Best cafes in New Zealand

Best Cafes In New Zealand

New Zealand's best café is a favourite with visitors to Queenstown.

The Bespoke Kitchen, at 9 Isle St, Queenstown, was named the country's top café in the 2016 annual awards run by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

Full list of winners

NZ Café of the Year 2016 - Supreme Winner
The Bespoke Kitchen (Queenstown)

Best Rural (joint winners)
Red Shed Palazzo (Drury, Auckland)
The Clareville Bakery Café (Carterton)

Best Suburban
The Bespoke Kitchen (Queenstown)

Best Metro/CBD
Elizabeth Cafe & Larder (Tauranga)

Classic Kiwi
Sweet Vanilla Kitchen (Lower Hutt)

People's Choice 2016 Winner
Nick's Café (Waiuku, Auckland)

NZ Café of the Year finalists:

The cafés that made the judges shortlist for the competition were:


Best Metro CBD: Foxtrot Parlour (Auckland); Scratch Bakers Headquarters (Auckland); Wellesley Street Kitchen (Auckland).

Best Suburban: Corelli's (Devonport); La Forchette (St Heliers); Luscious Café (Onehunga).

Best Rural: Frenchot (Waiheke Island); Red Shed Palazzo (Auckland); The Jetty Licensed Café (Helensville).

Classic Kiwi: Aroma Shed Café (Auckland); Carriages Café (Kumeu); VOLT Espresso (Auckland).

Upper North Island

Best Metro/CBD: Abracadabra Café & Bar (Rotorua); Elizabeth Café & Larder (Tauranga); Victoria's Café Kitchen Bar (Taupo).

Best Suburban: Central Deli (Mt Maunganui); LOLA Breakfast Bar & Licensed Café (Hamilton); Violets Coffee @ Pit Lane (Hamilton).

Best Rural: Colenso Country Café and Shop (Coromandel); L'Epicerie (Whakatane); The Refinery (Paeroa).

Classic Kiwi: Baxters Café (Whakatane); Food For Thought (Thames); Sweet Painted Lady Cafe (Matamata).

Lower North Island

Best Metro/CBD: Element (Whanganui); Little Black Bird Eatery (Hastings); Maina (Hastings).

Best Suburban: Aurum Coffee Roasters and Café (Hastings); Gusto Restaurant & Café (New Plymouth); Source (Napier).

Best Rural: Café 39 South (Owhango); Essence Café (Fielding); Kristy's Café (Whanganui).

Classic Kiwi: Aroma's Coffee Lounge (New Plymouth); KR's Café & Catering Ltd (Fielding); Mothered Goose (Bulls).


Best Metro/CBD: Prefab (Wellington); The Flight Coffee Hangar (Wellington); Victoria St Café (Wellington).

Best Suburban: Benedicts Café (Lower Hutt); Café Polo (Wellington); Franco's Trattoria (Wellington).

Best Rural: Saddleback Café (Wellington); The Clareville Bakery & Café (Carterton); The Village Grinder (Masterton).

Classic Kiwi: HOME Café (Wellington); Mount Cook Café (Wellington); Tiki Lounge Café (Lower Hutt).


Best Metro/CBD: Columbus Coffee Riccarton (Christchurch); Café Kudos (Christchurch); Café Metro Merivale (Christchurch).

Best Suburban: Red Post Café (Culverden); Thyme Café (Prebbleton); White House Black (Christchurch).

Best Rural: Arabica Licensed Café (Ashburton); Legends Café (Pleasant Point); Waipara Springs Winery & Café (Waipara).
Classic Kiwi: Little River Café (Little River); Meshino Espresso (Christchurch); Mocca (Timaru).

South Island

Best Metro/CBD: Kiki Beware, Refreshment Room (Dunedin); Nova Dunedin (Dunedin); Vudu Café & Larder (Queenstown).

Best Suburban: Graze (Queenstown); The Bespoke Kitchen (Queenstown); Vanilla Bean Café (Richmond).

Best Rural: Kai Whakapai Café / Bar Wanaka (Wanaka); Melrose House Café (Nelson); Penguin Café/ Bar (Takaka).

Classic Kiwi: Chantilly Café (Blenheim); Maggie's Kitchen (Greymouth); Vogel Street Kitchen (Dunedin).

2016 People's Choice regional winners

Auckland region: Nick's Café (Waiuku, Auckland)
Upper North Island region: Piccolo Licensed Café (Taupo)
Lower North Island region (Joint Winners): Café Jacko (Palmerston North); Springvale Café (Whanganui)
Wellington region: Sweet Vanilla Kitchen (Lower Hutt)
Christchurch region: Pukeko Junction Café & Deli (Leithfield, North Canterbury)
South Island region: Jester House (Tasman, Nelson)

Best Cafes in New Zealand 2012

New Zealand's 2012 Café of the Year award has been won by Paper Moon, of Mairangi Bay on Auckland's North Shore. 

