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“Wonderful Evening”
Review of Aroha

Price range: US$10 - US$80
Cuisines: New Zealand
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Inspired by New Zealand's laid back environment, Aroha, is a classy-casual fine dining restaurant located in Westlake Village. Aroha was founded in September 2014 by Award Winning New Zealand Chef, Gwithyen Thomas, and his wife, Justine. Meaning love and compassion in Maori, Aroha is dedicated in loving memory to Gwithyen's mother Athena, and Justine's grandfather, Harold. Chef Thomas creatively designs his dishes to showcase the best flavor combinations, without masking the natural flavor. Aroha's menu consists of locally sourced predominately organic produce; free-range and grass-fed organic meats primarily flown in from New Zealand; and seafood flown in directly from New Zealand, less than 48 hours fresh from the water. Proudly catering to customers with allergies and dietary restrictions, Aroha's menu is 100% gluten-free or gluten-free optional; our dishes are made fresh to order therefore we can customize for any allergies you may have. Aroha's beverage program includes a wine list with only New Zealand wines by the glass, a rotating selection of New Zealand beers and local craft beers, and an outdoor cocktail bar. Our non-alcoholic beverages includes a range of speciality sodas with unique hand picked ingredients including Elderflower, Blackcurrant, and Feijoa; as well as New Zealand's award-winning Antipodes Artisan Still and Sparkling water.
Reviewed 23 August 2017

Six of us had the most pleasant dinner sitting outside on the patio. The food was amazing and we felt very well taken care of. The chef came out to talk with us and answer any questions about the food and wine and our waiter was super friendly. Two of us had the Hapuka fish which was flown in from New Zealand the day before, and two of had the venison which had an incredible cherry sauce. The others had the beef and John Dory. All were fantastic. We finished off with this sort of frozen chocolate mousse/incredible vanilla ice cream dessert that was called Hokey Pokey, to die for, and the pavlova (yum). The quality was top notch and it was worth every penny.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Red10060
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 83 reviews

Reviewed 19 July 2017 via mobile

Interesting menu, great outdoor seating and fun live music. Service is always really good. Great fish, cocktails and dessert with surprise pop rocks!

Thank tplylar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2017

Food was average given all the hype abut freshness and unique dining experience. They need a reality check, it's not all that. Sauce for the muscle appetizer was way too spicy which ruined the flavor of the dish. Atmosphere is gloomy and kinda dirty. Overall experience was a bust, we wont go again.

1  Thank 02domer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2017

Friday evening and about 1/3 of the tables were occupied when we arrived. We sat on the patio and asked if th bar menu was available as well as the dinner menu. it was. So, we ordered 2 fish and chips from the bar menu and from the dinner menu, one chicken meal and one lamb, plus a strawberry salad, Brussels sprouts, soup, and cauliflower. The tomatoe crab soup was good but not much crab in it. Brussels sprouts and califlower were good. Must say the chicken ($29) was very tasty and came with butternut squash but only a few chunks. The lamb $38.) was good too. BUT the fish and chips were less than fair. Heavily battered fish ...One piece, and limp steak fries; way overpriced at $18 each. When the waiter came to check on us and we told him what we thought of the fish meals, the response was, "Well, it IS bar food." Very disappointing and won't probably give it a second try.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 196CindyJ196
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2017

It seems in Southern California imitating the arrogance, high prices and mediocre food and drink of a Parisian Cafe is now an acceptable substitute for fine dinning.
Our group sat inside and was tightly squeezed into the "pub" tables now so popular in trendy restaurants. Not comfortable for a 2 1/2 hour dinner. Coctails? Again a trendy short list of mostly third rate liquors (Old Grand Dad instead of Jack Danials) at four times normal price. At least tap water was offered, but apparently only one glass, even when refill requested.
With the very limited menu, I ordered an appetizer, but had to remind the waiter a couple of times to bring it before the main course, but it still took almost 45 minutes to arrive.
Main course, a very expensive "loin" of lamb that was less than six ounces and almost couldn't be cut even with the special steak knives. Sides, were a little hard to tell what they were, and just as well that they didn't arrive until we had finished our main course.
You may have guessed by know that the service was not satisfactory. Although not very busy, the wait staff seemed almost invisible. I guess this was an attempt to conceal their lack of understanding of the menu, although there is only a handful of choices. This poor of service is normally only seen in the tourist areas of Paris where Americans are treated as unwelcomed foreigners. The French do this with style, Aroha does it with bad (nonexistent) management.
The Thousand Oaks area suffers from a decline of fine restaurants, and the rise of third rate dinners that substitute poorly prepared "new California cacine", indifferent service, pub style tables, and excessive prices, and call it fine dinning.
At least the French know how to prepare excellent food.
After finally finished with dinner, I should not have been surprised that the valet handed me my car keys and told me where I could look for my car. He did not get the three dollar tip I had ready in my pocket, so it only cost me $80 per person for this introduction to the new fine dinning.
I recommend Aroha only to those who think wearing shabby jeans, setting at a small pub table in a loud resturant while being ignored by wait staff in order to eat third rate food just so they can prove that they can afford a very over priced meal. If that is you, this is your place, the rest of us should stay clear.

1  Thank Ralph S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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