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Is the Food really that bad in the Cooks?

Old Jan 6th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Is the Food really that bad in the Cooks?

If so, where can I go for the BEST meals? I read so many posts about the food being pretty bad. What is the deal? Isn't there fresh and delicious seafood EVERYWHERE?
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Old Jan 6th, 2004, 11:01 AM
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No, the food is not that bad. The food in the Cooks tends to look bad in comparison to that found in French Polynesia (which is right "next door"). Keep in mind that French Polynesia is FRENCH - and the French are known for fine cooking and take great pride in it.

The Cook Islands, on the other hand, are influenced by BRITAIN - and the British are not exactly known for fine cooking in the same way that the French are. Hence the superiority (usually) of meals in FP as compared to the Cooks.

Having said that, we found the food in the Cooks to be decent enough overall - with some good and some bad. The food at the Rarotonga Pacific Resort was not very good. The burgers at "Eat-In/Take-Out" on the south shore were terrific. The Chinese food at "Hopsings" on the west side of Raro was good, as was that at the "Flame Tree" at Muri and "Ronnies' Bar and Grill" in Avarua. Thought "Trader Jacks" in Avarua was a bit lacking.

The most memorable meal was the BBQ'd tuna cooked on the boat during our Aitutaki Lagoon cruise - best tuna I've ever had.

In general though, we found the food to be OK - not bad, but not wonderful. The fact is, the Cooks are not the kind of place where you go for the food. The Cook's attractions are the decent prices, the wonderful lagoons, and the friendliness of the people.

All in all, our favorite destination.

Ken
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Old Jan 6th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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I agree with Ken that there are not that many fine culinary experiences in the Cooks, but there are plenty of good places to eat, at least on Raro. We had a fine Italian meal at De Carlo's, in Arorangi. I also agree that the Flame Tree was great, with a very eclectic Indian and Pakistani menu. The other restaurant we liked was Portofino, in Tupapa, with a reasonably-priced Continental menu.
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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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We liked the Windjammer Restaurant and ate there several times during our visit in 2002. Great food, nice presentation and excellent service.
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Old Jan 8th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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Thanks all! I'm going to print this out. I leave in 100 days!!!! (not that I'm counting or anything...hee-hee)
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Old Jan 27th, 2004, 09:39 AM
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Hi Boo,

My husband & I were in the Cooks last summer for a wonderful, amazing vacation! I'm jealous, I wish I were returning, but I'm going closer to home this time to Belize. Anyway, I'd have to say that we had really surprising good meals while we were there. I would suggest lunch at Ambala Garden Cafe, excellent food and great atmosphere. But you have to plan it, they are only open certain days and times so make reservations. We went for lunch really enjoyed it and wanted to return for dinner and they were booked. In fact this week I was thinking about their delish coconut icecream! Also, we enjoyed the Sails for both dinner and lunch. We were disappointed in Flame Tree and didn't care for Trader Jacks at all. That was the only disappointment. These are all on Raro, as for Aitutaki, our fav hands down was Cafe Tupuna. Amazing food, great service and atmosphere. Don't expect much, it is in her front lawn, but still amazing. We went back two nights. No matter, you will have a great time and find good food. We stayed at Reflections and Sarah was so helpful at pointing us in the right direction.

Kia Orana,

Jeannine
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Old Mar 8th, 2004, 02:29 PM
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Hi, Boo! You'll have a blast in the Cooks! We loved every minute of our two weeks last December. We stayed at Sokala Villas for a week and then a week at the Pacific Resort on Aitutaki.

I think everyone here has said it best - just remember - they put mayonnaise on almost everything (in my opinion.) That was the only thing that disgusted me. Otherwise, I loved the fresh fish - the mango/chutney and hot, hot salsa we had on our lunch on our boat cruise on Aitutaki was amazing! But, keep the mayo or butter-laden white bread away from me, please! Blech!

Have fun!
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Old Mar 11th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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Hi there,
Have been to the Cooks twice (for 2 weeks each time) and rented our own house so most of the time did our own cooking. However, I would not say that the food is "all bad" there at all. The Flame Tree is good - nice atmosphere and varied menu. Anytime you go to a Polynesian review, you're going to get "buffet" stuff (not very exceptional, but OK). The reason we go to the Cooks is to get off the beaten tourist track and part of the price of getting off the track is no high rise resorts or "haute" cuisine. You will love the Cooks - they are absolutely beautiful, but don't expect a Tahiti experience.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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I agree the Flame Tree is really nice and also the Vaima Restaurant & Bar. Enjoy your trip to the Cooks.
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Old Mar 20th, 2004, 09:24 PM
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Hi, I agree The Flame Tree is really great, but forget Trader Jacks.
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