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 M?ori h?ngi (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

    $$$

    The pleasing scent of spices may entice you into this large, open restaurant, which serves sustaining meals like chicken shiitake linguine (a grilled chicken breast...Read More

  • 2. The Replete Food Company

    $$

    This café draws the crowds for breakfast and lunch thanks to its outside tables and excellent food. In the morning, try the Complete Replete Breakfast:...Read More

  • 3. Eat Streat

    $$$

    If you are not good at making decisions, Eat Streat could drive you crazy. This area at the northern end of Tutanekai Street is covered...Read More

  • 4. Jarks Cityside

    $$$

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

  • 5. Pig & Whistle

    $$$

    The name of this 1940s landmark winks at its previous incarnation—a police station. Expect pub fare at its absolute best, with seafood chowder, Kentucky bourbon...Read More

  • 6. Rose & Shamrock

    $$$

    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

  • 7. The Fat Dog Café and Bar

    $$$

    The eclectic style and fine food here attracts young, old, and everyone in between. The comprehensive menufeatures a mix of old favorites and seasonal additions....Read More

  • 8. The Rivers

    $$$

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

  • 9. The Works Café & Winery

    $$$$

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

  • 10. Zanelli's

    $$$

    The green casements on a terra-cotta wall perfectly highlight the homey interior of this classic Italian restaurant. Study the shots of the Italian countryside after...Read More

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