Best restaurants in North Island

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Waiheke Island

    Tantalus Estate

    Up a winding driveway framed by grapevines, Waiheke's newest vineyard restaurant and tasting room channels an Iberian ambience, but the savvy and diverse menu effortlessly covers the globe. Secure a spot under rustic chandeliers crafted from repurposed tree branches, and enjoy a leisurely lunch imbued with Asian and Mediterranean influences. Tantalus also crafts its own Rhone- and Bordeaux-style red wines, and makes craft beer on-site under the Alibi Brewing Company label. Check out its seasonal beers in the brick-lined Alibi Brewing tasting room downstairs. A concise menu of bar snacks is also available.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Ponsonby & Karangahape Rd


    Hot in both senses of the word, this super-fashionable restaurant focuses on the fiery cuisine of the Isaan and Lanna regions of northern Thailand. The menu is conveniently sorted from least to most spicy and split into smaller and larger dishes for sharing. Be sure to order the soft-shell crab.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Hamilton

    Hayes Common

    Journey across to Hamilton East to this bustling eatery in a former garage. Thoroughly unpretentious, Hayes Common's versatile menu stretches from smoothie bowls for breakfast to chilli-butter-fried eggs or a hoison-spiced duck tortilla for lunch. Dinner options such as spiced Merino lamb are equally cosmopolitan, and the wine list and local craft beers on tap will ensure you linger. A special section of the menu is dedicated to vegan options. When you're finished eating, it's a short walk to the riverside for views across to the CBD.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Coromandel Peninsula


    Get pleasantly lost in the Refinery, a spacious showcase of 1960s and 1970s Kiwiana style including a turntable where customers are encouraged to play the vinyl records that fill overflowing bins. Good coffee and food (especially the grilled sandwiches – try the Cuban) are best enjoyed on the retro collection of old sofas and dining room furniture filling this heritage building. There’s stylish accommodation here, too. Welcome to a true Kiwi gem and one of the country's best cafes.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Ponsonby & Karangahape Rd


    No one in Auckland produces creative degustations quite like Sid Sahrawat. It's food as both art and science but, more importantly, food to fire up the taste buds, delight the brain, satisfy the stomach and put a smile on the face. The restaurant is a little hard to find, tucked away at the rear of what was once the Alhambra cinema. Expect high-end and innovative combinations of European, Asian and Indian flavours. The Chef's Table dinner experience (per person $195) is a personalised insight into some of NZ's finest dining.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Waikato & the Coromandel Peninsula

    Rock-It Kitchen

    Around 3km from town adjacent to surf beaches, Rock-It Kitchen combines rustic decor – it's housed in an old woolshed – with the area's best food. New Zealand wines and beer from west Auckland's Hallertau brewery combine with Scotch fillet steak and truffle potato mash for dinner, and the all-day breakfast of kumara hash cakes is popular with hungry surfers. During summer, the outdoor tables are the place to be, and if the tide's right, it's even possible to steer a kayak way up the Wainui estuary from Raglan.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Auckland


    Modern Filipino food is the star at Nanam in the North Shore suburb of Takapuna. Dine on innovative updates of traditional Filipino food that made UK chef Marco Pierre White a big fan. Especially good is the longganisa sausage combining Wagyu beef and lemongrass and the lamb adobo croquettes. Menu options include tapas style, main dishes and set sharing menus. Bus 82 (30 to 35 minutes) from the Civic Theatre in central Auckland will drop you on Hurstmere Rd right outside the restaurant.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in New Plymouth

    Federal Store

    Crammed with retro furniture, superpopular Federal conjures up a 1950s corner-store vibe. Switched-on staff in dinky headscarves take your coffee requests, keeping you buoyant until your southern-fried-chicken bagel or eggs Benedict arrives. Sensational counter food includes cakes, tarts and artfully presented rolls overflowing with good fillings. Aim for the back booth, or the footpath tables if it's not blowy.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in New Plymouth

    Ms White

    Sharing a fairy-light-draped courtyard with Snug Lounge, seductive Ms White serves trad wood-fired Italian pizza and a bedazzling range of 40-plus craft beers from its outdoor kitchen. Choose from pizza rosse bases with tomato sauce and mozzarella, or pizza bianche with olive oil instead of tomato. Funky communal tables, and rugs for chilly nights.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Coromandel Peninsula

