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. Eivins Bar & Bistro

    $$$ | New Zealand

    Popular with the ski set in winter and other outdoorsy types in summer, this modern eatery offers panoramic mountain views from its front veranda...Read More

  • 2. Pig & Whistle

    $$$ | New Zealand

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

  • 3. Rose & Shamrock

    $$$ | Irish

    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

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