Pacifica Kaimoana - Seafood Restaurant
209 Marine Parade
Napier, Hawke's Bay
North Island, New Zealand
http://www.pacificakaimoana.co.nz (note: URL did not work when I tried it)
There are two New Zealand specialties I am making a point of seeking out and eating as often as I can on this visit: lamb, and green-lipped mussels. Tonight, at Pacifica Kaimoana, I found mussels on the menu. There was no lamb, but this wouldn't have been a good choice at a seafood restaurant anyway.
The mussels (a starter) were excellent. Ten, reasonably large, nicely prepared mussels in an onion-garlic-butter sauce were NZ$12.50 ($8.10). They came with a slice of very tasty bread, which served to mop up the remaining sauce. (I had initially wondered about the effrontery displayed by having one of the starter options being a "selection of breads" at NZ$8.50 ($5.50); the bread was so good, however, that I might order it next time.)
I had dithered a little over the main course, but finally chose the John Dory fillets, with dill, at NZ$29.50 ($19.10). It was the dill that sealed the deal, but in the event, the dill flavor was extremely subtle. That, or I simply like dill applied with a heavier hand. Nonetheless, the fillets were lightly seasoned and quite acceptable, though the star of this meal was still the appetizer. They came with both a selection of stir-fried "summer vegetables" (string beans, nicely toothy and sweet; slices of corn on the cob, again, not overdone; a long slice of squash; and kumara or sweet potato sprinkled with fennel seed--a combination which worked surprisingly well), and a variety of grilled eggplants and squashes. All the vegetables were excellent.
There was so much food, however, that I was unable to find room for dessert. Alas.