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Where to eat in Rotorua – a food and dining guide

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Restaurants in Rotorua can satisfy any craving, whether you’re after cracking pub grub or more exotic flavors. Step away from the typical fast food restaurants that crowd the center and head to Tutanekai Street, Rotorua’s buzzing foodie plaza. If you fancy something a little different, try the north end of Fenton Street, where Korean, Japanese and Mongolian restaurants abound.

Mike Watt

My Destination local expert on

Rotorua (NZ)

New Zealand cuisine originates in traditional British dishes that have evolved over the years with an influx of Mediterranean and Pacific Rim flavors. In Rotorua, look out for New Zealand lamb, pork and mussels, while the Maori ‘hangi’ feast is a must-try experience.

 

Tutanekai Street

 

If you’re unsure where to dine in Rotorua, make it easy for yourself and head to Tutanekai Street, the city’s premier culinary spot with plenty of restaurants, bars and pubs concentrated here. The lake end, locally known as ‘Eat Streat’ was revamped in 2013 with a covered walkway, geothermal heating and twinkling LED lights - making it an even more enticing foodie haven. Wander down and you’ll find a range of cuisines including Indian, Italian and good pub grub. BREW is a popular craft beer pub, with food accompanied by tasty NZ beers, while out of the Eat Streat area and further down Tutanekai, you’ll find Pig & Whistle – feast here on generous meaty portions in a relaxed pub setting.

 

BREW | Craft Beer Pub, 1103 Tutanekai Street. Tel: +64 7 346 0976• Pig & Whistle Historic Pub, Cnr Haupapa & Tutanekai Street. Tel: +64 7 347 3025

 

Arawa Street

 

Rotorua has a thriving café culture, and several of the city’s most popular establishments can be found on Arawa Street, right in the center of Rotorua. On the corner of Amohia Street, find the Lone Star Café, a branch of the iconic chain of eateries complete with cowboy theme. Expect a Maori-influenced setting and a blend of American classics and Kiwi flavors – dishes such as ‘Redneck Ribs’ with New Zealand pork, or fresh green-lipped mussels in a curry sauce. For a truly local experience, head to the colorful Fat Dog Café, where café cuisine with a twist is served under walls of local artwork.

 

Fat Dog Café, 1161 Arawa Street. Tel: +64 7 347 7586• Lone Star Café, Cnr Arawa & Amohia Street. Tel: +64 7 349 4040

 

North Fenton Street

 

If you find yourself lost amongst Rotorua’s many fast food outlets and chain restaurants, head to the north end of the city’s main artery, Fenton Street. Here, and in the surrounding streets, you’ll find many of Rotorua’s more refined eateries, with a varied selection of cuisines including Indian, Korean and Mexican. Japanese restaurant Yamato serves up affordable and authentic dishes on Pukuatua Street, while nearby Amohia Street houses the legendary Gengy’s, featuring a Mongolian all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet.

 

Yamato Japanese Restaurant, 1123 Pukuatua Street. Tel: +64 7 348 1938• Gengy’s, 1272 Amohia Street. +64 7 348 2022

 

Ngongotaha

 

After fine dining in Rotorua? Ngongotahu is your best pick, as this quiet Rotorua suburb is home to the Aorangi Peak Restaurant, a stellar fine dining establishment boasting unrivalled views over the city below. Visit after dark for the magical experience of dining with all the lights of Rotorua twinkling before you. The restaurant itself serves traditional Kiwi fare, with their signature dish of lamb chops arriving succulent and lightly flavoured with rosemary and thyme.

 

Aorangi Peak Restaurant, 353 C Mountain Road. Tel: +64 7 347 0036

 

Tamaki Maori Village

 

Getting a taste of traditional Maori cuisine should be compulsory when visiting Rotorua, so make sure you pay a visit to the city’s Tamaki Maori Village. This award-winning cultural attraction gives you a unique insight into Maori rituals, history and culture – delight in a performance of the famous ‘haka’ and observe Maori craftsmen busy with artworks and wood carving. The tour culminates in a traditional ‘hangi’ feast, where meats and vegetables are cooked together in an earthen oven.

 

Tamaki Maori Village, 1220 Hinemaru Street. Tel: +64 7 349 2999

 

Outside Rotorua

 

Exploring the regional lakes and the Bay of Plenty gives you the perfect opportunity to sample restaurants and cafes outside Rotorua. In the lakeside town of Taupo, The Vine Eatery is a prime choice, with fresh seasonal sharing plates and New Zealand’s largest wine list. Up north, the beachfront Marine Parade in Mount Maunganui is brimming with excellent cafes – try breakfast and brunch gem the Deckchair Café. Whakatane is another coastal town worth visiting; head to Ohope Beach and scope out L’Epicerie, a French deli selling crepes, pastries and croissants from a fixed shop and a vintage Citroen truck.

 

The Vine Eatery, 37 Tuwharetoa Street, Taupo. Tel: +64 7 378 5704• Deckchair Cafe, 2 Marine Parade, Mount Maunganui. Tel: +64 7 572 0942 • L’Epicerie, 73 The Strand, Whakatane. Tel: +64 7 308 5981