Nadina Restaurant is located in Port Denarau, Nadi, Fiji. The menu is traditional Fijian and something I was very excited to try! Typical Fijian fare is a mixture of fish and seafood, root vegetables such as taro, and sometimes has Indian influences. Let me say, everything we tried did not disappoint!
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I’d travelled to Fiji for six days of rest and relaxation and to catch up with my friend Colleen who had flown in from New Zealand. Being friends for over 20 years, we hadn’t seen each other since just before the pandemic lockdowns. On three occasions during the pandemic, I booked flights to New Zealand to visit Colleen only to enter another lockdown or boarder closure extensions prevented me taking the trip. Finally, we got to see each other in beautiful Fiji and one night we visited the famed Nadina.
There is both indoor and al fresco dining and as its a lovely evening we opt for al fresco. The service is just delightful. It’s like you’re visiting your aunties home.
You may already know, I am pretty boring when it comes to drinks and generally only go for a white wine with meals. Colleen however, while not a big drinker, went for something refreshing and tropical at dinner and ordered a coconut lime daiquiri. I had a sip ,and while it was refreshing it’s a bit on the sweet side for me. Colleen liked it… she ordered another!
The fluorescent green of the soup startled us when it is brought to the table – its so vibrantly green! Rourou (or roro) – baby taro leaves – were first introduced to Fiji some 150 years ago by migrating Indians. The rourou is cooked in coconut milk – called lolo in Fiji – then strained to make a thick soup, and served with taro root. It has a rather interesting flavour and the closest thing I could liken it to, strangely, is batter. It had an almost flour-ish flavour. I didn’t mind this as it was something new and interesting but I probably wouldn’t go for it again but the colour is fun!
The Ota Miti is described as ‘a traditional bush fern from Fiji’s lush interior, dressed with fresh coconut milk salsa (miti)’. The Ota is similar in flavour to water spinach, or morning glory so often used in Asian dishes, yet has a fresh light flavour which is perfectly suited to the coconut milk salsa and lime. This is a really delightful dish and we both love it.
Kovu is another traditional dish of Fiji with Indian influences. Turmeric, ginger, onion and coconut are used to marinade the chicken which is then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Served with rice, taro and okra, it has a fresh and earthy flavour. The presentation is rather homely and that’s just what Fiji is about, making you feel at home.
It’s not only the visual of each mussel in it’s half-shell, bathing in the garlic sauce and perfectly balanced around the bowl , it’s also the flavour that kept me saying ‘WOW”. Each mussel is perfectly cooked and the mirepoix of chopped vegetables, I feel, gave the sauce it’s richness. After I devour the last mussel, I use some steamed taro root (hidden behind the bowl) in lieu of bread to mop up the thick rich garlic sauce. This was sooo delicious!
Saying or goodbyes to the lovely staff with promises that when we return to Fiji we will be back. We quickly stop at the Bilo Bar and have another drink while we wait for our driver. I have another wine and Colleen enjoyed another coconut cocktail, this time in the coconut shell!
Fiji is such a friendly place where you are really made to feel at home amongst friends and family.
Have you been to Fiji? What was your favourite place?
I booked our stay in Fiji through Booking.com which has great rates, some of which you have the ability to cancel.