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Restaurants around Hawkes Bay/Napier

Considering spending 10 days in Napier in early February 2007 (and then traveling the North and South Island for a total of one month in NZ)

Want a base for the first 10 days to relax after a month of intensive travel in SE Asia and Napier looks nice - any comments about the area in general and restaurants in particular?

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  1. Hi there,

    The Hawkes Bay / Napier area has fantastic food, and wine. Napier was destroyed by an earhtquake in the 50's so the architecture is art deco. Go to www.dineout.co.nz for a comprehensive listing or restaurants. Also visit www.cuisine.co.nz, which is NZ's world renowned food mag. My advice is too visit as many vineyards as you can and enjoy some food and wine matching along the way. Some of the wines are spectacular.

    1. If it still exists - Rush Munroe's ice cream on Heretaunga Street in Hastings (south of Napier). Premium ice cream since 1926!

      1. Elizabeth, you have chosen a wonderful place to visit in NZ and if my bias shows thru' forgive me!! I spent 13 lovely warm years in Napier tending my own restaurant. :)
        February is a great month to visit if you still have a hankering for some hot sun on your face, but normally with seabreezes to slightly cool you.

        There are a myriad of vineyards you could visit, most with cafe/restaurant attached. My favourites are Craggy Range with Terroir restaurant, Te Awa Winery with a gorgeous cafe and exquisite food, Brookfields Vineyard also has an amazing cafe.
        Mission Estate is close to the city and has lovely evening dining.

        Go see the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, play a gentle round of golf on some beautiful courses, visit Waimarama and Ocean Beach for an expanse of deserted ( well nearly ) sand you wont believe!
        If you are not shy, con one of the locals to take you out to get a crayfish ( lobster) or two for your dinner.

        The Art Deco architecture is astounding and you can hire a guide to walk you thru' the city. Dont miss the Rothmans building, just exquisite. And while you are the vicinity, there are many wonderful restaurants to have lunch or dinner right nearby on the wharf. Sit and watch the fishing boats come in.

        If you can, check out Bed and Breakfasts to stay at, you will love our people.

        I wanna come with you!! lolol

        Have a great time!


        1 Reply
        1. re: Sentiamo

          I can offer a lot of support for Terroir at the Craggy Range winery. The view and the property outdo anything in Napa/Sonoma (hey, I live in Napa). The food is superb. And, it's a designer's heaven -- rustic minimalism in NZ. Here's to Craggy Range!

        2. I second the recommendation of Te Awa winery restaurant. We also enjoyed dinner at Vidal. Don't miss lunch outdoors at Clearview winery. It's right on the Cape and the views are magnificent.

          1. Thanks for all your suggestions - it seems we've chosen a great place to stay! Will report back in April - we've rented a seafront "bach" for 2 weeks just outside of Napier - Crab Farm Winery is within walking distance - anybody know it?

            Merry Christmas!

            6 Replies
            1. re: ElizabethS

              Hi Elizabeth...I would love to know how you found Napier and the Hawkes Bay in general! Where did you eat etc?? :)

              1. re: Sentiamo

                Hi - I'll gather my notes and post some restaurants later today

                1. re: Sentiamo

                  OK - here's a list of places we enjoyed - it's funny because I now realize we didn't eat out a lot while there. We had been in SE Asia for a month and used the 2 weeks in Napier to do a lot of home cooking but we did enjoy lunches around the area - as follows:

                  - absolute best lunch for food/environment - Terroir at Craggy Range winery. A beautiful setting and very nice food (we're not big winery people - like wine but not wineries!)

                  - Sileni Estates - very good food

                  - Te Awa Winery - good but a bit pricey for what you get (although to be fair we did find all of the restaurants expensive)

                  Places we didn't eat at but did visit and looked good

                  - the restaurant at Te Mata Cheese - casual but really nice looking food

                  - Black Barn vineyards (open Wed-Sat I think) - Bistro food

                  - Clearview Estates

                  We ate at a few restaurants in Napier - nothing memorable actually - overall the food was good/very good but not great - fairly standard winery menus although Terroir really stood out.

                  We really enjoyed the farmer's market on Sunday in Hastings (in the fairgrounds) - we bought a lot of food for our home cooking there.

                  We enjoyed the Aquarium in Napier -it's small but we like aquariums.

                  We were there during Art Deco weekend in February which was wonderful - lots of people in costume and antique cars.

                  When are you going?

                  1. re: ElizabethS

                    I live in NZ ( I posted to your original question in this thread alst December) and adore Hawkes Bay so I was interested in how you found it. Yes, eating out can be expensive here and its a darned shame! I agree with a comment you made either at your holiday blog site or here at CH that the food is more ' sophisticated' in Australia. Thats a shame also as I believe we have better produce, we just dont work it quite as well....lol. Well a lot of food places, not all. We are getting there though, and with the likes of Peter Gordon in London and Josh Hammet, the Kiwi running Gordon Ramsey's NY place, things can only get better!
                    My, you had a wonderful holiday and I look forward to more of your travel writing next time. Those photo's were pretty darned good also!

                    1. re: Sentiamo

                      Lyn - thanks for your comments......you're dead right that the ingredients in NZ are second to none......I guess that's part of why we didn't eat out much when we stayed in Napier - we cooked at home.....so many wonderful ingredients.

                      1. re: Sentiamo

                        don't be too hard on yourselves. I had a stint commuting to christchurch last year and was blown away by the quality of food and standard of preparation! really!!! (being a sydneysider i could be tried for treason for saying this)
                        on my list to try in the future is the restaurant at the Herzog vineyard - I was recently taken to a tasting dinner with the winemaker here in sydney and Therese Herzog's previous vineyard restaurant (in switzerland) had a michelin star, so expect that good things will be happening in marlborough also.