Yummy Eats in New Zealand and Where to Find Them

When you visit New Zealand, your taste buds are in for a treat. From the big cities to the small towns, you’ll find lots of places for tasty eats that cater to every palate.

Below is a list of my favorite bites in New Zealand and where you can enjoy them for yourself. As an aside, I’m a vegetarian and Hubby has to eat gluten-free. We were delighted by all of the restaurants and cafes that had wonderful options for both of us.

North Island

CBK Craft Bar & Kitchen, Rotorua

At CBK Craft Bar & Kitchen, you can enjoy a mix of pub classics and New Zealand specialties in Rotorua’s popular Eat Street. It’s a great place for a casual and tasty meal.

I had an open-faced vegan sandwich with fries. Everything was delicious. And this was where I got my first introduction to New Zealand’s love affair with aioli. 

As an aside, when we were here I discovered that I could control the music playing in the restaurant with an app. Hubby caught on when the music suddenly moved from modern pop to an endless supply of Darcy’s favorite artists. LOL.

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Large rectangular plate with French fries and an open-faced sandwich topped with aioli and fried onions.

Hobbiton Party Tent

If you’re a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” movies, then Hobbiton Movie Set is a must-visit. Located in Matamata, this guided tour experience offers a magical trip to Middle-earth’s Shire.

They offer a variety of tour options, and we did the Movie Set Tour + Meal Combo that featured lunch in the Party Tent. The tent serves a delicious buffet-style feast, that features many tasty dishes suitable for vegetarians and those eating gluten-free. The staff there took great care of Hubby’s dietary needs.

To be honest, we weren’t expecting a lot from this meal, but it ended up being one of our favorite food experiences from our entire trip.

Buffet line decorated to look like a hobbit party from the Lord of the Rings movies.

Dixie Browns, Taupo

Dixie Browns in Taupo combines a great lakefront location with a diverse menu featuring a range of dishes. We really enjoyed the food here. No one at our table (we were dining with another couple) had anything but good things to say about their order.

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MOOMAA, Marton

MOOMAA in Marton is a charming and eclectic eatery and makes a great stop on the way from Rotorua or Taupo to Wellington. They have gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

The atmosphere is great, and you can’t beat their coffee or their cheese scones. It’s an excellent place for a relaxed lunch or a coffee break.

Cheese and herb scone on a white plate with pats of butter. Next to it on a wooden table is a small black cup of black coffee.

Fidel’s Cafe, Wellington

Fidel’s Cafe on Wellington’s quirky Cuba Street is a well-loved café known for its laid-back vibe and great coffee. You’ll find a variety of dishes on the menu, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Fidel’s is also a popular brunch spot, so we did have to wait a bit for a table for Sunday lunch. I enjoyed their Scrambled Tofu while Hubby ordered the Fidel’s Feast. Everything there was delicious.

Fresh greens arranged on top of a bed of scrambled tofu and green beans.

South Island

Sandfly Cafe, Te Anau

At Sandfly Cafe in Te Anau, you’ll enjoy a cozy atmosphere with a great selection of homemade baked goods and coffee. They offer a variety of breakfast and lunch options that cater to different dietary needs.

The staff here are great, and we loved the food. In fact, we liked it so much that we got some cabinet treats to go and then returned the next morning for more coffee and some “second breakfast.”

Rectangular white plate with a serving of eggplant parmesan on the left. On the right is a green salad topped with diced yellow bell peppers and cucumbers along with a small pita cut in half.

Patagonia, Queenstown

While exploring Queenstown stop in at Patagonia for some great ice cream, truffles, or coffee. Everything we tried there was delicious, and there was plenty of seating. Head upstairs for a table with a view of the lake while you enjoy your treats.

Interior of an ice cream and chocolate shop with a lengthy counter displaying the treats.

Stratosfare, Queenstown

Stratosfare in Queenstown offers more than just a meal; it’s a wonderful dining experience. Located at the top of the Skyline Gondola, the restaurant offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Wakatipu.

The combination of wonderful food and beautiful views makes Stratosfare a must-visit in our opinion. We chose to get the premium dinner so that we would be guaranteed a window table and booked our reservation early enough in the day that we could enjoy the winter sunset over Queenstown while we ate. Of course, the full package includes a ride up and back down to town on the Skyline Gondola.

Two mocktails sitting on a table in front of a window. Through the window you can see a large lake.
We enjoyed mocktails with our dinner at Stratosfare in Queenstown. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Fergburger, Queenstown

Fergburger is a legendary spot in Queenstown known for its massive, delicious burgers. And don’t overlook the fries, which were a highlight of my Fergburger meal. The menu offers a wide variety of options ranging from the classic beef burger to vegetarian and even venison.

There will most likely be a line, but it’s well worth the wait. Seating at Fergburger is quite limited so grab a burger to go and enjoy it by the lake for the perfect Queenstown experience. If the weather is too cold to enjoy sitting outside, do what we did and take your meal back to your hotel room for a relaxed lunch away from the tourist crowds.

A very large burger with ruffly green lettuce, a fluffy white bun, and fried tofu.
Fergburgers are HUUUUGE. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Amigos, Wanaka

Amigos in Wanaka was a great way to kick back for dinner after an afternoon of exploring this fun town.

I highly recommend trying two or three of the soft tacos. There are a ton of options to choose from. I got the Coliflor (cauliflower), Ceboletta (tempur spring onion), and the Tofu Frito (fried tofu). The Coliflor and Ceboletta were both delicious, but the fried tofu taco just didn’t do it for me

Three soft tacos, each in it's own small black dish, and each with different colorful fillings.

Big Fig, Wanaka

Big Fig in Wanaka focuses on wholesome, slow-cooked food that’s packed with flavor. The portion sizes are generous, and the food is quite satisfying. Their menu changes daily, but you can always expect a range of Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, including roasted meats and salads. 

We stopped in for breakfast and ate really well. Hubby got the medium plate so he could choose several of the hot food options. They LOADED him up. I chose the lemon ricotta pancake and couldn’t even eat all of it. It was one of the best things I ever put in my mouth.

Small black cast iron skillet on a white plate. Inside the skillet is a pancake filled with blueberries topped with white yogurt, lemon curd, and pistachios.

Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon Shop, Lake Pukaki

Don’t miss your chance to try local, freshwater king salmon when traveling near Lake Pukaki. The Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon Shop is a popular stop for those traveling to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. You’ll find the shop on the shores of Lake Pukaki near the Punatahu Visitor Center.

Hubby tried their smoked salmon and quite liked it. It made a great addition to the grocery supplies we had picked up in Twizel for our three days in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park.

Alpine Restaurant, Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

You’ll find a mix of fine dining and stunning scenery at the Alpine Restaurant in the Hermitage Hotel at Aoraki Mount Cook. We had the pleasure of enjoying their dinner buffet on our first night in the national park.

We loved the enormous windows with perfect views of the mountains, and the food was great. There were plenty of gluten-free options as well as vegetarian options. In fact, there were so many great things to eat that I got full before I could try everything I wanted to!

You’ll need to make a reservation to get your preferred seating time, and this meal is definitely on the pricey side, so you’ll want to plan ahead in your trip budget for dinner here. We thought it was worth the money to give it a try and for sunset views of the mountains as we ate. 

The bottom line

Although we didn’t travel to New Zealand for the food our trip included a lot of delicious detours. We made a lot of tasty memories that will stick with us for a long time. I’m sure that when we go back someday, we will revisit some of these great places to eat.

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