East Coast and the Volcanic Zone Restaurants

Rotorua has the area's most diverse dining scene. You can order anything from Indian to Japanese fare, or, for true local flavor, try a Māori hāngi (a traditional meal cooked in an earth oven or over a steam vent). Hawke's Bay is another hot spot; its winery restaurants emphasize sophisticated preparations and food-and-wine pairings. Around Eastland, which is so laid-back it's nearly horizontal, the choices are simpler, and you'll be treated with the area's characteristic friendliness. One thing you won't find on any menu is fresh trout. Laws prohibit selling this fish, but if you catch a trout, chefs at most lodging establishments will cook it for you.

Dressing up for dinner, or any other meal, is a rarity, expected at only the most high-end lodges and restaurants.

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  • 1. Exhibit Café

    $ | Café

    The Tairawhiti Museum's bright, friendly café has a sunny veranda overlooking the river and wharf. Expect light, lunch-worthy fare plus a delicious...Read More

  • 2. The Marina Restaurant & Bar

    $$$$ | French

    Originally the ballroom of a stately home, this high-ceilinged restaurant lives up to its pedigree. Light filters through stained glass, and...Read More

  • 3. The Rivers

    $$$ | Irish

    A casual place to hoist a few pints while dining on hearty pub fare, The Rivers is popular with Gisborne's locals. Stained-glass partitions...Read More

  • 4. The Wharf Café Bar Restaurant

    $$$$ | New Zealand

    Overlooking the Gisborne Wharf, this erstwhile storage shed with seating indoors and out is a scenic spot. Come for a big breakfast, or arrive...Read More

  • 5. The Works Café & Winery

    $$$$ | New Zealand

    This eatery in the former Gisborne Freezing Works embraces its industrial roots (note the large drive shaft and pulleys on the brick walls)...Read More

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