Restaurants icon
Restaurants icon


Tuesday4:00 – 9:00 pm.

Wednesday4:00 – 9:00 pm.

Thursday4:00 – 9:00 pm.

Friday4:00 – 10:00 pm.

Saturday4:00 – 10:00 pm.


9 George Street, Palmerston North Central

06-222 3555

As soon as you enter this restaurant, the colourful fitout, Frida Kahlo mural, twinkly tequila bottles behind the bar and energetic atmosphere will give you the sense that you’re not in Palmerston North anymore, but rather in a Mexican cantina or Los Angeles taco bar. The open format offers plush nooks and booths for you to enjoy, as well as bar leaners and long low top tables for larger parties. Whether you’re after a true Mexican feast with mates or a quick margarita after work, this is the place.

On the menus, you’ll find classics that other Mexican spots in New Zealand often overlook. Elote, for example, is chargrilled and topped with a dash of mayo, cotija cheese, a bit of chilli and a whole lot of lime. It’s a snacker you didn’t know you needed in your life and pairs perfectly with any of the tacos on offer.

The taco list at Libre covers all the bases when it comes to fresh ingredients, slow cooked meats, punchy homemade salsas and the right balance of traditional flavours and modern accompaniments.  The chipotle beef cheek comes served with pickled onion, coriander and pico de gallo or salsa borracha. House favorite, De Pastor, is made with pork shoulder that is marinated in chile and spices before being slow cooked, grilled and combined with pineapple. It takes time and care to prepare, but the deep, rich flavours make it all worth it. Every component is made fresh in house and served on a soft corn tortilla. The price point makes it easy to try a bunch.

Libre rounds out the food offerings with enchiladas, nachos, quesadillas, burritos and postre (sweets). One favourite, the vegan nachos, are topped with mushroom mince, walnuts, charred corn and black bean salsa.

Pair whatever you order with a tipple from the beer, sangria, margarita, cocktail or rum lists and you’ll be on your way to what feels like a mini Mexican vacation in no time flat. Libre’s got the classics like Corona and Mexican lager as well as three different types of sangria - the blanco, for one, is made with white wine, hibiscus rose tea, citrus honey syrup, orange and cranberry. The margita menu is full of both shaken and stirred options.

Last, but not least, Libre offers carefully curated tequila and mezcal lists. Mezcal, like tequila, is made with agave but features distinctive smoky flavours as a result of the cooking and distillation process. If you already love it, or are curious, chat to the team about what’s pouring.

There’s a lot to discover at this vibrant local spot when it comes to food, drink and events. Check their social media for what’s on. Past events have included tequila and mezcal education nights.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Anna Briggs

Information not correct? Report an error


9 George Street, Palmerston North Central

Nearby Places

Zimmerman Art Gallery

Colourful art on the walls at Zimmerman Art Gallery.
Place Palmerston North

When Bronwyn Zimmerman opened Zimmerman Art Gallery in 2010 her goal was to create greater public access to art in the Manawatū. “Art shouldn’t be hidden away or be behind some foreboding wall” she said. As a result this gallery is approachable, open, free and downright fun to visit.

Wholegrain Organics

Fruit and vegetables on display.
Place Palmerston North

Located in the heart of downtown Palmerston North, the Wholegrain Organics concept encompasses a grocery store, café, bakery, farm and vibrant community hub.

Brew Union Brewing Co

Customers sitting on bench seats.
Place Palmerston North
Bars icon

Longtime mates Murray and Jules spent years planning and designing exactly what they thought epitomised the perfect concept, and this shines through at Brew Union, Palmerston North’s downtown brew pub and eatery.

Bruce McKenzie Booksellers

A woman looking at a book.
Place Palmerston North

Bruce McKenzie Booksellers is a Palmerston North business with serious staying power. The shop opened over 20 years ago on George Street. Today, Bruce and his daughter Louisa run the shop, at the same location, with a small staff of knowledgeable booksellers.

Similar Places

Ginger Bird

Close up of a waitress holding a pie.
Place Palmerston North
Cafes icon

Ginger Bird is a countryside café with a big heart, excellent service, homemade treats and barista coffee. The café is housed within two shipping containers, but you’d never guess once inside as the wide windows, light timber and warm lighting give the space a cosy, homey feel.

The Crafted & Co

Close up of a burger.
Place Palmerston North

One of Palmerston North’s most loved food trucks, The Crafted and Co., offers top notch burgers and serious treats from three roaming food trucks.

Feilding Farmers Market

A giant whitebait pattie with a lemon wedge on the side.
Place Palmerston North

Many of Manawatū's most talented, passionate and well-known growers, cheesemakers, artisans, bakers, herbalists, apiarists, florists and craftspeople have stalls at the Feilding Farmers Market making this market a celebration of all things fresh and local.

The Fat Farmer

The busy restaurant.
Place Palmerston North
Cafes icon

The Fat Farmer is a neighbourhood bistro that’s elegant and extremely well furnished but still manages to feel like your mate’s place.