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We first visited Paihia 14 years ago, and after 12 years of welcoming guests to Paihia and the Bay of Islands, it’s fair to say we are blessed with some really good restaurants catering to most tastes. Here are a few of our thoughts on some of the best, based on our own experiences and feedback from our guests.

Dress standards for almost all dining in the Bay of Islands is smart casual – unless you are here for a formal occasion like a wedding breakfast or formal gala dinner, it’s rare to see anyone in a suit and tie or evening dress!

An interesting fact to keep in mind also is that none of the big fast food restaurants are in Paihia and Russell!  But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great burger or pizza!

New Zealand and European Style Restaurants:

1. Charlottes Kitchen


One of our absolute favourites right at the end of Paihia Wharf.  A relatively new addition to the Paihia restaurant choice, Charlottes is a must when visiting the Bay of Islands. Their menu has something that should suit everyone’s taste! Wood-fired Pizzas with some amazing combinations through to pork knuckles and slow cooked lamb shoulder. It is popular! 


2. Pizza Shack


Pizza / Pasta made fresh on site – New Owners have recently taken over a good restaurant that was specializing in gourmet style pizzas – a change of name and they are making a good restaurant even better! – Viv absolutely rates their fettuccine as excellent! 


3. Provenir


For special occasions – Sat down at 8pm and suddenly it was 11:30 having been through a series of courses and wonderful tastes!  All using local produce. 


4. Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack


For the big appetite - many people have to ask for a doggie bag to bring the remainders home!  A great family place to eat, especially with teenagers! 


5. Only Seafood


An old favourite of ours and one of the longest established restaurants in Paihia – right next to Pioneer Waterfront Apartments.  It’s one of the first restaurants we ate at during our first visit to Paihia. Situated downstairs in a 1890’s - 1900’s period building it is a restaurant specialising in Seafood – only seafood by name – with the possible exception of desserts! 


6. Waterfront


Our neighbour to the other side of the Pioneer Waterfront Apartments. A number of years ago, Kelly took over what was the ever-popular Swiss Café and has changed it into a very popular restaurant right on the Waterfront. Family-friendly. 


7. Alfrescos


This place has music on Sunday afternoons and our Sales reps who visit regularly say the breakfasts are great! At the same time they have a great menu for all times of the day. 


8. Rayz on the Bay

This is the place we call our local and a lot of other locals count it as ‘their local’- Casual relaxed bar on the waterfront just two doors along from the Pioneer Waterfront Apartments. Excellent views, open atmosphere with what could be termed pub grub-style meals. Try the Rayz Monster Burger and it’s fair to say their Fish and Chips are excellent! Order at the bar and make sure you leave room on your leaner for the meal to arrive!


Overseas tastes:


9. Indian Fusion

We get a lot of people saying Indian Fusion is very authentic and we have enjoyed a number of meals there.  One of my favourites is their Palak Paneer a cottage cheese curry with a base of spinach, cream, and ginger and garlic sauce.  They do takeaways and will deliver locally. 


10. Amazing Thai


A great restaurant serving a range of Thai Cuisine just across from the waterfront on Marsden Road. Many say it is Amazing. 


11. King Wah


The owner Winston set up one of the best Chinese Restaurants in Auckland in the late 70’s early 80’s and like us eventually moved north to Paihia.  King Wah has an excellent buffet, or you can dine ala carte, however one of our favourites (and a number of guests do the same) is staying in and having it delivered right to your apartment. 


Visiting Russell just across the Bay?


12. Duke of Marlborough Hotel


New Zealand’s first Official Pub – License Number ONE has pride of place in the bar and over the past few years the Duke has been brought back to her former glory.  Excellent meals and very, very popular! 


13. Tuk Tuk Thai Restaurant


This is a hidden secret run by a husband and wife team Charlie and Dang. Charlie is usually front of house and he has a hidden sense of humour that will suddenly catch you out.  Dang is the head of the kitchen that turns out absolutely wonderful authentic dishes, spiced up or toned down as much as you want. Tuk Tuk’s Crispy Pork is excellent in whichever dish you choose!   

Further Reading

10 Things to do on Your Getaway to the Bay of Islands 

10 Great Bay of Island Adventure Tours

10 of the top Golf Courses near Paihia

Puketi Nature Trail