Chef Jeremy Rameka and his partner, maître d’ Natalie Bulman, have poured their passion for New Zealand cuisine into their Napier restaurant since opening it in the early 2000s. In the bright blue bungalow, situated just across the road from Napier Beach, they serve seasonal dishes that favour local ingredients.
The only certainty across Rameka’s five-course menus (Pacifica only serves a degustation) is three ingredients that will almost always appear: some kind of red meat or offal, fish and mushrooms. Otherwise, Rameka changes the menu day by day – meaning it’s worth visiting with an open mind and keen appetite before you sit down.
He highlights kaimoana (seafood) that can sometimes be overlooked in a more elevated setting, such as pāua and mussels. He also reaches for native fungi such as the delicate and unusual-looking pekepeke-kiore – also known as coral tooth fungus.
Each course has an optional wine pairing, with a skew towards makers from the surrounding Hawke’s Bay area.
Decor in the 35-seat space is unassuming yet comfortable, with carpeted floors softening noise and allowing talking room for groups. The tables are roomy and you’ll have space from your neighbour, making it a great spot for a more intimate meal.
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