Koru Cafe provides the most consistently good food on Aitutaki. It wins on service too... We last visited in 2009, and not only did owner Trina Armstrong recognise us when we walked in the door, she remembered what we'd liked last time! It was both unexpected and delightful in ways I couldn't have imagined. It made us feel a little less like tourists, and a little more like the people we have come to love through our three trips to Aitutaki.
You can find an earlier (2009) review of Koru Cafe back HERE.
Take my word for it, on Aitutaki, you crave dairy. Something about all that sun, sand and salt-loss means you'll love an Iced Mocha (NZ$7.90), an Iced Coffee (NZ$7.50), or a truly stunning Banana Smoothie (NZ$9.50) made on those super sweet, uber tasty Cook Islands bananas. You'll probably be thinking the prices for these drinks are relatively high... they are, until you consider that all milk comes in by air daily from New Zealand. They're also the best milky drinks on the island! Don't be surprised if you order milkshakes that lack lustre elsewhere on the island. I suspect that real milk comes at a price here, and if it doesn't, it's often UHT or long life milk.
Now one of the best ingredients on the island is tuna, so I was delighted to see that Pan Seared Ika (Fish) ($17.90) had been added to the menu since my last visit - so delighted I had it twice during my week here.
Though Trina will gently ask you if it's okay whether the fish is 'just seared' and 'pink inside', you should not take that as liberty to destroy tuna by asking for it to be cooked through. They cook it this way because it tastes best this way. Don't visit somewhere and presume to tell them how to treat their most famous produce... even if they let you.
The chilli soy dipping sauce was my winner each time. It both suits the tuna and contains absolutely ballistic little island oporu (chillies). Treat with caution as they're hot, but bursting with flavour too.
Continuing on the fish theme (because fish in the Cook Islands is particularly fresh and amazing), we also tried a Smoked Marlin Salad (NZ$18.90) and...
... an even better Pan Seared Ika (Fish) Burger (NZ$23) which was so good we also ordered it twice during our short visit. The fish is again cooked with a pinkish interior, and all the better for it!
You would also be prudent to check the daily specials - we had a great Garlic and Chilli Prawns (NZ$18.90) one day using those ballistic little chillis, set off nicely by a generous serve of Garlic and Parmesan Bread (NZ$5.90). Overall, serves here are all on the generous side.
If you can tear yourself away from the stellar fish and seafood, they also do a mean breakfast. You'll find everything from French Toast with Banana and Maple Syrup (NZ$12.90) to...
...a Gourmet Bacon and Egg Roll (NZ$14) dripping with gorgeous golden yolk.
You can even design your own Omelette on Toast (NZ$17.90). I walked on the tropically wild side with chicken, mushroom, cheese and pineapple. A big thank you to Trina (and Steve in the kitchen) who made our return visit all the more special with wonderful food and the same welcoming charm we remembered. They're also goldmines of information if you're keen to know what to do, or where else to eat on the island.
Trina - the goat curry at Mya's was one of the best things we ate during our trip, thank you!
On the way to Ootu Beach, Aitutaki
Ph: (+682) 31 110