Apia’s Best Restaurants (Mostly for Dinner)
Ok, let’s set the record straight. Apia might be Samoa’s administrative capital but it’s certainly not the culinary capital of the South Pacific. Most food comes in the form of deep-fried [insert meat here] so simply walking its bustling streets and popping into the first eatery you find is usually a no-go. Alas, we’re here to help you not make the mistake that we did! This is a city where you’ll actually want to plan where you eat for dinner in order to avoid either a greasy or over-sauced disappointment. With that, we’ve handpicked the best blend of Samoan, American, European and Asian cuisine in this list of the best restaurants in Apia.
Before you dive in, make sure to also open The Food Guide to Apia: Places to Eat & Food Tours for more foodie experiences across Samoa’s capital.
1. Paddles Restaurant
Easily the most popular dine-in restaurant in Apia, Paddles Restaurant brings the culinary know-how of Italy and the Pacific charm of Samoa thanks to its dynamic Italian and Samoan owners. Save room for Italian dishes inspired by the northern regions with the likes of creamy pasta la paloma and seafood risotto, or opt for the fresh local flavours of Samoan oka and pan-seared masimasi (mahimahi) with garlic prawns. With a very friendly yet unpretentious ambience, as well as a kids’ menu with more Italian delights, everyone is made to feel extremely welcome.
Opening hours: 5 pm to 10 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Beach Road, Matautu-Tai, Apia.
2. Bella’s Kitchen
Starting their business out of a food truck, Bella’s Kitchen has become so popular and expanded into their very own restaurant on the Apia Harbour. Sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the Apia regulars in their vibrantly-decorated downstairs restaurant or huddle away upstairs in the air-conditioned dining room with spray-painted murals for company. Although Bella’s does all of the usual deep-fried delights, where they really shine are their noodle boxes, Mexican dishes and thick shakes – all for a very irresistible price that will make you understand why the locals come here again and again. Check out other affordable dining options in The Top Cheap Eats in Apia.
Opening hours: 8 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Beach Road, Mulivai, Apia.
3. Amanaki Restaurant
Choose your poison: fish, chicken, beef, pork or vegetarian; either way, you’ll have plenty of options and, anyhow, you should choose fish if the locals have anything to say about it! Your main at the Amanaki Restaurant of the Amanaki Hotel will be topped with an appetising complementary sauce (not the same creamy mushroom sauce that other restaurants in Samoa tend to throw on everything – did we say too much?), whether it’s the poached swordfish served with citric and basil sauce or pork with spicy cajun and pimento sauce. Their vegetarian options are also enticing (when available), such as stuffed eggplants. For more about where to eat as a vege, check out our guide, Samoa for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants.
Opening hours: 11 am to 4 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm Monday, 10 am to 9 pm Tuesday to Friday, and 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm Saturday.
Location: Mulinuu Road, Mulinuu Peninsula, Apia.
4. 1905 Restaurant
Another worthwhile venture on the Mulinuu Peninsula, 1905 Restaurant offers a classic menu in a contemporary setting. The restaurant of the Lava Hotel is named after the historic Mt Matavanu eruption. Its menu also erupts in choices between creative salads, fish, steak and lamb shank (with your choice of weight), pizzas and a range of lunch items that can be arranged for dinner. Plates and cocktail glasses are gorgeously presented in keeping with the modern hotel lobby location with its ambient lighting. Oh, and if you want a moist slice of cake as big as your head, order dessert. One more thing, customers at the restaurant get free WiFi; one of the rare 10 Places with Free WiFi in Samoa.
Opening hours: 7 am to 9 pm daily.
Location: Mulinuu Road, Mulinuu Peninsula, Apia.
5. RiVaiv Cafe
Famous across Samoa for its turmeric juice that Samoans swear by to provide all sorts of health benefits, RiVaiv Cafe also happens to be a darn good place to stop for breakfast and lunch (and also dinner if visiting their Vaitele branch). Try a turmeric kick in a latte or lemonade if you’re intrigued. Otherwise, the two cafes in the chain with an garden setting are best known for their fresh poke, teriyaki and steak bowls, as well as pad Thai, seafood and vegan tempura sushi tacos. You might also like their pesto panini or burgers. We can certainly vouch for their koko Samoa milkshake, made with Samoa’s very own cocoa beans for something sweet. For more dining options for breakfast and lunch, don’t miss our 10 Best Cafes in Apia & Upolu.
