A Pilot’s Guide to the Best Eating Spots in Rotorua

A Pilot’s Guide to the Best Eating Spots in Rotorua

Rotorua’s allure is not limited to volcanic landscapes, cultural gems, lakes, and forests: there’s also a thriving restaurant scene. We’ve asked our local pilots and Volcanic Air team members their favourites to put together a ‘pilot’s guide’ to the best restaurants and cafes in Rotorua (turns out our aviation experts are also gastronomic enthusiasts!). So before or after your scenic flight, check out one or two, and let your pilot know what you think of the local nosh when you next fly with us.



Brunch is in an institution in Rotorua – and our pilots can tell you which cafes deliver it to perfection.


Third Place Café ;  

Being able to dine absolute lakefront is the ultimate Rotorua experience and the food here is as lovely as the view.


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Third Place Café

Tim, Chief Helicopter Pilot: “I love it for breakfast and brunch. It is best on the weekends when the place is bustling with locals. Great service, great portions, and price. The service is friendly. The custard slice is worth the drive from Auckland and back – it has stunning views of Ohinemutu, Mokokia island and St-Faith’s church.”


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Ciabatta Bakery,  

One of the most high-quality bakeries in Rotorua, the extensive array of rolls, croissants, cronuts, loaves and pastries are all absolutely fresh and delicious. This place has a very good reputation with locals, so get amongst!


Ciabatta Bakery

Sam, Helicopter Pilot: “I love it because it is located close to the Redwoods Forest and it’s the perfect place for breakfast or lunch before I hit the trails. Love the sammies and especially the long dog! It’s has a great crowd and load of mountain bikers – definitely the place to be if you want to get the low down on the best tracks in the forest.”


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Cafe de Paris:  

Experience a slice of France when you visit this authentic French café in the CBD – the owners from Lyon and Pau in France have created an amazing French gastronomic experience right here in Rotorua, and at very reasonable prices. They have a wide menu from almond croissants and big breakfasts, to toasted sandwiches and French soup.

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Cafe de Paris


Steven, General Manager, Float Plane Pilot: “I have three passions in life, my family, flying, and French Culture. Le Cafe de Paris is a quick trip to Paris with Valérie and Alain. A great breakfast or brunch spot in Rotorua. The crepes and croissants are délicieuses!  It’s also the best kept secret for lunch, get in early and grab your baguette-sandwich for lunch on the go at the best price in town! Get there on a Saturday morning for their famed French Chat if you feel like practising your high-school French.”


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Lunch and Dinner

The Landing Cafe;  

This is one of the most relaxing and peaceful dining experiences in the area – you have views of the lake and the mountain right there in front of you.

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The Landing Cafe

Kelsey, administrator. “I love the peace and quiet of this stunning cafe on the shores of Lake Tarawera. A great place to duck in after a long walk or simply for a stunning weekend drive. Grab a coffee or lunch and dip your toes in the refreshing waters of one of Rotorua’s most famous lakes.”


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Atticus Finch

Eat Streat is Rotorua’s food alley, a covered-in walkway for al fresco evening dining whatever the weather. The outdoor area is lit with fluorescent lights, with a thermally-heated walkway, and has 14 different eateries and bars. Atticus Finch is one of the gems here.

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Atticus Finch

Callum, Float Plane Pilot: “Atticus finch is my spot. I’m a romantic and I love the intimacy of this great dining spot on Eat Streat.  A great place to have lunch or dinner for a romantic tete-a-tete and still enjoy the hustle and bustle of Eat Streat. They have a great selection of wines and it the sharing plates are great way to sample a whole range of plates.”


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Terrace Kitchen,  

Terrace Kitchen is a classy, unique spot – think light-filled yet intimate spaces, natural timbers and there is a beautiful courtyard for al fresco dining should you desire. Much of the food is picked from the restaurant’s own garden.

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Terrace Kitchen

Dorien, Director: “Terrace is my spot, it has the sophistication of Melbourne with the conviviality of Rotorua. Great spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it has a seasonal menu, and chef Timo Dicker creates some amazing food. Ask Scooby for his signature cocktails and mocktails – truly the best in town! What’s more, Terrace Airside at the airport is probably the best airport cafe in the world!!”


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Ambrosia Restaurant,  

Great prices, great food and a lovely atmosphere: this is another winner on Eat Streat.


Ambrosia Restaurant

Phil, Managing Director, Floatplane pilot: “Ambrosia is my spot on Eat Streat in Rotorua. It has a great ambience and is a popular spot for locals. They serve great food and a nightly three-course dinner special. Fridays have happy hour from 5pm to 7pm with discounted drinks and cocktails. With live music on weekends, it’s a great spot for drinks or dinner.”


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We hope you manage to visit at least one or two of these foodie spots while you’re in Rotorua, and we look forward to hearing your impressions on your next scenic flight with us at Volcanic Air.