The Best Places to Eat in Tonga
Expect to be well-fed in Tonga! Food means everything to Tongans, who put on some of the grandest feasts in the South Pacific. Even the portion sizes are staggering, giving you another level of reward after tasting some of the fresh produce of the islands and surrounding oceans. But whether you’re looking to try authentic Tongan cuisine, a new spin on international favourites, or simply grab a coffee as part of your morning routine, there are plenty of excellent cafes and restaurants in Tonga. What’s more, they each have their own unique identity, because no, you will not find a single McDonald’s in the whole country!
Quick Tips for Eating Out in Tonga
- Tips are not expected for dining in Tonga but are appreciated
- The drinking age in Tonga is 18 years old
- Tongan portions are typically HUGE, so sharing a main and a side between two is usually a good way to do for those with lighter appetites, otherwise…
- … take a doggy bag! Getting your leftover meal to-go is common practice in Tonga
- Resorts and accommodations that are not nearby to restaurants or supermarkets will either have their own restaurant or offer a set meal plan for guests
- Local meat, seafood and poultry are generally safe to eat.
Part of discovering a new country is trying the local cuisine, which you can do in a few selected restaurants and takeaways around the country.
Tongan Restaurants in Nuku’alofa
In Nuku’alofa, a range of Tongan cuisines features on the menu at Mama’s Cafe (Laifone Road) and Talahiva Restaurant (Taufa’ahau Road). Try Ota Ika, Lu and various meals served with cassava, plantain and breadfruit. 12 Seafoods (Vuna Road) is also worth a try for its fresh seafood dishes prepared in both Tongan and international styles.
See more options in Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Nuku’alofa.
Tongan Restaurants in ‘Eua
A well-hidden restaurant on an island that doesn’t have any other restaurants, the unnamed Tongan restaurant located beside the liquor store in Pangai is well worth seeking out. Here, you can try typical Tongan meals with staple ingredients like cassava, fish and plantains.
Tongan Feasts Across Tonga
A way for visitors to experience authentic Tongan cuisine is through the cultural shows, buffets and Sunday umu feasts.
In Tongatapu, resorts such as Vakaloa Beach Resort (Kanokupolu Beach, west side), Oholei Beach Resort (Lavengatonga Beach, east side), Liku’alofa Beach Resort (‘Otuhaka Beach, west side) and Fafa Island Resort (northern outer island) offer Tongan buffet nights where guests can try a range of Tongan dishes, as well as a spitroast pig. Learn more about their cultural nights in The Best Cultural Shows on Tongatapu.
In Vava’u, Sunday is the day for Tongan feasts and buffets, especially at the ‘Ene’io Botanical Gardens (Tu’anikivale), Beautiful Ofu Island Backpackers (Ofu Island) and occasionally at the Port of Refuge Villas (Neiafu). Learn more about Vava’u’s offerings in Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Vava’u.
Finally, resorts in ‘Eua also offer umu feasts (food prepared in a traditional underground oven) for guests, should there be enough demand. This is available at The Hideaway (Tufuvai Beach) and Taina’s Place (Kolomaile).
International Restaurants in Tonga
Tens of countries have their cuisine represented in Tonga, from China to Italy. International cuisine easily makes up the majority of food available in Tonga for the promise of something familiar but often made with some of the freshest ingredients from around the islands – especially the seafood dishes!
International Restaurants in Tongatapu
The majority of international restaurants in Tonga can be found in Nuku’alofa, such as the Italian restaurants Little Italy Restaurant (Vuna Road, Kolomotu) and Marco’s Pizza Pasta (‘Unga Road) serving freshly-baked pizzas, pasta and more. Asian restaurants are also easily found in the city, such as Evergreen Chinese Restaurant (Bypass Road, Ma’ufanga) or the affordable Tiger Inn Restaurant (Railway Road). If you’re looking for an all-round pleasant dining experience, see The TOP Restaurant (Corner of Wellington and Taua’ahau Roads) located up an elevator overlooking the city, while Chef Zero Restaurant (Popua) is known for its steak, pork and seafood dishes.
And that’s just in Nuku’alofa, across Tongatapu you’ll find resorts serving a range of international and local dishes to give your tastebuds a comprehensive experience during your stay. Top resort restaurants for casual diners include the Heilala Restaurant (Ha’atafu Beach) and The Hideaway Cafe at Holty’s Hideaway (Ha’atafu Beach). Liku’alofa Beach Resort (‘Otuhaka Beach) does some yummy fish and chips.
As there’s so much more to unpack for dining in Tongatapu, take a look at the Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu for more recommendations.
International Restaurants in Ha’apai
Ha’apai’s only restaurant that is not affiliated with a resort is the Mariner’s Cafe & Restaurant (Fau Road, Pangai). Not only is a good place to fuel the stomach with hearty breakfasts, homemade pasta and seafood dishes, but it’s a hub for travellers visiting the island.
Other options for casual eating in Ha’apai include the cafe at Matafonua Lodge (Foa Island) which has a seasonal all-day menu, while the Ha’apai Beach Resort (Fau Road, Lifuka) also offers international cuisine for casual diners and guests.
International Restaurants in Vava’u
While each island resort around Vava’u has its own options for dining, those visiting Neiafu have a range of international restaurants to choose from. Sitting on the water’s edge at Neiafu’s southern wharf, the Mango Cafe serves up a diverse range of cuisine from burritos to burgers to all-day breakfasts. The Bellavista Cafe & Restaurant (Guttenbeil Plaza) is known for its Italian-style pizzas, espresso coffees, pasta and fresh Vava’uan fish!
Panda on the waterfront is your go-to for Chinese food, while Hepi Pizza (Fatafahi Road, near Toula Village) provides more reasons to eat pizzas with the addition of a serene harbour view.
For more ideas, check out Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Vava’u.
Cafes in Tonga
Looking for a place to sit down for breakfast or for lunch? Perhaps get your espresso fix and connect up to the WiFi? Check out the range of cafes across The Kingdom!
Cafes in Tongatapu
One of Nuku’alofa’s hotspots, the Friends Cafe (Taufa’ahau Road) is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving up light lunches of toasties, paninis, salads, soups, burgers and more. Coffee Post (Taufa’ahu Road) is another option boasting an array of healthy lunch options and not-so-healthy breakfasts.
For coffee with a Tongan twist, check out the ‘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. Tupu’Anga Cafe (Umusi Road) is also worth the trip out of the city centre for their cassava cakes, pies, chips, pawpaw scones and home-roasted coffee.
Cafes in Vava’u
A quiet cafe in the centre of Neiafu, Coffee & Tees serves up a range of drinks to get you through the day, whether it’s something from the cabinet, a light salad or some indulgent waffles. Alternatively, check out Cafe Tropicana (Fatafehi Road) which does a wide range of meals for breakfast and lunch, from naughty pancakes and waffles to sandwiches, tacos, pies and pastries.
For more information about each cafe, check out the 10 Best Cafes in Tonga TTD371.