8 amazing restaurants in Rotorua

Discover the best Rotorua restaurants with our in-depth dive into the area’s food scene! Whether you’re looking for the best brunches in town or a reliable dinner spot, we’ve got you covered.

Rotorua is located in the Bay of Plenty, on the southern shores of Lake Rotorua. It’s an incredible geothermal hotspot (that’s best known for its mud pools and natural hot springs) and is one of the most popular tourist spots in the North Island.

But did you know that Rotorua also has some seriously amazing restaurants? Offering everything from contemporary New Zealand cuisine to global flavours, Rotorua nails it all.

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The Best Restaurants in Rotorua

Our Favourite Restaurants in Rotorua for Breakfast, Brunch, and Lunch

Pātaka Kai

If you’ve ever dreamed of dining right by a geyser (but don’t fancy bringing a picnic to Yellowstone’s Old Faithful), then Pātaka Kai is the next best thing (or better – in our books!).

This restaurant is known for its commitment to classic New Zealand flavours, super-fresh ingredients, and pleasantly modern décor, and it’s just a minute from the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.

Their brunch is served from 9 am to 2 pm on Sundays, where you’ll be treated to a wonderful buffet that includes fresh pastries, fried bread, smoked salmon, and some of the most mouth-watering sticky ribs you’ll ever try.

Alongside the great eats, you’ll also be able to order champagne, signature cocktails, or a selection of soft drinks and juices to really get the party started.

Our advice?

Keep dinner small the night before, as you’ll want to leave rolling through the door with a loosened belt buckle!

Breakfast Highlights:

  • Fried bread with kawakawa compote
  • Smoked Akaroa salmon with Hollandaise sauce
  • Sticky five-spice ribs with seasonal vegetables.

20 Hemo Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua 3010

Delicious food served on the table inside Pātaka Kai restaurant while a steam at a distance comes out of the forest
Dine at Te Puia.

The Regent Room

For scrumptious pancakes, beautiful bennies, and a refined interior, you can’t do better than The Regent Room.

Considered one of the best restaurants in Rotorua for a delicious brunch, scoring a table here generally feels like winning the lottery – well, almost.

Their brunch runs between 7 am and 11 am each day, and you’ll find a selection of award-winning dishes taking centre stage on their contemporary menu packed with delicious New Zealand flavours.

When you walk in, you’ll be met with tables draped in white linen tablecloths and a grand door that opens onto a sprawling patio (perfect for those balmy summer evenings). In the winter, you should ask for a table near the indoor/outdoor fireplace that’s nestled by reclining French sofas.

Whatever you choose to order, be sure to pair your meal with a few signature cocktails or a tipple from their boutique wine list!

Breakfast Highlights:

  • Classic eggs benedict with ham, bacon, or salmon
  • Buttermilk pancakes
  • Toasted granola sundae layered with berry compote.

Ground Floor/1191 Pukaki Street, Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua 3010

Strawberries, olives, bacon, and syrup within layers of pancakes in the regent Room.

The Most Incredible Restaurants in Rotorua for Dinner

Skyline Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar

If you’re looking for upscale restaurants in Rotorua for an all-important special occasion, head up to Skyline Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar.

This popular spot has received two 2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards for its melt-in-the-mouth Wagyu Angus scotch fillet steak, making it the place to visit for high-quality meats in Rotorua.

Perched atop Mount Ngongotaha, Stratosfare promises incredible panoramas over Lake Rotorua from its various floor-to-ceiling windows.

Plus, it gives you a reasonable excuse to ride the famous Skyline Gondola and luge which is a perfect activity for kids too!

The menu revolves around prime cuts, locally sourced seafood, and seasonal vegetables, and you’ll also have the option of indulging in their enormous buffet if you’re less partial to a la carte menus.

Primarily drawing inspiration from European and Asian cuisine, this place is one of the most versatile restaurants in Rotorua. Combining delicious food and amazing views, we think it’s well worth visiting.

Dinner Menu Highlights:

  • Steamed green-lipped mussels
  • Wild Fiordland venison steak
  • Akaroa salmon steak.

178 Fairy Springs Road, Fairy Springs, Rotorua 3015

A kid sitting on his father's lap while being fed, as her mother watches her happily in Stratosfare Restaurant.

Atticus Finch

Atticus Finch is another one of our favourite restaurants in Rotorua. It serves contemporary New Zealand Cuisine in a decidedly more cool, casual, and playful atmosphere. Here, you can drink and eat in a relaxed dining room without making sacrifices on the flavour front.

