The Best Food Experiences and Places to Eat in Apia
Bring your palate to life with the dining and foodie experiences of Samoa‘s capital. The cosmopolitan hub of the South Pacific is awash in culinary experiences, from locals eager to share traditions like an umu or to’onai to passionate chefs prepping mouthwatering seafood and health foods. Sure, at first glance, Apia looks like a deep-fried food storm – which is great for those naughty urges – but hidden in its streets and markets are some gastronomical delights that we can’t resist not sharing. Discover the best places to eat, as well as food tours and activities, in this ultimate food guide to Apia.
The 10 Best Places to Eat in Apia
Where are the best places to eat in Apia? Here’s our ultimate list of the best restaurants and cafes with something for all tastes and budgets.
- Paddles Restaurant (Matautu-Tai)
- RiVaiv Cafe (Tanugamanono & Vaitele)
- Nourish Cafe (Mulivai)
- Bella’s Kitchen (Mulivai)
- Giordano’s Pizzeria (Moto’otua)
- Amanaki Restaurant (Sogi)
- Cornwall Cafe (Taufusi)
- Bistro Tatau Restaurant (Fugalei)
- 1905 Restaurant (Lava Hotel, Sogi)
- Pacific Jewell Gift Shop & Garden Cafe (Levili)
Scroll down to “About the Best Places to Eat in Apia” to learn more about our top picks!
The Best Food Tours in Apia
Make indulging your palate part of the experience by partaking in one of the amazing food tours in Apia. From hands-on cooking classes to more relaxed Sunday to’onai, there are food tours in Apia to suit a range of tones.
Umu Demonstration at Samoa Cultural Village
The traditional Polynesian method of slow-cooking fish, tropical root vegetables and dishes like palusami with hot rocks is usually saved for special occasions in Samoan culture, but Samoa Cultural Village generously shares this tradition on their free tour in Apia.
Happening from 10:30 am Tuesday to Friday behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, the Samoa Cultural Village shows guests how to weave their own plates before demonstrating how an umu is prepared and, of course, you get to experience the result while enjoying a magnificent cultural performance.
Check out more about what’s happening at the Samoa Cultural Village in the 10 Best Cultural Activities in Samoa.
Chef John Food Tours
Combine sightseeing with gourmet island dining with Chef John Tours. Chef John offers both half-day and full-day tours from Apia, visiting Apia’s fish, fruit and vegetable markets where you’ll pick out your own produce.
After stopping to snack on the best keke pua’a (steamed pork buns) on the island, you’ll arrive at the refreshing swimming spot of the Piula Cave Pool where John will put on an impressive show of sprucing up a gourmet lunch with the ingredients bought at the market.
Finally, you’ll cool down with a stop at a local ice cream shop that John deems is the best on the island! The full-day tour also includes stops at To Sua Ocean Trench, Lalomanu Beach and the Togitogia Waterfall, which you can find out more about in the 50 Best Things to Do on Upolu.
To’onai is a traditional Sunday lunch in Samoa, which brings in family and friends not only to eat together but to prepare the meal with each family member having a different role to play.
Hotels in Apia also host Sunday to’onai which, admittedly, will be more about eating than cooking for the visitor. Try dishes like palusami and food that has likely been cooked in an umu at accommodations like the Lava Hotel, Taumeasina Island Resort and Insel Fehmarn Hotel. To’onai buffets usually start at midday; be sure to book your spot.
If you’re lucky (and friendly enough), your resort staff may invite you to their church service and then to their family home for a more authentic to’onai experience.
For more ways to spend your Sunday, check out the 10 Things to Do in Samoa on a Sunday.
More Food Tours in Apia
And that’s not all the food scene in Apia has to offer. Check out alternative food tours, such as:
- Experience a fiafia night
- Delight in street eats at Fugalei Market, SWAG Market, Night Market and more
- Take part in a Samoan cooking class at Taumeasina Island Resort
- Catch your own dinner on a Samoan fishing charter
- Try Samoan snacks from Sula’s Supermarket & Bakery
- Treat the tastebuds at one of Apia’s cafes or restaurants…
… For elaboration on each activity, check out the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Apia.
About the Best Places to Eat in Apia
A wide range of international flavours are represented in Apia, most notably its Italian cuisine to Samoan street eats to Western-style cafes. Whether you’re a sucker for seafood or are fully vegan, there are some surprising finds that we can’t resist sharing.
Where to Eat: Restaurants in Apia
If you only have time to experience one restaurant in Apia, many locals and international visitors swear by the Italian and Samoan cuisine of Paddles Restaurant (Beach Road). Otherwise, Bistro Tatau Restaurant (Cnr Beach Road and Fugalei Street) offers a more upmarket dining experience with an eclectic international menu.
For the best pizzas in town in a gorgeous garden patio setting, check out Giordano’s Pizzeria (Falealili Street). If you want to eat where the locals eat, and for good reason, check out Bella’s Kitchen for its noodle bowls and indulgent thick shakes (Beach Road).
