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, taking the reward of tasting the abundance of the islands and surrounding oceans to the next level. 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, each has its own unique identity, because no, you will not find a single McDonald’s in the whole country!
1. The TOP Restaurant & Lounge (Tongatapu)
Get amazing views of the Nuku’alofa CBD and the tops of the Royal Palace from The TOP Restaurant & Lounge. 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; there’s something for just about anyone. When it comes to dessert, you’ll get to see the offering before you choose. The chef and operator of the restaurant will likely come out for a chat.
Opening hours: 5:30 am to 10:30 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Corner of Wellington and Taua’ahau Roads, Nuku’alofa city centre, Tongatapu.
2. Leleno ki Moana (Ha’apai)
Nestled among coconut palms of the beachfront approximately 400 m (440 yards) south of Hihifo, Leleno ki Moana meaning “Run to the Ocean”, is a quirky beach hut restaurant serving quality meals for an affordable price. Delight in fresh fish and chips, beasty burgers, aromatic curries, Tongan dishes and more, all lovingly presented on timber boards and banana leaves. You’ll hardly get a more island vibe! As one of the few restaurants in the Ha’apai island group, Leleno ki Moana is certainly one of the 10 Best Hidden Gems in Tonga.
Opening hours: 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday and 9 am to 4 pm Wednesday.
Location: Hala Holopeka Road, Hihifo (approximately 400 m/440 yards down the dirt road at the end of Hihifo villages), Lifuka Island, Ha’apai.
3. Basque Tavern (Vava’u)
More than your harbour town watering hole, Basque Tavern reinforces the social vibe by serving a range of sharing plates. The Spanish-inspired tapas bar in Neiafu, Vava’u (with Tongan-portion tapas, obviously) boasts a creative tapas menu that changes weekly, giving you more reasons to return. They also serve burgers, steak and fish and chips – just in case you’re not the sharing type. Enjoy the rustic decor, pool table and the transition into a buzzing bar as the night goes on. For more good eating in this island group, check out the 15 Best Cafes & Restaurants in Vava’u.
Opening hours: 3 pm to 12:20 am Tuesday to Friday and 3 pm to 11:30 am Saturday.
Location: Corner of Fatafehi and Falaeu Roads, Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u, Vava’u
4. Friends Cafe (Tongatapu)
As one of the capital’s hotspots, Friends Cafe rarely needs an introduction. Learn about the history of the 100+-year-old building on the notices found on each table and treat yourself to a light lunch of toasties, paninis, salads, soups, burgers, all-day breakfasts and more. For the sweet tooth, ice cream and baked cheesecakes are also a winner! They are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening drinks with local beer on tap. Check out more eateries in the area in the 20 Best Restaurants on Tongatapu.
Opening hours: 7 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Corner of Taufa’ahau Road and Salote Road, Nuku’alofa city centre, Tongatapu.
5. Little Italy Restaurant (Tongatapu)
Probably the most out-of-place restaurant in the islands of the South Pacific, Little Italy Restaurant transports you to Europe in its cuisine, decor and architecture. Everything about this restaurant in Nuku’alofa is charmingly Italian, including its darn-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. Note that if you’re eating outside, you’re likely to eat your pizza to the sad eyes of a stray dog. See more of the capital’s top dining establishments in the 20 Best Restaurants in Nuku’alofa.
Opening hours: 3 pm to 9:30 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Vuna Road, Kolomotu’a, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
6. Le Galion (Vava’u)
Overlooking the marina yet somehow easy to miss, Le Galion is one you’ll the delighted to stumble upon when looking for lunch in Vava’u. There’s something for everyone on their creative yet concise international menu that lurches from enchiladas to falafel/roasted pumpkin wraps, to fried noodles to homemade nachos (yes, the chips are homemade!) The restaurant also has fantastic vegetarian options – see Tonga for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants. The kitchen closes at 3/4 pm but the good vibes continue as the elevated bar stays open till late on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Ask about their weekly burlesque night or read up in The Ultimate Guide to Nightlife in Tonga.
Opening hours: 11 am to 3 pm for lunch Tuesday to Thursday and 11 am to 4 pm Friday and Saturday. The bar is open until late on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Location: The entrance is on the corner of Fatafehi Road and the road leading down to Halaevalu Wharf (just past the Friendly Islands Bookshop), Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u, Vava’u.
7. Tupu’Anga Cafe (Tongatapu)
While a little out of Nuku’alofa town, it’s worth making your way to Tupu’Anga Cafe for their cassava cakes, lu pies, manioke/kumala chips, lesi (papaya) scones and home-roasted coffee. Tours of the coffee roastery and cassava chip factory are sometimes available if you ask and they’re not too busy – learn more about this experience and others in the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Tonga. They also have free WiFi and a children’s playground.
