Mamacita (12 Havelock Road, Havelock North)
In my (humble) opinion, this place offers some of Hawkes Bay’s best food. Supplemented by a fantastic atmosphere, Mamacita is one of my favourite places to visit when I go home for a weekend.
The restaurant opened up in Havelock North at a very well-needed time. The village was struggling in terms of good eateries, to the point where I would always opt for home-cooked food when I went home instead of wanting to eat out. This place changed the feel of Havelock, a lot and has now become a pioneer in a range of different restaurants in Havelock which focus on different cuisines.
Mamacita is obviously Mexican, and from the second you arrive this is evident. Appropriately decorated with all things Mexican, and a crazy colourful wall (my favourite seat, as it comes with cushions), there is also a narrow walkway leading to more seats out the back.
The menu has a range of goodies. Starting with drinks there is plenty of non-alcoholic options, in addition to Mexican beer, sangria and of course, many flavours of margarita. The menu is one that is designed to share – I think not sharing is the biggest mistake you could make when you visit here. I can highly recommend the calamari, prawns, fried chicken, quasedilla and the baked custard for dessert. Of course, the menu changes frequently so what I have suggested may not even be there when you go.
The staff are super friendly and are willing to offer their opinions on the different options.
One thing I would advise on is that the food comes out really quickly. So it isn’t a bad idea to actually stagger the ordering and just order a dish or two at a time. Mamacita is such a fun and festive place to go, you shouldn’t miss out.