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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
This place looked awfully tempting. It's located right on the waterfront in downtown Avarua, the capitol city of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Actually Avarua is more like a village community than a town.
If you choose to rent a car during your stay you must visit the police station in Avarua to pick up your Cook Island drivers license and this will give you an excuse to walk on down to Trader Jack's for lunch. By the way, at the time of our visit these drivers licenses complete with your photo only cost ten bucks and they make a great souvenir. I'd get one even if you didn't plan to rent a car!
Trader Jack's features open air dining but with a roof over your head and there is usually a nice tropical breeze blowing in from the beautiful South Pacific.
It was lunch time and I was anxious to try some fresh fish. Mahi Mahi was on the menu that day and I gave it a shot. It was good but a little bit fishy tasting. Okay, I'll be honest, it was really pretty fishy tasting. It came nicely prepared with coconut sauce, rice and some sort of tropical salsa. My son-in-law tried the same thing and had the same reaction. My wife went with a sirloin steak and it was good but not outstanding. Our daughter tried a bouillabaisse, Pacific style, and it was the hit of the meal. We all tried using various tactics to distract her so that we could sneak a spoonful now and then.
We lingered over beer (for the boys) and iced tea (for the girls) and overall it was a pleasant experience.
I still don't understand why you can't find a wider selection of really fresh fish in the South Pacific. I mean we see all kinds of delectable fish swimming around the reefs and I know all of them cannot be suspect for ciguatera fish poisoning so why doesn't somebody just go out and get 'em? We've found this lack of selection to be apparently in Tahiti and Fiji, too.
You'll like this place if for nothing more than the tropical trade winds and the beautiful view. But if you're dead set on an impeccably fresh piece of fish, you might be disappointed.
Trader Jack's now has a web site here with details on how to get there, what's on the menu lately, etc.
ADDITIONAL RESTAURANT REVIEWS FROM RAROTONGA: