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Tairāwhiti is a region of abundance– you’ve got the kaimoana, the wild food, the farming, the growing, and the world-class chefs and restaurants to turn all this bounty into memorable dining experiences! Read on for some must-try signature dishes this winter from some of the best places to eat in Gisborne and surrounds, and head on down with whanau and friends to share a meal together.

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Seafood Chowder at The Works 

The seafood chowder here is hearty and totally worthy of a return visit. It’s packed with kaimoana and finished off with hints of charred corn, tobiko cream (roe with a smokey, salty taste), and fresh parsley. It comes with greens and delicious garlicky sourdough puffs. All set in the heart of Gisborne’s fishing industry at the wharf (so you know it’s freshly-caught). The Works itself is a gorgeous historic factory building with exposed beams and brickwork, with a leafy courtyard to boot. 

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The mouth-watering seafood chowder at The Works. Credit: Instagram - @theworksgisborne

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International tapas at Globe 


How about tucking into gorgeous seasonal sharing plates from the five continents – Europe, Oceania, Asia, Africa, and the Americas – as you relax on the river with friends? The brand-new Globe Restaurant is an exciting development by Linda Cywinski, who has just returned to New Zealand from many years in Germany. Formerly the Marina Restaurant, and located on the banks where the three beautiful Gisborne rivers converge, the restaurant reopened July 2021. It has long communal tables built for relaxed socialising and lingering and a brand new, large deck overlooking the river. The indoor-outdoor flow is topped off with a German beer garden.  

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The beautiful tasting plates at Globe. Credit: Instagram - @globegizzy

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Friday night burgers and cocktails at Flagship Eater


One of the best cafes in Gisborne for a hit of espresso and brunch, Flagship Eatery is also open late every Friday now. On these evenings they turn their expert culinary hands to their Flagship burger, which is done as a burger should be: succulent 180-gram beef patty, grilled cheese, tomato, lettuce pickles, spiced chips, and aioli. Wash it down with their expertly-crafted cocktails or chilled beer, for the most satisfying Friday night with friends! 

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Flagship Eatery’s tower of a burger! Credit: Instagram - @flagshipeatery

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Family-friendly gems 


If you’ve got the children with you, there are so many great establishments to check out in Tairāwhiti! 

You’ve got family-friendly Te Puka Tavern in Tokomaru Bay, where you can sit outside and take in the views while you tuck into their excellent fish and chips. In Tolaga Bay you must find the Broad Bills Food Trailer near the wharf, where you can get hot chips, coffee, ice creams, and wonderful smoothies – the winter doesn’t need to mean staying indoors! At the Gisborne wharf, there’s the Gisborne Tatapouri Fishing Club with enormous trophy fish displayed on the walls, and serving up their legendary fish burgers. Out at Matawhero, you have The Royal (Raglan Roast) that has amazing coffee, an impressive menu (epic chicken waffles), and a play area for the kids. The Gisborne Farmers market is a great year-round opportunity to connect with local food growers, local shoppers, and grab all the artisan food and locally-grown seasonal fruit that you need for a picnic in the nearby park. Matawhero Wines is another option – grab the kids a children’s platter while you sample some award-winning wine from the cellar door (and with accommodation on-site, turn it into a mini holiday while you’re at it).  

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Fried chicken and waffles meet in a unique way at The Royal, Matawhero. Credit: Instagram - @theroyalmatawhero

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For more details on these family-friendly ideas, see our other blog post on the topic!: https://tairawhitigisborne.co.nz/wine-dine/great-kai-and-family-friendly  

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