The Best Food Experiences and Places to Eat in Rotorua
The usual tourist experiences Rotorua with a dip in a hot pool here and a Maori cultural performance there. But there’s so much more to this cultural hub of the North Island… Experience the natural earth ovens powered by geothermal activity, traditional tastes made with indigenous herbs and spices, and try something new on a foodie trip to Rotorua. We’ve put together this food guide to help you discover real New Zealand flavours through food tours, food experiences and the best places to eat in Rotorua. Get your forks at the ready for this ultimate food guide to Rotorua.
The 10 Best Places to Eat in Rotorua
What are the best places to eat in Rotorua? Here’s our ultimate list of the best restaurants and cafes with something for all tastes and budgets.
- Atticus Finch (1106 Tutanekai Street, Eat Streat)
- The Regent Room (1057 Arawa Street)
- Saigon 60s (1205 Fenton Street)
- Ali Baba’s Tunisian Takeaways (1146 Tutanekai Street)
- Mexican at El Mexicano Zapata (1148 Tutanekai Street)
- Giovanni’s Restaurant & Pizzeria (346 Te Ngae Road)
- Mokoia Restaurant (77 Robinson Avenue)
- Volcanic Hills Winery (176 Fairy Springs Road – top of Skyline Gondola)
- Le Cafe De Paris (1206 Hinemoa Street)
- Artisan Cafe (1149 Tutanekai Street, Eat Streat)
Scroll down to “About The Best Places to Eat in Rotorua” to learn more about our top picks!
The Best Food Tours in Rotorua
From Maori cuisine to internationally-inspired foods created by talented artisans, Rotorua’s food tours are vast and varied. A good place to start, however, is with a traditionally-cooked Maori dinner known as a “hāngī”.
Maori Hāngī Feasts and Buffets
A hāngī is food that is cooked in an underground earth oven over a long period of time to create melt-in-your-mouth textures and an earthy taste. Both Mitai Maori Village (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Tamaki Maori Village (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook) serve hāngī buffets in their evening tours, which also include cultural performances and an insight into their traditions and customs. Alternatively, Whakarewarewa Living Maori Village (on Klook, Viator or Tripadvisor) and Te Puia (on KKday, Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor) cook their meals in the natural geothermal vents of their villages.
Wine and Craft Beer Tastings
For more European flavours produced locally in Rotorua, head to some of the local tasting rooms, like Volcanic Hills Winery. Based at the top of the Skyline Gondola, Volcanic Hills Winery provides wines made in Rotorua with grapes from all over New Zealand to go along with the commanding views over Lake Rotorua. If you prefer beer, then don’t miss BREW Craft Beer Pub on Eat Streat, pouring a wide range of local craft beer on tap and bottled.
Blueberry Orchard Tour
Get a behind-the-scenes experience of the local artisans on tours such as the Mamaku Blue Orchard Tour. Tour the orchard, the sorting and packing shed and the blueberry wine-making department to learn all about their story from bush to market. There’s also a shop and cafe on-site where you can taste some of their creations. The orchard is based in Mamaku, approximately 24km (14 miles) from Rotorua.
More Food Tours in Rotorua
- Learn about New Zealand farming on the Agrodome Farm Tour
- Mingle with the locals at the Rotorua Farmers’ Market and Rotorua Night Market
- Enjoy a cruise with food on the Lakeland Queen or Pure Cruise
- Forage for native ingredients on a wild food tour with Treetops Lodge & Estate
- Do a Maori food workshop with Tamaki Maori Village
- Experience Rotorua’s outstanding restaurants…
… For elaboration on each activity, check out the 9 Best Foodie Experiences in Rotorua.
About The Best Places to Eat in Rotorua
Dining in Rotorua is kind of a big deal, especially since there is a whole street dedicated to eating called “Eat Streat“. While there is a range of eateries along this street in the city centre, a top name is Atticus Finch (1106 Tutanekai Street, Eat Streat), which specialises in innovative plates designed to be shared. Think fried halloumi, crispy mozzarella risotto balls and ginger sesame fried chicken combined with creative cocktails and craft beer.
Kiwis love their Vietnamese food and you have plenty of choices in Rotorua, including Saigon 60s (1205 Fenton Street). They serve a range of authentic cuisine on woven plates and flavoursome pho noodle soups. Don’t miss their egg coffee after your meal!
Some other international flavours to indulge in include Mediterranean at Ali Baba’s Tunisian Takeaways (1146 Tutanekai Street), spicy Mexican at El Mexicano Zapata (1148 Tutanekai Street) and the fresh pasta and wood-fired pizza of Giovanni’s (346 Te Ngae Road).
For something more “New Zealand”, head to Mokoia Restaurant (77 Robinson Avenue) at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort for local fare prepared with indigenous herbs and spices. At The Regent Room (1057 Arawa Street) of the Regent of Rotorua, try their “Taste Indigenous New Zealand” degustation menu with meals made with the likes of lamb, eel, blue warehou and manuka honey.
For more recommendations, check out fine dining in The Luxury Guide to Rotorua, romantic restaurants in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Rotorua and street food in the Cheap Eats in Rotorua.
Alternative Things to Do in Rotorua
As much as the food tours and places to eat in Rotorua are delectable, you can’t travel all the way here just for the food. You’re in the geothermal and cultural hub of New Zealand! So balance out your stay with some of the alternative activities, such as:
- Checking out the geothermal parks like Wai-O-Tapu (on Viator or Tripadvisor) and Te Puia (on Klook, KKday, Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Indulging in some of the hot pools like Waikite Valley Thermal Pools (on Klook, Viator or Tripadvisor) or the Polynesian Spa (on Klook, KKday, Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Rolling down the hill in an inflatable Zorb ball (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Seeing the kiwi birds at Rainbow Springs (on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday)
- Hiking on Mt Tarawera (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Rafting down the world’s highest commercially rafter waterfall (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)…
… and much more! Check out the details of these activities and get more inspiration in the 20 Best Things to Do in Rotorua.
More About Rotorua
That’s it for our food guide to Rotorua and the best places to eat in Rotorua, but not the end of our Rotorua advice! Check out these other guides that might not necessarily fall under the “foodie” category, but are still pretty useful:
- The Luxury Guide to Rotorua
- The Guide to Rotorua on a Budget
- The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Rotorua
- The Travel Guide to Rotorua for Families
- The Complete Travel Guide to Rotorua
Finally, discover even more foodie trip tips in The Food Guide to New Zealand and plan your foodie road trip with the North Island Foodie Itinerary: One Week or North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks.