Terra Mia (28 Buckingham Street)
We smelt this place before we could see it, and it was pretty hard to go past once we had got that whiff. We opened the door for a peek, and were greeted by a series of ‘Ciaos!’ and a wonderful cabinet display of sweet and savoury pastries and cakes. There is a range of items on the menu; for a lighter, more inexpesnive option I would recommend the paninis (of which there were numerous flavours, or you could design your own) or if you don’t mind the splurge, the pizzas are fantastic! We opted to mix it up and share a pulled pork and mozarella pastry with a pizza. The baze of the pizza was perfect – crunch and doughy and chewy but not too heavy. We also ordered coffees, and as per usual the All Press beans delivered. At the back of the restaurant there is a wee shop with a few different pastas and sauces available for purchase. Apparently Terra Mia hosts a few different events, for example a table at the Long Lunch as well as a regular gnocchi night are both items on their agenda!
Olaf’s (1 Stokes Road, Mt Eden)
Tucked off Mt Eden’s main street, Olaf’s is an artisan bakery serving a range of baked goods and coffee to eat in or take away. The cabinet has a range of fancy and not so fancy cakes, tarts and baguettes, and the shelving behind the till is stacked high with loaves of fresh bread. The atmosphere is unusually stiff, I find it a little (unintentionally) formal, but you don’t really notice it so much when the place is full. It serves wonderful coffee, so it’s great spot to go for coffee and cake, and it is certainly somewhere that I would often go to meet friends for a catch-up as it tends to be easy to get a table.
Circus Circus (447 Mt Eden Road)
And a carnival themed cafe it is. Large, loud and festive, Circus Circus may seem small when you first walk in, but not dissimilar to a circus tent, it is deceptive and enormous inside. You’ll be greeted by a tall skinny cabinet, filled with large slices of a variety of cakes as well as some savoury goodies as well. The cheesecakes all come highly recommended!
The menu is large and reasonably priced. There is something for everybody on the menu, and the portions are decently sized. We had the chicken burger with fries as well as the chicken curry and we barely had room for dessert! The coffee was also good.
The place is extremely family friendly so there were lots of children running about. The place was big enough though that you barely noticed them! It had a busy vibe, I really liked it but I probably wouldn’t come here if I was after some peace and quiet.
Pickle and Pie (2 Lombard Street)
Described by the place itself as a ‘take on a NYC delicatessen’, Pickle and Pie admittedly doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Located on Lombard Lane (oppose La Maison coffee), a small alley way whose development has been severely hindered by the continual scaffolding that seems to surround the street (but which has now finally gone), its interior is light, spacious and breezy.
It is open from 7am – 7pm, enabling itself to be an option for both breakfast and early dinner, as well as coffee, lunch and snacks throughout the day. The menu is small, but still rather accommodating, with a range of pies, salads, cakes and tarts, and sides such as pastrami fries. There is also a ‘dinner of the day’ which gets annoucned via Facebook each day at 3pm. If you really like the food, there is a shelving unit encasing a wide range of pickles, chutneys and condiments available for purchase; all of which sound equally as delicious as the last.
It was more expensive than I would have liked, for example a pie was $10, and to add mash it was a further $10. However, when my partner and I visited, we shared a pie (without mash, duh), the halloumi salad, the pastrami fries and a pecan pie for dessert and overall it came to under $20 each. All in all, a good spot, great for catching up with people and a welcome addition to the area.
Birdwoods Gallery (298 Middle Road)
Birdwoods Gallery is a cutesie little spot just outside of Havelock North. It is such a great spot to visit when you are showing off Havelock (and the greater HB region) to visitors as it just does everything right. It used to be just a sweet shop (think old school lollies in glass jars, lining the wooden walls in a one room cottage) with an art gallery next door, but over time it has expanded to also include fresh fruit ice cream, a (very large) gift shop, a cafe and an acre or so of grounds with a pond, ducks, and numerous statues to explore.
The cafe offers a small selection of kitchen made goods, a cabinet with some quite large, delicious cakes, tarts and slices and a drinks menu (they are fully licensed). The food is good; we found the pulled pork burger to be tasty but quite small (and not really pulled pork, but it was still yum), the artisan grilled chicken sandwich to be essentially a glorified toastie (which was still nice mind you, albeit a tad overpriced) and the beef and cauli pie to be exceptionally hearty, filling and just downright yum.
There are seating options both inside and out; it was such a beautiful day that we all opted to sit outside. There are blankets available in case the wind picks up, and the inside toilet is well worth a visit! Make sure you save some room dessert – whether it be the cabinet food, the sweet shop next door or a real fruit ice cream; you won’t be disappointed!
