The Foodie Guide to the Bay of Islands© Northland Inc
The Foodie Guide to the Bay of Islands

The Food Guide to the Bay of Islands: Places to Eat & Food Tours

© Northland Inc
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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The Complete Food Guide to Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri and the Bay of Islands

The northern hotspot of the Bay of Islands might be renowned for its sun, sea, and 144 islands, but did you know it’s also a mecca for foodies? Base yourself in Kerikeri and you’re surrounded by the fruit orchards and vineyards that supply the region’s delectable eateries. Stay in Russell and you have vineyards on the hillsides and some of the oldest pubs and restaurants in the country. Head to Paihia and you can embark on a cruise with a gourmet New Zealand picnic. Or take one of the many food and wine tours of the region to see it all!

We’ll guide you through the food tours, restaurants, accommodations with excellent eateries and more in this food guide to the Bay of Islands.

The 10 Best Places to Eat in Paihia, Kerikeri, Russell and the Bay of Islands

Where are the best places to eat in the Bay of Islands? Here’s our ultimate list of the best restaurants and cafes with something for all tastes and budgets.

  1. Marsden Estate (56 Wiroa Road, Kerikeri)
  2. Terra Restaurant (76 Marsden Road, Paihia)
  3. Charlotte’s Kitchen (69 Marsden Road, Paihia)
  4. Paroa Bay Winery (31 Otamarua Road, Russell)
  5. The Old Packhouse Cafe (505 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri)
  6. The Gables (19 The Strand, Russell)
  7. Tipsy Oyster Tapas & Bar (24 Kings Road, Paihia)
  8. Delish Coffee and Ice Cream (4 Cass Street, Russell)
  9. Cafe Jerusalem (83 Kerikeri Road, Russell)
  10. Third Wheel Coffee Co. (86/94 Marsden Road, Paihia)

Scroll down to “About the Best Places to Eat in the Bay of Islands” to learn more about our top picks!

The Food Guide to the Bay of Islands: Places to Eat & Food Tours© Northland Inc

The Best Food Tours and Activities in Paihia, Kerikeri, Russell and Beyond

Treat the food-lover within by taking part in one of the amazing food and drink experiences in the Bay of Islands.

Wine Tours

Enjoy a variety of tastes with Mullarkeys Tours who combine a smorgasbord of food and drink experiences on their wine and craft beer tour. This half-day activity includes a visit to the Sovrano Estate for a vineyard tour and tasting before travelling to Marsden Estate for more tastings and a lunch platter in a scenic lake setting. Next, it’s off to PhatHouse Brewing Co. for tasting beers made from natural ingredients. Finally, tour the Fat Pig Vineyard before returning to your accommodation. Tours depart from the Paihia i-SITE or Kerikeri town centre.

Farmers’ Markets

Meet a passionate group of local growers and artisans at the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market. This free event takes place every Thursday afternoon in Paihia (The Village Green, 60 Marsden Road) and every Sunday morning in Kerikeri (Post Office Carpark, 10 Hobson Avenue), where you can taste and purchase a range of locally grown produce, cheese, preserves, free-range eggs, artisan goods, beverages and more. The markets happen whatever the weather, so don’t miss out!

Another quintessential Kiwi market arrives on the weekend in Kerikeri at The Old Packhouse Market (505 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri). Happening every Saturday and Sunday morning, meet the locals, sample an array of street food and baked goods, and browse an array of local plants, artisanal products, seafood, cheeses and more! If you can’t make it on a weekend, at least the charming Old Packhouse Cafe, Bakery and Deli are open all week long!

Makana Confections

A free way to experience the tastes of the Bay of Islands is at Makana Confections in Kerikeri. Watch chocolates being handmade in their chocolate factory, which has large windows looking in from their gift shop. Next door is their cafe with all sorts of irresistible treats.

More Things to Do in the Bay of Islands for Foodies

  • Experience the bay through a private wine and sightseeing tour with the Kernhem Group
  • Learn a new dish on a market tour and vegetarian cooking class with the Travelling Spoon
  • Enjoy a sailing cruise with a barbecue lunch with Sunkissed Gourmet Sailing Adventures
  • Taste locally made cheeses at the Mahoe Cheese Factory
  • Dine on fresh seafood, taste local wines and more at the Bay of Islands’ delectable restaurants.

For elaboration on each recommendation, take a look at the 10 Best Wine Tours & Foodie Experiences in the Bay of Islands.

The Foodie Guide to the Bay of Islands© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

The Best Restaurants in the Bay of Islands

From some of the oldest pubs and restaurants in the country to sweet seaside treats to lavish wineries, the Bay of Islands food scene is fun and varied. Its restaurants will take you across the main towns of the region, allowing you to enjoy real travel experiences through food.

Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants in Paihia

You can’t stay in Paihia without sampling some fresh seafood and a good place to start is at the Tipsy Oyster Tapas & Bar (24 Kings Road) which has live music every Friday to go along with its creative menu of Southeast Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Alternatively, try some classic Kiwi-style fish and chips at JFC (40 Marsden Road) or Oceans 68 (68 Marsden Road).

Fine dining experiences can be found at the Terra Restaurant (76 Marsden Road) with its seasonal menu of the produce Northland is known for, making up a contemporary New Zealand menu. Otherwise, Charlotte’s Kitchen (69 Marsden Road) on Paihia Wharf has unbeatable views of the harbour to go along with your sharing platter, woodfired pizza or something else.

For lunch, enjoy the quirk decor and home baking of Third Wheel Coffee Co. (86/94 Marsden Road). Then, a visit to the bay is not complete until you’ve tasted some Bay of Islands’ gourmet ice cream, such as at Cellini’s Ice Cream & Espresso (Williams Road)!

In between eating, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Paihia.

Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants in Kerikeri

Take a trip to Kerikeri and you’ll be in the centre of its main attractions when dining at Plough & Feather (215 Kerikeri Road) in the Kerikeri Basin. Enjoy the laid-back ambience with English-style cuisine with a Northland twist.

Just up the road, Māha Restaurant (190 Kerikeri Road) offers an Asian spin on local produce in a gorgeous garden setting. Meanwhile, close to the town centre, The Black Olive (308 Kerikeri Road) prides itself on Northland seafood, wines, pizzas and more, as well as an outdoor area with a children’s playground should you have little ones to let loose.

For lunch, Cafe Jerusalem (83 Kerikeri Road) delights in the town centre with its Israeli cuisine, while Barrow Boys (94 Kerikeri Road) is your go-to for great coffee. Out of town, Makana Confections (504 Kerikeri Road) and The Old Packhouse Cafe (505 Kerikeri Road) compete for your affection!

See the 15 Best Things to Do in Kerikeri to see how you can accompany fine food with fine activities.

The Food Guide to the Bay of Islands: Places to Eat & Food Tours© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants in Russell

If you’re not staying in Russell, be sure to at least take the ferry there to indulge in the Northland spin on Italian fare at The Gables (19 The Strand), New Zealand’s oldest operating restaurant. Or dine at the Duke of Marlborough (35 The Strand), the oldest pub in New Zealand serving up an array of seafood and meats in their heritage building.

For something more down-to-earth, enjoy cafe dining and fresh bagels from Hell Hole (17 York Street) or classic Kiwi fish and chips from Russell Fish Co. (2 Cass Street) and fish off with something sweet from Delish Coffee and Ice Cream (4 Cass Street).

Get inspired for activities in between with the 10 Best Things to Do in Russell.

Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants in Kawakawa

Not forgetting the lesser-known town of the Bay of Islands, Kawakawa has a small offering of eateries with highlights including 39 Gillies Cafe (39 Gillies Street) and Railway Station Cafe (102 Gillies Street) – both delightful small-town cafes. For fish and chips, head to Stumpys Fish (2 Station Road).

What else is there to do in Kawakawa? Check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Kawakawa.

Where to Eat: 5 Best Winery Restaurants in the Bay of Islands

  1. Marsden Estate (56 Wiroa Road, Kerikeri) – Cellar door and restaurant with lake view open daily all year round
  2. Sovrano Estate (165 Waimate North Road, Kerikeri) – Italian-inspired wines, liqueurs and restaurant 
  3. Kainui Road Vineyard & Brewery (1 Conifer Lane, Waipapa) – Wine, beer and antipasto platters during summer weekends
  4. Paroa Bay Winery & Accommodation (31 Otamarua Road, Russell) – Restaurant with wine tasting and commanding views
  5. Omata Estate Vineyard & Kitchen (212 Aucks Road, Russell) – Wine tasting, pizza and platters at the restaurant.

See how these compare to the 10 Best Winery Tours in New Zealand.

Where to Eat: Breweries in the Bay of Islands

Sample carefully crafted beers made with no nasties and 100% natural ingredients at PhatHouse Brewing Co. (2 Garden Court, Haruru) along with pizzas!

Kainui Road Vineyard & Brewery (1 Conifer Lane, Waipapa) serves up wine, beer and antipasto platters during summer weekends.

And for some cheap eats, check out The Guide to the Bay of Islands on a Budget.

The Foodie Guide to the Bay of Islands© Intercity Group - Tourism New Zealand

Alternative Things to Do in the Bay of Islands

As hard as it may be to believe, the Bay of Islands isn’t just about the good eats. It actually has a few amazing natural and historical attractions, as well as some fun-filled experiences. Complete your foodie getaway to the bay with some of the following non-food activities:

For more suggestions, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.

More About the Bay of Islands

That’s it for our food guide to the Bay of Islands including the best places to eat and food tours. If you liked this guide, you might enjoy these other insightful articles:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to the Bay of Islands.

Sources:

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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