Our favourite fine-dining spots

If you love a beautiful plate of food and a fine dining atmosphere, get set to be impressed. Tauranga and Mount Maunganui boast multiple fine dining establishments that will rival any big city restaurant. So dress up and head out for a night to remember…

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FIFE LANE KITCHEN & BAR

Steak-lovers have flocked to Fife Lane ever since it opened in 2019 and it’s quickly become the place to dine. The industrial-chic décor is stunning and a selection of pasture-fed aged meat cuts are on display in the restaurant’s ‘meat locker’ which is inspired by butcheries of the past.

Needless to say the menu’s steak options and accompanying sauces are extensive, but you will also find super fresh seafood, delicious risottos and plenty of sides such as Wagyu fat potatoes and creamed silverbeet and leeks. Fife Lane uses fire embers inside a rare Spanish Mibrasa oven to give a distinctive charcoal grill aroma and flavour to its meat. Bookings are essential so if your mouth is already watering, book a table asap!

512 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui

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CLARENCE BISTRO

This sophisticated restaurant is located inside one of Tauranga’s most historic buildings – the beautifully-restored Tauranga Post Office. You can choose to admire the lavish décor indoors or sit outside on their al fresco terrace. Clarence Bistro follows a farm-to-plate process and specialises in baking, dry-ageing and preserving local ingredients. They even grow some of their own produce on site. The house-made charcuterie with freshly-baked sourdough is a popular entrée while their 55 day-aged tenderloin is so tender your steak knife will be redundant. An extensive wine list and flirty cocktails will also impress you. This restaurant is known for its impeccable service so settle in for a wonderful night out.

51 Willow Street, Tauranga

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SOLERA

Located in downtown Mount Maunganui, this intimate wine bar specialises in fine New Zealand wines and has a devoted following among food lovers. Solera’s chefs have created a “modern hearth cooking” sharing-style menu with plenty of vegetarian options including fire-roasted figs, grilled leeks, smoked cauliflower and fire-roasted Brussels sprouts. Meat and seafood lovers are also well-catered for here. If you want to get up close to the action, book yourself a ‘Chef’s Pass’ which lets you sit at a tall bench right in front of the kitchen where you can see the professionals in action and ask them for their top tips while they cook. From May until September, Solera also offers ‘take home packs’ for $55 so you can whip up a restaurant-quality meal at home.

165 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui 

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SOMERSET COTTAGE

This lovely country home used to be in the middle of nowhere – but Tauranga’s rapid expansion means it’s now conveniently located right opposite the Bethlehem Town Centre. Somerset Cottage is the scene of many celebrations and special occasions because the food is simply outstanding. The twice-baked cheese soufflé is the lightest and tastiest entrée in town, while their oven roasted duck is almost impossible to go past. And don’t get us started on dessert! This restaurant is famed for its licorice ice-cream and thankfully they sell slabs of their sticky toffee pudding for you to take home, re-heat, and pretend you made it yourself.

30 Bethlehem Road, Bethlehem, Tauranga

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HARBOURSIDE

Perched right on the edge of Tauranga Harbour, this waterfront location provides a beautiful view on a blue-sky day and a special atmosphere when darkness falls. Harbourside has long been the ‘go-to’ fine dining restaurant for locals and its reputation is well-deserved. Menus are artfully presented on old-fashioned newsprint and there’s a good variety of portion sizes to choose from. Their Szechuan peppered fried squid with orange caramel and pickled ginger is a highlight, and their eye fillet, venison and lamb are all sourced from top local producers. Of course, the beer battered fish and chips are so light and fresh you can imagine they’ve been plucked straight out of the harbour. Enjoy.

Old Yacht Club Building, 150 The Strand, Tauranga