Top Restaurants

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” (Virginia Woolf). So is the philosophy of our best Great Lake Taupo restaurants that offer the finest culinary delights.

Not only is the food unbelievably good, but the dining experiences are unforgettable. From cosy New Zealand lodge-style restaurants to ethnic cuisine and fine dining, we have picked out our top restaurants of the region.

The Bistro

The Bistro produces simple but delicious contemporary New Zealand cuisine with the freshest regional ingredients. Since opening a couple of years ago, The Bistro has consistently been a shining beacon at the forefront of top cuisine in Taupo.

Chef and owner Jude Messenger is passionate about good food and his goal has always been to bless the community by providing it with a Eurpoean-style dining experience at a price the average person can afford.

The Bistro’s service is relaxed and non-pretentious but impeccably good, and staff have won industry service awards in the past. Find out more about The Bistro here.

Vine Eatery & Bar

Vine is the place to be seen on a Friday night. Its popularity stems from its swanky interior, cocktail lounge and easy tapas-style menu where you can select several small dishes to maximise your taste experience. A full a la carte menu is also available for those who want a more traditional approach to dining.

Vine also specialises in craft beer, fine wine and whiskey with the huge selection reflecting over 25 years in hospitality. This is an ideal place to cosy up and relax in front of the fire in autumn and enjoy a cocktail and platter of nibbles. Find out more Vine Eatery & Bar here.

The Brantry

Cosy and charming, The Brantry Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a night out whether with friends or for that romantic evening you have been planning.

This award-winning restaurant has a reputation for top quality service & cuisine, influenced by a wealth of stunning, fresh New Zealand produce. 

Located in an original 1950s town house, The Brantry offers a variety of dining experiences from the intimacy of the Cellar, Alfresco Dining in the garden to the open plan upper level for larger groups. Find out more about The Brantry here.

Lakeland House

This restaurant, situated next to Braxmere Lodge accommodation, is very much a destination restaurant. It is as much about the food as it is about the glorious location, which is right on the southern shore of Lake Taupo, affording stunning views across the lake towards Taupo.

Dine outside on the terrace with the perfect lawn rolling down in front of you to the lake’s edge, or eat inside next to the picture windows while soaking up the views. Dishes on the a la carte menu have been carefully matched with the perfect New Zealand wine and the seafood selection is impressive. Find out more about Lakeland House here.

Edgewater Restaurant

The elegant Edgewater Restaurant is located within Millennium Manuels hotel on the lakefront in Taupo. This restaurant has the perfect combination of stunning views and impeccable food, with a longstanding reputation as one of the best restaurants in the region.

You’ll find award winning local and international cuisine, a cosy crackling fire in the cooler months and simply stunning sunset views. Probably one of the most romantic places you could choose to have dinner in Taupo! Find out more about Edgewater Restaurant here.

Malabar Beyond India

Malabar has created a taste experience so different from usual Indian cuisine, with their food described as ‘modern Indian fusion’. The chef hails from a region of southern India near the Malabar Coast, and has mastered the fine art of fusing the essence of the traditional Indian cuisine from his region with modern European cuisine.

The result is a menu of dishes with a distinct layering of flavours. So different to the usual Indian cuisine experience, this restaurant shouldn’t be missed when you visit Taupo. Find out more about Malabar here.

Lotus Thai Restaurant

This traditional Thai restaurant in Taupo has an extensive menu prepared by Thai chefs. You can expect great flavours, good portion sizes and reasonable prices. There is something for all palettes as well as vegetarians and vegans. The service is noteworthy in Lotus Thai - staff are friendly, attentive and dressed in traditional Thai costume. Find out more about Lotus Thai here.

Plateau Restaurant and Bar

Plateau is another of Taupo’s top restaurants that is a popular place for visitors and locals to meet. The excellent food represents ‘real New Zealand’ cuisine, and the décor embraces the uniqueness of the Central Plateau region with copper, leather, dark wood and pumice fittings and features.

Dishes frequently feature fresh local ingredients including Taupo’s own brand of beef, and the all-day bar menu is inspired by casual dining and the shared eating experience. The food is complimented by a great range of craft beers and fine wine. This restaurant and bar should be your pick if you want a casual place to meet friends and enjoy the best of fresh regional cuisine. Find out more about Plateau here.


S M K or Southern Meat Kitchen is an authentic Southern American restaurant focusing on three signature meats cooked to perfection. S M K slow-cooks beef brisket, pulled pork and shredded chicken on an American wood-fire smoker.

On the side, try the smoked mac 'n' cheese, pickled coleslaw and southern dirty rice. Save room for jalapeno-and-cheddar cornbread, served in a skillet with addictive honey butter.

Wash it all down with one of the specialty high-end rums or a glass of locally brewed Escape craft beer. You can dine inside or Al Fresco. Find out more about S M K here.

Mole & Chicken

The Mole & Chicken is arguably the best neighbourhood family restaurant in Taupo. Located in the heart of the suburb of Hilltop, the consistently good food and service has made it hugely popular with locals. The fresh cuisine menu includes a daily fresh fish dish, specials and a nutritious childrens’ menu.

This is a great place to watch sport on the big screen, sit by the log fire or dine outside on the deck with beautiful views across the lake. There are many bonuses to dining at this neighbourhood local including easy, free parking and a complimentary shuttle service if you’re not driving. Find out more about the Mole and Chicken here.

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