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. Bella's Café

    $$$$ | International

    Serving a mix of Mediterranean and Pacific Rim dishes, with a touch of Thai flavor, Bella's has been a city favorite for more than a decade...Read More

  • 2. Nero Restaurant

    $$$$ | New Zealand

    In a charming old Victorian-style villa on a quiet inner-city street, Nero consistently wins regional restaurant awards and has received New...Read More

  • 3. Onyx

    $$$$ | New Zealand

    A consistent draw for a sleepy Sunday brunch, ladies who lunch, and that special-occasion dinner, Onyx starts with coffee and cakes at 9. At...Read More

  • 4. The Shack

    $$ | Café

    Provenance is important at The Shack, a buzzing corner café that is truly local and consistently good. Surfers—who come for great local espresso...Read More

  • 5. Angora Cafe and Restaurant

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Turkish classics, like köfte and kebobs, share the menu here with fillet steak, fresh-caught fish, and other Kiwi favorites. Flatbreads and...Read More

  • 6. Brewer's Apprentice

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Plenty of brick, stone, and timber lend character to this restaurant near the Square, while open fires, a pair of bars, plus a quiet dining...Read More

  • 7. Café Cuba

    $$ | New Zealand

    Just off the Square, funky Café Cuba is a popular local haunt for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and after shows. Laid-back music plays in...Read More

  • 8. Caffe Windsor

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Energizing the café scene in little Inglewood, midway between New Plymouth and Stratford, this eatery occupies a charming building that was...Read More

  • 9. Empire Tea & Coffee

    $ | Café

    This charming spot serves excellent espressos but is best known for its huge range of loose-leaf teas, including jasmine, rose, sunflower, and...Read More

  • 10. Fran's Café

    $ | Café

    Snag a table in the main room, the comfy lounge, or the sunny courtyard garden, and enjoy your choice of amazing homemade sandwiches, pasta...Read More

  • 11. HUHU Cafe

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Locals smile quietly when visitors inevitably express surprise that such an urban-chic café exists "way out here in the country." (The moniker...Read More

  • 12. Orca Restaurant and Bar

    $$$ | New Zealand

    This waterside restaurant has big windows and the best views in Raglan—when orca swim into the harbor, you can see them from your table. Brunch...Read More

  • 13. Our Place

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Featuring big couches, booths, and a cool outdoor area, this restaurant–cum–cocktail lounge morphs into a club later at night, with DJ music...Read More

  • 14. Rock-It Kitchen

    $$ | New Zealand

    Occupying a 100-year old shearing shed, the funky, rustic Rock-it serves wholesome Kiwi fare and local Raglan Roast coffee. Try the beef sliders...Read More

  • 15. Rouge Cafe

    $$ | Café

    Hidden away but always busy with in-the-know locals, this family-run café emphasizes local organic produce. Come for a full breakfast (options...Read More

  • 16. Snug Lounge

    $$ | Japanese

    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

  • 17. Stables Bar and Grill

    $$$ | New Zealand

    With a cozy stone fireplace, three inside bars, a garden bar, and a gaming room, this casual spot aims to please everyone. Its gastropub fare...Read More

  • 18. Stellar

    $$$ | Pizza

    This relaxed restaurant specializes in giant gourmet pizzas with ominous names, like "Ren and Stinky" (lots of mozzarella) and "Foul Play" ...Read More

  • 19. The Big Orange and Ceramic Lounge

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Mingle with the many locals who gather here, be it for their first coffee of the day, a social weekend brunch, lunch or dinner, late-night wine...Read More

  • 20. The Herb Farm and Cafe

    $$ | Café

    About 10 minutes from the city, this farm café is a worthy lunch stop for those exploring the countryside or returning from a trip to the Te...Read More

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