Cafe J (as it is known by the locals) is the most popular place to eat in Kerikeri. It is always busy and bustling and has a great friendly vibe. The vines grow over the cobblestone courtyard in the summer to provide shade and a great ambience. The service is usually pretty good, sometimes the wait staff are rushed off their feet but you have to be understanding about that, usually they are school kids or foreign staff who may have issues understanding english if you talk too fast or the place is busy and loud.
In terms of food, well it has to be the tastiest in Kerikeri and the best Israeli food in NZ. The breakfast of shakshuka is $11 and such amazing value, the platter of two eggs, spicy tomatoes with labneh and salad and pita is delicious and would cost $25 in Auckland! The lunch pitas start at $8.50, grab one to take-away and go down to the basin to eat! The mezze platter gives you a selection of meat and vege, and I guarantee you won't be able to eat it all. Get the morav (sounds awful as its chopped chicken insides, tastes amaaaazing!), shwarma (lamb cooked in spices, 5/5), levivot (vegetarian, spicy hot though so only get if you handle moderate spice) and the best falafel in the world! The hummus is also the best I've ever had and the pita is soft and thick. Save a space for dessert, the chocolate cake is HUGE (intend to share) and the best chocco cake I've ever had! 10/10 recommend, but if you're going on a Friday or Saturday night you'll need to book because this place is seriously popular. Also don't be a dunce and take a table that's larger than what you need, if you are a group of three take a small table, if you are one person, take a small table!
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