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 around town are puffing once again, hot pools are getting more love, 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.  

Here for the brekky & lunch

Citron Café

Citron owners Chanchal and Varun love to look after others and it shows in their delicious food. While Varun runs the front of house and brews up excellent coffees, talented chef Chanchal creates dishes that not only incorporate her Indian culture but cater to local palates – they’re Kiwi classics with an Indian twist. Try the Warm Winter Porridge which adds a beautiful sweet spice to delicious fresh seasonal fruit and homemade granola.

Scope Rotorua

Delicious coffee + award-winning service + possibly the most overflowing sweets cabinet in town = a winning combination. 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.

After-five faves

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 roasted heritage pumpkin with tahini yoghurt, rayu and sorrel, Brussels sprouts with bacon jam, ajo blanco and pecorino, BBQ port ribs with tamarind BBQ sauce, peanut dukkha and yoghurt, and so much more.
Bookings recommended.

The Fainting Goat

This is your go-to for gourmet pizzas by the foot (they’ve got seven on the menu), finger-licking wings, more gastropub fare, 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, especially near the massive fireplace.

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.


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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