The Ultimate Guide to Food in Niue
Everyone’s got to eat and in Niue, eating is more than just getting through the day! The food here is an experience where the country’s Pacific Island culture takes great pride in the meals prepared. Much of Niue’s food experiences are familiar dishes but with a South Pacific flair, while Niuean umu nights and Village Show Days provide an opportunity to try something locally authentic. Niue might be a small island, but it has some big flavours! Check out our advice for all things food in Niue, including places to eat, food tours, traditional meals and more, with this complete food guide to Niue.
The 10 Best Places to Eat in Niue
This food guide to Niue is pretty darn detailed, so let’s ease into it with a nice simple list of the best places to eat in Niue according to our team!
- Kaiika (Alofi)
- Fana Cafe (Swanson Complex)
- Hio Cafe & Bar (Tuapa)
- Vaiolama Cafe (Alofi)
- Crazy Uga Cafe & Bar (Alofi)
- Lilo’s Restaurant (Hapuku)
- Manuiz (Alofi)
- Washaway Cafe (Avatele)
- Crow’s Nest (Alofi)
- Cafe Tavana (Alofi)
Scroll down to “About The Best Places to Eat in Niue” to learn more about our top picks!
5 Quick Food Tips for Niue
Niue is a small island where things work a little differently from what you might be used to. With this in mind, here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to food in Niue.
- Book a table for evening meals – Niue’s restaurants only take one booking per table per night so they get booked up quickly
- Niuean food doesn’t feature on many restaurant menus – if you want to try Niuean food, go to a Niuean buffet night, a Village Show Day or the Hio Cafe
- A self-catering holiday is easy to do in Niue – Supermarket and convenience stores are usually well-stocked, while most accommodations have self-catering facilities
- Only a handful of restaurants are open daily, with some even being open once a week, so check with the Visitor Information Centre for the latest opening times (and see Opening Hours in Niue: Odd Hours, Tide Times & Things to Know for more advice)
- Meat, fish and vegetables prepared at Niue’s restaurants are generally safe – see Is the Water Safe to Drink in Niue? for advice about drinking water.
The Best Food Tours in Niue
If you’re looking for a hands-on experience involving food, then Niue offers a range of fantastic food-related tours and experiences. Take part in some traditional uga hunting or fishing, or tour a plantation producing the island’s crops or pure organic vanilla. Pick up a pot of Niue’s famous honey made from the world’s cleanest bees. Learn to husk a coconut, prepare an umu and more!
Learn How to Hunt Uga
Uga or coconut crabs have been a highly prized food source on the island for centuries. Learn about what the locals do to bait coconut crabs and catch them on a uga hunting tour. Taue Uga Tour in Avatele offers day tours to show you how to set up coconut baits around the forest, as well as night tours to see how the baits work, how to pick which crab to take, and much more. Learn more about the tour in The Best Guided Tours in Niue.
Tour a Vanilla Plantation
Niue is a producer of premium organic vanilla, where growing prime Tahitian vanilla beans is an arduous and laborious task. Learn all about vanilla growing in a vanilla plantation tour with Niue Vanilla. Join your knowledgeable guide as you tour a plantation of more than 7,000 vanilla vines, which have to be hand-pollinated. Book your tour at the Niue Vanilla store in Alofi, or you can find out more about how to book experiences in Niue (as it works a little differently) in How to Book Tours & Experiences in Niue.
Try All Sorts of Fruit on a Niuean Plantation Tour
Tour a plantation with a local guide to see how Niueans grow taro, kumara, cassava, pawpaw, watermelon, bananas and more on the A5 Plantation Tour. This casual 4WD tour teaches you about farming methods old and new, as well as gives you the opportunity to husk a coconut and hold an uga. Find the A5 Tours in the village of Mutalau. Learn more about the tour in The Best Guided Tours in Niue.
Tour a Niuean Garden
Join John for a relaxed yet amazing value-for-money tour of his labour of love, the Maala Garden. Discover unusual tropical fruit and vegetables, learn about island gardening techniques and ask all the questions you can! The experience concludes with a casual chat around a spread of local fruits, nuts and drinking coconuts.
Sample Niuean Food at an Umu Night
While restaurant menus in Niue might not be awash with Niuean cuisine, there are special umu (earth oven) nights on the island giving visitors the chance to sample some real Niuean dishes! Try takihi, povi masima, moa Niue, faikai ika and more! Bookings for these nights are essential. Learn more about umu nights at the Scenic Matavai Resort, Lilo’s Restaurant and Manuiz in The Ultimate Guide to the Niue Nightlife, as well as what local food to look for in the 10 Unique Foods in Niue You Have to Try.
