1. The Pour House, Hahei
What began as a humble home-brew project by Brits-turned-Kiwis Neil and Karen Vowles has grown into the very popular Coromandel Brewing Company. The brewing process has now moved out of their garage and into their shiny new Hahei premises, which includes The Pour House pub-restaurant. The lovely landscaped garden bar is the perfect setting for you try some of the tastiest and best-named craft brews on the Coromandel – such as the Mad Monk or the Hahei Doctor. Make sure you book ahead at busy times. Burgers, pizzas, and beer-battered fish and chips are on the menu here.
2. Savour & Spice, Thames
Tucked in The Depot on Pollen Street, you’ll likely smell Savour & Spice before you see it with the aromatics drifting through the air. They sell a huge range of spices, vinaigrettes, rubs, powders, pastes and more to put some kick in your cooking. They’re all made by Morag in her little kitchen out the back. Prepared for your fresh catch with some Coromandel Fish Rub before you head out on the boat and make sure to pick up some plum chutney to go with that Christmas ham. Savour & Spice products are only available at the shop or once a month at the Greenhithe Market in Auckland. They also sell a beautiful range of European cookware and Moroccan baskets.
3. sixfortysix, Whangamatā
It was tarakihi tacos all round last time we ate here. Brunch at the bustling cafe sixfortysix on the main street is always on our hit list for visits to Whanga. The kids get their kicks with fluffies and bagels. The adults’ dilemma is what to choose on a menu that includes bacon, bircher muesli, eggs benny and bean burritos. The avo on toast goes beyond the average with edamame, egg, kale and walnut dukkah. Lunch options include lots of zingy Asian and Mexican flavours and the servings are generous – the chicken and haloumi sandwich towers with delicious ingredients. There’s tempting cabinet food, too, with lots of vege and vegan options. Large windows open out onto Port Road, where there are outside tables for you to sit and enjoy your coffee or smoothie. And, if you order their crunchy golden chips, be prepared to share!
4. Mercury Bay Estate, Cooks Beach
Order wood-fired pizza with a sweeping view of the vineyard. It’s relaxed, simple dining, like a slice of Italy up a hill in Cooks Beach. Sample a selection of their Mercury Bay Estate wines and savour the scenery over pizza fresh from the outside oven. The platters offer an array of delicious bits and pieces. The Coromandel Platter, for example, can include in-house or locally-produced fish pate, macadamia dukkah, mussels and olive oil. Top it off with a strong, sweet affogato – espresso over gelato. You can stay overnight too, if you’re in a self-contained campervan and wake up to sunrise among the vines.
5. Coromandel Town
Always take your appetite and your chilly bin to Coromandel Town. Aquaculture is big business here, so if local seafood’s your thing, you’re in the right place. There are lots of places in town for a relaxed meal, as well as top shops for kaimoana on the go. On the Thames side, the Coromandel Oyster Company sells fresh oysters, scallops, as well as cooked meals such as fish and chips, mussel chowder and fritters. In town itself, the Coromandel Smoking Company shop has smoked mussels in a range of flavours, plus other mānuka-smoked fish and seafood. All perfectly delicious for a picnic, platter or a party.