Rotorua Restaurants - Trying to decide where to eat in the evening must be hard for travellers because they can often be seen wandering along Eat Street, a popular restaurant cum cafe area encompassing what was once a road.
They stop, look at the menu displayed outside a restaurant, move on, stop, look, move on. It seems to take quite a while.
Maybe we can shortcut that with a hand-picked selection to sample.
Do you know what type of dining you would like? If so click the links to jump down the page to NZ/European, Indian, and Latin American. There's also Italian, Thai or Japanese? Let's have a look at some of the Rotorua Restaurants.
The Regent is one of the newest places to eat in Rotorua. It used to be a motel until the owner got the bright idea to completely renovate the motel and add a restaurant.
The restaurant building is completely new and boy does it look good. Ultra elegant are the words I would use to describe the Regent.
I haven't eaten here myself yet but the travel reviews I have looked at are great. The Regent has also won the Traveller's Choice Award 2012 on Trip Advisor.
Where: 1191 Pukaki St
Serving: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Bar Snacks/Afternoon Tea
Hours: 7am until late
Ph: +64 7 3484079 or Freephone: NZ 0508 734368
Website: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa - Restaurant & Wine Bar
Solitaire Lodge, originally a Luxury Fishing Lodge built in the 1980's, has extended its' scope to include travellers of all types.
Luxury accommodation is not Solitaire's only strength though. A restaurant with a focus on New Zealand cuisine and wines will have your taste buds going into overdrive.
My girlfriend had dinner at Solitaire recently. She mentioned how great her meal was and, to her surprise,it wasn't as expensive as she had thought it would be.
When I spoke to the owner, Wayne Tomlinson, he agreed, saying that locals were pleasantly surprised when they did dine there.
Where: 16 Ronald Rd, Lake Tarawera
Hours: All day until late, make sure you book though.
Contact: Ph+64 7 3628208
Website: Solitaire Lodge - Member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World
The doors have closed if are looking for Lewishams.
The Indian Star is the place to go if you are after Indian and want great service and great food.
I have an Indian girlfriend and she can cook, in fact, she turned me onto Indian food. She cooks so good, I don't usually like going to Indian restaurants anymore, but I make an exception with this place.
Not the pickles and chutneys though, I still can't get used to them.
The Indian Star has won numerous awards which are well-deserved. The menu is extensive featuring dishes such as Pilao, Biryani, Kormas, Tandoori, Kebabs, Vegetarian and Seafoods from the various different areas in India.
Where: 1118 Tutanekai St - Eat Street
Hours: 11am-2.30pm & 5pm-late 7 days a week
Contact: Ph+64 7 3436222
Website: Indian Star - Menu
I have been to Chimney once for lunch, with a group of friends from work.
It wasn't too bad at all for the price. Very reasonable. They usually have a lunchtime special going.
The dearest items on the menu is the seafood at NZ$17. Not bad is it?
Chimney also has Takeaways if you're feeling lazy.
Where: 1280 Eruera St, opp movie theatre
Hours: 11.30am-3pm & 5pm-10.30pm 7 days a week
Contact: Ph+64 7 3491130
Website: Chimney Indian Restaurant
Sabroso is a tiny little place, perfect for casual dining.
If you're into Latin American Cuisine, this is THE place.
I'm not much of a drinker but I love the Margaritas and would drink them all day if I could. It cost NZ$12 in a large glass, that's actually 2 ½ standard drinks. The Margarita lasted the whole meal, (hiccup) sipping all the time.
The food? Delicious, ample and very tasty. Tapas and traditional South American dishes. I wanted everything on the menu so it was very hard to settle for a couple of things. Latin Seafood Cakes and Chimichurri Chicken, yum, that's all I can say.
The service is outstanding. Venezuelan born Sarah Little (pictured), one of the owners, was able to advise and help us make great selections for ourselves and told us what would be too much. This is definitely a place to return to again and again, if only to try ALL the dishes.
It would be advisable to book this Lonely Planet recommended Rotorua restaurant in advance.
Note: I received this from a site visitor recently.
By: Amiria Tomoana,
When my husband and I were back in Rotorua in June, good friends of ours wanted to take us out to dinner at Sabroso. They just raved on and on about this restaurant and we couldn't wait to try it for ourselves. But there was one problem....it was fully booked on all the days that suited the 4 of us!!!!!.
