Whitianga (pronounced Fit-ee-enga) is on New Zealand’s stunning Coromandel Peninsula and it’s beautiful beaches draw visitors in their thousands in the summer. We stopped in for two nights on our road trip around New Zealand’s North Island and fell in love with this quaint little town. Despite its size, there are quite a few dining options for when you can drag yourself away from the pure white sand and crystal clear water for the day. We wandered the compact town on a quiet Tuesday night and checked them all out before deciding on No.8 Bar & Restaurant Whitianga. I’m got going to lie; the Tuesday night specials sealed the deal for us. Who doesn’t love a bargain dinner? Read on for all the details …
No.8 Bar & Restaurant Whitianga Overview
No.8 Bar & Restaurant Whitianga is located on the Esplanade directly across from the Whitianga harbourside and is within easy walking distance from where we stayed at the Beachside Resort Whitianga. Alfresco seating is offered to capitalise on the view but those seated inside won’t miss out as floor to ceiling windows wrap around the dining room. The decor has a fresh, modern feel which appeals to my minimalist taste and the illuminated, well-stocked bar dominates the interior space. An upmarket European menu will appeal to most tastes and vegetarian and gluten free options are available. Those looking for a healthier choice will love the stonegrill option. Stonegrill dining is a unique experience that allows you to grill prime cuts of meat on a heated volcanic stone right at your table with no fats or oils required. No. 8 is open for lunch and dinner and bar snacks are also available throughout the day. The prices at No. 8 wont break the bank with entrees averaging $12 and mains running from $25 – $34.
What We Ate
If you are looking for a bargain dinner that’s a step above take-away you will love No.8’s Hungry Tuesday menu where select mains are served up for the bargain price of $21.90. I’m seriously a pain in the arse when it comes to ordering. Wait staff must hate me as I can never resist customising the menu to my own personal tastes and our visit to No.8 Bar & Restaurant Whitianga was no exception. I ordered the sirloin steak but asked for no mushrooms. This request could not be accommodated as the mushrooms were already in the gravy so I chose omit it entirely and replace it with pepper sauce. When my steak arrived I was surprised to see that the pepper sauce was white which reminded me of the white gravies found in the USA. The pepper ratio was light on for my liking so added more at the table. I ordered my steak medium and the chef got it just right. The potato gratin was delightful and still had firmness and form. The Hubs had the lamb shank. The serving was substantial in size and the meat was perfectly tender. The shank was served with garlic mash, seasonal greens and mint sauce. As The Hubs doesn’t eat anything orange the carrots got flicked onto my plate. I found the mint sauce a little overpowering and would have preferred a rich red wine jus. The last time I had lamb shanks was when we dined at Dracula’s on the Gold Coast and while No. 8’s were good, they didn’t quite measure up to Drax. The presentation of the meals was pleasant enough but the mountain of alfalfa on top of both dishes detracted and just got pushed aside anyway. The Hubs is a beer fan and to his delight No.8 had quite a few rarely seen brews on the menu. He selected a Sol from Mexico while I opted for the house Sauv.
No.8 Bar & Restaurant Whitianga Service
Overall the service was a bit lack lustre. It started on a promising note as we were greeted pleasantly, allowed a choice of inside or out and were seated promptly by our friendly server. After we settled in she returned rapidly to take our order and while we had decided on drinks we needed a moment more with our food choices. The drinks arrived swiftly but that’s where things started to drop off a bit. It seemed like forever before she returned to take our food order and by this time our tummies were grumbling impatiently. We finished our drinks before our mains were served and we were never asked if we wanted another round. We did. We made a few futile attempts to catch a passing server but gave up in the end. One recently vacated table remained uncleared the whole time we were there. When it’s time to leave you can settle the bill at the funky bar rather than at the table which was just fine by us as flagging down a server was problematic. If you are heading to NZ soon you should check out my New Zealand essentials post which has heaps of information to help you plan an unforgettable trip.
Have you been to No.8 Restaurant & Bar Whitianga? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I paid for my meal at No.8 Bar & Restaurant Whitianga in full and as always, all opinions are my own.
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