game fish caught throughout the years. Enjoy a drink at the bar while watching the sports or sit down with friends and family to indulge in oversized burgers like the “Jucy Lucy” or local fish curry, juicy steaks, ota ika and much more! Later in the evening, the bar often livens up with live music, in-house DJs and more.
Location: Vuna Road, across the road from the interisland ferry terminal