More Food Tours in Niue
And that’s not all the food scene of Niue has to offer. Check out alternative food tours and experiences, such as:
- Catch dinner on a fishing charter
- Experience traditional food at a Village Show Day
- Browse the Niue Market or one of the other many markets on the island
- Pick up some Niue Honey and learn more about it at the Visitor Information Centre…
… For elaboration on most of these activities, check out the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Niue.
More About the Best Places to Eat in Niue
Going out for dinner for international cuisine with a Pacific twist is all part of the Niue getaway experience. While Niue has a small selection of restaurants, they each hold themselves to a high standard and present completely contrasting styles so your palette will never get bored!
The Best Restaurants in Niue
If looking for somewhere to eat out in the evening, you have some fantastic restaurants to choose from. Check out some of our top picks for the best restaurants in Niue below or head to The Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Niue for our full listing with opening hours, locations and more.
Kaiika Restaurant serves up such a diverse range of cuisines that you would think it’s going through an identity crisis. But all these cuisines, Kaiika does well! Most famously, its fresh sushi prepared by a Tokyo chef is a top reason to book an evening table. Their New York-style pizzas (sourdough pizzas, might we add?) and premium ice creams are also worth indulging in. Find the restaurant in the south of town nearby Alofi Rentals.
Hio Cafe & Bar (Tuapa)
A red container overlooking Hio Beach, the Hio Cafe & Bar is a good excuse to refuel after a day exploring nearby attractions like the Limu Pools, Matapa Chasm and Avaiki Cave. Try creative smoothies, cocktails or your usual beer and wine favourites, while their range of burgers, fish tacos, wood-fired pizzas and Niuean tasting platters only make us wish they were open more! The icing on the cake is usually the stellar sunset across the Pacific Ocean.
Vaiolama Cafe (Alofi)
Also providing sensational views, the Vaiolama Cafe is perched atop a 30-metre cliff in Alofi. Mostly open for lunch, it’s also certainly worth a venture for dinner for their grill menu with the likes of steak, surf and turf, fresh fish, burgers and more. Oh, and order one of their delightful cakes for dessert early before they’re all gone!
Crow’s Nest (Alofi)
An attractive fish and chip eatery in the Alofi Commercial Centre, Crow’s Nest offers a tempting option for dinner at least once (or twice) during your trip. Choose from reasonably priced fried fish, prawns, mussels, oysters, hot dogs and more with chips or salad. Also the home of Keke Time (meaning “Cake Time” in Niuean), the restaurant is renowned across the island for its creative and superiorly moist cakes.
Want to try real Niuean cuisine? Make sure you are booked in for the Wednesday buffet night at Manuiz! Enjoy affordable drinks at the bar in the lead-up to the unveiling of the “umu” buffet awash in Niuean staples. To top it all off, the night is accompanied by the relaxing island tunes of a local string band.
Lilo’s Restaurant (Hakupu)
Only open once a fortnight, you’ll be lucky to get a booking at the highly popular Lilo’s Restaurant in the village of Hakupu. The limited opening hours are understandable once you see the breadth of cuisine hunted and gathered by your local hosts, Adora and Sione, to supply this impressive umu feast.
Vanilla Cafe (Alofi)
An easy option in the Alofi Commercial Centre, Vanilla Cafe has an all-day Indian menu with all your usual suspects including butter chicken/pork, chicken/pork/vege korma and fish/beef/prawn madras. They also do a selection of rotis if you’re just looking for a light bite. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might catch their occasional Filipino night!
Dolphin Restaurant (Tamakautoga)
The restaurant of the Scenic Matavai Resort, the Dolphin Restaurant is open for guests and casual diners alike. They serve well-presented plates on their a la carte menu, or book in for one of their entertainment nights. Find the resort near the village of Tamakautoga.
Jenna’s Restaurant (Alofi)
See what’s cooking at Jenna’s! Offering a limited blackboard menu, at least you won’t be overwhelmed with choices at this casual eatery on the main road of Alofi. Enjoy the likes of lasagne and fish steak with a side of salad and fries in a rustic outdoor setting. The restaurant is BYO drinks.
The Best Cafes in Niue
From refreshing sandwiches to fresh fish and chips, Niue’s lunch menus are awash with satisfying meals to fuel you for the day’s adventures. See all of the usual opening times and locations in the 12 Best Cafes & Takeaways in Niue. Otherwise, here’s our rundown:
Fana Cafe (Swanson Complex)
This contemporary cafe in the Swanson Complex not only offers a convenient alternative location from the usual Alofi-town-centre-joint but plenty of opportunities to eat local! Try just about anything on homemade focaccia, from scrambled egg with pawpaw chilli jam to slow-cooked “umu” staples for the full Niuean experience. Fana Cafe‘s menu changes according to local suppliers but don’t miss “Fana Mac Fridays” for a gourmet local take on the Big Mac!
