It’s no surprise Hastings on New Zealand’s North Island is a foodie hot spot. Not only is it right in the middle of fertile wine country, it’s near the coast at Hawkes Bay. Here, we list 10 of the city’s best restaurants.
This article was originally written by Max Goodwin Brown and has since been updated.
New Zealand is a land of cafes. There are countless establishments that serve coffee and cabinet food to accommodate everyone and anyone, whether they’re locals stopping off for a quick pie and cappuccino on the way to work, or a family of tourists on the way to their next port of call and in need of refreshments. Little Black Bird epitomises everything that is good in a Kiwi bakery. The coffee – and this is New Zealand’s high standard of barista-made coffee we’re comparing it to here – is mostly faultless, it’s extraordinary. The coffee alone is enough to keep going back, but complemented with the epic range of simple yet delicious cabinet-style snacks makes this place ideal for a lunch break. The ham, cheese and bechamel toasted sandwich are all incredible.
There is no other word but ‘gorgeous’ to describe the food at Ten Twenty Four. Just have a look at their website. Delicate and vividly colourful, the dishes look exquisite. Ginger bread men lean casually against roasted beetroots and edible flowers plume out of soufflés. What’s more, at Ten Twenty Four, the flavours more than equal the presentation. But don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself. The menu changes with the seasons, so every visit is an adventure.
Taste Cornucopia is something special. Firstly, pretty much everything is homemade, from the pasta through to the hash browns. Secondly, the staff are incredibly friendly and accommodating; the chef has been known to come out of the kitchen and share his recipes with his diners. The food is delicious, lovingly presented and totally organic, with veggie and vegan options good enough to tempt even the most ardent carnivore. Also, the prices are reasonable – this spot is a local favourite.
Lunch or dinner at a winery is really a must when you’re in the Hawkes Bay. This is one of New Zealand’s premier and oldest wine-making countries, and deserves to be enjoyed to the max. Pork belly, salmon and lamb rump are all here and of the best quality. The menu isn’t going to shock you when it comes to innovation, rather it’s a very safe selection. But safe doesn’t necessarily mean boring, and that is certainly the case here. And, of course, the wine is sublime. Have a gargle of the particularly drinkable Pinot Gris.
Rush Munro’s has been in Hastings for nearly 100 years and while it serves nothing but ice cream, the menu is as extensive as you’ll find in any restaurant. Made from 100% natural ingredients, this place offers everything from passion fruit and maple to walnut and Manuka honey. Popular with children and adults alike, tubs of Rush Munro’s ice cream can be found all over New Zealand. If you’re in Hastings on a hot day, get down to this iconic venue to cool down and find out where it all started.
Hastings is only about 10 miles from the sea, so fish and chips is a must. Mac’s Fish Supply is a local institution with a devoted following, which is hardly surprising since it does everything right. The batter is light and crispy, the chips are chunky and homemade and everything is prepared to order. Plus, as the name suggests, Mac’s is part-restaurant, part-fishmongers, so all the fish is super fresh and filleted on-site. The best fish and chips in the Hawkes Bay area, and that’s saying something.
Mac’s Fish Supply, 1101 Heretaunga Street, Hastings, New Zealand
As the name suggests, Off the Track is indeed not to be found in the middle of Hastings. It’s a wee drive away, but all that does is build the sense of anticipation and give the salivary glands a chance to build up ahead of the feast that lies ahead. Speaking of feasts, if you’ve been adrift on a raft off the coast of Hawkes Bay for a week, and have just washed in then may we suggest the jumbo breakfast. If that doesn’t fill you up then nothing will. The food is divine, and the geniuses behind this establishment have thought of everything including an outdoor playground for the kids. Let them go bonkers whilst you wash down your dessert with a cup of perfectly brewed coffee.
Valley vineyards | Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia
There are hundreds of vineyards and wineries scattered across New Zealand, many of which are open to the public. Some of them also offer food. The restaurant at Hastings’ Te Awa Winery is among the best in the area, serving up sharing plates against a gorgeous backdrop of grape vines and open country. The menu is regularly updated to make use of seasonal ingredients and to ensure that all dishes complement Te Awa’s latest wines. Previous menu highlights include venison meatballs and honey-glazed duck breast, but you’re guaranteed a delicious meal no matter when you go. Above all, it’s a beautiful place to sit, drink a glass of wine and watch the sun go down.
Valley vineyards | Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia
Tucked away near the Mangateretere Golf Course, this perky little cafe serves up killer breakfasts and excellent lunches. Like many of New Zealand’s restaurants, No. 5 Café & Larder is committed to using top-quality seasonal ingredients, but what sets this place apart is the flourish with which it pulls off its dishes. On the menu, mighty salads made of chorizo, pan-fried calamari and shaved parsnip rub shoulders with seafood linguini and pulled pork tacos. There are plenty of options for vegetarians and those after food that are gluten- or dairy-free.
The 10-dollar lunch special is always an appreciated gesture in an Indian restaurant in New Zealand. However, it is fraught with peril and possibility of disappointment that will then jade the customer’s future dining experiences. Thank goodness this isn’t the case at Star of India, where the cuisine is always top-notch whether your bill is 10 or 200 dollars. All the classics are served up with as much love as the chef’s specials, and this is what sets this Indian restaurant apart from the others in the area. You can taste the pride in their work, and see it on the faces of the gents that serve you your food.