Opening hours: Rivaiv Tanugamanono – 11 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday. Rivaiv Vaitele – 8 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Cross Island Road, Tanugamanono and Moso’oi Street, Vaitele, Apia.
6. Giordano’s Pizzeria
Be transported to the Mediterranean and among the attractive patio gardens of Giordano’s Pizzeria. The closest European-style pizzas we’ve found in Apia, and Samoa for that matter, Giordano’s combines Italian cuisine with a gorgeous balmy setting and ambient lighting. While pizzas are the obvious go-to’s here, with popular options being the Mediterranean lamb, salmon and tapenade (chef-made) pizzas, the smoked salmon pasta, lasagne (with a gluten-free option) and tropical salad are all worth venturing off the pizza train. Be sure to have an extra look at the back of the restaurant to find the hidden alcoves in the gardens but you might want to take insect repellent, wherever you sit.
Opening hours: 3 pm to 9 pm Tuesday to Saturday and 5 pm to 9 pm Sunday.
Location: Falealili Street, Moto’otua, Apia.
7. Bistro Tatau Restaurant
For fine dining in Apia, Bistro Tatau Restaurant is a good go-to to impress with its speciality Asian cuisine, as well as European, Mediterranean and Australasia influences. Start with the likes of steamed dumplings or a tropical oka for an injection of local then move on to pan-fried swordfish, crisp pork belly salad or rib-eye steak. The restaurant offers a relaxed yet sophisticated environment of slick tiled walls and tones inspired by Samoan skin tones and tatau (tattoo) ink. Discover more of Samoa’s fine dining establishments in the 5 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Samoa.
Opening hours: 12 pm to 2 pm and 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm Monday to Friday and 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm Saturday.
Location: Corner Beach Road and Fugalei Street, Apia.
8. The Pickled Lam Deli & Eatery (Scalini’s)
Also seen across the internet and tourist maps as Scalini’s Restaurant, The Pickled Lam Deli & Eatery is a hit with world travellers and locals alike. Offering respite from Apia’s heavily dominating deep-fried food scene, this deli/restaurant serves up European-style dishes with fresh local ingredients. The menu is mainly Italian with the likes of pizzettes and bruschetta for starters, seafood antipasto, pasta and pizzas for mains, and flambé desserts. The Samoan head chef is also the founder of the Samoa Culinary Association, a not-for-profit promoting culinary skills across Samoa, which leads us to our next restaurant…
Opening hours: 7:30 am to 10 pm Monday to Friday and 7:30 am to 4 pm Saturday.
Location: Falealili Street, Malifa, Apia.
9. Jojo’s Diner
Trained by the Samoa Culinary Association, the head chef at Jojo’s (hint, his name’s Jo), puts genuine care into the meals that Samoans love; and even food snobs are unlikely to turn their noses up at the gourmet burgers here. What’s more, we love the prices. Although a little out of town, that’s nothing that a Seki Eats (the Uber Eats of Samoa) delivery can’t solve; and it’s worth it for one of the gourmet burgers, light sandwiches or beef soup; a limited menu but they do what they do well. The “Mushroom Delight” burger with a fresh niu (drinking coconut) is the most popular order; just a heads up. Discover more reasonably-priced meals across the island using The Top Cheap Eats on Upolu.
Opening hours: 10 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday and 8 am to 9 pm Saturday.
Location: Mapuifagalele Road, Vailele, Apia.
10. Kokobanana Bar & Grill
Meat lovers and drink connoisseurs will go koko (or bananas) for this steakhouse in Apia. While by no means the most affordable joint in town, despite its ultra-casual garden deck atmosphere, you will feast on the most tenderly cooked meats and fish in Samoa. Choose your cut of New Zealand steak, lobster or… Steak and lobster?! And decide whether it’s pan-fried, grilled or mixed in with pasta. Kokobanana Bar & Grill also boasts one of the most extensive drinks menus in Apia, which is while you’ll also find them in The Guide to Apia & Upolu Nightlife + 5 Things to Do on Upolu at Night.
Opening hours: 5 am to 9:30 pm Monday to Saturday.
Location: Between Ififi Street and Cross Island Road, Malifa, Apia.
More About Places to Eat and Restaurants in Apia
That’s it for our list of the best restaurants in Apia. Plan more treats for your palate with the following articles:
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Apia
- 10 BEST Cafes in Apia & Upolu
- Traditional Samoan Food: 10 Foods to Try in Samoa
Finally, don’t miss our foodie must-dos in The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat & Food Tours.