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The best Coromandel restaurants and bars

Heading to the Coromandel for a holiday this summer? You won’t be the only one.

We certainly don’t need to preach to you about the region’s pristine beaches, native forests and laid-back vibe but what you mightn’t know is the Coromandel also has a proud culinary tradition of excellence.

We’re talking brilliant cafes and restaurants, all serving fresh, delightful food, that is rich in flavour and worthy of even the most ardent food critic. And the region’s bars, too, are well worth checking out on your holiday – if only to make spending time with the family a little more bearable (we joke!).

We’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of our favourites.

Blonde Restaurant, Whitianga

Its glass frontage, from floor to ceiling, sets this restaurant apart – but its food is what makes it really special.

Blonde Restaurant serves up European cuisine that’s worthy of its view over the Whitianga marina, including amazing seafood, burgers and steak. It does stonegrills, too, which always go down a treat – especially as this method of grilling meat is healthier than chucking it in a fry pan with a bit of oil.

Salt Bar & Restaurant, Whitianga

Another piece of paradise on the water’s edge, Salt Bar & Restaurant at the Whitianga Hotel boasts fine dining and first-class service in a stylish, contemporary setting.

You can enjoy the restaurant’s open fire in winter and in summer it makes for a wonderful wedding venue. Its menu is well appointed and its wine list is extensive.

Smitty's Sports Bar & Grill, Whitianga

Worried you’ll miss the cricket when you’re on holiday in the Coromandel this summer? We don’t know why you would, considering the way the Black Caps are playing right now, but you’ll be able to catch all the action at Smitty’s Sports Bar & Grill.

This popular tavern and family-friendly restaurant suits all taste-buds and budgets. The outdoor deck fills up fast when the weather is good and Smitty’s burgers come highly recommended.

Grahamstown Bar & Diner, Thames

Whether you’re staying in Thames or you’re just passing through on the way to the beach, Grahamstown Bar & Diner (GBD) is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner with the whole family.

It boasts a warm family-friendly atmosphere and an unpretentious menu (check out the fresh seafood!) that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. The bar has Sky TV, a pool table, jukebox and gaming machines.

The Muddy River Licensed Café, Turua

The Muddy River in Turua is just a short drive from Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland – which makes it a great destination for a Sunday drive.

Or if you’re just passing through on your way to someplace else, it’s well worth stopping for a big breakfast, the fish of the day or some beer-battered fish and chips.

Colenso Country Cafe & Country Shop, Whenuakite

This award-winning café and shop has been a Coromandel favourite for 22 years – and it’s easy to see why.

Sit under a plum tree amongst the herb garden and enjoy Colenso’s great range of baked goods, home-cooked lunches and excellent coffee.

Hot Waves Café, Hot Water Beach

You were probably heading this way just for the hot water beach but now you’ll have another reason: the Hot Water Café.

A licensed café and gallery, Hot Waves Café is set amongst one acre of beautiful native gardens. It has two dining areas, off-street parking and excellent food and coffee.

View Menus.co.nz's directory for more Thames-Coromandel restaurants, bars and cafes.

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  1. 8 Esplanade, Whitianga, Thames-coromandel, Waikato
  2. B
  3. 1 Blacksmith Lane, Whitianga, Thames-Coromandel, Waikato
  4. C
  5. 700 Pollen Street, Thames, Thames-Coromandel, Waikato
  6. D
  7. 459 Hauraki Road, Turua - RD 4, Thames-coromandel, Waikato

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