30 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]© TongaPocketGuide.com
30 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]

20 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2024]

© TongaPocketGuide.com

The Best Places to Eat on Tongatapu

As important as swimming with whales, checking out amazing crafts at the markets, scuba diving in vibrant reefs, and seeing ancient Polynesian monuments, eating on Tongatapu is a top Tongan experience! From authentic island dishes to international favourites made with fresh local produce, it can all be experienced on Tonga’s main island. Check out some of the top recommendations in the nation’s capital, Nuku’alofa, as well as around the island, in this guide to the best restaurants in Tongatapu.

For more about the restaurants just in Nuku’alofa, see The Food Guide to Tongatapu: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

1. The TOP Restaurant & Lounge

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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

2. Friends Cafe

As one of the city centre’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 like this in the 10 Best Cafes in Nuku’alofa & Tongatapu.

Opening hours: 7 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Corner of Taufa’ahau Road and Salote Road, Nuku’alofa city centre.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

3. Little Italy Restaurant

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 it 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. The restaurant also has a hotel upstairs – learn more in the 20 Best Hotels in Nuku’alofa.

Opening hours: 3 pm to 9:30 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Vuna Road, Kolomotu’a, Nuku’alofa.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

4. Tupu’Anga Cafe

While a little out of 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 Tongatapu. 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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

5. 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 (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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

6. Garden Cafe

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!

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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

7. Seaview Lodge & Restaurant

A little further along from Little Italy, Seaview Lodge & Restaurant offers an upmarket dining experience and cocktail deck overlooking the 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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

8. Moli Green Cafe

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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

9. Lunarossa Deli

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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

10. Builder’s Burger

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.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

11. Mum’s Cafe

Experience a cafe Tongan style at Mum’s Cafe! Try something quintessentially local like ota ika or ika loloi or unashamedly order one of their very popular “Mum’s Big Breakfast Burgers” stacked with multiple meats, eggs, cheese and more. There’s hot food ready to go in the cabinet or have something made to order. Either way, food is lovingly but ironically prepared by Dad in the back while Mum and her daughters are running the show out front!

Opening hours: 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Corner of Fatafehi Road and Laifone Road, Kolofo’ou, Nuku’alofa.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

12. 12 Seafood Restaurant

Exclusively serving seafood in a far-flung waterfront corner of Nuku’alofa, 12 Seafood Restaurant is a local favourite! Try fish prepared the way Tongans prefer, whether it’s cooked in a gravy/curry sauce or succulently raw and fresh like ota ika. Of course, fish and chips is a very valid and popular option too. What’s more, everything is affordable with all dishes well under TOP$20. Fresh fish is caught (almost) daily and enjoyed right by the tranquil waters of the Fanga Kakau Inlet. Find more like this in The Top Cheap Eats in Nuku’alofa.

Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: End of Umusi Road, Popua, Nuku’alofa.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

13. Siva’s Dream Cafe

If you have plenty of time on your hands and want to get out of town, 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.

20 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]© TongaPocketGuide.com

14. Waterfront Restaurant & Lodge

After strolling down a quaint garden pathway, you’ll arrive at the spacious Waterfront Restaurant & Lodge. 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 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Nuku’alofa for more details.

Opening hours: 7 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Vuna Road, opposite Faua Wharf, Nuku’alofa.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

15. 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 “Jucie Lucie” 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. Learn more about its bar in the 5 Best Bars in Nuku’alofa.

Opening hours: 10 am to 1 am Monday to Friday and 2 pm to 11:30 pm Saturday.
Location
: Vuna Road (opposite the eastern end of Faua Wharf), Ma’ufanga, Nuku’alofa.

Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

16. Pizzeria Royale

At the swanky location of Faua Wharf on Nuku’alofa‘s waterfront, Pizzeria Royale fires up some of the best pizzas in town that are worth paying a little extra for. Enjoy all the usual pizza flavours with a good crisp-to-soft-dough ratio, while “A Mafia” is the “spoil yourself” option with BBQ sauce, bacon, ham, minced beef, pepperoni, bacon, mozzarella and parmesan. When you’re done, you can enjoy drinks at Nauti Ruby’s next door – as listed in our Nuku’alofa & Tongatapu Nightlife Guide + 5 Things to Do at Night.

Opening hours: 11:30 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location
: Faua Wharf, Vuna Road, Nuku’alofa.

30 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]© TongaPocketGuide.com

17. Three Men’s Fastfood

The kings of fast food in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu, Three Men’s Fastfood is a chain that’s fast become the number one go-to for locals and visitors alike! Head to their pizzeria in the container restaurants at the Vuna Wharf/Bus Station or indulge in burgers, paninis and fried chicken at their flagship takeaway at Taufa’ahau Village.

Opening hours: 8 am to 11:30 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location
: Vuna Wharf/Bus Station on Vuna Road & Taufa’ahau Village, Taufa’ahau Road, Nuku’alofa.

30 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]© TongaPocketGuide.com

18. Chand’s Curry House

A long-established hole-in-the-wall eatery at the Tonga Post Building food court, Chand’s Curry House is a popular Indian takeaway that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Treat yourself to a variety of curries with various boned and boneless meats, all served with rice, roti and a chilli chutney – amazing value for the price!

Opening hours: 11 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location
: Tonga Post Building (between Tonga Post and BSP Bank), Taufa’ahau Road, Nuku’alofa.

30 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]© TongaPocketGuide.com

19. Maleitaha Cafe

The new kid on the block, Maleitaha Cafe is all about keeping it Tongan with specialities like lu sipi (lamb wrapped in taro leaves) and lu kapapulu (corned beef wrapped in taro leaves) or something fresh like ota ika or a poke bowl. If you’re not feeling too adventurous, there’s always the likes of chicken curry and omelette to fall back on. Otherwise, for that weird time of the day, you can always pop in for freshly brewed coffee and a sweet local dessert made with coconut cream, faikakai ngou’a. Learn more about Tongan dishes in the 10 Unique Foods in Tonga You Have to Try.

Opening hours: 10 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday.
Location
: Corner of Taufa’ahau Road and ‘Alaivahamama’o Bypass, Nuku’alofa.

30 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]© TongaPocketGuide.com

20. Little India

Finally, across the road from the cafe mentioned above, Little India offers an attractive setting for curry, thali and soup. Find a cosy corner of the undercover courtyard decorated with garden furniture and artificial plants and grass for that urban garden chic vibe. Thalis are the speciality here coming in your choice of protein. Complete the ensemble with a roti and a drinking coconut!

Opening hours: 7:30 am to 10 pm Monday to Friday and 8 am to 8 pm Saturday.
Location
: Corner of Taufa’ahau Road and ‘Alaivahamama’o Bypass, Nuku’alofa.

30 BEST Restaurants on Tongatapu 🍨 [2023]© TongaPocketGuide.com

More About Restaurants on Tongatapu

That’s it for our list of the best restaurants on Tongatapu. For more about treating your palate, take a look at the following:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Food Guide to Tongatapu: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

Author

Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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