No matter where you're visiting for the first time, it's always great to know the best places to eat & drink and where to get a good coffee! The islands are no exception!
Here are our tips for the Kingdom of Tonga as well as some recommendations on where local Tongans like to get their favourite Tongan dishes if they're eating out.
SABRINA's CHICKEN VILOVILO
Sabrinas is located on Railway Road which runs parallel to Taufa'ahau street (the main street which runs through Nuku'alofa) to the right.
According to our local Tongan mates it's a popular spot for all the locals to get their fave Tongan dishes like Pele Sipi, their BBQ mix AND they're also great value. All the dishes are about $6 - $8 Pa'anga which is the equivalent of $4-$5 NZD!
SABRINA's BBQ SPIT
If you head down to the wharf almost opposite the Waterfront Lodge you'll find where Sabrinas BBQ a lot of their meat if you want to get it hot off the spit as well.
Mum's Cafe is another popular spot with locals for local Tongan dishes. Again, it's not on the main road going through Nuku'alofa so it may pay to ask someone to point you in the right direction.
They have a great selection of local dishes like Lu Sipi, Kale Moa & Sapasui Pulu as well as yummy chow meins & pasta.
The cafe also sells clothing, Basketball singlets, caps, kicks and Havaiana jandals!
ISLAND STYLE TAKEAWAYS
There are also a number of street vendors selling island dishes where you can easily stop by and get the likes of 'Ota ika (raw fish), curry chicken & even BBQ sausage & chicken to go.
PANGAIMOTU ISLAND RESORT
On Sundays Nuku'alofa shuts down so you won't find restaurants, bars or cafes open (except for at the resorts & hotels) but we recommend going over to Pangaimotu for the day!
Ferrys generally go over at 11am, 12pm & 1pm and then return at 4pm, 5pm & 6pm.
Big Mama serves up a choice of Fish & Chips, Chicken teriyaki & Chips, Cheese Burger & Chips, Grilled fish burger & chips plus a lamb curry.
Lunch is included in your ferry ticket over to the island which is $50 Pa'anga per adult ($32 NZD) & $25 Pa'anga per child ($16 NZD)
Don't forget to sign your name before you leave - there's still a few empty spots there.
Plenty of fresh produce in the Kingdom mostly sold along the side of the road not only in Nuku'alofa but also throughout the villages.
Huge watermelons, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, drinking coconuts, cassava and more.
We couldn't find hot meals or ready made food like 'ota ika or BBQ like they have in other Pacific Island markets but there was lots of fresh produce sold.
One of the newer if not the newest eatery in Nuku'alofa (has been open less than 6 months) and was a definite crew favourite! We ALMOST ate here every 2nd night. Great atmosphere, great pub food and really reasonably priced.
It's open from 11am - 11pm Monday to Saturday and is located on Vuna Road (On the left hand side of the palace when you're looking out to sea)
They also show a lot of the overseas sports fixtures so if you're looking for somewhere thats playing the All Blacks - Vuna Bar would be a safe bet.
Still everyones favourite place to get pizza & pasta in the Kingdom. The owner is married to an Italian so they boast the best authentic Italian food on the island.
They're located on the Sopo side of Vuna Road (Same side as Vuna Bar).
It doubles as both a hotel and restaurant so although they're closed to the public on Sundays, they're still open to inhouse guests.
BILLFISH BAR & RESTAURANT
A much loved family owned and run bar & restaurant, it opened over 20 years ago and is still one of the most popular night spots on the island.
They're located on the Hala side of Vuna Road - right hand side of the Palace.
They're open from 9am daily and serve up a delicious lunch & dinner pub style menu. We recommend the fish burger and chips!
In need of some good hot bread?
Cowley's Bakery provides 80 - 90% of Tonga with bread and also have a range of cakes & bakery goodness.
You can find them on the corner of Salote Road.
We're going to give a few of our own 'Best of' awards out now ....
This place has amazing Keke and is located opposite the police station and diagonally opposite the markets.
Super Scooper I-Scream!
They also offer a small internet cafe area with a range of Western/palangi style food including cooked breakfasts.
Utu'ongo Cafe next to Christ Embassy church opposite Tungi Colonade.
The owner Moana came back to Tonga to pastor a church and decided to run the doffee place as a not for profit.
They also sell delicious chocolate croissants, pretzels, banana, coconut bread AND plates of island food - Lu Sipi with cassava and coconut cream.
Utu'ongo has been open for 4 years and are run by all volunteer workers.
They're open 7am - 3pm Mon to Fri & 7am - 12pm on Saturdays.
Leihuni Waffle Bar
BEST HEALTH FOOD OPTIONS
We featured the owner Rose Fangupo in our Humans of the Islands section as she also runs Health bootcamps out of Teufaiva Gym.
You won't find Fries or burgers here but you will find healthy wraps and yummy smoothies.
Check out some of the other food options in the pics below and get to know Rose here.
And lastly we didn't get to eat at these places but we've been recommended them for next time!
BEST LOBSTER - Waterfront Lodge (not far from Billfish)
BEST INDIAN - Little India (not far from Little Italys & Vuna Bar). The chef is Indian so good authentic Indian cuisine.
Thank you to Vila Day