The 7 Best Restaurants in Cook Islands for Fine Dining and Local Cuisine

The Cook Islands, nestled in the heart of the South Pacific, are a tropical paradise known for their stunning natural beauty, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. One of the most popular activities for visitors to the Cook Islands is snorkeling, and for good reason. The islands boast an incredible array of marine life, with vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish and other fascinating creatures. If you’re a snorkeling enthusiast or simply looking to explore the underwater world, here are the five best snorkeling spots in the Cook Islands for encountering a kaleidoscope of marine life.

Grourmet Cuisine

Tamarind House – Rarotonga

Located in Rarotonga, the largest and most populous island in the Cook Islands, Tamarind House is a true culinary gem. Nestled among tropical gardens, this restaurant offers a delightful blend of Polynesian and international flavors. The menu showcases fresh seafood, locally sourced ingredients, and traditional dishes such as ika mata (raw fish marinated in coconut milk). The elegant ambiance and attentive service make Tamarind House an unforgettable dining experience.

Tamarind House is renowned for its dedication to showcasing the unique flavors of the Cook Islands. The restaurant sources its ingredients locally, ensuring that every dish is made with the freshest produce available. The chefs at Tamarind House skillfully incorporate traditional Polynesian ingredients and techniques into their international-inspired dishes, resulting in a fusion of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.

As you step into Tamarind House, you are greeted by a tranquil setting surrounded by lush gardens, creating a serene atmosphere that enhances the dining experience. The restaurant’s attentive staff provide warm hospitality, guiding you through the menu and offering recommendations based on your preferences. Whether you choose to indulge in a succulent seafood dish or explore the traditional flavors of the islands, Tamarind House delivers a dining experience that celebrates the rich culinary heritage of the Cook Islands. (best restaurants in Cook Islands)

The Mooring – Rarotonga

For an exceptional waterfront dining experience, look no further than The Mooring. Situated on Muri Beach, this restaurant boasts stunning panoramic views of the lagoon and neighboring islands. The Mooring specializes in Pacific Rim cuisine, featuring an innovative menu that incorporates the best of local ingredients. From succulent grilled lobster to mouthwatering tropical fruit desserts, every dish is a work of art. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a romantic dinner while savoring the breathtaking sunset.

The Mooring is renowned for its commitment to showcasing the flavors of the Pacific Rim, with a particular emphasis on incorporating the freshest local ingredients. The chefs at The Mooring create culinary masterpieces that highlight the unique flavors and textures of the Cook Islands. Each dish is carefully crafted to tantalize both the taste buds and the eyes, with vibrant presentations that reflect the beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes.

The restaurant’s waterfront location adds an extra layer of magic to the dining experience. As you dine at The Mooring, you can bask in the stunning views of the lagoon, with its turquoise waters and picturesque islands. The restaurant’s open-air design allows you to feel the gentle sea breeze as you savor each delectable bite. The Mooring truly offers an unforgettable dining experience that combines exquisite cuisine, breathtaking views, and romantic ambiance. (best restaurants in Cook Islands)

Sails Restaurant – Aitutaki

Aitutaki, known for its crystal-clear turquoise lagoon, is home to Sails Restaurant, an establishment that celebrates the island’s natural beauty and culinary traditions. Located on the beachfront, Sails offers a unique dining experience where you can enjoy the freshest seafood while being serenaded by the gentle sounds of the ocean. The menu showcases Aitutaki’s local delicacies, including succulent marinated yellowfin tuna and mouthwatering coconut crusted prawns. Sails Restaurant is a must-visit for those seeking a true taste of Aitutaki.

Sails Restaurant takes pride in its focus on locally sourced seafood, delivering dishes that capture the essence of Aitutaki’s culinary heritage. The menu is thoughtfully curated to showcase the freshest catch of the day, allowing diners to experience the flavors of the ocean in every bite. The skilled chefs at Sails combine traditional cooking techniques with modern culinary trends, resulting in dishes that are both authentic and innovative.

