Cooking Up all the Flavours of the Cook Islands

There is a new eco-friendly boutique beachfront resort in the Cook Islands that is really starting to stand out.


Not only does the resort provide accommodation across 15 villas, each built and furnished to elegant luxury standards, but it has award-winning food.


The Nautilus Resort has won gold in the La Chaine des Rotisseurs and Cook Islands Chefs Association Restaurant of the Year Awards.  The awards were chosen by hundreds of the most powerful and fussy critics – the diners themselves. 


Overlooking sparkling Muri Beach and lagoon and just 20 minutes by road from Rarotonga's international airport, the restaurant offers a fresh new dining experience showcasing Polynesian signature tastes. The cuisine is Polynesian – European fusion, using local seasonal ingredients and produce, with of course an emphasis on organic fresh produce and harvest from the sea.


Originally from Brazil, the new head chef, Mike Fossbender says, “I'm learning so much about a lot of different foods I had never heard of, like taro, rukau, pinapi, and poke.”


 “One of the best things about traditional Cook Island foods for me is the simplicity of the flavours, and how they work for infusion and influence different cuisines.”


Mike is starting to put his own spin into the dishes being served, be they French, Italian or Japanese. “Though I didn't want to go too extreme with infusion, most of the influences on the menu are from Euro areas, and I do have some great ideas for our next menu change to bring in a few more influences from Asia. Mostly I am using techniques from other cuisines, while retaining flavours of the Cook Islands,” Mike says.


When staying you can choose between one, two and three bedroom villas with ensuites, full kitchen, eating area (light tropical breakfast provided daily in restaurant) and private plunge pool, lounge and dining terrace.


Must see:

  • The locals' in authentic sharing of Cook Island song and dance, far Take a guided tour or free-walk into the indigenous forest of Rarotonga, or a mountain safari to see the spectacular panoramic vistas. Take a dip in a tropical rock pool and waterfall, and view native wild flowers and fruits
  • Experience one of nature's unique happenings, the spectacle of migrating whales from the cooler waters of the Antarctica to the Cook Islands, in mating and calving season – June to October
  • The Avarua town markets where locals trade for fresh fruit, fish, vegetables, delicious local dishes and traditional handicrafts.


Must do:

  • Try your hand at Game Fishing: Tuna, Marlin, Mahi Mahi and Wahoo – have the Nautilus chef prepare your catch
  • Snorkel the Muri Lagoon in the calm waters directly in front of your villa
  • A private indigenous food and medicinal plant safari with a Nautilus guide into local tropical forest and plantations. Learn how the locals cook and prepare with Cook Islands indigenous vegetables, fruits and herbs; Breadfruit, Papaya, Sour sop, Banana, Taro, Mango and fresh coconut. Discover medicinal plants, unique tropical flora and fauna


The Restaurant of the Year awarding winning entry:



Braised lemongrass pork belly on sumac crumbed eggplant with organic herb salsa and carambola and star anise sauce.

Accompanied by a Jules Taylor Pinot Gris



Steamed Parrotfish stuffed with roast pumpkin and wrapped in rukau leaf, served on Kumara fondant, snake beans and vanilla coconut curry sauce.

Accompanied by Giesen The Brothers Chardonnay



Coconut custard with pawpaw, poke and deep fried banana and walnut semi-fredo. Accompanied by Frangelico and fresh lime


For more or to book, visit the website

Hi, I'm Alison Carmichael-Rulten the Publisher of Vacation Goddess, and I want to thank you for visiting Vacation Goddess – the one-stop shop for insider travel news, deals, 'Guest Goddes's stories, and of course our personal travel experiences. Plus, as we love to cruise we also try to find some amazing cruise deals for you too. From luxury, longer escapes right down to weekend breaks we know you love everything travel related. Here at Vacation Goddess, we hope you will find loads of inspiration and of course some amazing travel deals. We love a holiday at a great price and that's why we seek out what we call 'Champagne Experiences, on a Sparkling Wine Budget.' We constantly showcase a variety of special deals and offers and from time to time some very special competitions. Our recent 'Win a Trip to London' competition received over 24,00 entries. We invite you to visit us often, join our mailing list and please tell your friends

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