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Indigo, Majestic Square (tel. 06/348-7459; www.indigocafe.co.nz), is one of the few cafes in town that hints at city style; it's been judged Best Cafe in Wanganui. It has a great setting in the heart of town and very nice outdoor areas. It's open daily from 8am until late. Service can be patchy, but that's not uncommon in the provinces, where good staff are hard to find. Big Orange/Ceramic Wine Bar, 51 Victoria St. (tel. 06/348-4449), operates as a lively cafe by day and a restaurant and bar by night. The lunch menu includes some excellent light meals, but the service can be slow. They're open Monday through Friday 7:30am to 5pm, and weekends from 9:30am to 5pm. Jolt Coffee , 19 Victoria Ave. (tel. 06/345-8840), has good coffee and a laidback mood that makes it a favorite with locals. It's open Monday through Friday 7:30am to 5:30pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm.

More popular with the over-35s is Legends, 25 Somme Parade (tel. 06/345-7575), overlooking the river. Although the meals are tasty and the surroundings pleasant, I prefer the grittiness of Jolt. Legends is open Wednesday through Friday 9am until late, weekends from 10am. Vega, Taupo Quay and Victoria Avenue (tel. 06/345-1082), is a popular Italian restaurant that many consider the best in town. Stellar, 2 Victoria St. (tel. 06/345-7278; www.stellarwanganui.co.nz), offers tasty meals for a good price (especially pizzas and desserts) Monday 3pm until late and Tuesday through Sunday 9am until late. The Yellow House Café, Pitt & Dublin streets (tel. 06/345-0083), is worth seeking out in its residential location just up from the Pitt Street bridge. Food here is healthy, wholesome, and delicious. They're open Sunday through Wednesday for breakfast and lunch from 8:30am until 5pm and stay open for dinner Thursday through Saturday until 10pm. Dinner reservations are essential.

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.