Opening hours: 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and 8 am to 1 pm Saturday.
Location: Umusi Road, Popua, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
8. Chef Zero Restaurant (Tongatapu)
Another one a little out of town in Nuku’alofa, Chef Zero is well worth getting to for an upmarket dine-in experience in Tonga. 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 (their most popular) 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!
Opening hours: 10 am to 10 pm Monday to Friday.
Location: Tamakautonga Road, Popua, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
9. The Harbourview (Vava’u)
For European/American-style food done well, head to The Harbourview in Toula village, Vava’u. Aside from the idyllic harbour views that give this restaurant and resort its namesake, the diverse breakfast, lunch and dinner menus (which you can choose from any and anytime, FYI) means that everyone in your party is likely to be happy – even the token vegan! Unashamedly, their most popular dish is the “Aussie Burger” loaded with bacon, cheese, egg, pineapple, caramelised onions and beetroot. Save room for a peanut butter chocolate and banana smoothie! What’s more, there’s free WiFi and they operate “Manu Eats“, which you can find out more about in The Food Guide to Vava’u.
Opening hours: 6:30 am to 9 pm from Monday to Saturday and 9 am to 9 pm on Sunday.
Location: Toula village, approximately 2.5 km (1.6 mi) south of Neiafu town centre, ‘Utu Vava’u, Vava’u. Take the road toward the coast just south of the Toula Latter-Day Saints Church. The restaurant is signposted approximately 250 m (270 yards) down this road.
10. Talei’s Restaurant (‘Eua)
If you’re looking to eat out on ‘Eua, your options are few and far between yet Talei’s Restaurant is here to serve all your comfort classics and get a true taste of Tonga. The rustic restaurant in ‘Eua’s central cluster of villages has a small but interesting menu, from ika kelevi (fish in sauce) to fish/sausage/chicken and chips/manioke, and all for a very very affordable price. Enjoy it all in the pleasant undercover seating area or order to takeaway. More options for eating out on ‘Eua can be found in The Complete Travel Guide to ‘Eua.
Opening hours: 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday.
Location: Angaha village (the first road south of the Catholic Church), central ‘Eua.
11. Garden Cafe (Tongatapu)
A must-stop while road-tripping around Tongatapu, the Garden Cafe offers an attractive setting for cold drinks, salads, Mexican food and cake. The roadside cafe in Vaini village has outdoor and indoor seating among verdant furniture and plants, as well as sports memorabilia to commemorate the family’s famous rugby star. Dishes of chicken salad, tacos, quesadillas and cooked breakfasts taste as good as they look. Fruit juleps are served with bamboo straws at this cafe that aims for minimal single-use plastic. Cakes usually sell out by 12 pm, so get in there early! For more like this, check out the 10 Best Cafes in Nuku’alofa & Tongatapu.
Opening hours: 8:30 am to 6:30 pm Thursday to Saturday and on public holidays.
Location: Taufa’ahau Road (near the solar farm and turn-off to Thanks n Praise Car Rental), Vaini, Tongatapu.
12. MJ Seafood (Vava’u)
Other than experiencing an umu feast (see The Best Cultural Shows in Tonga), the dining scene in Vava’u doesn’t get more Tongan than the fabulous and locally run MJ Seafood. As the name suggests, they only do seafood but they do it well, delighting diners with a range of curry/gravy-like Tongan dishes, such as their most popular kelevi ika, as well as notably non-greasy fish and chips. To treat yourself, try the lobster!
Opening hours: 8 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday and 8 am to 12 pm on Saturday.
Location: Halaevalu Wharf, Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u, Vava’u. Up the driveway behind the shipping containers.
13. Bellavista Cafe & Restaurant (Vava’u)
An eclectic array of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as great views, can be found at the Bellavista Cafe & Restaurant in the Guttenbeil Plaza of Vava’u. It’s your Italian flair in the South Pacific, serving up Italian-style pizzas, pasta, espresso coffees and a wealth of seafood dishes with fresh Vava’uan fish – no wonder their fish of the day is the most popular! If you need to wet your whistle, Bellavista also pours an impressive range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (the fresh papaya and banana smoothie is a best-seller). Credit card is accepted.
Opening hours: 8 am to 10 pm from Monday to Saturday.
Location: Guttenbeil Plaza, Fatafehi Road, Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u, Vava’u.
14. Seaview Lodge & Restaurant (Tongatapu)
A little further along from Little Italy, Seaview Lodge & Restaurant offers an upmarket dining experience and cocktail deck overlooking Nuku’alofa‘s waterfront. Try one of their award-winning pina coladas at happy hour from 4-6 pm on weekdays and 3-6 pm on weekends, then ease into their nautical-themed dining room with colonial-style architecture where favourites include octopus with grilled vegetables and grilled snapper on homemade lemon butter sauce. The restaurant is also family-friendly with highchairs available. Cash and credit card are accepted.
