Northland and the Bay of Islands Restaurants

Seafood abounds in the north with scallops and oysters farmed throughout the region, though occasional sewerage scares and algae blooms put them off-limits. Snapper and kingfish are available year-round, and marlin and broad-bill swordfish are abundant between January and June.

The region prides itself on its local produce, and with more skillful chefs arriving in the region, the restaurant food has improved.

People eat earlier in Northland than in the cities, with restaurants filling around 7. Dress is casual—jeans are acceptable in all but the most upscale lodges. From May through September, many restaurants close or reduce their opening hours, some to four nights a week. October sees regular hours resume.

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  • 1. Fishbone Café

    $$$

    The proprietors of this outfit take food, coffee, and hospitality seriously. It's an oasis of superb food and well worth a stop on a trip...Read More

  • 2. Marsden Estate Winery and Restaurant

    $$$$

    Named after the missionary Samuel Marsden, who planted New Zealand's first grapevines in Kerikeri in 1819, this family-run winery is a popular breakfast and lunch...Read More

  • 3. The Gables Restaurant

    $$$$

    One of Russell's oldest buildings (built in 1847) is home to an up-to-the-minute kitchen, serving the finest cuts of meat, fresh fish, and imaginative vegetarian...Read More

  • 4. Charlotte's Kitchen

    $$$$

    This busy restaurant is named after Charlotte Badger, one of the first European women to live in New Zealand; legend says she was actually a...Read More

  • 5. The Wharf

    $$$

    The prime dining spot in Russell, this waterfront restaurant combines subtly prepared yet flavorsome cuisine with arguably the best restaurant view in town—especially if you...Read More

  • 6. à Deco

    $$$$

    In a faithfully restored art deco house, this restaurant maintains a high standard, its reputation built on straightforward flavors and inventive twists using fresh, often...Read More

  • 7. Soda

    $

    Loved by locals, this café on the outskirts of town is good for coffee and cake—try the pear-and-ginger or apple-and-walnut. The cabinets are full of...Read More

  • 8. Tahuna Reef Restaurant

    $$$$

    The basic menu here focuses on fish and meat. It's not cheap, but you won't leave hungry, especially with plentiful dessert options. Like many restaurants...Read More

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