Crazy Uga Cafe & Bar (Alofi)
Open most of the time, Crazy Uga Cafe & Bar is a reliable go-to for your morning coffee fix, hearty breakfast or a light lunch in Alofi. The rustic cafe overlooking the tranquil Utuko Reef is a stunning place to start your day or even indulge in a cooked breakfast. Fish and chips, salads, paninis and more are also available on the lunch menu.
Vaiolama Cafe (Alofi)
Did someone say coffee and cake?! Vaiolama Cafe boasts an array of fabulous cakes, sandwiches, toasted paninis and bigger plates of fish and chips and the like at their stunning location on the top of a 30-metre cliff. They also mix up some amazing smoothies and milkshakes that are well worth trying.
Washaway Cafe (Avatele)
For something a bit quirky, head down to the Washaway Cafe at Avatele Beach, exclusively open on a Sunday. The cafe/bar has an honesty bar concept where you write down your food order at the kitchen and help yourself to drinks at the bar. When you’re done, simply tell the bar staff what you had, so you can pay. A range of soft drinks, juices, beers and wines are available, while the food consists of burgers, pizzas and, our favourite, the fish focaccia!
Katuali Coffee House (Alofi)
This locally-run cafe offers an ever-changing menu of hunger-busters, typically including sandwiches and pastries, but most famously, pizzas! Of course, it’s a good place for a coffee or cold drink too. Katuali Coffee House has been known to keep inconsistent hours, so take the opportunity if it happens to be open when you pass by!
The Best Takeaways in Niue
For food on the go, or just more fantastic options to try, as most of these takeaways have a picnic table or two for seating, check out the best takeaways in Niue, which we also list in more detail in the 12 Best Cafes & Takeaways in Niue.
Cafe Tavana (Alofi)
More than just your local fish and chips joint, Cafe Tavana subverts all expectations with fresh fish burgers (with cream cheese, might we add?!), homemade wraps, fresh salads and more! The prices are reasonable too, so no wonder this place is so popular. Check out more affordable go-tos for lunch in The Top Cheap Eats in Niue.
Little Rock (Alofi)
Better to get in early if you want your first choice at this popular “hole in the wall” takeaway in Alofi, Little Rock serves pleasingly fresh hot rolls, fish and chips, sandwiches, toasted wraps, salads and the usual coffee favourites. With decent prices, noticeably fresh ingredients, not to mention meals made with love, it’s easy to see why the locals love it.
Buk Buk Chicken (Alofi)
Sometimes, we just need fried chicken. If you get that craving in Niue, then Buk Buk Chicken has you sorted with a range of tempting chicken and chips combos – even potato and gravy! Find the charming hole-in-the-wall takeaway in the blue building at the back of the Alofi Commercial Centre car park.
Makfurly Burgers (Alofi)
Friday afternoon is burger day at the Niue Market, home of Makfurly Burgers! Choose from beef, chicken or pork and mix it with a pleasingly local ensemble of homemade pawpaw chutney, grilled pawpaw, fresh lettuce and more served in a homemade bread roll. Have a natter with John and ask him about his Maala Garden Tour (or we can just tell you about it in The Best Guided Tours in Niue).
Fusion Flava’s (Alofi)
Parked up on the side of the road in Alofi on a Sunday afternoon, the Fusion Flava’s food truck begs for your attention. If the spray-painted facade doesn’t get it, then the smell of freshly baked cakes and traybakes, pasta and risotto pots, and whatever the team feels like creating, surely will! Due to the food truck’s limited availability, it’s best to order as soon as possible, as they sell out fast!
The Best Restaurants for Vegetarians and Vegans in Niue
Ok, so Niue does not have any “vegan” restaurants per se, but there are some restaurants that are more accommodating than others. More information can be found in Niue for Vegans & Vegetarians + Best Restaurants.
Local Food in Niue and Where to Try Traditional Food
Staple ingredients in the Niuean diet are seafood like tuna, mahimahi, parrotfish, crayfish and uga (coconut crabs). Tropical vegetables are also common in Niuean dishes, such as taro and plantains.
A traditional cooking method on the island is slow-cooking ingredients in an underground oven known as an “umu”. Ingredients are traditionally wrapped in banana leaves, but using aluminium foil is a more contemporary technique.
