If you’ve got the family in tow, Manawatū has many great options. Take the kids to The Herb Farm, where they can explore the 14 themed gardens while you finish your organic lunch at the café. Pompeii Pizza provides the kids with portions of pizza dough while they wait for their orders – and they’ll woodfire their creations! Café Cuba, of chocolate silk-cake fame, has plenty of books and toys. Aqaba has a lot of space for the kids to run around, and out at Foxton Beach, you can satisfy any kid’s post-sand-and-surf hunger with fresh fish and chips at Mr. Grumpy’s or Ocean Beach Eatery.
For fine dining options, impeccable vintage décor and cosy atmosphere of The Fat Farmer will impress just as much as its quality dishes, and Nero will blow you away with its landscaped grounds and serious upper-class service and dining – it is famous for its 42-day whiskey dry-aged beef. Aberdeen on Broadway serves up delicious Angus pure beef and has a fantastic courtyard area with a fire. Amayjen is a labour of love by a local couple (one of them Scottish Chef of the Year) who’ve created a cosy, ambient space with dreamy food. For a beautiful dining experience in an old bank building, head to the Strong Room in Feilding. If you’re after some good pub grub, you can’t go past the Āpiti Tavern up in northern Manawatū for epic low and slow barbecue, Murray’s Irish Bar in Feilding for a good time and good pub food, and the Brew Union for a modern buzzing vibe and wood-fired pizza.
If it’s a great pub or cocktail bar you’re after, then the aforementioned Brew Union delivers for its amazing range of house-brewed beer, and the lively Murray’s Irish pub provides the only Guinness on tap in Feilding. The Strong Room prides itself on its extensive bar – whatever you desire, they will provide. The Āpiti Tavern provides cold beer and country hospitality. The Brewer’s Apprentice is a central city bar with great live music on Fridays. Head to Libre for margaritas and other delicious cocktails, to Bubbles Champagne and Wine Bar to celebrate and boogie the night away, or to the Fish Cocktail & Wine Bar for a cool and considered cocktail.
For extraordinary dining experiences that can’t be missed, international options include the South-African-Kiwi braai meats of Little Savanna, and two amazing takes on traditional Japanese cuisine at Haru (where you can order beautiful Japanese trays of delicious items). At Saigon Corner your tastebuds will zing with the fresh Vietnamese flavours in a vibrant wee restaurant. At Yeda, you can venture further into Asia with dishes from all over the continent: from Hong Kong prawn dumplings to Thai sizzling spicy basil chicken. Then Libre flies you over to Mexico, with amazing slow-cooked pulled brisket tacos, funky décor and punchy cocktails.
Manawatū has exceptional dining (and wining) experiences not to be missed – read about these places in more detail here.