I was so looking forward to an evening of great food after reading all those positive reviews. When I first set my eyes on the much talked about aquarium I was hoping that it would not be an indication of the quality of the food! It was poorly maintained, poorly lighted and occupied by a few fish. That was supposed to be a centre piece? Well maybe they didn't want to distract the diners from the food, I had hoped.
We ordered a dozen of fresh oysters to share while we studied the menu. It never came till we reminded the waiter half way through dinner. The fish special of the day was done fish and chips style using beer batter. My brother ordered a beer to complement the beer batter and again it never came till near the end of the meal. We also ordered pasta, lamb, salmon, steak, seafood chowder, ribs and some other forgettable dishes. Other then the fresh oysters (coz they didn't need cooking so you just can't go wrong there!) everything was at best so-so. Just imagine, my teenage nephew who has a voracious appetite and loves pasta, didn't finish the plate of fettucine. The crispy skin pork had chewy skin! My order of ribs was dry and tough. All the unpalatable so-so food did not come cheap. Our meal of 6 entrees, 6 main courses and 2 beers (no wine) came up to more than $400 dollars.
I couldn't say the service was bad because I could see the wait-staff trying their best. Very polite and friendly too. There just weren't enough of them to serve all the tables. Each waiter had too many tables to handle.
Yes, the restaurant was packed so my theory is, most of them are tourists and first timers like my party and I. Paihia was packed with tourists when I was there. No we will not return to the restaurant and will not recommend.
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