Despite its small size, Hawke’s Bay punches well above its weight when it comes to rad places to eat and drink. The cafe scene in this region is extensive and it’s worth venturing to each of the municipalities to properly explore everything on offer. With that in mind, we've rounded up the best cafes in Napier, Hastings and Havelock North for you to feed up large at.
So without further ado, here are 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 divine waffles which are served with fruit, coconut yoghurt and palm sugar caramel. Big yes.
Kickstart 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.
Inspired by French bistros, Cafe 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 a while 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.
Milk & Honey
On the shores of Ahuriri Point, you’ll find Milk & Honey. It’s a small cafe 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.
Hygge at Clifton Bay
Te Awanga, Hastings
Hygge is a Danish word meaning the essence of what is good in life—warmth, happiness, enjoyment, comfort, peace—the loving acceptance and enjoyment of the moment. Hygge at Clifton Bay focuses on making the most of the beautiful landscape in Hawke’s Bay and the rustic setting, creating delicious food and exceptional service. As much as possible, the team at Hygge sources local, ethical and organic produce. They have vegan and gluten-free options available, along with organic and ethically sourced coffee, for you to enjoy while you take in the stunning seaside views.
Ya Bon And Cupple
Ya Bon French Baker is a modern artisan bakery showcasing the best of Hawke’s Bay living through a French lens. The aesthetic reflects the way they work and live, the things that are important to them: simplicity, quality and community. Huge glass windows frame the bakery workspace, allowing views of bakers in action from the adjoining cafe Cupple. Run by local coffee roasters First Hand Coffee, Cupple brings together the finest coffee and the finest French-made pastries under one roof. Soft brew equipment and supplies are always in stock for you to enjoy great coffee at home. The small deli section is the place to go if entertaining, gifting or just for the love of good food. There is an interesting selection of Ya Bon’s favourite imported French cheeses, local artisan food products including Pinxto chorizo and of course, the Bay's best sourdough. Freshly baked pastries, excellent espresso and the best local products, all in one stylish location—what more could you want?
The sister to Ahuriri’s FG Smiths, Opera Kitchen is always fresh and consciously modern, connecting local flavours to what’s happening in food, globally. Situated in central Hastings but only a stone’s throw from orchards, market gardens, roadside fruit stalls, vineyards, rivers and the sea. Being with friends and family is a big part of living in Hawke’s Bay, Opera Kitchen provides the perfect setting and delicious accompaniments for your good times.
Long Island Delicatessen
Long Island Delicatessen is a takeaway deli in the Hastings CBD with a wow factor. As soon as you walk through the front door, you are greeted by a stunning long island counter with a range of daily changing salads, proteins and sandwiches. They have a fabulous cake counter and of course, bespoke deli goods. Long Island packages everything for takeaway so you can enjoy it at your leisure. They welcome the use of your own cups and/or containers and will be launching a cup/container borrowing system in the coming weeks.
OMGoodness Bakery And Cafe
OMGoodness’ Hastings bakery and milling site provide daily fresh bread, cwackers and flour pre-mixes. The Goodness Cafe features healthy and delicious gluten-free food and coffee. OMGoodness Bread was developed at home over 10 years ago. Packed with high-quality nutritious ingredients, it makes for great toast and sandwich bread and has an outstanding taste and texture for all palates.
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.
Te Mata Peak, Havelock North
Peak House is a cosy eatery at the top of Te Mata Peak. Peak House was built on Hawke’s Bay’s iconic Te Mata Peak in the late 1960s. Now it serves as a genuine hub for locals and visitors alike with first-class service and breathtaking views right across the Hawke’s Bay region. Pop in for coffee and cake or come for dinner, drink from the bar, and enjoy live music and the best views in the Bay. In summer, there is yoga and music out on the grass, and in winter the fire is roaring and live acts play in the main dining room.
Located in the heart of Havelock North, Maina is a family-run cafe and bistro with a focus on simplicity and smiles. It’s a meeting house for great food, coffee, and people. Their approach to food is a simple one: make it fresh, delicious and authentic. The countertop is piled high with baked goods, while the kitchen crew create tasty dishes from their daily menus. Maina stock a carefully selected range of cold drinks and use their own special blend of Hawthorne Coffee.
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 cafe 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).
Out and about? Discover the best things to do in Napier.
Image credit: Milk & Honey, FG Smith by Kirsten Simcox, Milk & Honey, Ya Bon, Long Island Delicatessen, Peak House, Pixie Bowls.