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Hungry in Hokitika: Top Places to Eat and Drink

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The West Coast is famous for its stunning scenery, glaciers, Tree Top Walk Hokitika, gorgeous greenstone, and fertile rainforest. But at the Coast’s beating heart, are its local growers, boutique brewers and talented chefs who have transformed the region into a food mecca. Here’s the Bella Vista’s guide to the best places to eat in Hokitika, so you’ll leave inspired, well fed and hungry to return.  


Winner of New Zealand’s Best Sandwich  

The hip folk at the top rated Hokitika Sandwich Shop take their New York-style sandwich making seriously. Made to order, chunky slices of freshly baked ciabatta bread loaded with your choice of free-range meat, organic vegetables, South Island cheeses and condiments, like tangy sauerkraut. No wonder this gourmet sandwich joint has a cult following, especially when the milkshakes are made with Lewis Road Creamery ice cream and the coffee is Fair Trade. So, it came as no surprise to the locals, when the humble Hokitika Sandwich Shop was awarded New Zealand’s 'best toastie'. For a picnic with punch and a quick healthy bite, this is one of Hokitika’s best places to eat lunch and only two minutes from our Hokitika motel.


Best Hokitika Seafood and Pizza 

This seaside town is serious about its seafood so head to the riverside spot of Dulcies, for Hokitika’s favourite fish and chips. Choose from crumbed hoki, gurnard and blue cod with a generous side of salty, fluffy hot chips for under $12 a serve. Go the fully Monty and sneak a decadent chocolate explosion donut into your order. Then grab your paper-wrapped takeaways and stroll to nearby Sunset Point for an al fresco dinner overlooking the sun-striped ocean. (If the mouth-watering fare makes it that far!) Its only 17 minutes walk from our Hokitika accommodation. 

What makes Fat Pipi Pizza unique? Let’s just say their pescatarian-topped pizzas and beach front location are both West Coast winners. Yes, the classic Margherita is on the menu, but where else can you enjoy smoked salmon or 140 grams of whitebait layered with capers and lemon on a garlicky, buttery, doughy base? For vegetarians, there’s the mighty Punk pizza, piled high with caramelised pumpkin, feta, cashews and coriander pesto. Be sure to pair your meal with a glass of the Fat Pipi’s Far Canal wine (or in the local lingo, ‘Fa-kin-hell’), a cheeky Otago red. Whatever your language, the Fat Pipi is West Coast-style pizza perfection, with a well-deserved spot on the best ‘Hokitika Places to Eat’ list.  


Best Hokitika Vegan Café 

In a region where hunting and fishing is a popular pastime, it’s perhaps surprising that one of the best restaurants in Hokitika only serves plant-based food.  But the Gatherer Wholefoods café turns the notion that vegan food is boring, straight on its roasted cauliflower head. And the only hunting this owner chef does, is foraging for the best local field mushrooms. 

With a Mexican-inspired menu big on fresh flavours, tuck into mushroom ceviche or the kumara tacos topped with overnight-marinated cashew cheese. Best of all the taco tortillas are pressed daily and the seasonal menu changes often, so the locals return time and again. This place will turn die-hard meat eaters into legume lovers at first bite. The cafe is only 2 minutes drive from our Hokitika accommodation. 


Best restaurant in Hokitika (to mingle with the locals)  

If you fancy pub-style fare, book the lively Stumpers Bar and Café for dinner, just a five-minute walk from the Hokitika motel. They serve up tasty homestyle food like seafood chowder, lamb shanks, local venison, and wedges of old-fashioned cheesecake (just like Mum used to make) with generous portions to boot. For a friendly slice of Hokitika life (and a game of pool), this popular gastropub is a great place to kick back, after a day’s sightseeing. 


Most innovative Hokitika food 

Fancy grilled huhu grub with a round of colostrum shots? Followed by a dessert platter of larvae ice cream and Chocolate worm truffles? No local food guide would be worth its salt without highlighting the famous Hokitika Wildfoods Festival in March. This unique feasting experience is designed to push your culinary comfort zone, serving up dishes at once odd, yet strangely enticing. The Feral Fashion competition is also a visual feast, where the locals strut their wild side and play furry dress ups, vying for the most Feral of Them All. While you may end up flossing insect legs from your teeth, you’ll love the foody flair which courses through this vibrant West Coast festival. 

While we’ve hopefully whetted your appetite on places to eat in Hokitika, please ask the Bella Vista Motel team in Hokitika for up-to-date information as restaurant opening hours and menus can change between summer, winter and Covid alert levels. We can also tailor suggestions around what you love to eat (or drink)!