Top Gisborne Restaurants

Photo courtesy The Marina Restaurant

The Best Gisborne Restaurants (and Other Great Places to Eat)

By Justine Tyerman

While the best Gisborne restaurants tend towards casual rather than formal fare, the Marina Restaurant – run by French chef Stephane Dussau and his partner, Caroline Philp – offers both a fine dining à la carte evening menu from Tuesday to Saturday, and a casual bistro menu for lunch from Thursday to Saturday.

Set in an historic ballroom near the confluence of the Waimata and Taruheru rivers, which merge to form the Turanganui, New Zealand’s shortest river, the Marina Restaurant specializes in serving delectable French menu items. It's an elegant luxury restaurant venue with great service and excellent cuisine for special events and celebrations.

USSCo Bar & Bistro, located in the historic former Union Steamship Company building near the inner harbour, offers simple, seasonal, and exceptionally-flavoursome food in a cosy, relaxed environment. Award-winning owner and head chef Thomas Boyce updates the menu daily according to seasonal availability, using locally-sourced produce, meat and seafood wherever possible.

Gisborne restaurants include the elegant Marina exterior shown here
The historic Marina Restaurant offers a fine dining à la carte evening menu

The Best Gisborne Restaurants and Cafés

The pbc Cafe Gisborne restaurant exterior
The PBC Café is always humming at lunch time

Crawford Road Kitchen, attached to the Gisborne Wine Centre, serves great-value shared plates for lunch and dinner, accompanied by an extensive wine list with around 15 local wines by the glass and Gisborne-brewed craft beers. The bistro atmosphere is relaxed and casual with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking Gisborne’s picturesque inner harbour. A popular thing to do for locals is to meet for after-work drinks at sunset, something so pretty you’ll want to visit more than once.

Set in the heart of Gisborne in the former grand old Poverty Bay Gentlemen’s Club (established in 1874), PBC Café is always humming around brunch and lunch time… especially in the lovely, shady outdoor areas under the trees. All-day breakfast and lunch menus, pizzas, blackboard specials, and counter food are tasty and reasonably-priced.

Fantastic Food Served in the Coolest Gisborne Restaurants

Also located in the Poverty Bay Gentlemen’s Club is Gisborne’s iconic Dome Cinema and Bar Restaurant, rated one of the 10 coolest dine-in cinemas in the world by Jetsettermagazine, and the only one selected in Australasia. The Dome, described as 'a funky 1920s speakeasy', joined Cinema Studio 28 in Paris and the Montpelier’s Backroom Cinema in London on the exclusive list.

Squishy bean bags and old leather sofas provide a delightfully-eclectic mix of modern, chic, casual, and old elegance at the Dome, located in the billiard room of the former club. And while there, be sure to look up: the ceiling has three magnificent stained-glass domes, hence the name.

Ten minutes from town in the heart of the fertile Poverty Bay Flats you will find The Bushmere Arms, a graceful old country pub with an outstanding gourmet restaurant. Set in magnificent gardens, summer weddings are often held outside amid the roses and fountains while the huge open fireplace creates a welcoming cozy atmosphere in winter.

Great Gisborne restaurants include the Dome Cinema
The Dome Cinema offers great food and a dose of chic casual elegance



Contributing Editor Justine Tyerman is an award-winning travel writer, journalist, and sub-editor from Gisborne, New Zealand, with 20 years’ experience in newspaper and freelance work. Check out her work at and Tyerman’s Travels Facebook.

Posted in: S&S