Binge on seafood at Aitutaki's best restaurantAitutaki, Cook Islands

If eating dinner in the extension of a stranger's living room sounds unappealing then Tupuna's might not be the restaurant for you. But if the prospect of devouring home-cooked fare with your feet in the sand lights your fire then read on.

The only independent restaurant on the island to offer fine dining, Tupuna’s is a masterclass in casual culinary decadence. The chilli lime fish – an updated take on local classic ika mata – is a house special. Chunks of lime-doused raw fish fill a coconut shell, adorned with a side of the Cooks' ubiquitous arrowroot fries – dense, nutty shards with crisp edges and rich, buttery centres.

Fish is always the flavour of the day in this tropical archipelago, and the plump fillets of freshly grilled wahoo and tuna (the catch of the day), served with a medley of charred, caramelised and slightly bitter root vegetables, won't disappoint.

There's a cosy country kitchen vibe, with a colour palette of creamy yellows and cool orange, and a warm clutter of bits and pieces: pans dangle from the ceiling; paintings of idyllic seascapes line the walls, illuminated by tea lights; glasses and teapots knock shoulders on shelves next to cookbooks and a blackboard scrawled with specials.

If the portions prove too huge to handle then three-legged Soda, the resident moggy, will likely lend a helping paw.

Around US$45 for two courses and a glass of wine per person.

Tupuna’s Restaurant

+682 31 678

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Tags: cook islands, food, island, island escape, island retreat, seafood

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