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. Capers Epicurean

    $$$ | New Zealand

    The pleasing scent of spices may entice you into this large, open restaurant, which serves meals from 7 am to 9 pm daily. If you’re in the mood...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. The Fat Dog Café and Bar

    $$$ | Eclectic

    The eclectic style and fine food here attract young, old, and everyone in between. A line of paw prints trails along the maroon ceiling. Poetry...Read More

  • 4. The Station Cafe, Bar, & Restaurant

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Paintings by local artists adorn the dusky pink and wood-paneled walls of this café-cum-bar, which has the tracks of the north–south railway...Read More

  • 5. 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

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