When you visit Sails Restaurant, you are greeted by a breathtaking beachfront setting. The restaurant’s open-air design and panoramic views of the lagoon create a sense of tranquility and connection to nature. As you indulge in the delicious flavors of Aitutaki, you can hear the gentle lapping of the waves and feel the soft sand beneath your feet. Sails Restaurant offers an immersive dining experience that celebrates the culinary delights and natural beauty of Aitutaki. (best restaurants in Cook Islands)

Flame Tree – Rarotonga

Nestled in the enchanting Muri Beach area, Flame Tree offers a captivating fusion of flavors inspired by the Pacific and Mediterranean cuisines. This open-air restaurant boasts a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely lunch or a romantic dinner. The menu features an array of delicious options, from seafood paella to wood-fired pizzas. Make sure to save room for their delectable homemade gelato.

Flame Tree prides itself on its unique blend of Pacific and Mediterranean flavors, offering a diverse menu that caters to a wide range of tastes. The restaurant’s skilled chefs draw inspiration from the abundance of fresh ingredients available in the Cook Islands, infusing their dishes with a vibrant mix of herbs, spices, and local produce. Whether you’re craving a mouthwatering seafood paella or a wood-fired pizza with a Pacific twist, Flame Tree has something to satisfy every palate.

The restaurant’s open-air setting creates a welcoming and relaxed ambiance, allowing diners to unwind and enjoy their meal in a beautiful tropical environment. The friendly staff at Flame Tree provide attentive service, ensuring that every visit is a memorable one. After indulging in the delectable flavors of the Pacific and Mediterranean, be sure to treat yourself to Flame Tree’s homemade gelato, a perfect sweet ending to a delightful dining experience. (best restaurants in Cook Islands)

Tumunu – Atiu

For a truly unique dining experience, head to Atiu and visit Tumunu. This traditional Cook Islands bush bar offers an authentic taste of local cuisine and culture. Situated in a lush garden setting, Tumunu serves mouthwatering dishes cooked in an underground oven known as an umu. Indulge in succulent roasted pork, fresh seafood, and a variety of tropical fruits, all while enjoying live entertainment and traditional dance performances. Tumunu provides an immersive experience that highlights the rich heritage of the Cook Islands.

Tumunu offers an opportunity to step back in time and experience the traditional cooking methods of the Cook Islands. The restaurant’s signature dish, cooked in the umu, is a true delicacy that showcases the island’s unique culinary traditions. The umu, a traditional underground oven, infuses the food with smoky flavors and tenderizes the meat, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience that is second to none.

The vibrant atmosphere at Tumunu adds to the overall experience, with live entertainment and traditional dance performances that immerse you in the rich culture of the Cook Islands. As you dine in the lush garden setting, surrounded by the sounds of Polynesian music and the aroma of delicious food, you can’t help but feel a deep connection to the island’s heritage. Tumunu offers an unforgettable dining experience that transports you to the heart of Cook Islands’ traditions and flavors. (best restaurants in Cook Islands)

Local cuisine

The Yellow Hibiscus – Rarotonga

Situated in Muri Beach, The Yellow Hibiscus is a charming beachside restaurant renowned for its warm hospitality and delicious food. The menu features a combination of international and local dishes, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. From their famous yellowfin tuna steak to the fragrant flavors of their coconut curry, every bite is a delight. The Yellow Hibiscus offers an inviting ambiance and stunning views of the lagoon, making it a top choice for both locals and tourists alike.

The Yellow Hibiscus is known for its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and delivering dishes that showcase the flavors of the Cook Islands. The restaurant’s skilled chefs combine international culinary techniques with traditional island ingredients, resulting in a diverse menu that caters to different tastes. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic seafood dish or a fusion creation that blends global flavors with local spices, The Yellow Hibiscus has something to satisfy every craving.

