Best Restaurants in Rotorua

The 11 Best Restaurants in Rotorua You Can’t Miss

Admit it, the first thing that pops into your head when you hear ‘Rotorua’ isn’t Michelin stars, right? It’s probably geysers spewing like disgruntled dragons, bubbling mud pools you shouldn’t dip your toes in (but secretly kind of want to). 

Don’t worry, I get it. I’ve been to Rotorua way too many times, and that’s all most rave about. But besides all the geothermal wonders, I’ve found that Rotorua has a culinary scene hotter than a freshly unearthed spud. 

So take a break from exploring the hot pools and join me on a delicious detour to Rotorua’s top restaurants, where the flavours are just as explosive as the geysers but (hopefully) won’t leave you smelling like rotten eggs.

1. Atticus Finch

Atticus Finch

Address: 3010/1106 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Monday to Saturday – 12 PM to 2:30 PM & 5 PM to 9:30 PM
  • Sunday – 12 PM to 2:30 PM & 4 PM to 9:30 PM

Phone: +64 7 460 0400

The hottest restaurant going on right now is Atticus Finch. This swanky bistro with a mod vibe isn’t just another restaurant with dullish long lines. 

Their menu is an exciting fusion of cuisines. Sink your teeth into their Mexican pulled jackfruit, bursting with tangy salsa. Or savour their chargilled angus sirloin kissing the richness of confit portobello mushrooms. 

If you want something fancier, get their spice rubbed lamb rump. It’ll tantalise your senses with its exotic blend of spices and a smoky aubergine puree that’s pure bliss.

Pro Tip: Don’t leave without trying their bread & butter pudding. This ain’t your grandma’s stodgy version. We’re talking buttery brioche soaked in creamy custard, then crowned with pears, hazelnuts, and a dollup of orange mascarpone.

2. Sabroso Restaurant

Sabroso Restaurant

Address: 1184 Haupapa Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Wednesday to Saturday – 5 PM to 8:30 PM

Phone: +64 7 349 0591

Sabros is a portal to a fiesta of flavours, transporting you straight to the sun drenched land of Latin America. And their menu is full of dishes native to Latin America. 

Their chimichanga de pollo is a party in your mouth, a delicious conga line of grilled chicken, oozy cheese and fiery salsa. 

For something lighter, get their tacos calamares. The grilled calamari is seasoned just right and the slaw and special sauce will have you humming bachata tunes.

Pro Tip: Try Sabroso’s moqueca. This Brazillian-inspired stew simmers in coconut milk, tomatoes, capsicums, and vibrant spices. It’s as diverse as a Rio carnival.

3. Urbano Bistro Cafe & Restaurant

Urbano Bistro Cafe & Restaurant

Address: 289 Fenton Street, Glenholme, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Monday to Saturday – 9 AM to 9 PM
  • Sunday – 9 AM to 3 PM

Phone: +64 7 349 3770

This chic eatery is a haven for those seeking an urban escape. Their menu is surely to tantalize both your eyes and stomach. 

Try a bite of their New Zealand lamb rump, it’s rosiness, nestled on a bed of warm black rice and quinoa. The crunch of the quinoa, the juicy beetroot, and the smoky feta all comes tied together with the chickpea and mint salsa. 

For those who love beef, their scotch fillet is pretty good. The steak is rich, has a bit of a tang due to the horseradish, and sweetness from caramelized onions.

If you like burgers, give their Urbano chicken burger a try. Forget greasy patties and limp lettuce—we’re talking chicken dressed in a dukkah crust that adds a nutty flavour. The beetroot horopito relish and guacamole take this burger to the next level.

Pro Tip: Get their banana spring rolls! You won’t regret it.

4. White Tiger Restaurant

White Tiger Restaurant

Address: 1129 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Monday and Tuesday – 5 PM to 9 PM
  • Wednesday and Thursday – 12 PM to 2 PM & 5 PM to 9 PM 
  • Friday to Sunday – 12 PM to 2:30 PM & 5 PM to 9 PM

Phone: +64 27 367 5537

White Tiger takes you on an Asian food safari from the streets of China and beyond. 

Dip their plump bao buns into a pool of soy sauce. There’s many flavors you can choose from, but their bulgogi bao bun and karaage chicken bao bun are two of their best. 

And their dumplings will take you to the stars. With all the options there is to choose, it’s hard to choose just one type of dumpling. So—don’t. (Get as many as you like.)

They have your classic pork dumplings, but if you’re all about spice, go for their jalapeno dumplings.

Pro Tip: It’s all you can eat!

5. The Vnam Kitchen

The Vnam Kitchen

Address: 1220 Fenton Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Tuesday to Sunday – 11 AM to 3 PM & 5 PM to 9 PM

Phone: +64 7 343 6998

The Vnam Kitchen is a frenzy of Vietnamese fusion. Try a little bit of everything when you come here if you can. 

Grab your chopsticks and your spoon and dig into a steaming bowl of their beef stew. The broth is rich, and brimming with melt-in-your-mouth hunks of beef and the oh so fragrant star anise.

But no trip to the Vnam Kitchen is complete without having at least a banh mi. (Their grilled chicken or the classic pork is the best). 

Pro Tip: They have a selection of beers and wines that complement their food. So, take a look and see which beer or wine suits you. 

6. And Rice Japanese Kitchen

And Rice Japanese Kitchen

Address: 1196 Tutanekai Street, City, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 10 AM to 3 PM

Phone: +64 7 348 4411

And Rice isn’t your average Japanese restaurant—it’s a ramen dojo and sanctuary for all things sushi. 

