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. The Bistro

    $$$$ | European

    Jude Messenger, an award-winning young chef, aims for “simple but nice” at his unpretentious, family-owned eatery. Large cylindrical lamp shades...Read More

  • 2. The Replete Food Company

    $$ | Café

    There's no wine license here, but the food brings in crowds for breakfast and lunch. In the morning, try the Complete Replete Breakfast: honey...Read More

  • 3. Brantry Restaurant

    $$$ | Contemporary

    The menu is updated seasonally at this converted 1950s town house on a suburban street not far from the shores of Lake Taupo. Owners Prue and...Read More

  • 4. Milano

    $$$ | Italian

    Natural wood floors, half-panelled walls, and a solid wood bar create a warm, inviting atmosphere at this Italian restaurant. The large gas...Read More

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