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. Terroir Restaurant

    $$$$ | French

    The massive cedar doors, high circular roof, and open wood fire give this well-regarded restaurant at Craggy Range Winery a rustic character...Read More

  • 2. Jarks Cityside

    $$$ | Contemporary

    On sunny days, you can sit outside on the patio here. In winter, a large fireplace warms the rustic interior, and candles on the tables enhance...Read More

  • 3. Rose & Shamrock

    $$$ | Irish

    This lovely old-world pub in the heart of Havelock North has the largest selection of tap beer in Hawke's Bay. The pints mix with reasonably...Read More

  • 4. Vidal Estate Winery Restaurant

    $$$$ | Contemporary

    Vidal's is acknowledged as one of Hawke's Bay's finest eateries. Appetizers like the gin-infused crab cakes will whet your appetite for the...Read More

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