Opening hours: 11 am to 10 pm Wednesday to Friday and 7 am to 10 pm Saturday and Sunday.
Location: Vuna Road, Tolosia, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
15. Moli Green Cafe (Tongatapu)
Pop in for a sit-down or use the drive-thru at Moli Green Cafe. The cafe close to Nuku’alofa city centre provides a healthier breakfast and lunch option, specialising in fresh fruit smoothies (try them with moringa!), sandwiches made with homebaked wholemeal bread, cooked breakfasts with veggies on the side, oatmeal, porridge and more! If you can’t kick the caffeine then at least they have locally-roasted Kingdom Koffie beans. Moli Green also has many of your cafe favourites among contemporary industrial-style interiors. Cash only.
Opening hours: 7 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and 7 am to 1 pm Saturday.
Location: Corner of Fatafehi Road and Laifone Road, Kolofo’ou, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
16. Lunarossa Deli (Tongatapu)
Lunarossa Deli proves that a fine dining takeaway is a thing with their eatery in Nuku’alofa. What used to be a reputable restaurant is now exclusively open as a deli and takeaway with just four seats to dine in! Most choose to take home/back to their accommodation, however, to indulge in Italian-style dishes such as a range of pasta, ravioli, chicken/beef/fish in a garlic mushroom sauce or pork loin milanese. Whatever you choose for mains, a must-try as an appetizer is their super fresh and beautifully seasoned sashimi! Cash and credit card are accepted.
Opening hours: 5 pm to 9 pm Monday to Friday.
Location: Salote Road (across the road from the Fa’onelua Convention Center), Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
17. Humpback Lodge (Vava’u)
This one is a little out of town but that’s no excuse; Humpback Lodge provides complimentary shuttles/will organise a taxi from Neiafu to their restaurant poised over the inlet between Pangaimotu Island and ‘Utu Vava’u (the main island of Vava’u). Both the lunch and dinner menus have all your usual crowd-pleasers, such as pizzas, pan-fried fish, burgers, etc., as well as delightful Tongan touches such as a spicy feke (octopus) salad. Speaking of Tongan food, book on Saturday night for their “Tongan night” to try local staples and drink kava to the relaxing sounds of a string band. Oh, and bring something to wrap up in, as it can get pretty breezy up here. Learn more about local food in the 10 Unique Foods in Tonga You Have to Try.
Opening hours: 6 am to 10 pm from Monday to Sunday.
Location: Just across the causeway south of Toula village, Pangaimotu Island, approximately 2.8 km (1.7 mi) south of Neiafu, Vava’u.
18. Builder’s Burger (Tongatapu)
Sure, there are a lot of burgers in Nuku’alofa. But nowhere else builds a burger like Builder’s Burger. They handcraft their own patties (or swap to fish for the same price) and stack them for all walks of life visiting them at their secluded waterfront location right by Nuku’alofa’s ocean swimming pool. Needless to say, the “Builder’s Burger” is their most popular with double patties, double cheese, pineapple, eggs, bacon onion, lettuce, pickle and BBQ and white sauce! Wash it all down with a fresh coconut or a smoothie and let the kids loose at the pool or playground.
Opening hours: 7 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday and 7 am to 3 pm Saturday.
Location: Taufa’ahau Road (at Touliki Ocean Pool, approximately 200 m/220 yards east of Villa Ishadora), Touliki, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
19. Lucky Pot Restaurant (Ha’apai)
Located in Ha’apai‘s Market Building with attractive outdoor and indoor seating, Lucky Pot Restaurant offers another fantastic dining option on Pangai‘s waterfront. They specialise in pele dishes made with local spinach, as well as fast food favourites like chicken and chips. Head there on a Friday afternoon/evening for pizzas and burgers! For more like this, check out The Top Cheap Eats in Tonga.
Opening hours: 8:30 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday and 8:30 am to 3 pm Saturday.
Location: Waterfront Road, Pangai, Lifuka Island, Ha’apai.
20. Siva’s Dream Cafe (Tongatapu)
If you have plenty of time on your hands and want to get out of Nuku’alofa, escape to Siva’s Dream Cafe. Food is made with love at this locally run cafe in the village of Te’ekiu, which can take a little bit of time but is well worth the wait for the “Waimanalo Burger” marinated in honey soy sauce or the creamy chicken pasta. Look out for one of their floor shows between November and December, as described in The 10 Best Cultural Shows in Tonga.
Opening hours: 8 am to 8 pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Location: Signposted off Hihifo Road, Te’ekiu village, west side of Tongatapu.
More About Restaurants in Tonga
That’s it for our list of the best restaurants in Tonga. For more about dining in The Kingdom, take a look at the following guides: