There is a shortage of really good places to eat near Whakatane. However, as unlikely as it may seem, the three best all have a similar theme - France. Whether or not there is a French population in the area I'm not sure, but these three are delightful places and provide a welcome bit of European culture for the east coast of the North Island. If you're near Whakatane make sure you check them out.
Coco Cafe, Whakatane
Crepes and croissants are just some of the French specialties offered by this French-influenced cafe. There's also an excellent range of cabinet food so it's a good choice for lunch even if you're not in a French mood. It's an airy and spacious place, attractively laid out with sofas and even wine barrels. It's open for breakfast, lunch and for coffee anytime.
Coco Cafe Contact Info:
- 10 Richardson Street, Whakatane
- Phone 07 308 8337
- Hours: Monday to Saturday, 7.30am - 4.30pm (2.00pm on Saturday)
This isn't so much a cafe as a French bakery and delicatessen. There are baguettes, croissants and pastries and breads that are baked daily from organic ingredients and are some of the best French baking you'll try anywhere in New Zealand. This is complimented by a range of real French cheeses and deli items. You can even get foie gras and snails.
There's an intimate French ambience and a large farm-style table to sit around if you want to stay to enjoy a coffee or one of the several lunch items. These include filled baguettes, soup and other authentically French dishes. And the coffee is great too.
The owners are an 'authentic' French couple who also have a stall at the weekly Whakatane market. Keep an eye out too for their distinctive green 1974 Citroen H, which is seen on the streets of Whakatane and Ohope offering a mobile service.
L"Epicerie Contact Info:
- 73 The Strand, Whakatane
- Phone 07 308 5981
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8.30am - 3.00 pm (2.00pm on Saturday)
Chez Louis Pizza and French Bakery
This small and unassuming place is on the main road of Ohope, just 5km south of Whakatane and next to the petrol station. It offers delicious French breads and pizzas to go. It's a seemingly odd combination but it seems to work in this popular beachside holiday town. It's well worth checking out.
Chez Louis Contact Info:
- 63 Pohutukawa Ave, Ohope
- Phone 07 312 5342
- Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 8.00am - 12 noon (bakery); Tuesday to Sunday, 4.30pm - 8.00pm (pizzas)
There are quite a few other places to find food in Whakatane and Ohope. However, these three French-inspired establishments certainly stand out for their atmosphere, flair and the quality of their food and coffee. They're not open for dinner (apart from takeaway pizzas in Ohope) so if you are wanting something in the evenings, check out what else Whakatane has to offer with our Whakatane Dining Guide.