SOUTH SEAS

Continued (page 2 of 5)

CAFE TUPUNA
Tautu Road
Ureia, Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Tel: 682-31-678

Dining at Tupuna Hewett's place in the middle of this idyllic island is like being invited to her dinner party: The charming open dining area is attached to her home, and she cooks everything herself—and grows some of it too. Dishes like ika mata, the local version of ceviche, and the spicy fish curry with mint chutney are made with freshly caught seafood. She also serves delicious New Zealand steaks, and there’s plenty for vegetarians as well.

RIGHT ON THE BEACH RESTAURANT
Manuia Beach Boutique Hotel
West coast of Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tel: 682-22-461

The name says it all. This open-air, sand-floor restaurant really is right on the beach and offers full views of the lagoon. The menu is international, but the relaxed atmosphere radiates South Seas charm, especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when the restaurant offers an island buffet and dance show.

SAILS RESTAURANT AND BAR
Beach Road, between Ifiifi Street and Mulivai Stream
Apia, Samoa
Tel: 685-20-628
sails.ws

This historic 140-year-old colonial building was once home to Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish author of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but is now home to one of the coziest eateries in the South Seas. Reserve a table on the porch and enjoy the nautical decor, friendly ambience and to-die-for lobster bisque.

SEAVIEW LODGE AND RESTAURANT
Vuna Road
Nuku'alofa, Tongatapu Group, Tonga
Tel: 676-23-709

This old favorite looks like Granny's parlor crossed with a colonial outpost in the tropics. You can often catch visiting dignitaries eating here, or even see local royalty ordering from the simple and satisfying seafood-heavy menu. The late King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV lived in the modest palace next door.

TAMARIND HOUSE
One mile east of traffic circle, Avarua
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tel: 682-26-487
tamarind.co.ck

This meticulously restored 1920s home sits on two sprawling acres of beachfront property and offers some of the best eats in the South Seas. A tranquil breakfast might include fresh corn fritters, followed by an open-faced sandwich and a coconut-smoked marlin salad for lunch. The space is most romantic in the evening, when the signature dish is fish fillets glazed with tamarind and lime juices, caramelized onions and coriander.

TRADER JACKS BAR & GRILL
Avarua Harbour, Avarua
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tel: 682-26-464
traderjackscookislands.com

This 20-year-old Cook Islands institution offers good times and great seafood to locals and tourists alike. Whether you sit in the restaurant area for views of the lagoon or just order bar snacks, keep an eye out for the chalkboards that list daily specials, which are made from the freshest local fish.

WINDJAMMER RESTAURANT
Crown Beach Resort
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tel: 682-23-953
crownbeach.com

Owned by Cook Island locals who got their culinary training in New Zealand, this elegant restaurant offers excellent service and menu specialties from the Pacific Rim. Wines from Down Under complement fresh seafood fare and dishes for landlubbers, like aged rib-eye steaks and herb-marinated beef tossed with peanuts and Vietnamese rice noodles.

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