Where to Eat in Whangarei

We spent a couple of months in Whangarei, exploring the area by foot, bike, and campervan. While we were working on our van and enjoying nature, we needed to eat, and thankfully Whangarei has a wide range of restaurants and bars. Based on our attempts to sample everything, here’s where to eat in Whangarei by neighborhood.

Tips for Eating Out in New Zealand

Before you go out to eat in a new country like New Zealand, you want to know the local norms. So, here are some things to know before you eat out in Whangarei and New Zealand in general.

dining times

Restaurants close early in New Zealand. Even in the big city of Auckland, people go out to dinner early. If you leave it until 8PM, your choices for dinner are limited. They don’t wake up as early as French Polynesians, but Kiwis do eat dinner early.


I would say it’s about fifty-fifty whether you order at the counter before you sit, or order at your table. Either way, it will usually be obvious when you enter the restaurant, bar or cafe. Regardless of how you order, you will always have to pay at the counter. Sometimes you pay when you order, other times you pay at the end. Don’t expect anyone to bring you a check. Just get up when you’re finished and go to the register to pay. This is consistent with other countries in the South Pacific, but very different from North America and Europe.

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Popular food and drink in new Zealand

Kiwis love their coffee, and coffee culture is evident everywhere. From sit down cafes to coffee trucks, you can get a good espresso-based coffee almost anywhere. We’ve been partial to the flat whites, which is a latte with less foam. It’s going to be difficult adjusting back to our black coffees at sea.

Kiwis also love their pies, but not the fruit pies we’re used to in The States. These pies are savory, like steak and mushroom or mince and cheese. Many cafes sell pies for breakfast and lunch, and most Kiwis have a favorite place for pies, with annual rankings and all. You can even buy pies in the frozen section of the supermarket to heat up at home, which is convenient.

Seafood is abundant here, especially snapper. Everywhere we go, snapper is the fish of the day. It’s either in season or it’s really easy to catch. Or both. We’ve also had amazing mussels and salmon, both of which are much bigger than we’ve seen anywhere else in the world.

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Eating in Tahiti

Updated March 15, 2023

Since we live in Tahiti now (just kidding), we’ve had two months (and counting) to sample the island’s many food and drink options. Read on for my recommendations of where and what to eat, plus a guide to eating in Tahiti.

Tips for Eating in Tahiti

First, keep in mind that French Polynesia is on its own timeline. Everything opens and closes early. Think 6am for breakfast and 11am for lunch. We arrived at a restaurant serving Sunday brunch at 8am and the place was packed. So get there early. The good news is, unlike other parts of French Polynesia, everything doesn’t close at lunchtime.

Sunday is another story! Barely anything is open on Sunday besides church and the beach. If you want to eat out on Sunday, reserve at one of the few open restaurants in advance.

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Where to Eat in Cartagena Now

We love Cartagena! It’s fun, scenic, and the food is delicious. While Colombians complain that Cartagena is expensive, we found the prices reasonable compared to most other parts of the world, demonstrating how affordable the rest of Colombia is! In our five months in Cartagena, with side trips here and there, we ate out a lot. Why not? Cartagena’s restaurant scene is vibrant, varied, and affordable. I did a lot of research before coming, but many acclaimed restaurants closed during the pandemic, so my list is where to eat in Cartagena now.

When we first got to Cartagena, there was a curfew in effect and the town was empty. We ate a lot of lunches rather than have to rush through dinner at 6PM. Now hours are back to normal, and tourists are back, so I recommend reservations.

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What to Eat in Curaçao

An island populated by citizens from multiple cultures, the food in Curaçao reflects that diversity. After years in the Eastern Caribbean, we were almost overwhelmed by the choices in Bonaire and Curaçao, and spent four months on the island sampling the cuisine. Read on for my tips, favorite restaurants and what to eat in Curaçao.

Farm to Table Brunch at Hofi Cas Cora

One of our favorite restaurants in Curaçao is Hofi Cas Cora, a farmhouse which serves brunch only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The space is charming, the food is delicious, and you can walk around the working farm before or after your meal.

waffles at Hofi Cas Cora
Pumpkin Waffles at Hofi Cas Cora

Not surprisingly, this is a popular place for families, whose kids love to feed and interact with the animals, which range from chickens, ducks and peacocks to horses, goats and pigs.

goat at Hofi Cas Cora
One of the goats at the Hofi Cas Cora!

It’s a great place for anyone. The menu is extensive and delicious and includes vegan and vegetarian dishes, fresh from the farm.

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Food and Drink of Dominican Republic

In our few weeks in the friendly and wild Dominican Republic, we had a lot of good meals. Here’s some of the highlights of the food and drink of Dominican Republic.


The rum in the Dominican Republic is plentiful and inexpensive. The main local brand is Brugal and it’s fine. The base rum is less than $10, and there are a few varieties. But we were introduced to something we like better in Luperón. It’s called Columbus – his name is all over the place here since he claimed to “discover” the island – and it’s delicious.

Columbus rum is smooth and good for sipping. And the bottles we bought in Luperon cost $275 pesos, about $6 US so its good for mixing too.

Columbus rum bottle
Columbus Rum

The rum drinks here varied: my favorite so far has been the piña coladas served in pineapples. One at a time though, of course.


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