The café, at 437 Beach Rd, beat a strong field of entries of cafes throughout New Zealand but wowed the judges for its food and high levels of service. 

Paper Moon is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is an easy stroll from the beach. 

The top three café finalists in the five regions are: 

Upper North Island

  • Chocolate Brown (Warkworth)
  • Urban Soul (Botany, Auckland)
  • Paper Moon (Mairangi Bay, Auckland)

Central North Island

  • Bosco Café (Te Kuiti)
  • Capers Café (Rotorua)
  • Corogate Café (Thames)

Lower North Island

  • Mega Café (Masterton)
  • Café Ahuriri (Napier)
  • Macfarlanes Café (Inglewood)

Upper South Island

  • Maggies Kitchen (Greymouth)
  • Artisan by Rangiora Bakery (Rangiora)
  • Luciano Espresso Bar (Christchurch)

Lower South Island

  • The Roost Cafe (Oamaru)
  • Jagz of Village Green (Invercargill)
  • The Green Room Café (Gore)

See Also 

Directory of top cafes

Best Cafes in New Zealand 2010

New Zealand's best cafes are easy to find, thanks to the national Best Café Awards.

The 2010 Best Café winner was The River Kitchen in Hamilton while the runner up was Colenso Country Café, 10 minutes north of Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsula.

The Regional Winners

Winner: Fresh, 12 James St, Whangarei,
Runner-up: Nectar Café, 88 Bank St, Whangarei

Hokianga/Kauri Coast
Winner: Elle Cee, Main Rd, Ruawai
Runner-up: blah, blah, blah, 101 Victoria St, Dargaville

North Auckland
Winner: Kaizen, 350 Hibiscus Coast Hway, Orewa
Runner-up: Walnut Cottage Café, 498 Hibiscus Coast Hway, Orewa

Winner: Circus Circus, 447 Mt Eden Rd
Runner-up: Urban Soul, 652 Gt South Rd, Manukau

Winner: The River Kitchen, 237 Victoria St, Hamilton
Runner-up: Suburbia, 1369 Victoria Street, Hamilton

King Country
Winner: Fat Pigeon,41 Moa St, Piopio
Runner-up: Huhu, 10 Waitomo Caves Rd, Waitomo

Winner: Colenso, Main Rd, 10 mins north of Tairua
Runner-up: Sola, 720B Pollen St, Thames

Bay of Plenty
Winner: Alimento, 74 1st Ave, Tauranga
Runner-up: Bravo, Red Square, Tauranga

Winner: Lime, 1096 Whakaue St
Runner-up: Capers, 1181 Eruera St

Hawke's Bay
Winner: Opera Kitchen 312 Eastbourne St, Hastings
Runner-up: Groove Kitchen, 112 Tennyson St, Napier

Central North Island
Winner: Café Replete, 45 Heu Heu St
Runner-up: Piccolo, 41 Ruapehu St, Taupo

Winner: Empire, 112 Devon St West, New Plymouth
Runner-up: Elixir, 117 Devon St, New Plymouth

Winner: Pukeko's Nest, 4 SH3
Runner-up: Indigo, Majestic Sq

Winner: Barista, 59 George St, Palmerston North
Runner-up: Mothered Goose, Cnr SH1/SH3, Bulls

Winner: Main St Deli, 88 Main St, Greytown
Runner: Medici, 9 Kitchener St, Martinborough

Winner: Memphis Belle Cnr Te Aro Park & Dixon Sts
Runner-up: Sweet Mother's Kitchen 5 Courtenay Pl

Winner: Raupo, 2 Symons St, Blenheim
Runner-up: Café Home,1 Main St, Blenheim

Winner: Morrison Street Café, 244 Hardy St, Nelson
Runner-up: Ambrosia, 226 Queen St, Richmond.

West Coast/Fiordland
Winner: DP One, 104 Mawhera Quay, Greymouth
Runner-up: Redcliff Café, 12 Mokonui St, Te Anau

Winner: Hislops, 33 Beach Rd
Runner-up: Hapuku, Cnr Hapuku Rd/SH1

Winner: Lyttelton Coffee Co, 29 London St, Lyttelton
Runner-up: The Coffee House, 290 Montreal St, Christchurch.

McKenzie Country
Winner: Blue Bay Café, 69 The Hill, Timaru.
Runner-up: Arthur Street Café, 8 Arthur St, Timaru.

Winner: Nova - Dunedin, 29 The Octagon, Dunedin
Runner-up: Percolator Café (The Perc), 142 Lower Stuart St, Dunedin

Central Otago
Winner: Sidewalk Café, 72 Centennial Ave, Alexandra
Runner-up: Fusee Rouge - Cromwell, 64b The Mall

Winner: Vudu, 23 Beach St, Queenstown.
Runner-up: Joe's Garage, Searle Lane, Queenstown.

Winner: Three Bean Café, 73 Dee St, Invercargill.
Runner-up: Niagara Falls Café, 256 Niagara Waikawa Rd, Niagara, The Catlins.