Needless to say, we're going to have to wait until next year now because that's when we'll be back in Rotorua. And by the way, our friends are vegetarian. And, Lonely Planet IS right - best to book in advance!!!!
Where: 1184 Haupapa St
Hours: Opens at 5pm Thurs through to Mon inclusive
Contact: Ph+64 7 349 0591
Website: www.sabroso.co.nz - menu
Zanelli's is in a league of its' own when it comes to Rotorua restaurants.
It has been around so long that, as a local, you tend to forget about it sometimes. This is probably with new restaurants coming and going that have to be tried out.
Then again it could be because it's off the beaten path and tends to blend into the surroundings.
All that doesn't matter though because the food is top-notch at Zanelli's. The seafood is divine, as are a lot of the dishes.
If you are going to try Zanelli's, do book as it does get busy. This can be done online. If you pick the time right you can probably get in without a booking. Just ask.
Where: 1243 Amohia St
Hours: 5.30pm-9pm Tue-Sat
Contact: Ph+64 7 3484908
Website: Zanelli's Italian Cuisine
Ciccio is another Italian Cafe that attracts quite a few visitors.
I have noticed a number of mixed reviews; with regards to the service mainly and delays in getting meals out.
I can't say as I have had any problems in this area.
As for the food, personally, it's the desserts that I love... but I still love the risottos and seafood dishes.
Where: 1262 Fenton St
Hours: 11.30am-9.30pm Tue-Sat, 5pm-9pm Sun
Contact: Ph+64 7 3481828
Website: Ciccio Italian Cafe
I don't know why Thai dishes are always so tasty. It doesn't seem to matter where I go, it's the same.
The Thai Restaurant... how's that for an original name?
Slap my hand. I couldn't resist saying that.
I would have to say that the meals in this restaurant are delicious. Also, the service is outstanding and the prices are really reasonable if you're on a budget.
There are a few dishes on the NZ$30 side but the noodle and rice dishes are under NZ$20.
Oh, and if you're here for fishing, they will cook your trout for you. How's that for service? Plus they have takaways.
Where: 1141 Tutanekai St
Hours: 12pm-2.30pm/5pm-closing 7 days a week
Contact: Ph+64 7 3486677
Website: The Thai Restaurant
I love the food in this Rotorua restaurant although I see that it has had mixed reviews.
Sometimes there are problems with communication, as in trying to understand the staff. Maybe it's because English is their second language. That must mean it's authentic Thai huh?
In all the times that I have been, whether for lunch or dinner, I have found the meals to be delicious, tasty and filling.
If you don't want to eat in they also have a takeaway service around the side of the building utilising the same kitchen.
Where: 1246 Fenton St
Hours: 12pm-2.30pm & 5pm-10pm Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat 12pm-2.30pm Wed, 5pm-10pm Sun
Contact: Ph+64 7 3439494
Website: Not working.
I always buy my sushi at the Yamato Restaurant. You may be able to see from the photo that it has seating around a bar type counter.
You can sit up at the bar and watch the chef prepare the sushi while you have a complimentary Japanese tea.
As for the restaurant itself, it is separated from the takeaway side by a doorway that is right by the till. Makes for a bit of congestion sometimes.
I went along there with my mum and my brother who lived and coached rugby in Japan for a while.
I wouldn't have known what to order otherwise.
Anyway, I can say that I wholeheartedly loved the food. My brother approved too so that's saying something. My mum hated it. She's 70+ and quite conservative in her eating.
We had quite a selection of dishes... don't ask me what the names were because I couldn't tell you. Whatever they were, they were yummy.
Well, that's all very helpful isn't it? :)
Umm... oh yes. We didn't have to sit on the floor which was a bonus.
Seriously though, it was great.
Where: 1123 Pukuatua St
Hours: 12-2pm and 6pm-9pm Tue-Sun
Contact: Ph+64 7 3481938
Check out the google map below to get an idea as to how the restaurants are spread about the city.
Quicklinks to other popular Rotorua Dining pages:
Have you checked out any great restaurants in Rotorua?
What was it that made them special? Was it the food, the atmosphere, the people you were dining with, the 'special' reason why you were there in the first place?
Tell all, we'd love to hear about it.