Rice’s version of tantan ramen is a fiery masterpiece. You’ve got tender noodles, that peanut spicy broth, and a mountain of chili oil that will leave you drinking glass after glass of water (or something stronger).

Craving sushi? Get their salmon avocado sushi. And if you’re feeling adventurous, get their grilled eel. (Which is surprisingly not super slimy.)

Pro Tip: If you have never had Japanese curry, what are you doing with your life? No really—And Rice’s Japanese beef curry is amazingly flavourful and just like the way it’s done in Tokyo.

7. Capizzi Pizzeria

Capizzi Pizzeria

Address: 1198 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Monday & Thursday to Sunday – 12 PM to 9 PM
  • Tuesday and Wednesday – 4:30 PM to 9 PM 

Phone: (07) 347 0447

Capizzi Pizzeria’s pizza will rock your taste buds. Their menu is full of pizza possibilities. 

Their pulled pork pizza: BBQ sauce playing peek-a-boo with smoky bacon and juicy pulled pork—a flavour fusion that’ll make you rethink everything you thought you knew about pizza.

And meat lovers will fall in love with their meat feast. Mountains of pepperoni, Italian sausage, meatballs, ham—every bite will leave you weak in the knees. 

Pro Tip: Unleash your inner pizza maker and build your own pizza masterpiece! They have all the toppings you can dream of. From pineapple (yes, we said it) to gorgonzola, sun-dried tomatoes and even choriso. 

8. El Mexicano Zapata Cantina

El Mexicano Zapata Cantina

Address: 1148 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Sunday to Thursday – 11:30 AM to 9 PM 
  • Friday and Saturday – 11:30 AM to 10 PM

Phone: +64 7 213 1175

El Mexicano Zapata is not just another taco shack. El Zapata’s menu is a sizzling celebration of all things Mexican, bursting with fresh ingredients and flavors that will make your taste buds do the Macarena. 

Their zapata hot salad is a favourite. It’s a mountain of greens topped with your choice of juicy grilled protein (beef, chicken, pork, or even veggie!), Mexican slaw, and a fiesta of salsas.

For a cheesy, gooey good time, the quesadilla is your weapon of choice. Each dip in salsa verde or chipotle aioli is a flavor explosion, guaranteed to leave you humming mariachi tunes.

Pro Tip: Feeling adventurous? Get their ceviche de pescado (available only on weekends!), a Peruvian-inspired masterpiece. Imagine the freshest fish of the day swimming in a zesty lime marinade, kissed with garlic, ginger, and fire-roasted red onions. Each bite will transport you straight to the sun-drenched beaches of Mexico.

9. Poco Tapas and Wine

Poco Tapas and Wine

Address: 1183 Arawa Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Tuesday to Thursday – 4 PM to 10 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 4 PM to 12 PM 

Phone: +64 7 262 6119

Poco Tapas and Wine isn’t your average tapas joint. Here you can pierce your fork through garlicky prawns bathed in decadent Nduja butter and Madeira sauce. Rich and spicy.

If you’re craving something fresh and light, the togarashi-dusted tuna will rock your boat. The silky texture of tuna is kissed by a fiery togarashi spice and nestled on a bed of vibrant organic radish, green pea, and wasabi. 

And don’t worry, landlubbers—Poco has something for you too. The Poco fried chicken is a crispy, golden dream, its Berber spice giving it a warm, aromatic kick, perfectly balanced by the creamy saffron lime aioli. 

Crispy skin and juicy goodness—the perfect pair for good fried chicken.

Pro Tip: Don’t just nibble on tapas! Poco’s cocktails, wine, and spirits are a journey in themselves. Sip on a smoky mezcal cocktail that complements the spice, or let a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc dance with the seafood. 

10. Fresh Noodles

Fresh Noodles

Address: 1186 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Monday & Thursday to Sunday – 11 AM to 8 PM

Phone: +64 210 422 885

Fresh Noodles is a noodle nirvana, a dumpling dynasty, where hand-pulled perfection meets flavor explosions that will leave you slurping with satisfaction. 

Fresh Noodles’ beef noodle soup is a classic done right. It’s a steaming bowl brimming with rich broth, tender slices of beef that practically melt in your mouth, and silky, hand-pulled noodles that dance with every spoonful. 

But no noodle adventure is complete without dumplings, and Fresh Noodles delivers the goods like nobody’s business. Plump, pillowy pockets of deliciousness, each one a juicy surprise of pork, prawn, or vegetarian goodness. 

Steamed or pan-fried, these little flavor bombs are guaranteed to burst in your mouth and leave you reaching for more.

Pro Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of pan-fried dumplings. Have more than one serving. (Don’t worry, we won’t judge).

11. Pig & Whistle

Pig & Whistle

Address: 1182 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Hours: 

  • Sunday to Wednesday – 11:30 AM to 10:30 PM
  • Thursday – 11:30 AM to 11 PM
  • Friday & Saturday- 11:30 AM to 1 AM

Phone: +64 7 347 3025

Pig and Whistle is a pub haven for hearty appetites. It’s a place where meaty masterpieces and towering pies will have you in heaven (before you even reach the dessert menu).

The slow-cooked brisket is a must-try. Each forkful melts in your mouth like a buttery cloud, accompanied by roasted kumara, juicy mushrooms, and a bacon jam that will make you question whether you’d ever be vegetarian. (just for a moment).

For the pub food purist, the steak, ale, and mushroom pot pie is a great option. Steak bathed in a winter ale gravy, nestled in a buttery puff pastry, and surrounded by creamy mash—delicious, and a reminder that grandma’s cooking might have competition.

Pro Tip: Don’t leave without getting a slice of their Dutch apple crumble pie. Imagine warm, gooey apples nestled under a buttery, golden crumble crust, served with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.