There’s a strong emphasis on sharing at Atticus Finch, and although you can pick up a selection of starters and light bites, you’d be missing out if you didn’t go for one of the many sharing platters.

Hey – sharing is caring, after all.

While you’re here, don’t sleep on the cocktail menu and craft beers. You’ll find a few local brews making an appearance and the resident mixologists know how to serve things shaken and not stirred.

Dinner Menu Highlights:

  • Pork dumplings
  • Ginger sesame fried chicken.

Sharing Plates:

  • Spice-rubbed lamb rump, aubergine puree, tabouli salad, feta crumb, cherry tomatoes.

Eat Street, 3010/1106 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010

People hanging around with drinks and chats in Atticus Finch.

Sabroso Restaurant

If you’re familiar with the typical tacos and burritos of Mexico, why not try a spot of South American food?

Since opening its doors in 2007, Sabroso has been considered one of the go-to restaurants in Rotorua for foodies wanting a taste of Argentina and Chile.

Dig into their sprawling tapas plates, which are rustic and flavourful, while you carefully peruse their menu of margaritas, sangrias, mojitos, and international wines.

The “chef’s daily seafood selection” is worth a second glance, but you won’t be disappointed with any of the perfectly cooked meats, vegetarian salads, or cheese-stuffed delights.

The menu is small and carefully curated, so you can rest assured that everything has been quality-checked and patron-approved!

Dinner Menu Highlights:

  • Mini crab and corn empanadas
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Chimichangas with chicken and cheese.

1184 Haupapa Street, Rotorua 3010

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For the best pizzas and pasta in town (with a side of authentic service thrown in), you’ll want to add Leonardo’s to your list of the best restaurants in Rotorua to try this year.

Everything on the menu is made fresh each day, and they try to switch things up every couple of months to take advantage of seasonal flavours and sustainable sourcing.

Their pizzas are all a decent size at 12″, making them a perfect sharing size for lunch, while the pasta menu is packed with unique recipes made using traditional recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Expect to see a few spicy plates of pasta, plenty of cannelloni, and a few portions of ravioli making an appearance here too.

With an inviting atmosphere, laid-back staff, and some of the best Italian food in the North Island, this is somewhere that we’ll recommend again and again.

Dinner Menu Highlights:

  • Steamed mussels
  • Cannelloni
  • Creamy winter risotto
  • Quattro formaggi.

Eat Street, 1099 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua

Fork twisting a pasta with sauce and meat served in Leonardos.

The Factory Smokehouse and Grill

Another great Rotorua dining option is The Factory Smokehouse and Grill. This place is made for foodies who love burgers that are made with top-quality ingredients and a whole lotta love.

This restaurant is entirely uncomplicated, and the atmosphere is laid-back and relaxed (which blends perfectly with its old-school grill menu).

Carnivores can choose from a selection of juicy chicken or beef burgers, but veggies won’t be left in the dark either. With several tasty vegetarian options available on their extensive menu, you won’t have to settle for a limp salad to fulfil your dietary requirements at The Factory Smokehouse & Grill.

Pair your meal with a craft beer or a smooth cider and you’ll have the ultimate evening of indulgence.

Dinner Menu Highlights:

  • ‘Enter the Matrix’ burger
  • Buttermilk chicken burger
  • ‘Token vege’ burger.

170 Old Taupo Road, Utuhina, Rotorua 3015

Fries, corn, grill, buffalo wings, and a salad served by the Factory Smokehouse and Grill.


Serving up contemporary European fare and Mediterranean favourites, Ambrosia serves tasty food at reasonable prices. They’ve also won several accolades from 2021’s Rotorua Hospitality Awards, so you know you’re onto a good thing there.

This is one of the Rotorua restaurants that’s best known for its seasonal specials. You’ll even find mulled wine appearing on the menu when Christmas time rolls around.

The sharing plates are their most popular offerings, and you’ll find everything from clam chowder to smoked chicken tacos available to enjoy tapas-style. For diners that believe eating should be a solo activity, opt for one of their regular mains which include pasta, burgers, and meat-based dishes.

Dinner Menu Highlights:

  • Ora-king salmon
  • Bahn mi burger
  • Pasta of the day.

Sharing Plates:

  • Clam chowder
  • Smoked chicken tacos.

Eat Street, 1096 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010

A fantastic meal with sliced tender meat and all the good things in life served in Ambrosia Restaurant.

Whatever food you fancy, these delicious restaurants in Rotorua promise to fill you right up, especially after indulging in the best nighttime activities the area has to offer.

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