New Zealand

Like a Local: 9 of the Best restaurants in Mount Maunganui

by Layla Turner  |  Published October 9, 2020

Mount Maunganui is a relaxed beach town peninsula, which is part of the port city of Tauranga, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island. Mount Maunganui – or ‘The Mount’ as it’s referred to by locals – is named after its resident, extinct volcano that beautifully dominates the town’s landscape.

A view of Mount Maunganui town from the summit (Photo: Didier Bigand via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

In Mount Maunganui town, locals fill the trendy eateries and wine bars that line the Mount’s ‘main strip’. In a place that centers around fresh, organic food, great wine, and the outdoor-dining culture, people spill out onto side-street tables on the long, balmy summer nights, and huddle under patio heaters on the fresher, winter evenings. Across the bridge in downtown Tauranga, the restaurants are all based around the ‘The Strand’ waterfront area, where you’ll always feel a small-city vibe, and get a sunset view over the water.

Latitude 37

Named after its latitudinal map location, Latitude 37 Restaurant has a distinctive frontage of timber, schist stone, and a handful of street-side tables, set under the warm glow of gas torches. This theme continues inside where the stylish decor focuses on natural timber and stone, notably their schist-stone clad open firepits. The cuisine is classic New Zealand contemporary with an innovative twist. Passionate, international chefs collaborate to create fresh, seasonal menu offerings such as the Akaroa Salmon Sticky Rice Bowl, New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussels, or Monteiths Beer Battered Fish and Chips. Or smaller sharing plates such as Polenta Fries with Truffle Aioli, Panko Calamari, or Sauteed Garlic and Chili Prawns with Mango Creme. Ocean fresh and locally-sourced ingredients make up these creative dishes. For drinks, they have an extensive wine list with New Zealand wines, craft beer, and cocktails.

181 Maunganui Road

Latitude 37

(Photo: Latitude 37)

The Pizza Library

The Pizza Library is a unique and iconic eatery in Mount Maunganui. This quirky book-themed restaurant specialises in handcrafted, gourmet pizzas, which are all named after famous novels. Their pizzas are generously topped, packed full of fresh ingredients, and offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and keto options. Known locally as the best pizza in New Zealand, the popular demand for Pizza Library’s masterpiece pizzas resulted in a second restaurant opening in the nearby suburb of Papamoa. They remain the only two Pizza Library restaurants in the whole country. Some of the themed pizzas on their menu include, ‘Charlotte’s Web’ – (fresh Mozerella and basil), ‘Narnia’ (Smokey bacon, caramelised onions, and blue cheese), keto-friendly ‘Treasure Island’ (Italian Pepperoni, Champagne Ham, Mushrooms and Pineapple), and ‘The Godfather’ (Garlic Prawns, Angus Steak, Mushrooms, Caramelised Onions and Aioli). Set in a traditional old-style library background, it’s the unique dining experience at The Pizza Library that attracts the crowds. The atmosphere is cosy, yet lively and complemented by the friendly, attentive staff.
In an open-air setting, the decor is unusual and characterful. The front counter is crafted out of old desks and books and the dining areas feature original airplane seats.

314 Maunganui Road

The Pizza Library

(Photo: Courtesy of Pizza Library)


Located just around the corner from the Strand is Rye, a popular Americana themed restaurant, who won a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award for 2020. Americana classics such as Fried Buttermilk Chicken, Beef Brisket, Angus Fillet Steak, and BBQ Pork rack-of-ribs, are paired with the finest whiskeys. Or if you’re more into cocktails, there’s a creative drinks menu where you’ll find fresh Charred Pineapple Mai Tai’s, Double Oaked Manhattans, and Blueberry Sours. Their wine menu offers an extensive range of wines from the famed Marlborough and Hawkes Bay wine regions. Rye has a spacious and stylish interior with Americana and Southern-style diner decor, creating a welcoming atmosphere for couples, groups and families. The creative cuisine combined with the hip yet cosy atmosphere at Rye, makes all customers feel like locals.

19 Wharf Street

Johney’s Dumpling House

For a taste of street food, try Johney’s Dumpling House which is found inside the trendy Rising Tide Bar. Located overlooking a green reserve with a huge outdoor deck area, Rising Tide is usually packed with crowds soaking up the weekend sun or lunching with friends. Inside is the much-loved and popular Johney’s Dumpling House, churning out generous serves of tasty dumplings and steamed buns. Dumpling offerings include Pork and Mushroom Sui Mai, Pork and Prawn or steamed BBQ Pork buns, or try the pan-fried Lamb and Vegetable and Triple Mushroom Dumplings. If you’re not a dumpling lover, Rising Tide has menu options such as Angus Beef Burger, Pulled Pork Burger, Crispy Tofu Burger, Tacos, and small Sharing Plates.

