Winter's here! Find comfort in your favourite foods

Father Winter seems to have settled in, giving us a taste of his lower temperatures and rainy days.

Chimneys are huffing and puffing once again, spas and hot pools are getting more use, and we’re craving those warm, wintery comfort foods, so here’s a go-to guide for warm, gooey, gorgeous and gorge-worthy dishes in Rotorua.  


Scope Rotorua

Delicious coffee + award-winning service + possibly the most overflowing sweets cabinet in town = a winning combination, in our opinion.
Scope’s motto is “wild about flavour” and they’re not kidding! On the all-day breakfast and lunch menu you’ll find Fearless Huntress French toast, Bush Tukka mince on toasted focaccia, Hungry Hunter Big Breaky, Mai Mai Duck open sandwich, Butcher’s Best venison burger (pictured at top) and many more  delicious dishes – including vegetarian and keto – all made in house.

Third Place Café

Our first-place vote here goes to Third Place’s Roasted Kumara Mumble Jumble for breakfast (available until 2.30pm) and anything sweet from the cabinet. On sunny days, grab a seat near the windows for a beautiful view over steaming Ōhinemutu Village, Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island. Third Place is always buzzing, there’s lots of seating, and a play area for the little ones.


Poco Tapas & Wine

Poco Tapas and Wine is a light, bright, second-floor venue that’s not too big, not too little. The winter menu, offers shareable dishes like spiced cauliflower with picked raisins and tahini drizzle, kawakawa prawns with chilli oil and cornbread, spiced lamb ribs with manuka mint reduction, and their famous crispy fried chicken tenders with saffron lime aoli.
Bookings recommended.

The Fainting Goat

This is your go-to for gourmet pizzas by the foot (they’ve got seven on the menu) and the premium beers or ciders on tap. If your group is on the larger size, the Goat also has snackilicious bar snacks and amazing sharing boards to pass around the table.

Pig & Whistle Historic Pub

A must-visit is the Pig & Whistle, housed in a gorgeous building that was the original site of the police station for our district. It’s been beautifully maintained over the years and offers a variety of spaces for enjoying a fantastic range of craft beer and delicious food in its warm and inviting atmosphere. The burgers are huge and the curly fries famous.
With big TVs and a fully sheltered patio in the back, it’s a great spot for catching up on the weekend’s sport.

ANI’s Gin Bar & Tapas

ANI’s is an incredible recent addition to Rotorua’s vast selection of eateries. Seasonal, fresh and indigenous ingredients are combined in bewitching ways.
With their menu changing regularly and based on available local products, rather than suggest our favourite dishes, it makes more sense for us to suggest going in with an empty tummy and a few friends so you can try an assortment of small and large tapas dishes, plus have room for dessert.

Bookings recommended.

Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar

Located at the lake end of the famous Rotorua Eat Streat, Ambrosia is one of the go-to pubs for cheeky 5pm bevvies with mates, and there’s always a solid group of chatty locals around too.

While Ambrosia was the first licensed restaurant in Rotorua in 1954, they haven’t let time pass them by. The classic warm interior is complemented by a large casual patio, allowing plenty of space for gathering with friends new and old. Ambrosia also has a great wine and beer selection, delicious menu, and, depending on when you’re there, live sport on the big screens, or live musical entertainment.


Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar

When you think of Stratosfare, think oodles of seafood, expertly cured and prepared meats, and fresh and roasted seasonal produce. Think cheese station, Art of the Grill chef’s station, a flame rotisserie and carvery serving 24-hour slow-cooked prime beef rib. Think dessert station.
This award-winning buffet with a killer view over Lake Rotorua and our city will satisfy any and all comfort-food cravings and more.
Bookings recommended.

Pātaka Kai

If you’re after a seriously hearty, home-style, meat-and-three-vege feast, head to Pātaka Kai at Te Puia for their amazing hāngī buffet for Sunday brunch and all-day breakfast, hāngī buffet and a la carte lunch Wednesday to Saturday, and hāngī buffet dinner on Friday evenings.
We know some think it’s rude to have your phones at the dinner table, but you’ll want to keep yours handy to capture your views overlooking the geothermal valley, including the spectacular eruptions of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest active geyser, Pōhutu.
Bookings recommended.

Hennessey’s Irish Bar

Of course Hennessey’s serves up an Irish coffee, but first, start with their Sunday roasts or Beef & Guinness Pie filled with prime New Zealand beef braised in Guinness, plus vegetables and onions, brought together with a rich gravy and topped with mash and cheese. Sláinte!


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