La Bella Italia (10 Nevis Street, Petone)
Yum, yum, yum, this place has the goods! People had told me that it was a good place to visit out in Petone, but I never really paid any attention until we spontaneously decided to go. This place is seriously awesome! It was like a big Italian warehouse, with so much happening and so much to look at, all at once! The walls are thoroughly decorated with all things Italian, and there is different tills lining the wall; there is the pizza man, the coffee man, the meats and cheeses man, the desserts… the list goes on. AND, on the other side there are a few shelves of Italian goods, if you want to transport yourself to an Italian supermarket.
The menu is authentic (there are plenty of Italian words used throughout!) and not too badly priced. The staff are lovely, charismatic and passionate about the food (like all good Italians). Both the pizza and the pasta dishes are of decent portion sizes; I had wanted dessert so badly but just absolutely could not fit it in.
This place is DEFINITELY worth your time. Even better, it’s not just a restaurant AND supermarket AND mini Italian museum, they also offer cooking classes and plenty of events. WOW.
Espressoholic (136 Cuba Street)
A Cuba Street institution, Espressoholic is a cafe serving up all-day breakfast style food round the clock. It’s funky; upcoming gigs and show posters line the walls, the cabinet food screams ‘eat me’ and the place is divided into two; a dark room and a light room (which is really just one room painted black and the other painted white).
The food is super cheap, with decent portions and is easily half decent. The thickshakes are nom (albeit a little creamy for my taste), the burgers are tasty and the cabinet food rightfully screams ‘eat me’ because it’s all delicious.
A perfect pit-stop on a day of Cuba Street shopping, good coffee and an ideal spot to people watch.
Pipi Cafe (16 Joll Road)
Pipi Cafe in Havelock North would have to be one of the most iconic spots that the village has to offer. When it first opened I remember thinking it’s bright pink decor was a bit of an eye-sore, but over time it has certainly grown on me and most over locals. Part of its charm has come from the publishing of its very own cookbook (which you can buy from their website) as well as the Pipi Food Truck, which makes its way around town, visiting different gigs and events and sometimes even making it as far as Wellington.
Pipi Cafe is on Joll Road, so just a few minutes walk from the main roundabout. You can’t miss it, seriously, it is bright pink. The place is usually busy (thus bookings are recommended), but it has a few different seating areas (the covered area out front as well as the wee courtyard outback in addition to the main body) so even if you have to wait you’ll probably be able to get a table before long. Once you take a seat, feel free to grab your own drinks from the fridge. The staff can be quite brisk, but not all – so don’t assume the worst!
The cuisine is Italian themed and I would highly recommend the pizza. The bases are so delicious, and you can get some quirkier pizza flavours in addition to the classics. I love the walnut and rocket pizza, but I always find it hard to go past the specials (I have previously had pulled pork; roast apricot and chicken; and fish and yuzu – all were 10/10). They come in three sizes, and takeaway is possible (although a relatively expensive form of takeaway in my opinion). There is also a standard menu with a range of meat dishes and pasta. The flounder is a fan favourite, if you don’t mind having a whole fish served to you! I think that although the pizza would be some of the best in HB by far, I am less of a fan of the rest of their menu. However, I am a massive fan of the giant jar of jaffas that sits next to the till when you pay – way better than mints!
The Beach House and Kiosk (410 The Esplanade, Island Bay)
Formerly known as The Bach, this sea-side spot has beautiful views of the South Coast, which even stretch as far as the South Island on a good day. A great stop off before or after visiting the Red Rocks, The Beach House and Kiosk has a very reasonably priced menu and a range of seating both indoors and out. Don’t fear the cold if you sit outside; there’s a cute little basket full of colourful picnic blankets that make the chill even more cozy. There is a delicious array of baked goods on the counter-top, which is easy to miss until you are paying. The service was pretty good, even though it was really busy they accommodated our time constraints and never let us feel as though we had been forgotten about, despite there being a bunch of other tables to be looked after also. Although it’s not one of the South Coast stops I would detour specifically for (being the massive fan of The Botanist and Maranui that I am), I wouldn’t hesitate to go here either side of Red Rocks.
Ekor Bookshop & Cafe (17b College Street)
What a discovery. Tucked away a few metres along from Cafe L’affare (on the same street as Moore Wilsons) the Ekor Bookshop & Cafe is an absolute gem, just waiting to be found. It caught our eye as we were walking out to Newtown recently, and at our first opportunity we found ourselves on its doorstep, keen for coffee and an explore.
The place is so cute. The menu is incredibly simple (bagels, scones and cakes essentially) but nothing is overpriced and everything is done perfectly. They don’t make their own food there, rather it is all supplied by local cafes and caterers (for example Leeds Street Bakery, French Cancan and of course, People’s Coffee). We sampled the French Cancan gluten-free chocolate cake, and it just set out day alight from 8am. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and I haven’t even started on the bookshop.
It is absolutely a bookshop where you could just browse the afternoon away; there are so many gifts and quirky books that there is certainly something for everyone. It’s a new found delight, and I can’t wait to go back!