I’m told there are around 60 restaurants in Taupo, and I’d like to know where they’re all hiding. Although there’s no shortage of places to eat, “shining stars of cuisine” are a bit thin on the ground. As is the case anywhere in New Zealand, restaurants and cafes keep reinventing themselves and changing their names, styles, and menus. The good news is there are plenty of reasonably priced ethnic restaurants to choose from. A delicious lunch or summer evening meal at Huka Prawn Park, Huka Falls Road (tel. 07/374-8474), is worth your attention. It’s the world’s only geothermally heated prawn farm, and the prawn platter need not make you feel guilty. Huka Vineyard Restaurant, Wishart Estate Vineyard, 56 Huka Falls Rd. (tel. 07/377-2326), is open for lunch daily from 10am. It’s in a 100-year-old barn and specializes in wine and food matches. Portofino Italian Café, 28 Tuwharetoa St. (tel. 07/377-6293; www.portofino.co.nz), is a very pleasant, casual place that serves up a big range of Italian favorites including a host of pasta dishes and pizzas.

Flax, 5 Horomatangi St. (tel. 07/377-8052), is a great little cafe with local color. Sporty types should head for Hub Mountain Bike Café, 415 Huka Falls Rd. (tel. 07/374-8409; www.hubcafe.co.nz). It’s where the mountain bikers hang out and they don’t mind you turning up in your cycling gear. Bike racks are available. L’Arte Mosaic Café & Sculpture Garden, 255 Mapara Rd., Acacia Bay, Taupo (tel. 07/378-2962; www.larte.co.nz), is where you’ll find resident ceramic artist, Judi Brennan, who has created this crazy, creative place. The food, the colorful environment, and the good service make it a little winner. If you want “coffee on the run” swing by Streetwise Coffee, a tinyhole-in-the-wall located at 30 Heu Heu St. (tel. 07/377-0624); it sells fair trade coffee and juices. Volcanic Coffee, 38 Tui St. (tel. 07/377-4644; www.volcaniccoffee.co.nz), is a boutique family-run roastery serving delicious freshly ground coffee. For the best ice cream in town head straight for Kaffe Eis, 13 Tongariro St. (tel. 07/378-8535).

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.