Traditional Meals in Niue
Niue has a range of traditional dishes with influences from Tonga and Samoa. One popular dish is nane, a Niuean porridge made from coconut and arrowroot.
Takihi is a popular dish among Niueans with its layers of taro, pawpaw and coconut cream. Povi masima is a Samoan-influenced dish made up of corned beef and green vegetables. You’ll also want to try fai kai ika, a dish typically made with tuna steaks cooked with a native fern and served with a coconut cream sauce.
Check out more dishes to try in our list of the 10 Unique Foods in Niue You Have to Try.
Where to Try Traditional Niuean Food
Admittedly, Niuean food doesn’t feature on many restaurant menus in Niue, with most of Niue’s restaurants favouring international dishes. There’s an exception with the Hio Cafe which offers a Niuean tasting platter to try a few staples. On the other hand, the Scenic Matavai Resort, Maniuz and Lilo’s Restaurant put on weekly or bi-weekly Niuean buffet nights where you can sample a range of Niuean food. Find out more about their schedules in the 20 Best Restaurants in Niue.
Village Show Days, where each village in Niue hosts an event once a year, are also a good opportunity to try Niuean food. On the other hand, the Niue Market often has vendors selling local snacks like nane and is available several times a week.
In terms of trying Niuean ingredients and produce, there are opportunities to try uga after the Taue Uga Tours, local fruit and vegetables on the Maala Garden Tour and A5 Plantation Tour and take a piece of freshly caught fish to your accommodation after a fishing charter or have it cooked for you at a local restaurant. Again, these tours are listed in the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Niue.
The drinking coconut, the niu, is a common drink found in Niue, offering a refreshing beverage in the hot sun.
Niue’s very own craft beer, Inu Hake, is available to sample at Avi’s Ark – see opening hours in the 11 Best Bars in Niue.
Served as a health booster, Niue Noni Juice is produced at Niue’s very own noni farm.
Try vanilla coffee made with vanilla-infused coffee beans produced by Niue Vanilla at the Vanilla Cafe.
For many more beverages to wet your whistle, check out the 5 Drinks in Niue You Have to Try.
Self-Catering in Niue
Almost all of Niue’s accommodations (except the Scenic Matavai Resort) have self-catering facilities. With that, you can make use of the food for sale in Niue’s offering of markets, grocery stores and supermarkets and make your own meals. It’s a good way to keep the holiday budget in check, as well as ensure that you can stick to any dietary requirements (speaking of, check out The Gluten-Free Guide to Niue if needed).
Where to Buy Food in Niue
The largest supermarket, Swanson Supermarket, can be found near the airport. They stock a range of food products imported from New Zealand, as well as local produce and baked goods.
Alofi has a few convenience stores, including Double M, MCM and the Central Service Gas Station, as well as a few others that we list in The Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Niue.
The Niue Market often has fresh produce for sale, which you can learn more about in the 5 Best Markets in Niue.
You also might like to know about bringing food to Niue, which you can read up on in our guide, Taking Food to Niue: What You Need to Know. You can also learn about budgeting for food shopping in The Food Guide to Niue: Places to Eat, Food Tours & More.
Frequently Asked Questions About Food in Niue
Now that you know just about everything there is to know about food in Niue, including the best places to eat, traditional meals, food tours and more, here are the answers to some of the internet’s most-asked questions about food in Niue.
What is the Most Popular Food in Niue
One of the most popular foods in Niue is takihi, a dish made with pawpaw, taro and coconut cream. Coconut is extensively used for cooking, also used in the popular nane dish, which is a porridge-like dish also made with local arrowroot. Only usually eaten on special occasions, uga, which is the local coconut crab is also very popular when available.
What is Niue Traditional Food?
Niue traditional food includes proteins like uga (coconut crab), lupe (Pacific pigeon), peka (flying fox) and kaloama (goatfish), as well as a range of other seafood. Traditional vegetables include talo (taro) and cassava, while fruit includes coconuts, pawpaw, mango and more.
What Food to Take to Niue?
Niue’s supermarkets are well stocked with New Zealand imports, as well as local food products. Therefore, it’s not necessary to take any food to Niue, unless you have special diet foods like gluten-free substitutes. Learn more on the subject in Taking Food to Niue: What You Need to Know.
Food Itineraries for Niue
By now, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to bring all of these restaurants, food tours and traditional meals together?! Well, we’ve done the hard work for you with our complete foodie itineraries:
- Niue Food Itinerary: 14 Days
- Niue Food Itinerary: 7 Days
- Niue Food Itinerary: 5 Days
- Niue Food Itinerary: 3/4 Days
Finally, anything else to do with organising a trip to Niue can be found in The Best Niue Travel Guide.