Fish and Chips in the Bay of Islands

Fish ‘n’ chips – a New Zealand favourite! Nothing beats enjoying a hearty meal of Kiwi fish and chips by the ocean in summer (although truth be told, we will munch them down happily in all seasons). We Kiwis take our fish and chips seriously. Enjoying a meal of fish and chips isn’t just about the food, it’s about everything else that goes with it, the iconic Kiwi experience.

Fish & Chips, Bay of Islands

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when fish and chips were introduced to New Zealand, but it was certainly by the British who brought them when they began settling in New Zealand in the nineteenth century. At that time they were often only eaten by the working class, but today fish and chips are a popular meal for all New Zealanders. We’ve kept the tradition of serving them wrapped in grease-proof paper, and then in newspaper. Every Kiwi has fond memories of unwrapping the piping hot parcel, full of hot and crispy delights fresh from the deep fryer!

The Bay of Islands doesn’t disappoint in delivering some of the tastiest fish and chips around. The fish are caught locally in the morning before you’ve even woken up, and you’re eating them at lunch or dinner the same day. Fresh and fast. Just another perk of visiting here, the ocean is your backyard.

The most common fish served in fish and chip shops all over the country is New Zealand hoki, also referred to as blue grenadier or whip-tail. Hoki is an easy-flaking and mild-tasting delicate white flesh. Batter it up and partner it with some hot chips (also known as french fries) and you’re in for a treat. Other popular options at most fish and chip shops include New Zealand snapper and terakihi.

Why not try the kumara chips too? These thick cut fries are made from the New Zealand sweet potato, kumara, and have become just as popular as their humble potato cousin. Don’t forget the tomato sauce (ketchup) or tartare sauce for dipping!

Once you’ve got your order, it’s time to find a spot of shade under a nearby tree on the ocean front and enjoy the sea breeze. The pohutukawa trees along the Paihia and Russell waterfronts are around 100 years old. So are perfect for doing the job. Luckily the Bay of Islands has you covered in offering up some spectacular views of neighbouring islands and boats zipping in and out of the bay while you dine alfresco and picnic style.

Here are our top picks for fish & chips in the Bay of Islands: 


Vinnies in Paihia is located on Marsden Road opposite the water. It has tables available to dine in while still getting to enjoy the view of the sea, or you can grab a spot on the grass directly across the road. They offer a range of specials and daily deals on the blackboard and are open 7 days until 10pm during summer.

Ti Bay Takeaways is located over the hill from Paihia, towards Waitangi. They offer the classic hoki and chips combo for a great price, and also a Chinese menu. Getting a spot across the road on the sand under a tree is a lot easier here than up the road. Not to mention the kids playground nearby, great spot for the family.


The Crusty Crab fish and shop offers the usual tasty options, with a rather extensive burger menu as well. Here, kaimoana (seafood) takes precedence and you are spoilt for choice. Their kumara chips are a winner and the ultra-friendly staff can recommend some lovely spots to sit along the coast with views looking across to Paihia.

For something a little fancier than the traditional Kiwi fish and chip picnic, head to the Duke of Marlborough Hotel and restaurant on the waterfront. The views from the alfresco balcony are spectacular. The premise has a rather unique story and has played a big part in New Zealand’s history. Photos of days gone by mark the walls, and the stories of the building are told through artefacts you are welcome to browse.

Try the Duke’s Fish and Chips – fresh local fish cooked in a crispy beer batter, hand cut chips and a fennel and apple slaw with tartare sauce. They also have an extensive wine list featuring loads of local vineyards from around the Bay.

Getting to Russell is easy, with our passenger ferry running the 15 minute journey throughout the day.

Read more about food and drink in the Bay of Islands.