Despite its small size, Hawke’s Bay punches well above its weight when it comes to places to eat and drink. The café scene in this region is extensive and it’s worth venturing to each of the municipalities to properly explore everything on offer. Here is where to find the best cafes in Hawke’s Bay.
Mister D has some of the best breakfast food in Napier. The cosy establishment is known for its indulgent doughnuts, incredible coffee and hearty brunches. Located on one of Napier’s main drags, it’s easy to locate and the perfect place to begin a day of exploring. Known for their fresh, local produce, it’s clear they care about their food without being fussy. Try the smashed avocado with dukkah for a real treat, otherwise dig into the waffles. Served with fruit, coconut yoghurt and palm sugar caramel, they are divine.
Little Blackbird Eatery
This cosy wee café is one of Hastings’ best. Not only is Little Black Bird a lovely place to spend a few hours, its menu is chocka with healthy eats and indulgent treats to satisfy all appetites. On cold days, set up near the fireplace with a heaping bowl of soup or enjoy their homemade s’mores. Also worth trying is the toasted bao with Gochujang-maple glazed bacon, mozzarella, kimchi, pickled fennel and cream cheese.
Until 2018, there was absolutely nowhere to find delicious smoothie bowls in the otherwise flourishing Hawke’s Bay area. Thankfully, Pixie Bowls came to life when Hannah Moore and Zoë Chisholm returned home after some time abroad. They spent months perfecting their menu, converting a garage into Havelock North’s tiniest café and now serve up tasty bowls, bagels and coffee using only the freshest local ingredients. It’s an awesome option for anyone with dietary requirements as all bowls and smoothies are gluten free, dairy free and vegan-friendly. There are options galore, but our favourites include the Tinkerbowl (raspberry, dragonfruit, banana, lime and almond milk) and the Israeli Yum bagel (hummus, cucumber, spiced nuts, pomegranate, pistachio and citrus).
Kick start your day with a stroll along the beach in Ahuriri and then stop in for breakfast at FG Smith. Part of the Eat Drink Share Hawke’s Bay group, Smiths is one of Ahuriri’s best kept secrets. You’ll love it for its gorgeous interior, unpretentious vibes and next-level menu. If you’re a fan of savoury, try their open breakfast sandwich, with slow cooked brisket, cheese whizz, a trusty fried egg and of course topped with nothing other than sriracha hot chilli sauce. If you’re after something a bit sweeter, we can’t go past their coconut macadamia granola, which is served with Hawke’s Bay grown roasted pear, a dollop of tahini and whipped coconut cream. It’s absolutely delicious.
Wright & Co.
There’s a reason why Wright & Co is constantly heaving, it’s undoubtedly one of the Bay’s very best establishments. Sitting pretty in Havelock North, Wright & Co’s modern fit-out and impressive menu continues to draw in both locals and visitors. The team here go over and above to source high-quality, organic and free-range produce from local suppliers, so you know the dishes are all top-notch. Choose between their infamous black rice porridge with lime bay syrup and crème fraîche or stop in for Fish & Chip Fridays.
Milk & Honey
On the shores of Ahuriri Point, you’ll find Milk & Honey. It’s a small café and eatery with some of the best views in the region. Milk & Honey is open all day long and dedicated to bloody good food and drink in a casual, unpretentious environment. The space is simple and relaxed and the menu is equally amazing. We highly recommend trying the Asian Mushroom omelette, which is served with shitake mushrooms, spinach, sesame & hoisin omelette with house baked sourdough toast or fancy brown toast. Their bao bacon butty is next-level, definitely our go-to hangover cure.
Inspired by French bistros, Café Tennyson is a peaceful spot to unwind in the heart of Napier. It’s the perfect combination of Art Deco and French tradition and continues to delight customers with fresh, homemade dishes using seasonal ingredients. The team works closely with local food and drink suppliers like Ya Bon French Baker, Epicurean Garden, and True Earth. It’s all quirky vibes here, a great base to set up for awhile or stop by on your way to work. And bonus, there’s plenty of outdoor seating for al fresco dining on a summer’s day.
Out and about? Discover the best things to do in Napier.
Image credit: Milk & Honey