The 9 Best Restaurants in Palmerston North, New Zealand

Duck with Grapes and Thyme
Duck with Grapes and Thyme | © Alpha / Flickr
Joe Coates

Despite only being New Zealand’s seventh largest city, Palmerston North has a generous selection of fantastic restaurants, including some phenomenal Asian establishments. Take a look at our list of the 10 best restaurants in the area, and then head out and try them for yourselves.

1. Bethany's Restaurant and Cafe

Restaurant, European, Coffee

Located in one of the most coveted spots in Palmerston North, Bethany’s overlooks the beautiful town square with one of the best views in the city. Winning awards such as ‘Chef of the Year’ in 2014, it is no wonder that this establishment arguably serves the most reputable cuisine in the area. The brunch, lunch and dinner menus are loaded with firm favourites such as the house omelette and seafood chowder, as well as some adventurous options such as the ostrich burger. Finally, if you love chocolate, soothe your cravings with the Death by Chocolate. The menu mysteriously fails to define what this is, but considering its popularity, it is undoubtedly fantastic.

2. Arranged Marriage Restaurant

Restaurant, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Asian

Arranged Marriage Restaurant might not have the snappiest name in the world, but make no mistake, they’re serving up some of the best Indian cuisine that you’re likely to get your hands on. The staff are friendly and attentive, but not overbearing, and you can tell that they are all extremely proud of the food they are serving you and the experience that you’re enjoying. There is everything here to satisfy anyone’s culinary desires, whether you’re a seasoned curry-house expert or someone who likes to stick with the old classics. The hot towels offered afterwards are the garnish on the bhaji.

3. Aberdeen

Restaurant, European, Steakhouse

Aberdeen offers fine dining within a historic building and beautiful courtyard. Serving contemporary New Zealand cuisine, this is the place to go to sample exquisite local food. In particular, the restaurant is renowned for serving award-winning AngusPure beef, which is the only cut of meat to win the acclaimed ‘Steak of Origin’ award for five years. Additionally, the restaurant serves a delectable selection of fish, pork, chicken and lamb, an ANZCO rump accompanied with eggplant puree, pickled beets and lamb sweetbreads.

5. Nero

Restaurant, European, Vegetarian

On Broadway, Nero occupies a historic building that is set on scenic landscaped grounds. For those looking for an unbeatable venue for a fine dining experience, this restaurant definitely delivers. The establishment’s building was built in 1918 and features a welcoming Victorian character in warm and friendly surroundings. The contemporary New Zealand cuisine has won numerous international and national awards and serves fusion dishes such as pumpkin risotto and seed crusted lamb cutlets. In the summer, the outside alfresco area is an attractive spot in which to relax while marvelling the gardens and drinking the finest local wine.

6. Yatai Japanese Izakaya Restaurant

Restaurant, Japanese, Sushi, Asian

Decor: check. Service: check. Unbelievably fresh Japanese food, including some of the best sashimi we’ve tried in New Zealand: check. If this gem, which is only open for three hours a night and does takeaway, was in Auckland or Wellington you’d be expecting to pay through the old what’s it called for food of this calibre. The tempura – an excellent bar to measure any Japanese restaurant – is always crisp and amazing. Toddle on down to Featherstone Street and get stuck in. You’ll have your first taste and be absolutely hooked.

7. Aqaba

Cafe, Restaurant, European, Beer, Vegetarian

The Egyptian-themed restaurant is a quirky addition to Palmerston North’s culinary scene. It looks unimpressive from the exterior but once diners enter the spacious establishment, decked out with wooden floors and high ceilings, they are in for a treat. Serving all-day breakfasts, light meals and mains, Aqaba also provides a respectable drinks menu for lovers of wine. Pair your stuffed lamb shoulder or pork belly with a bottle of local origin and enjoy a top-quality dining experience that will not break the bank.

8. Table 188

Restaurant, European, Contemporary

Table 188 is a great spot for those looking for a casual dining experience with an up-market allure. The kitchen serves simple yet delicious New Zealand cuisine, with numerous meat options on offer. The main special changes every so often so be ready for a delightful surprise with every visit. Choose from dishes such as spring coastal lamb rump marinated in ginger, chilli and garlic, or go steady with the juicy Wakanei Angus steak. Naturally, there is a selection of vegetarian options, too. If you’re not full by the end of the meal, order a dessert such as the affogato.

9. Saigon Corner

Restaurant, Vietnamese, Street Food

Just because something is unbelievably cheap, doesn’t mean it’s of inferior quality. Never has this been more true than at the Saigon Corner. The meals – check out the spring rolls for instance – are amazingly healthy and fresh. It’s addictive, this food, and if you’re ever in Palmerston North and stuck for lunch then head here immediately. The coffee is great, too. Even the takeaway bags are biodegradable, which is so Kiwi and considerate that it leaves you glowing long after you’ve finished your meal.

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