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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

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