Raise your hand if you've ever had New Zealand cuisine.
Yeah, me either.
This was a first but certainly not my last - and I mean it.
Located in Westlake Village is Aroha, a restaurant that flies the majority of their seafood and meats directly from New Zealand. Yes, it's that authentic and yes, it is extremely fresh and you can taste it.
Chef Thomas was not only humble and welcoming, he was also very sweet in throughly explaining what each dish was and the process of creating such tasteful entrees. He also adjusted all dishes for my lactose intolerant self, which was much appreciated.
It is truly hard to pinpoint which dish was my favorite so I will just recommend that you try everything pictured and the rest of the menu.
Seriously, it's that good and it's worth the drive from LA. You'll be happy AF driving back home and won't even realize how far it is.
These photos really do not do the restaurant justice. From the plating to the selection of garnishes, each dish was unique in flavor and had our mouth watering.
Oh and did I mention that the Chef promised that his salmon will make us change our entire perspective about how salmon should taste? We took him up on the challenge and well, he won. There's just something different, extremely fresh about his salmon, and now I am craving it as I write this post. Who's down for a drive?
This was my first time trying Elk and I expected to hate it. I expected it to taste gamey and chewy, but it blew my mind away as it was so tender and really tasted like beef to me. We had to share this dish, but trust me, I did not want to.
As for drinks, New Zealand beers are available and highly recommended. I found a couple new favorites thanks to Aroha, and their cocktails tastes as good as they look.
By the way, you'll never love carbs more than with this dish. These New Zealand Cloudy Bay Clams were great, but the real winner is the sauce. We ordered an extra side of bread to dip to our heart's content without any shame in the gains.
Speaking of gains, forget about your diet while you're at Aroha because you don't want to miss out on these!
Spoiler alert, the middle is not chocolate ice cream. You'll have to order the Housemade Hokey Pokey to find out what it is. Don't forget the Pavlova, the national dessert of New Zealand and my absolute favorite.