Who: Harbourside waterfront dining.
Address: Beside the railway bridge, The Strand extension.
Contact: Ph 571 0520. Email: email@example.com
Hours: Lunch 11am to 2.30pm and dinner from 5pm every day.
Price range: Starters: $10 to $20; Mains: $30 to $38; Desserts $12.50 to $30 (the latter for the cheeseboard).
On the menu: Wide range of modern New Zealand cuisine, prepared to perfection by head chef Graeme Woods, who introduced an Asian twist to the classics. "We joke he has Chinese blood," says restaurant manager Peter.
I'll have: Spiced calamari on a cos and herb salad in hot and sour dressing. Squid cooked to perfection and the spicy sauce with some of the ink brought out the flavour. I could handle the flat pieces but not the little fella with all its tentacles still . This was greedily devoured by a fellow diner who swapped it for a few oysters. Mains: Fish of the day, seared tuna on spinach gnocci, ricotta and beetroot salad in smoked red wine sauce. Tuna is my favourite fish and this inventive dish didn't disappoint with a wonderful combination of taste and textures. For dessert, coconut brulee with pineapple crisps. It was a really fresh light taste to finish.
He'll have: For starters, grilled oysters with wasabi kelp hollandaise. So fresh you can taste the sea. Lightly grilled to take the edge off, with the wasabi giving extra bite. For dessert, New York cheesecake was deliciously sweet and creamy served with homemade lemon curd.
For the adventurous: One of our party felt daring and went for the braised ox tongue starter followed by beef cheeks. Brave girl said they were delicious and perfectly filling for a winter's evening. A special mention to our side order of french fries which we all fought over. We decided they were the best chips in Tauranga.
To drink: Extensive cocktail list to please diners who like to drink at the bar area before dinner, from old faithfuls like Bloody Mary to the exotic feijoa and elderflower caprioska with 42 below Vodka. Varied wine list from champagnes to well-selected New Zealand wines. We had the Mount Difficulty Pinot Gris. It was a spot on choice by manager Peter.
The staff were: Peter and his wife Anita couldn't be more friendly and helpful. They are an experienced restaurant duo and well-known to locals and diners which makes for pleasant interactions.
The buzz: Harbourside was the first restaurant I went to in New Zealand so holds a special place in my heart. It used to be the old Tauranga yacht club, and the location on the water with the lights of the city and boats bobbing by is what Tauranga is all about. I wish more local restaurants could be waterfront. Amazing summer dining and romantic in winter.
The verdict: A recent New Zealand Herald review rather snobbily remarks that she can't believe this restaurant is in a "provincial" town. Well, believe. Harbourside is a Tauranga landmark we can be proud of. Superb location and divine food. It never disappoints.