For such a small settlement, the options are pleasing, thanks in no small measure to the spate of hikers coming off the trails wanting good food and a cold beer (or chilled wine). The Last Resort, 71 Waverley St. (www.lastresortkaramea.co.nz; tel. 0800/505-042 in NZ, or 03/782-6617), boasts a bar, café, and a 96-seat restaurant. The cafe has made-to-order burgers and very good fish and chips along with cabinet food—which in New Zealand means baked goods such as cakes, pie slices, cookies, sandwiches, and filled rolls, all set out in glass-fronted cabinets. The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, and common to both menus is the substantial size of the dishes. Dinner guests will find good lamb dishes (lamb shanks and rack of lamb are always popular selections), steaks are noteworthy for their size and spot-on cooking (order "rare" and it will be), and, of course, the ubiquitous "best whitebait pattie."
The restaurant in the Karamea Village Hotel, Waverley St., Karamea ([tel] 03/782-6800) (a restored historic building), comes as a surprise given that the building itself appears as the archtypical New Zealand country pub. The service is friendly but professional, and the menu is an eclectic list of New Zealand classics and ethnic foods. A good curry competes with the "roast" (meat) of the day, which comes with an array of vegetables and an impressive gravy. (For the uninitiated, a roast gravy is somewhere between a roux-based sauce and a meaty jus, and a good restaurant never stints on the amount added to the dish.) Presentation of dishes is often Asian in style with vegetables carved into delicate petals.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.