107 Newton Street

Johney’s Dumpling House

(Photo: Courtesy of Rising Tide Brewhouse)

Mount Social Club

Located in the original downtown area of the Mount, The Mount Social Club serves Gastropub and Fusion cuisine, in a chilled environment. The iconic Mount Social Club has been around since the 1970s and their subtly quirky decor is created out of recycled and reclaimed building materials. The unique interior features a lot of funky, upcycled furniture pieces, resulting in a rustic and beachy vibe. Open for brunch, Social Tapas and Dinner, their menu is an eclectic mix with options such as the Jejemu Brisket Brioche Burger, Pulled Jackfruit, Coriander, and Lime Tacos, Lemon Pepper Crumbed Calamari, or Braised, Pulled Lamb Neck with Truffle Mash. The Mount Social Club is locally-known and loved for its creative vegetarian and vegan menu contributions, such as Chilean-style Pumpkin Bruschetta with Cashew Nut Cheese, or their Vegan Fish and Chips – Seaweed Marinated Banana Blossom, Crumbed on Lemon Panko with Polenta Fries.

305 Maunganui Road

Tay Street Cafe

A beach-side cafe and a longstanding favourite in the Mount is Tay Street Cafe – or Tays – as it’s fondly known by locals. At Tays, the menu offers traditional Kiwi dishes with a little Asian fusion cuisine. You’ll find wholesome, healthy breakfast and lunch options, a dinner menu extending into the evening, and plenty of vegetarian and vegan offerings. With an indoor and outdoor flow created for alfresco dining, there’s a laid-back ambiance here, together with rolling dunes and ocean glimpses. Tays focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, and some of their menu items – such as the vegan granola – are made in-house. Their all-day brunch menu features their locally acclaimed ‘Eggs Benedict’ and their lunch or dinner options include, Portuguese Bean Soup, Beef Cheeks with Asian greens, and Kiwiana classic, Fish and Chips.

Marine Parade

Tay Street Cafe

(Photo: Tay Street Cafe)


Hide is hidden down a lane-way on the main strip and is the place to go if you love quality food together with craft beer, wine, and creative cocktails. A sun-drenched courtyard by day, Hide transforms into a sophisticated, lively bar at night, with an edgy and hip vibe. At weekends, crowds socialise around the open-wood fire with live music filling the laneway. Their menu offers inventive Tasting Platters with items like Karaage Chicken with Kataia fire Mayo, Sourdough with Whipped Feta, Balsamic, and Dukkah, or Pumpkin Ricotta Ravioli with burnt Sage Butter. The mains include; Grilled Cajun Chicken Burger, Laksa Coconut Curry Soup, and Pan-fried Fish. Lots of imagination goes into the innovative cocktail menu here, and the wine list has an excellent selection of the region’s finest wines. If you prefer beer, Hide was the first Moa Beer Bar in the country and offers a huge range of tap and craft beers from New Zealand’s largest craft brewery.

147B Maunganui Road

Rice Rice Baby

Offering tasty, authentic Vietnamese cuisine, Rice Rice Baby is Mount Maunganui’s newest resident Vietnamese restaurant and reflects the evolving foodie scene in the Bay of Plenty. Their funky, modern, and colourful decor and their plastic street-side tables, make this place similar to dining at an authentic South-East Asian street vendor. The owner has created the menu from her traditional Vietnamese family recipes and the authenticity of each dish is validated by the sheer popularity of Rice Rice Baby. The atmosphere is casual, fun, and vibrant with a chilled ambiance. On the menu, you’ll find Vietnamese and Asian fusion options such as Fresh Summer Rolls, Traditional Beef Pho, Chicken Noodle Salad, and Coconut and Turmeric Prawns. For drinks, there are individually made fresh-fruit cocktails with infused spirits, alongside Vietnamese beers, Prosecco, fruity Roses, Riesling, Merlot, or Sauvignon Blanc wine choices.

136 Maunganui Road

Rice Rice Baby

(Photo: Courtesy of Rice Rice Baby)

Astrolabe Brew Bar

Astrolabe is a Mac’s Brewery bar which has become Mount Maunganui’s famed gastro-bar and is seen as the heart of the local community. Its home-away-from-home decor is rustic and vintage, yet ultra-casual with its comfy lounge chairs, fireplace, and walls decorated with vintage collectibles. The indoor bar and social spaces have all been designed to feel like one huge, cosy lounge and dining room. Astrolabe is essentially popular with younger locals and the backpacking community for its food specials and the huge open-air beer garden, which kicks the vibe and the music up a notch at weekends. Although equally appealing to families, for the spacious family pub-style dining area and its well-received kid’s menu. They offer a broad gastro-style menu including Betty’s World Famous Big Beef Burgers, Chicken Buddha Bowls, Shaka Salmon Poke Bowls, Wagyu Rump Steaks, and their famous enormous Half-a-Metre Sourdough Pizzas. They have an excellent selection of New Zealand and Australian Craft tap and bottled beers, along with cocktails and a wide-ranging wine list.

82 Maunganui Road