Rotorua, in the central North Island of New Zealand, is, alongside Queenstown, the most popular tourist destination in the country. As such, it offers a wide range of excellent places to eat, from takeaway bars and fast food outlets to fine dining.
You will find a number of places, particularly the ethnic restaurants, are BYO. If you want to purchase a bottle of New Zealand wine to take with you to a restaurant, a good place to buy it would be Arawa Fine Wines. They are located on the restaurant strip at the lake end of Tutanekai Street.
Central Rotorua, where most of the restaurants are located, is not large, so it is very possible to park your car and simply stroll around until you find somewhere that takes your fancy. The following are some of the best we have discovered:
Pig & Whistle Historic Pub
The Pig & Whistle is something of a Rotorua institution. It's usually humming, no matter what the night of the week. In a building which was originally the town's police station, there is a nice pub atmosphere with a hint of history. Live music often plays on Thursday to Saturday nights. As far as food goes, the menu is comprehensive and well priced; items include nachos, burgers, and meat and pasta dishes. The address is 1182 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua.
Abracadabra Moroccan Cafe
A fun experience for all the family, Abracadabra Moroccan Cafe cafe serves excellent food with top-notch service. The dinner menu is particularly Moroccan influenced, breakfast and lunch are less so. The address is 1263 Amohia Street, Rotorua.
Sabroso Latin American Restaurant
"Sabroso" is Spanish for "tasty," and this small place presents a range excellent dishes of both Mexican and South American influence. It is not BYO but does feature some interesting South American wines. The seafood chimichanga is highly recommended. 1184 Haupapa Street, Rotorua.
Zanelli's Italia Restaurant
This intimate restaurant offers authentic Italian fine dining to a very high standard. The dishes are complemented by an interesting selection of Italian, New Zealand, and Australian wines. The owners have also created a lovely 'Italian courtyard' ambience that adds to the experience. The address is 1243 Amohia Street, Rotorua.
Fat Dog Cafe and Bar
Another Rotorua icon, Fat Dog Cafe and Bar is also usually crowded due to the great atmosphere and good food. The generous servings also attract a fair smattering of the younger and backpacker tourists. Being BYO as well as licensed is a plus. The menu is extensive, with everything from soups, burgers, salads, pasta, and meat dishes. 1161 Arawa Street, Rotorua.
Aorangi Peak Restaurant
No visit to Rotorua would be complete without visiting Aorangi Peak Restaurant. Situated on the slopes of Aorangi Peak it offers spectacular views of the lake, town and surrounds. There is a cafe open for lunch and casual snacks and fine dining in the evening. It's definitely one of the best dining experiences in Rotorua. The address is 353 Mountain Road, Rotorua.