We New Zealanders certainly love our seafood, which is probably why more than 90% of the country’s population live within 40km of the coast.
As an island nation, seafood – or kai moana – is in our blood. And we’re spoilt for choice, too, with an amazing abundance of fresh fish and shellfish seemingly available on our doorstep – not to mention hundreds of wonderful seafood restaurants all over the country.
In celebration of that fact, you’re good friends at Menus.co.nz have compiled a list of what we think are the best seafood restaurants in New Zealand.
But don’t just take our word for it – go out and try them for yourself!
Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for one day – but bring a man to Fish restaurant in Auckland and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.
Swashbucklers Restaurant in Westhaven is that rarest of beasts: a seafood restaurant that even non-seafood fans can eat at and enjoy.
Swashbucklers is a family-friendly restaurant with plenty of parking, as well as private function rooms and great views over the Westhaven marina.
With a menu almost as bountiful as the ocean itself, Grand Park Chinese Seafood boasts an extensive menu of yum char as well as tanks of live seafood including blue cod, flounder, hapuka, lobster, paua and clams.
Seafood doesn’t come fresher than this: merely choose your dinner from the tanks of live seafood and Live Fish Seafood Restaurant will prepare it for you and bring it straight to your table. If only fishing was as easy as this.
Situated right on the edge of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, inside the Auckland ferry building, Harbourside is perfectly placed as one of the country’s best seafood restaurants.
Brash, flash and you’ll need lots of cash… Kermadec in the Auckland Viaduct might just be the coolest seafood restaurant in Auckland. Its food is exciting and innovative; its location is perfect for a great night out.
Wellington’s famous Fishermans Table is practically a national icon when it comes to great seafood.
Light on the pretention and heavy on the deliciousness, the Fishermans Table’s two restaurants – one in Oriental Bay and the other in Paekakariki on the Kapiti Coast – are essential dining destinations for all seafood lovers.
Equally iconic is Shed 5 on Queens Wharf, one of Wellington’s best seafood restaurants in one of the city’s most romantic settings.
The food, of course, is excellent. We wouldn’t expect any less from a restaurant with ties to celebrity chef Simon Gault and the Nourish Group. Plus check out The Crab Shack.
This trendy Majoribanks Street seafood eatery has been designed to resemble a shabby-chic beach shack – but there is nothing shabby about its menus, which are exciting and innovative.
Here you’ll find everyday fish ‘n chip shop favourites alongside the likes of Marlborough salmon, pan-roasted gurnard and chargrilled loin of big eye tuna.
Canterbury’s favourite Cook ‘N’ With Gas has styled itself as a purveyor of modern New Zealand cuisine, and seafood occupies pride of place on its menu.
Try its Pacific seafood cocktail or the famous “Seafood @ the Gas” main, which includes seared leaves of sea-run salmon over new potato, fennel, radish and courgette salad, garlic prawns, crumbed squid, lemon and herb mayonnaise.
The Sonic Pacific Seafood Restaurant and Bar serves up fresh, tasty seafood dishes – as well as just about anything else you might be after, from gourmet pizza to Canterbury lamb. It’s well worth a look if you’ve got a hankering for some seafood.
Specialising in fresh fish straight from Moeraki Bay fishing boats, Fleur’s Place is world-famous for its delicious seafood dishes.
See the black-board specials for the deal of the day but expect some of the best seafood you’ve ever tasted.
Queenstown’s only dedicated seafood restaurant is a dream come true for lovers of seafood. Think amazing seafood pasta, amazing shell fish, fresh fish – battered or pan-seared – and even prawn tacos.
Fishbone's menu changes on a daily basis, depending on what’s available, with all its fish sourced locally to ensure its freshness.
If you enjoyed this article about the best seafood restaurants in New Zealand, then you might also enjoy the best Mexican restaurants in New Zealand.