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. Pacifica Restaurant

    $$$$ | New Zealand

    Enter this weathered blue bungalow and watch classically trained chef Jeremy Remeka produce delicious dishes. These are worked into a pair of...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. The Old Church Restaurant & Bar

    $$$$ | New Zealand

    From the high-vaulted ceiling to the overly ornate fittings, this restaurant (a converted church) is a stunner. Sit on red velvet upholstered...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Lewishams

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Green matchboard walls with a classy selection of European prints are illuminated by cartwheel chandeliers under a plum-colored ceiling at this...Read More

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