Niue is a small island in the South Pacific. It takes only a couple of hours to drive around the coastal ring road, and it only takes that long because of the potholes, the 40 or 60 Kph speed limits, and stopping to take photos.
Find all the posts from our 2016 trip to Niue under the tag: Niue.
It has only a handful of cafes or restaurants, mostly in and near Alofi, whose opening hours can be erratic and limited. The rocky soils mean there is little to no horticulture, and we didn’t spot any cows, sheep, pigs or goats while we were there.
We had also been advised to bring some food with us from New Zealand, so our hopes for dining out were low.
What all of that overlooks though is that Niue is surrounded by clean clear sea, home to the wonderful Wahoo and other fish. Wahoo is a firm, meaty white fish, very delicious and filling.
My overall assessment of eating out in Niue was that the food ranged from good to excellent.
- Rockbak Bakery, on the road between Alofi and the airport, makes great baguettes. Go early though to be sure of getting one.
- Washaway Cafe in Avatele is open only on Sunday afternoons. I thoroughly enjoyed the fish focaccia. The fish was Wahoo — delicious. The bread wasn’t too thick. There was loads of salad and a hint of mayonnaise or something.
- Vaiolama Cafe, open roughly 9 to 4 most days, is at the south end of Alofi. It has fantastic views and a mini golf course. They served me delicious green tea, also fantastic chocolate cake and wonderful lemon cake. Their fries were good too.
- Crazy Uga Cafe, opposite the Police Station in Alofi, also has fantastic views. It gets really busy though and one day we waited almost 2 hours for lunch and coffees (which came at the same time). Excellent hot chocolates, delicious fish (Wahoo) and chips. We visited this cafe quite a few times. It’s open from about 8 am till some time in the afternoon.
- Gill’s Indian Restaurant in central Alofi. Yup. Had Indian food. I had Dahl Lamb and rice which was fine. A friend we were with had fish curry, but couldn’t tell it was fish.
- Kaiika Restaurant, in central Alofi. I don’t eat sushi, the speciality of this restaurant. I really enjoyed the tempura starter we shared with our friends, but suspect I would have enjoyed my pizza main more had I chosen traditional toppings rather than the fish I ordered. The others really enjoyed their sushi. This restaurant had run out of green tea when I tried to order one. Our waitresses were a teenage girl who was in a bit too much of a hurry to take orders, and remove plates. She seemed to have a veneer of politeness over sullenness and hostility — not too surprising for a teenager. Then there was her 10 year old sister (both were daughters of the head hostess) who was a sweet little thing, trying hard to do a good job.
- Falala Fa Restaurant, which we visited a couple of times, is open for lunch and in the evenings. Book ahead and turn up by 6.30 for dinner. My favourite was the grilled Waahu with chips, aoli and salad. Another night I had an excellent pan seared Waahu on rice. Our friends had sashimi there too and said it was much better than at Kai Ika. Excellent food!
There were a couple of places we didn’t try.
My picks for eating out would be Falala Fa (which apparently translates as Four Pretty Girls), Crazy Uga, Vaiolama and Washaway.
Niue’s superb grilled Waahu is definitely a favourite and I’m really sad it’s not available in New Zealand. The fries I had at various places were also really good.
Something interesting happened at Falala Fa too. Deb had booked a few days before one of our visits but they didn’t have our reservations and were about to be really busy with a big tour group. They did say we could sit at a picnic table, not under cover, and order promptly. All good so far.
The only trouble was that it started to rain after we sat down, and before we were able to order.
At that point the other patrons, mainly Kiwis, whose tables were under cover, decided we shouldn’t sit out in the rain. They pretty much all got up, shifted their tables around to make space, and carried our picnic table under the cover. Kiwis can be pretty great!
And while on the topic of food: Niue Honey. Niue has bees and makes honey. You can buy that honey and bring it back to New Zealand, provided you buy a $12 export certificate at the airport before you leave.
The bees have been living isolated in their tropical island paradise since being brought to Niue from New Zealand in the 1960s, and are thought to be the last colony of Italian honey bees in the world that are free of the destructive varroa mite.
I bought one small jar for myself, and a couple as gifts for the kind neighbours who fed our quail while we were away. Now, having tasted this exquisite honey, I wish I’d bought more. I can’t quite define the flavour, but it’s a fine, runny golden honey, with perhaps a hint of citrus. I’d now class it as one of my favourite honeys. And that $12 certificate? It covers all the honey you carry back to New Zealand with you, not just one jar.