North Island's West Coast Restaurants

Throughout western North Island, provincial city restaurants and small, tourist-town cafés feature an overall sophistication you might not expect away from major urban centers: think wholesome and hearty fare, local organic produce, good espresso and loose-leaf teas, high-quality New Zealand wines, plus local craft beers. Counter food is generally fresh salads, paninis, filled rolls, sweet or savory pies, and homemade soups.

Dinner menus in the higher-end restaurants include the chef's latest creations using high-quality New Zealand eye fillet of beef (beef tenderloin), fish, lamb racks, pork fillets, and chicken. The best chefs change menus regularly to focus on fresh regional and seasonal ingredients. You will also find Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, Mexican, Turkish, and Italian restaurants, even in smaller centers. "Smart-casual" is about as formal as attire gets.

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  • 1. HUHU Cafe

    $$$

    This spot out in the country offers food up there in quality with the best urban-chic cafés. The contemporary New Zealand–style menu has a mix...Read More

  • 2. Local Café and Eatery

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    Though this café shares premises with a property brokerage office, it's not your usual pie and sandwich workplace diner. At lunchtime, people from all over...Read More

  • 3. Nero Restaurant

    $$$$

    Head to Nero for fine dining in a charming old Victorian-style villa on a quiet inner-city street. Chef and owner Scott Kennedy describes the cuisine...Read More

  • 4. The Shack

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    At this buzzing corner café, surfers—here for the great coffee and organic, free-range food—cram the couches and Formica tables beneath walls decorated with hanging plants,...Read More

  • 5. Arranged Marriage

    $$

    The dosa (a filled, savory pancake) takes pride of place on the menu at this southern-Indian restaurant on New Plymouth's main street. The most traditional...Read More

  • 6. Article Cafe

    $

    The local newspaper used to be produced in this historic building, but the premises now house a friendly café that doubles as a retro clothes...Read More

  • 7. Brew Union Brewing Company

    $$$

    A buzzy microbrewery, right in the center of the city, Brew Union serves a flexible menu of small plates, wood-fired pizzas, grills, salads, and burgers....Read More

  • 8. Café Cuba

    $

    Just off the Square, funky Café Cuba is a perennially popular local haunt for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and after-show mingling. The menu is all...Read More

  • 9. Caffe Windsor

    $$

    Wholesome homemade food attracts both Taranaki locals and travelers to this character-filled village café housed in a circa-1878 butcher shop. The menu runs from breakfast...Read More

  • 10. George's Beach Club

    $$

    This restaurant is actually a short walk from the beach, but the atmosphere is right, if a little kitschy. Seafood is predominant on the menu...Read More

  • 11. Iso Cafe and Bistro

    $$$

    One of the newer eateries in town, Iso has established itself as a favorite with locals as well as the visiting surf set (it's connected...Read More

  • 12. Momiji Japanese Restaurant and Cafe

    $$

    Traditional Japanese food made with a mix of imported Japanese ingredients and fresh local produce is the star here. There's also a good selection of...Read More

  • 13. Orca Restaurant and Bar

    $$$

    This waterside restaurant has big windows, big views, and big tasty menus. Brunch is served every morning, and dinner brings out the chef's creativity. For...Read More

  • 14. Rock-it Kitchen

    $$

    Occupying a 100-year-old shearing shed, the funky, rustic Rock-it serves casual Kiwi fare and local Raglan Roast coffee. The menu is small but wholesome; try...Read More

  • 15. Snug Lounge

    $$

    The casual yet stylish setup at this Japanese yakitori grill and cocktail bar is designed to bring people together, and it works. The menu focuses...Read More

  • 16. Social Kitchen

    $$$

    The name says it all: this is the place to socialize with friends while sharing plates from the open kitchen. The food has been fired...Read More

  • 17. Stellar Restaurant and Bar

    $$

    This relaxed bar–restaurant specializes in pizzas, burgers, light meals, salads, and meaty main courses. It's also a music venue and hosts weekly quiz nights. There's...Read More

  • 18. The Herb Farm and Cafe

    $$

    Wholesome, organic, and scrumptious food is served in a country café that’s set in the middle of a 2-acre herb garden. The herbs grown here...Read More

  • 19. Twelve Tables Bar and Eatery

    $$

    Situated at Waitomo's General Store (which itself offers limited grocery items and souvenirs), this versatile eatery can serve as a café if you're just looking...Read More

  • 20. Yellow House Café

    $$

    Join the locals at this cozy café, spread throughout the veranda, garden, and several intimate rooms of an old, mostly yellow villa. It serves a...Read More

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