Not so long ago, finding even a decent cup of coffee here was a struggle. Things have improved a little, but the selection is still limited and there is a fairly flexible interpretation of the word “service.” There’s a growing cafe scene, much of it concentrated at the lake end of Tutanekai Street, known as “The Streat,” although I’ve always found most of the eateries in this area overrated. Rotorua also has around 50 restaurants—everything from Turkish to Korean, Indonesian to Italian, so you’ll certainly never want for inexpensive fare. For a family dining experience with great views, feast 600m (2,000 ft.) up at Aorangi Peak Restaurant, Mountain Road, Ngongotaha (tel. 07/347-0046; www.aorangipeak.co.nz). It pays to reserve a table. And don’t forget to try the traditional Maori hangi while you’re in Rotorua. Pick up the free dining guide and The Streat cafe brochure at the visitor center.
Urbano, 289 Fenton St. (tel. 07/349-3770; www.urbanobistro.co.nz), is a pleasant suburban bistro that’s especially popular for weekend brunch. They’re open daily 9am until late. Triple 1 Five, 1115 Tutanekai St (tel. 07/347-1115; www.triple1five.co.nz), gets top marks for its healthy stone-grilled focus, and it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. The oddly named Seismic Gastrobar, 1158 Whakaue St. (tel. 07/348-2082), is a good stop for drinks and pizza. They have live music on Friday nights, roast dinners on Sunday nights, and other assorted theme nights that may inject a little fun into your culinary travels.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.