As you dine at The Yellow Hibiscus, you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the lagoon and the surrounding natural beauty. The beachside location creates a relaxing atmosphere, where you can unwind and savor your meal while feeling the gentle sea breeze on your skin. The restaurant’s warm hospitality and attentive staff further enhance the dining experience, making The Yellow Hibiscus a beloved destination for both locals and tourists seeking a memorable culinary adventure. (best restaurants in Cook Islands)

The Boatshed – Rarotonga

Located on the outskirts of Avarua, the capital of the Cook Islands, The Boatshed is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed. This family-owned and operated restaurant showcases the best of local produce and flavors, delivering a culinary experience that captures the essence of the islands. The menu offers a range of dishes, including grilled fish, succulent lamb, and vegetarian options. The Boatshed’s rustic setting and warm atmosphere create a welcoming environment for a memorable dining experience.

The Boatshed is known for its commitment to supporting local farmers and fishermen, ensuring that every dish is made with the freshest ingredients sourced from the Cook Islands. The menu reflects the island’s diverse culinary traditions, offering a variety of options that cater to different dietary preferences. Whether you’re a seafood lover, a meat enthusiast, or a vegetarian, The Boatshed has something to satisfy your appetite.

When you enter The Boatshed, you are transported to a rustic and inviting space that exudes warmth and charm. The restaurant’s wooden decor, adorned with nautical elements, creates a cozy and intimate ambiance. The friendly staff at The Boatshed go above and beyond to make you feel like part of the family, providing attentive service and personalized recommendations. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic dinner or a gathering with friends and family, The Boatshed offers a memorable dining experience that celebrates the flavors of the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands offer a tantalizing array of dining options that combine the finest ingredients with traditional Polynesian flavors. From elegant establishments to rustic beachfront venues, these seven restaurants stand out as the best destinations for experiencing the culinary delights of the Cook Islands. Whether you’re seeking a romantic waterfront dinner or a casual meal immersed in local culture, these restaurants will leave you with a lasting impression of the Cook Islands’ rich gastronomic heritage. Indulge your taste buds and embark on a culinary journey through these top-notch dining establishments for an unforgettable experience in this Pacific paradise. Book Far and Away Adventure’s latest packages to experience dining in these 7 best restaurants in Cook Islands.(best restaurants in Cook Islands)

Our Top FAQ's

The restaurants mentioned in the article offer a variety of cuisines, including a blend of Polynesian and international flavors, Pacific Rim cuisine, Pacific and Mediterranean fusion, local delicacies, and traditional Cook Islands cuisine.


Yes, many of these restaurants pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients, ensuring that every dish is made with the freshest produce available in the Cook Islands.


  1. Yes, some of these restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options alongside their seafood and meat dishes. For example, The Boatshed mentioned in the article offers vegetarian options on their menu.

  2. Yes, some of these restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options alongside their seafood and meat dishes. For example, The Boatshed mentioned in the article offers vegetarian options on their menu.


Yes, several of these restaurants provide a romantic ambiance, such as The Mooring, which offers stunning panoramic views of the lagoon and breathtaking sunsets. The Boatshed is also mentioned as having a warm atmosphere for a memorable dining experience.


Yes, Tumunu on Atiu Island provides a unique dining experience by showcasing traditional cooking methods and featuring live entertainment and traditional dance performances, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Cook Islands.


Yes, many of these restaurants are family-friendly and cater to a wide range of tastes. The Boatshed, for example, is mentioned as a family-owned and operated restaurant that provides a warm and welcoming environment.


The Mooring, Sails Restaurant, and The Yellow Hibiscus are mentioned as having beachfront or waterfront locations. These restaurants offer stunning views of the lagoon and allow you to dine in a beautiful tropical environment.


Yes, the article mentions that the staff at these restaurants provide warm hospitality, attentive service, and personalized recommendations to enhance your dining experience.


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