Mount Maunganui is popular for its gorgeous beaches and impressive maunga, but for us, visiting The Mount is largely about dining at all the incredible bars, cafes and eateries!
So, we challenged ourselves to try out as many of the restaurants in Mount Maunganui and we’ve come up with our most delicious picks.
Casual Mid-Range Eateries
At the heart of hospitality in Mount Maunganui lies the casual and mid-range eateries. Dining with a laid back and unique ambiance combined with delicious food that usually specialises in one thing – so they can do it well.
All of our top picks for casual restaurants are found on the main strip in the city centre which is where everything is happening and is near most of the best places to stay in town (on that note, if you’re still looking for places to stay, check out our guide on the best Mount Maunganui accommodation).
1. Rice Rice Baby – Best Asian Restaurant
Rice Rice Baby is a modern Vietnamese restaurant found in the middle of the main street. It’s hard to miss with crowds on busy nights, neon pink lights and loud early-2000s pop music blaring.
The restaurant has a lighthearted, southeast Asian atmosphere with fun decorations, bright colours and ceiling-mounted fans – designed to perfection.
Although not the most strictly authentic Vietnamese restaurant, the flavours are on point and every dish we tried was delicious.
The best way to dine here is with sharing. Grab a banh mi, a salad and some spring rolls and you’ll have a great time.
2. Roxie’s Cantina – Best New Restaurant
The new Mexican eatery on the block, Roxie’s Cantina, packs a punch with a loud and lively atmosphere, flavourful food and great cocktails.
Come on a busy weekend and you’ll hear Roxie’s before you see it. Loud music and neon lights enliven the space.
The food is fresh and tasty. We’ve heard mixed reviews about the portion sizes of the tacos so we opted for the Monster Nachos. We shared this between two and holy…we were so full afterwards.
For drinks we highly recommend the slushy margaritas, for which you can pop in between 4 and 5pm and they’re just $10.
After numerous recommendations to try Palace we decided on a spontaneous visit. It’s hard to miss it with the neon lights – an oddly popular theme for restaurants in Mount Maunganui.
Palace does great burgers, but they’re renowned for their southern fried chicken. So make sure to order one of their two fried chicken burgers. We tried both but the other one with bacon jam is soooo good.
It’s also a good idea to upgrade to a combo for $13 to add on a beer and a side of fries. We’re just a little disappointed they don’t offer an option for wine or cider under the combo.
4. Hide Thirst and Hunger
Hide is, as the name suggests, a bar and restaurant hidden away down an alley right in the heart of The Mount.
First and foremost, Hide is our favourite bar in Mount Maunganui. The vibe here is buzzing and the outdoor seating area is super chill. Between 4 and 6pm they have happy hour with $7 house beer and wine, as well as epic espresso martinis for $11.
The food is also great, known mostly for the large pizzas and delicious fries – great accompaniments for a cold one.
A hand rolled ice cream hole-in-the-wall shop in the centre of The Mount. We’ve tried a few ice cream shops around here and Polar is our favourite.
Their Snickers and salted caramel ice cream waffle is mind-blowing – though a little difficult to eat. At $14.50 it’s a bit pricey but it’s big enough to share between two.
Cheap Eats and Takeout Restaurants
Sometimes you don’t have a few hours to spend dining and you just want something quick and easy. Fortunately, Mount Maunganui isn’t all expensive restaurants.
6. Hello Banh Mi
Finding good Vietnamese restaurants in New Zealand is far harder than you’d think given how culturally diverse we are. But after visiting Vietnam a few times we’ve been disappointed on numerous occasions.
Hello Banh Mi is one of the few exceptions, with genuinely authentic Vietnamese food, and at affordable prices (by New Zealand standards at least). It’s so good we consider it one of the best things to do in Mount Maunganui!
Our top pick here is the roast pork banh mi with pate (make sure to ask for it). The bun is homemade by them and the roast pork is mouthwateringly crispy. Plus it had herbs! As all good banh mis should…
The Vietnamese coffee is also great (not on the menu, ask for it), as I’d the pho and the fresh spring rolls.
7. Yuki Sushi
There’s a few solid sushi spots in Mount Maunganui and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. We never found any of them super memorable, but our fave is Yuki Sushi.
The sushi is fresh with a wide selection – as long as you go around lunch time. We’d imagine they run low in the afternoon but this was never a problem for us.
8. The Saturday Market
Although only running on Saturday mornings, the Saturday Market in The Mount is fairly impressive.
Aside from the rows of high quality retail stalls, there is a separate section for foodies.
Stalls and food trucks here sell all sorts of food, including burgers, donuts (really good ones), pizza, wraps and more.
If you’re here on a Saturday, it’s the perfect cheap lunch.
Mount Maunganui Cafes & Brunches
It’s always a great idea to have a good brunch option or a delicious place to grab a coffee. We’ve tried out a few, some we loved (below) and others not so much – so we chose not to mention them.
9. Mixture Eatery
Mixture Eatery is a great cafe with a good amount of seating. The cabinet food here is delicious, we tried the cabinet food which was good as well as the pancakes which were delicious – though perhaps not as delicious as they looked!
The coffee here is good as well, made with Kokako beans which is one of our faves. They also offer Nitro Cold Brew which is a treat.
10. Elspeth & Eddies – Best Cafe in Mount Maunganui
We popped into Elspeth Bakery for a bite to eat one day. Unfortunately, it was a long weekend and it was packed! Luckily we got a table but it could be worth calling ahead if you’re visiting at a busy time.
Anyway, Elspeth & Eddies is super popular for a reason. Both the cabinet food and the dishes on the menu are delicious. The decor and ambiance are vibrant and cosy.
Most importantly for us, we were pleasantly surprised to find one of the best coffees we’ve had in Mount Maunganui.
Fine Dining Mount Maunganui
Sometimes eating out calls for a bit of celebration and upping the budget can create the ambiance that screams “treat yo’self”.
We reckon the best places to eat in Mount Maunganui are a bit more casual, as the whole vibe of the place is a bit more laid back, but for those special occasions where you want a nicer ambiance, then Osteria is our pick.
Osteria is probably the only “nice” restaurant in Mount Maunganui that really called out to us. You can find a few others that are in a similar price bracket, but they didn’t beckon us in.
The ambiance was lovely and warm with a gorgeous interior design. We loved the wooden ceilings and the warm lighting. This is the kind of place you could happily enjoy a long dinner with friends and family.
The food overall was good. Some we found to be fairly standard, others were pretty good – we’d recommend sticking to the pastas.
If you’re used to some of Auckland’s top Italian restaurants, the food at Osteria is unlikely to offer that wow-factor, but the ambiance more than makes up for it.