At the hotels down the Mulinuu Peninsula, there are a couple of restaurants that are worth the small stroll from town. Amanaki Restaurant (Mulinuu Road) is one of the best in town for seafood like poke but their vegetarian and chicken dishes are also extremely popular. Nearby, 1905 Restaurant (Mulinuu Road) at the Lava Hotel offers a contemporary setting for steak, lamb chop, pizza and salad.
Dive into more of Apia’s dine-in restaurants in the 10 Best Restaurants in Apia.
Where to Eat: Cafes in Apia
Where Apia truly shines, in our opinion, is its cafes with the RiVaiv Cafes (Tanugamanono and Vaitele) combining its own turmeric health drink with lattes and lemonades, as well as providing a creative menu with highlights such as vegan sushi bowls and pesto paninis and burgers.
On the outskirts of town, once you’re done perusing the intriguing array of handcrafted clothes, carvings, jewellery and homeware, sit down in the lush setting of Pacific Jewell’s Garden Cafe (Levili Boulevard). With tables scattered in their own private nooks of the garden, the place never feels too crowded to delight in bagels, crepes or one of the more hearty all-day breakfasts.
And if you’re looking to stop somewhere for refreshing juices and great coffee, make it the rooftop Cornwall Cafe (Cnr Vaea Street and Atenae Street). They also have a small but decent menu of crowd-pleasers.
Check out more details about these cafes and others in the 10 Best Cafes in Apia & Upolu.
Where to Eat: Markets in Apia
Don’t rule out the markets as places to eat in Apia. Fugalei Market (Fugalei Street) is the largest market in Samoa where, between the stalls with large mounds of tropical fruit and vegetables, are vendors selling traditional Samoan meals, such as palusami and fai’ai elegi (see 20 Foods to Try in Samoa).
On the other hand, a congregation of street food await at Apia’s monthly Night Market (Beach Road behind the Tourist Information Centre), happening on the last Friday of the month from 4 pm.
There’s also the Samoa Women’s Association of Growers (SWAG) Market (behind the Tourist Information Centre) which is a cute Saturday gathering with organic produce, local Samoan food products and both local and Filipino food for sale.
Finally, try out the unique drive-thru Taufusi Market (Vaitele Street, Taufusi) for fresh fruit.
Dive into the details of each market in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.
Where to Eat: Cheap Restaurants in Apia
Aside from the markets mentioned above, there are a number of ultra-cheap dining options should you be on a budget. If you’re willing to put that diet on hold, then you’ll find no lack of cheap deep-fried takeaway options, including Raynims Fast Food (Lepea) which is famous across Apia for its ST$5 fish/chicken/sausage and chips!
And for a cheap and cheerful treat or dessert, try one of Apia’s ice cream parlours like Chillz (Faatoia Road, Leone) whipping up real fruit cones and smoothies for around ST$6-$8. They also do very reasonably priced hot meals like chicken wings and spaghetti for around ST$12-$15 and combos like two waffles or a waffle and a thick shake for ST$20.
There’s a lot more where that came from, so check more affordable meals out in The Top Cheap Eats in Apia & Upolu.
Where to Eat: Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Apia
If you’re looking for more sustainable/ethical food choices, vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians will find some hidden gems in Apia.
Nourish Cafe (Convent Street) offers respite from Upolu’s otherwise deep-fried-heavy cuisine with its healthy meals made with local ingredients. With creative vegetarian options and irresistible juices, they easily make into Samoa for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants.
Primarily a smoothie and juice bar, Krush Juice Lounge (Tanugamanono) and Krush Juice Bar (Corner of Togafu’afu’a Road and Atanae Street) blend drinks with real island ingredients. They also serve 100% vegan snacks at their town centre bar and full meals at their cafe in Tanugamanono.
Alternative Things to Do in Apia
As much as eating is exciting, you can’t travel all the way to Apia just for the food. You’re in one of the most vibrant cities in the South Pacific! So balance out your stay with some of the alternative activities, such as:
- Palolo Deep – Samoa’s best snorkelling spot
- Papase’ea Sliding Rocks – Natural waterslides
- Falemata’aga Museum of Samoa – Samoan history
- Robert Louis Stevenson Museum – Colonial history
- Robert Louis Stevenson’s Tomb – Hike up Mt Vaea
- Vailima Botanical Garden – Beautiful gardens
- Friendship Park – Attractive park and wetland walk
- Immaculate Conception Cathedral – Impressive church
- Police Marching Band – Morning street performance…
… and much more! Check out the details of these activities and get more inspiration in the 25 Best Things to Do in Apia.
More About Apia
That’s it for our food guide to Apia and the best places to eat on Apia, but not the end of our Apia advice! Check out these other guides that might not necessarily fall under the “foodie” category, but are still pretty useful:
- The Complete Travel Guide to Apia on a Budget
- The Wedding, Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Apia
- The Complete Travel Guide to Apia for Families
- The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Apia
- The Complete Travel Guide to Apia
Finally, discover even more foodie trip tips in The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat & Food Tours and plan your foodie road trip with the Samoa Food Itinerary: 10 Days and Samoa Food Itinerary: 7 Days.