The Best Places to Eat in Nuku’alofa
In Tonga’s capital city, you have the widest range of restaurants available in the whole kingdom! Make the most of it by checking out a few of the best restaurants in Nuku’alofa. Many styles of cuisine are represented here, from affordable Tongan specialities to Chinese noodles to oversized Western burgers. Being an island nation, trying the seafood at least once during your stay is a must. Additionally, travellers have plenty of places to meet the locals and hang out with friends/family at one of the quaint cafes or bustling bars.
For more information on experiencing Nuku’alofa through its flavours, see The Foodie Guide to Nuku’alofa.
6 Tips for Eating Out in Nuku’alofa
- Make a trip to one of the roadside produce stalls or Talamahu Market to try fresh fruit and vegetables
- Tips are not expected for dining in Nuku’alofa but are appreciated
- The drinking age in Tonga is 18 years old
- Tongan portions are typically HUGE, so sharing a main and an entree between two is usually a good way to do for those with lighter appetites, otherwise…
- Take a doggy bag! Getting your leftover meal wrapped up to go is common practice in Nuku’alofa
- Local meat, seafood and poultry are generally safe to eat.
Tongan Restaurants in Nuku’alofa
Any adventurous traveller wanting to experience the local cuisine should take a look at some of the Tongan restaurants and takeaways available in Nuku’alofa. The great thing about Tongan food, apart from the taste, is the price. Many of the Tongan restaurants in Nuku’alofa serve meals for a mere TOP$5-$10. Discover more cheap eats in Nuku’alofa here. Otherwise, check out some of our Tongan restaurant recommendations below.
To try dishes like Ota Ika (raw fish marinated in coconut cream) or Lu (meat wrapped in taro leaves), check out Mama’s Cafe (Laifone Road) or “Mum’s Cafe” and Talahiva Restaurant (Taufa’ahau Road). Both serve super affordable Tongan cuisine with sides of cassava, plantain and breadfruit.
More Tongan dishes can be found at the 12 Seafoods Restaurant (Vuna Road) at Faua Wharf. Indulge in Tongan seafood dishes, like fish curry and Ota Ika. Alternatively, international favourites, such as fish & chips and fish burgers are available.
For a more formal evening meal, the Waterfront Cafe (Vuna Road) boasts many Tongan favourites on its Tongan-meets-European-inspired menu. Try the likes of Lu, pan-fried or grilled fresh local fish, and cassava tart for dessert.
For more about Tongan food to try, see 6 Unique Foods in Tonga You Have to Try.
International Restaurants in Nuku’alofa
International cuisine, especially European and Asian, are well-represented in Nuku’alofa. If you’re looking for some home comforts or perhaps some variety in your nightly meals in Nuku’alofa, then these are the restaurants you need to try!
Get your dose of European food at Chef Zero Restaurant (Popua). Their specialities include steaks with a choice of sauces, pork with mouthwatering apple sauce, and fish served in local and international ways. This restaurant also features in our 5 Best Restaurants in Nuku’alofa.
Dine-in or eat al fresco at Little Italy (Vuna Road) on the waterfront. There’s a wonderful choice of creative pizzas, as well as safe favourites. Pasta, steak, lobster and fish are also available on the menu.
Get amazing views of the city from The TOP Restaurant (Corner of Wellington and Taua’ahau Roads). The entrance is simply an elevator taking you to a large lounge and dining area. As for the menu, choose from an array of international dishes, from tacos to seafood to gourmet burgers.
Craving Chinese? Try the Precious Stone Restaurant (Vuna Road), which does just about everything with its expensive menu of beef, lamb, chicken, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Alternatively, the Tiger Inn Restaurant (Railway Road) offers a cheap menu of noodle dishes with wontons, including a good selection of meat and vegetarian options.
Cafes in Nuku’alofa
Looking for a place to meet up with friends? Perhaps somewhere to sit down for breakfast or for lunch? Check out the range of cafes in Nuku’alofa!
One of the city centre’s hotspots, Friends Cafe (Taufa’ahau Road) is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Learn about the history of the building on the notices found on each table and treat yourself to a light lunch of toasties, paninis, salads, soups, burgers and more. The all-day breakfasts are pretty fine too.
Coffee Post (Taufa’ahu Road) boasts an array of healthy lunch options and not-so-healthy breakfasts, including beautifully-presented pancakes, sandwiches, toasties and more.
Pop in for a sit-down or use the drive-thru at Moli Green Cafe (corner of Fatafehi Road and Laifone Road). They have all your cafe favourites among contemporary industrial-style interiors.
Have your coffee with a Tongan twist at ‘Utuongo Cafe (Taufa’ahau Road) near the hospital. Try their cappuccino with coconut syrup, freshly-baked treats, and sandwiches made with local coconut and banana bread.
Finally, while a little out of town, it’s worth making your way to Tupu’Anga Cafe (Umusi Road) for their cassava cakes, pies, chips, pawpaw scones and home-roasted coffee. Tours of the coffee roastery and cassava chip factory are available if you ask. Learn more about this experience and others in the 8 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa for Foodies.
Bars in Nuku’alofa
For a place to relax on an evening or even party well into the early hours, there are a few great choices in Nuku’alofa! Bars and nightclubs in Nuku’alofa are typically open until 1am Monday-Friday and until 12am on a Saturday.
The popular open-air Billfish Bar and Restaurant (Vuna Road) has been drawing in punters for more than 20 years. Enjoy a drink at the bar while watching the sports or sit down with friends/family to indulge in oversized burgers like the “Jucy Lucy”. Local fish curries, juicy steaks, Ota Ika and more are also on the menu.
On Faua Wharf, Nauti Ruby’s Bar & Nightclub (Vuna Road) has a fun nautical theme and a fun atmosphere. Drink with the boaties, indulge in steaks and seafood, and try creative cocktails, Tongan beers and fresh coconuts.
For dancing, beer towers and fun-themed nights, head to the Reload Bar (Tafa’ahau Road). They do karaoke nights, ladies nights, reggae nights, oldies nights, and the list goes on!
See more options in the 5 Best Bars in Nuku’alofa.