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“Mixed feelings.”

35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Bar
Ranked #21 of 62 Restaurants in Paihia
Price range: US$7 - US$25
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Dining options: After-hours, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Description: The perfect spot to watch the Paihia Wharf where boats depart for the islands while you indulge in a meal carefully prepared for you by our fantastic team of chefs while being looked after by our front of house team who just love to make you feel at home. Whether you are after a coffee, a naughty dessert or cake or a full meal pop in and say HI. We are a team who enjoy sharing both their love of food and the Bay of Islands.
Reviewed 17 March 2014

Difficult to review this restaurant. The setting on the water looks spectacular but the decor inside is not very tasteful. The open kitchen looks very professional and food was ok but the choice on the menu is quite odd. Some staff are very friendly and helpful but others are rude and not concentrated on the guests. The way they try guests to add a tip, which is absolutely no obligation nor a habit in NZ, seemed a bit like like a tourist trap. We left a cash tip on the table for the friendly waitress, but the cashier exoected us to add one on the credit card check as well. A tip must be the initiative of the customer. The restaurant must not ask you if you want to add a tip or not.

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Thank Karel V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
35DegreesSouth, Manager at 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2014

Hi there, thank you for taking the time to review your experience at the restaurant. We apologise if you were offended by the prompt to add a tip when you made payment. This is something we have been working on as many European diners are used to this method, we would never want to make anyone feel obliged to tip and we understand it is not customary in NZ but if our front of house staff have provided good service, we also do not want them to loose out on a tip that has been lost in translation. Kind regards.

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698 - 702 of 1,184 reviews

Reviewed 11 March 2014

My girlfriend and I arrived about 8:30 on a recent Friday night. We were up from Auckland and traffic meant we were late by about 30 minutes - not to worry, we were given a great table with a view out to the bay of islands. Our waitress Violet Rose was great, a real kiwi attitude, but also quick, professional and funny. A bit of a shame some of the local wines were out of stock, as were the local oysters, but the menu is so full of great options it didn't really matter. The menu is designed by TV chef Michael van den Elzen, who runs The Food Truck in Auckland, and there is some of his flare in the menu but the ingredients are a bit more higher-end than his food truck fare. My tua tua (clam) entree in linguine was so rich and delicious...I should have stopped there and Ainslee and I thought you could get away with just an entree each and still be satisfied. She ate pork belly with apple fritter and some sort of honey and cream sauce. So good! well, better than good. The apple fritters were kind of like deep-fried sweet doughboys and the dish was the stand out.
Foolishly we decided to follow that up, with the ginormous seafood platter for two after Violet Rose told us all that it came with. platters can be hit/miss but this one was a winner. So much good food. and at $70 it's great value and could easily feed a group of four. The scallop potato-crusted Hapuka was the standout along with the fresh local smoked kingfish.
Espresso creme brulee was deliciously balanced with figs and some sort of chewy nut toffee thing and worth the slow waddle home.
I was a bit iffy on this place, due to some of the mediocre reviews here and the fact that lots of restaurants in great locations rest on their laurels and can be sub-par....but I couldn't recommend this place more. Tourist trap, yes...but amazing food, service and views.

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Thank Jmar264
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
35DegreesSouth, Manager at 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2014

Hi there, thank you very much for providing us with some great feedback. We are delighted that Violet Rose provided some excellent customer service and will be sure to pass your comments on to her! We do apologise for the oysters being unavailable during your visit, at this time of year they spawn and are not so good to eat - hopefully you could visit again at some point to try them. Your dining experience is just what we strive to achieve, it sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed your meal and we thank you kindly for your recommendations.

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Reviewed 10 March 2014

We thought that this restaurant was the culinary highlight of a recent stay to the Bay of Islands. The staff were obliging, the menu is imaginative, the food delicious, and if you're fortunate enough to get a table by the window, the view is truly outstanding.

The mains initially appear modest in size, but both times they ended up surprisingly substantial. When accompanied with the potato skins as a starter, they should satisfy even the largest of appetites. Recommended mains: hapuka with scallops, salt and pepper squid, and potato gnocchi. The sultana doughnuts for dessert were almost beyond description and suitable for two to share.

We'd happily return here as our second visit even surpassed our first meal.

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Thank South37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
35DegreesSouth, Manager at 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2014

Hi there, thank you for a great review. We are delighted with your feedback! What a compliment it is for you to state that we were your culinary highlight. This is exactly what we strive to achieve. We hope your trip was an enjoyable one. Kind regards

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Reviewed 8 March 2014

My wife and I booked a table here as it was a Saturday evening. When we arrived we were given a table on the outer edge of the restaurant with views of the harbour. The waitress took our order and it arrived much quicker than we had anticipated as the restaurant was full. The food was good, hot and well prepared and the service was very pleasant and efficient. The atmosphere was quite loud due to a couple a large groups but not overwhelming. I would certainly eat here again.

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Thank saltburn51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
35DegreesSouth, Manager at 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2014

Hi there, we are very pleased to hear that you found the food and service enjoyable and we thank you for taking the time to write us a review. We hope your trip to Paihia was a great one. Kind regards.

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Reviewed 3 March 2014

Its been a while since I have been to Paihia. It has been developed in a lovely way. This over the water restaurant used to be a casual, relaxed atmosphered place to chill away a hot afternoon with a cool glass of something. It is now much smarter and has been extended to a encompass a fantastic deck area with comfortable seating out doors. We booked for a weekend night and from the minute we walked in the door there was a sense of the staff being harassed and stressed. Admittedly it was very busy, but it seemed very disorganised. Our waitress was very pleasant, helpful and smiley but sadly the rest of the night was not so good. The food was mediocre and we had to get up during the meal to go to the bar to fetch our drinks as the order had not arrived. Its quite expensive to boot and we felt it wasn't really worth the money. Great setting but overall, the evening was disappointing.

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Thank Beth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
35DegreesSouth, Manager at 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 March 2014

Hi Beth, we are very sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your evening at the restaurant. It is unacceptable for our guest to have to visit the bar for their drinks, we appreciate your acknowledgement that staff were busy but we do operate a 'heads up' policy with our front of house team and important details should not be overlooked. We will be sure to pass your feedback on to the team to avoid this happening again as it is unacceptable. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Kind regards.

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