Best cafes in New Zealand 2009

This guide to the best cafes in New Zealand has become a must have item for visitors and residents due to New Zealand's growing reputation for excellent coffee houses.

And the good news is that finding New Zealand's best cafes has been made easier thanks to Cafe Magazine's annual awards to recognise the best cafes in each part of the country.

Winners of the 2009-10 Best Cafes in New Zealand awards were:

Overall Winner 2009

Groove Kitchen,
112 Tennyson St, Napier

Richmond Rd Cafe
318 Richmond Rd, Auckland

Regional award winners 2009

Northland Best Cafes
Winner - Café Blue, 582 Kerikeri Rd, Kerikeri
Runner-up -Nectar Café, 88 Bank St, Whangarei

North Auckland Best Cafes
Winner - Cosi, 48 Tongue Farm Rd, Matakana
Runner-up - Gusto, 667 Whangaparaoa Rd, Whangaparaoa

Auckland Best Cafes
Winner - Richmond Road Café, 318 Richmond Rd, Auckland
Runner-up - Baci Lounge, Level 1, 163 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland

Waikato/King Country Best Cafes
Winner - Pumice, 62 Church Rd, Te Rapa, Hamilton
Runner-up - The River Kitchen, 237 Victoria St, Hamilton

Coromandel/Thames Best Cafes
Winner - Umu, 22 Wharf Rd, Coromandel
Runner-up - Sola, 720B Pollen St, Thames

Bay of Plenty Best Cafes
Winner - Grindz, 50 1st Ave, Tauranga
Runner-up - Sierra, 6 Wharf St, Tauranga

Rotorua Best cafes
Winner - Capers, 1181 Eruera St, Rotorua
Runner-up - Third Place Café, 35 Lake Rd, Rotorua

Hawkes Bay Best Cafes
Winner - Groove Kitchen, 112 Tennyson St, Napier
Runner-up - Opera Kitchen, 312 Eastbourne St, Hastings

Gisborne Best Cafes
Winner - Cafe Zest, 22 Peel St, Gisborne
Runner-up - Ruba, 14 Childers Rd, Gisborne

Central North Island Best Cafes
Winner - Stir, 59 Redoubt St, Taupo
Runner-up - Spiral Café. SH4 Raurimu turnoff, National Park, Raurimu

Taranaki Best Cafes
Winner - Airpresso, New Plymouth Airport, New Plymouth
Runner-up - Petit Paris, 34 Currie St, New Plymouth

Wanganui Best cafes
Winner - Oggie's, 53 Wilson St,Wanganui
Runner-up - Rapido Espresso House, 71 Liverpool St, Wanganui

Manawatu Best Cafes
Winner - Mothered Goose, Cnr SH1/SH3, Bulls
Runner-up - Mao Bar, 64 George St, Palmerston North

Wairarapa Best Cafes
Winner - The Village Café, 6 Kitchener St, Martinborough
Runner-up - The French Baker, 81 Main St, Greytown

Wellington Best Cafes
Winner - Simply Paris, 181 Cuba St, Wellington
Runner-up - Fig Tree Café, 386 Fergusson St, Upper Hutt

Marlborough Best Cafes
Winner - Raupo, 2 Symons St, Blenheim
Runner-up - The Living Room, 2 Scott St, Blenheim

Nelson Best Cafes
Winner - Cable Bay Café, 799 Cable Bay Rd, Cable Bay
Runner-up - The Coffee Factory, 18 Elms St, Stoke

West Coast Best Cafes
Winner - Jade Boulder Café, 1 Guinness St, Greymouth
Runner-up - Punakaiki Crafts & Café, SH6, Punakaiki

Kaikoura Best cafes
Winner - Hislops, 33 Beach Rd, Kaikoura
Runner-up - Kaikoura Food Company, 94 Beach Rd, Kaikoura

Canterbury Best Cafes
Winner - Crumpet Club, Cnr Durham & Tuam Streets, Christchurch
Runner-up - Luciano Espresso Bar, Hunter's Furniture Bldg, 220 Moorhouse Ave, Christchurch

McKenzie Country Best Cafes
Winner - Coffee Culture, 306 Stafford St, Timaru
Runner-up - Pukeko Deli Café, 333 Stafford St, Timaru

Otago Best Cafes
Winner - Riverstone Kitchen, SH1, Oamaru
Runner-up - Swell , 8 The Esplanade, Dunedin

Central Otago Best cafes
Winner - Fusee Rouge, 64b The Mall, Cromwell
Runner-up - The Bank Café, 31 Sunderland St, Clyde

Queenstown/Wanaka Best Cafes
Winner - Relishes, 1/99 Ardmore Rd, Wanaka
Runner-up - The Walnut Café, 265 Lake Hayes Rd, Ashburton

Southland Best Cafes
Winner - The Seriously Good Chocolate Company, 147 Spey St, Invercargill
Runner-up - The Beachhouse, 126 Rocks Highway, Riverton