When it comes to the classic Kiwi fish and chip shop by the wharf, it is hard to beat Bobby’s Fresh Fish Market on Dive Crescent.
The Tauranga institution regularly tops the vote as one of the best takeaways in town, and if the online reviews are anything to go by, the food is as good as ever.
A review posted last month by a happy visitor from Billericay in England sums the place up.
“Bobby’s combines a fresh fish shop, next to the fishing quay where the fresh produce is landed. Superb batter and fluffy chips, all cooked in beef dripping, as they should be, but lies easy on the stomach.
“Fresh fish looks delicious, so fresh in fact that I swear one snapper winked at me.”
Bobby’s is a fresh seafood retail outlet with a wide selection, including mussels, kina, oysters, prawns, seafood kebabs and 10 varieties of fresh fish.
But the biggest attraction on offer is their famous cooked fish and chips.
Customers love being able to order their meals and eat them on the wharf outside in the sea breeze, beside the fishing boat that delivered most of the day’s catch.
It is a magic spot that attracts locals and tourists in large numbers. They must be doing something right to have so many repeat customers.
Rewa Gardiner has been managing the Dive Crescent operation for four years.
She says people like the unique set-up and atmosphere at Bobby’s, and enjoy being able to watch the food being cooked.
“They also like being able to pick their own fish from out of the window,” says Rewa, “so if they don’t want the fish of the day, they can choose tarakihi or snapper or any other fish that they might be interested in.”
Rewa laughs at the suggestion that there maybe some trade secret about how they get their distinctive taste.
“We use really fresh fish and we cook in beef fat instead of oil. It tastes better that way.”
Meeting people from all over the world is a daily part of the job.
“There are heaps of people that come in from the cruise ships and tell us we are one of the best fish and chip shops in New Zealand and they definitely will be coming back,” says Rewa.
Marama Reweti-Martin and her husband Te Pona Martin are regulars at Bobby’s.
“I love the location and the food is fantastic. There is a nice variety of seafood, the fish and chips are awesome and the company is great,” Marama says smiling at Te Pona.
“What’s not to like?
“I have been back in Tauranga for six years after being away for a long time. I am originally from here and when we used to come home for visits we always used to make a visit to Bobby’s.
“It is better than most places I have tried.”
Te Pona also likes the other Bobby’s Fresh Fish Markets in Papamoa and Greerton. It is the consistently high standards that keep him coming back for more.
“The atmosphere on the wharf is so fresh and it reminds me of my hometown of Mangonui, up north,” he says.
John Taikato and his son Des live on Matakana Island. Whenever they get the chance to come over to Tauranga, they like to get a feed at Bobby’s.
“I like coming here and eating the kina and the fish and chips, plus I like all the people who come here and the view,” says Des. “You get to meet some good people.”
John milks 300 dairy cows a day on Matakana Island, so he loves the chance to relax on the wharf and enjoy the whole Bobby’s experience.
“I love every bit of it. There is no time when we come here that I don’t think our Lord Master up there has produced the goods for us.”
Alexandra Claraz, from the French capital of Paris, admits she wasn’t a big fan of New Zealand fish and chips – until she tried a freshly cooked serving at Bobby’s on her first visit to Tauranga.
“Usually, fish and chips here are too greasy for my taste because I am French,” she says. “I don’t usually eat too many fried things, but the food here is very good. You can tell that the fish is fresh and that’s what I wanted to find here.
“I like the fact it is outside the city centre but it is a place where people like to go when they are hungry.”