Best Places to Eat in Rarotonga
Here are my top three on the list of best places to eat in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
1. Vili’s Burger Joint.
By far the best burger on the island and overall number one of the best places to eat in Rarotonga is Vili’s Burger Joint. These burgers are so good that American burgers have nothing on them. I am not kidding. In California, I am a big fan of In-n-out Burger, but Vili’s burgers are bigger, taste better and feel healthier.
The place is basically a little cute shack in Muri, across from the Muri Beachcomber hotel, that has an outside counter you order your food from. All the seating is outside. They do take out as well.
It is a little expensive for a burger, especially if you are used to getting free ketchup with your fries. There is an extra charge for tomato sauce. But the food is so good that you don’t really want to drown it in sauce anyway.
I came to Vili’s multiple times, and by my third time, the lady at the counter already remembered my order! I love it. My order was the veggie burger without egg and cheese and I added pickles (or gherkins as they called it there) with a side of fries.
Sometimes there is a long wait to get your food, but it is totally worth it. This is a casual place, so I would not get super dressed up to eat here. If you want to get dressed up, try number two on my list of best places to eat in Rarotonga: The Rickshaw Restaurant.
There is an outhouse type toilet behind the kitchen. You just need to ask for a key to use it.
I love cats, and this place had two of them milling around and chasing small crabs under the tables. I loved that extra touch.
2. The Rickshaw Restaurant
My second best place to eat in Rarotonga is The Rickshaw Restaurant. It is also on the main road in Muri. If you take a bus here, the bus can drop you right in front of the restaurant, as long as you tell the driver.
It took me a couple of times of walking by before I decided to go in. Honestly, from the street, the restaurant doesn’t look as appetizing as it really is. It looked kind of dark from the street but the inside it is clean with linen tablecloths and generally much nicer than I expected. The staff was very attentive and friendly.
The food is Asian, mainly Vietnamese. They have some vegan and vegetarian options. I ordered the fresh roll appetizer. It was very tasty, but not as tightly packed as I have gotten accustomed to in the US.
For main courses we shared a veggie curry with rice and a veggie noodle dish (Pad SeeEw -type) with cashews on it. They were both super tasty. Loved them.
3. La Cantina, Mexican Restaurant
Number three in my list of best places to eat in Rarotonga is La Cantina, which is right next to The Rickshaw Restaurant – so if you want to take a look at them both first and then decide, it’s very convenient.
The restaurant has fun colorful seating in an open air atmosphere.
I ate at La Cantina a couple of times. Honestly, after the first appetizer I didn’t think I would come back… but the main course changed my mind. For starters I had ordered chips and salsa. I love good chips and salsa, and usually especially in North American restaurants, those are brought to the table for free and in huge quantities. That was not the case in the Cook Islands: the appetizer was tiny. It must have had 15 chips in it and a tiny bowl of salsa. And they charge a lot of money for what it is. But I understand if the chips are imported from overseas it must get pricey.
The main course was very tasty though. I ordered the veggie burrito. It was not big, but it was very tasty. It had grilled vegetables inside with some tasty sauce. The tortilla was grilled to make a little bit hard, and it was fun to eat that way. The vegetables were the best part, they were flavorful.
I will totally return for the burrito, but will skip the chips and salsa.
I loved all three restaurants. Even though I ate all over the Cook Islands, but it so happens that all three of my favorite restaurants are in the same Muri village, near each other. I recommend heading there for some treats.