    Wharf Road

    Bringing cosmopolitan cool to Coromandel Town, Wharf Road offers the opportunity to ease into another day equipped with excellent coffee, interesting brunch dishes such as avocado bagels or Turkish eggs with chilli butter, and an easy-going soundtrack of loping Kiwi reggae. Lunch amid the wood-lined space is equally popular, with wine and craft beer balancing super-healthy organic and vegetarian bowls.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Coromandel Peninsula

    Luke’s Kitchen

    Luke’s Kitchen has a rustic surf-shack ambience, cold brews including hyper-local craft beer from Kūaotunu's tiny Blue Fridge Brewery and excellent wood-fired pizza. Occasional live music, seafood and creamy fruit smoothies make Luke’s an essential stop. Adjacent is Luke’s daytime cafe and gallery with excellent coffee, kombucha on tap, home-baked goodies and lots of eclectic local art for sale.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Parnell & Newmarket


    Greek cuisine is rare in Auckland, but Gerome's modern interpretation of traditional Hellenic flavours make it one of Auckland's best restaurants. Highlights include the pork and lamb manti (dumplings) with fermented chilli, and the superb slow-roasted lamb kleftiko with watermelon jelly and pine nuts. On a warm summer's afternoon or evening, sit in the open-air pavilion out front.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Wellington


    Follow the throbbing basslines down the twinkling alley into Husk, where punky leather guys and laptop-wielding students convene for pork-shoulder tacos, chilli eggs and 'dirty' chips with beef brisket, house-smoked cheddar and red chimichurri. In true Wellington form, Husk is a brewery too: the Superunknown APA is appropriately rockin', while the Power of Voodoo white stout is irrefutably magical.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in City Centre & Britomart


    That there are queues outside this boutique ice-cream shop even in the middle of winter says a lot about the magical confections that it conjures up. Expect elaborate constructions of ice-cream art topped with all manner of goodies, as Giapo's extreme culinary creativity and experimentation combines with the science of gastronomy to produce quite possibly the planet's best ice-cream extravaganzas.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Napier

    Mister D

    This long, floorboarded room with its green-tiled bar is the pride and joy of the Napier foodie scene. Hip and slick but not grossly unaffordable, with quick-fire service delivering the likes of chestnut flan with mushrooms or roast-duck risotto. Addictive doughnuts are served with syringes full of chocolate, jam or custard (DIY versions infused with booze). Bookings essential.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in The Wairarapa

    Clareville Bakery

    On the highway just north of Carterton, this excellent little bakery-cafe makes famously good sourdough bread, lamb-cutlet pies, steak sandwiches and lavash-style crackers...but everything in the counter is borderline irresistible. There's also garden seating, a kids' play zone, regular live music and an ocean-sized car park (a primary indicator of business brilliance). Try the Basque eggs.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Bay of Islands


    Muted colours give way to sea views at this new upstairs seafood restaurant across from Paihia pier. The seasonal menu is largely seafood focused (who can resist Orongo Bay oysters with lemon, seaweed, horopito and sherry mignonette?), but promises to take care of fine-dining vegetarians on request. Be advised to leave room for the cheese-tasting menu with a mix of French and local cheese.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Bay of Plenty


    The sea air might easily be Mediterranean at this new restaurant that has brought quality Italian cooking to the Mount. All the accents are Italian, from the staff and the checked tablecloths, to the all-Italian wine list and the buffalo mozzarella balls in the insalata caprese. Antipasti and secondi are designed to share, or there’s a short greatest-hits pizza menu.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Wellington

    Logan Brown

    Deservedly ranked among Wellington's best restaurants, Logan Brown oozes class without being overly formal. Its 1920s banking-chamber dining room is a neoclassical stunner – a fitting complement to the produce-driven modern NZ cuisine. The three-course bistro menu ($50) won't hurt your wallet too badly, but the epic wine list and Saturday-night degustation menu might force a blow-out.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Ponsonby & Karangahape Rd

    Gemmayze St

    Located amid the restored heritage architecture of St Kevin's Arcade, Gemmayze St presents a stylish update on Lebanese cuisine. Mint, orange blossom and rosewater cocktails are prepared at the beaten-copper bar, while shared tables encourage lots of sociable dining on meze and expertly grilled meats. The optional 'Jeeb' menu (per person $65) is a brilliant option for a leisurely feast.