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The Insider’s Foodie Guide to Taupō

We don’t say things like this lightly, but we do think you should prepare yourself to be highly impressed by the food and beverages on offer in Taupō. Because whether you’re after fine dining with wine pairing, a perfectly cooked steak, shared platters or a great burger and beer, our well-seasoned town has it all.

Large groups, family-friendly cafes and restaurants and cosy tables for two, you’ll always find a seat that’s just right for you. And from the lake to the mountains, there’s usually some pretty epic scenery to go as a side dish to your main meal.

Here’s our roundup of what you can find next time you’re in our beautiful town: 


 

Cafe Culture

The cafe culture here in Taupō is a vibrant one, with all bases covered. For a front-row seat to the lake, head to Cafe Baku, where the coffee is outstanding, the salad bar is always fresh and the baked goods are dreamy. On the bustling Te Heu Heu Street, you’ll find Replete Cafe & Store, which is a favourite destination for coffee lovers and foodies alike.

Baked With Love is infamous for its incredible doughnuts and cakes, but you’ll also find plenty of other incredible food in their cabinet and on the menu.

The Storehouse food is seasonal and soulful, and ranges from delicious menu items such as the Buddah Bowl, to The Mount Benedict and fried chicken waffles.

Victoria's Cafe Kitchen Bar consistently serves up delicious food and excellent coffee in friendly, relaxed surroundings. Their fluffies also come highly recommended - even for the not-so-little kids.

Industrie French Kitchen, out by the Napier/Taupō turnoff, is an absolute must-visit for exquisite French pastries, baguettes and a delicious blackboard menu. It’s very popular with locals, and visitors passing through.

For something a little different, turn your cafe experience into an arty one at Lava Glass Cafe. With an extensive menu, comfortable couches to relax on and a glassblowing gallery full of beautiful, colourful masterpieces, you can also venture outside to the glass sculpture garden. And, if your timing’s right, you might also get to view the glass-blowing process with artists at work in the studio.

For another visual and edible feast, check out L’Arte Cafe and Gallery. Set in a beautifully landscaped garden, here you can enjoy a bite to eat and then browse their array of crafts and collectibles, some of which are made locally.

A new addition to the foodie scene in Taupō is Cafe Lacus, which you’ll find at The Landing, near the airport. Its modern, fresh decor is the perfect accompaniment to its a la carte menu, delicious cabinet food, sweet treats and wide range of drinks - hot and cold.

If your tummy is rumbling for a big breakfast, make sure you try Fusion Cafe in Horomatangi Street, where you can sit indoors or out.

And if you love waffles, you need to head to Roots Waffle Cafe, opposite Tongariro Domain. Their super light and fluffy waffles are made the authentic Brussels way and make the ideal base for an assortment of toppings!

Last but certainly not least, Cozy Corner is the perfect place to stop by for a coffee and healthy feed. Sit in their sunny, sheltered courtyard and enjoy plenty of options for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, sugar-free and keto.

Bars & Restaurants

If you’ve earned yourself a brew or a meal, or both, you’ll be pleased to know that Taupō is well-stocked with bars and restaurants catering to all tastes. Vine Eatery & Bar is a popular spot for Friday night cocktails, and their menu is extensive, with a wide selection of tapas, risottos, mains and desserts.

Plateau Bar & Eatery prides itself on innovative food that highlights the best of the season, and The Bistro’s aim is to provide Taupō locals and visitors alike with a European-style dining experience, with honest, tasty food made from fresh local produce.

The award-winning The Brantry is the perfect place to enjoy a night out. With cuisine that is unique to Brantry and a sophisticated wine list to match, the cottage is cosy in the winter, and the outdoor courtyard is glorious in the summer.

On the edge of town, you’ll find Embra, a modern and contemporary restaurant with an ever-changing menu that is designed to reflect the seasons.

And opposite the giant trout, Roquette Restaurant and Bar is the perfect place for a drink and meal with friends.

At Lake Bistro, you’ll find an enclosed terrace setting where you can enjoy grandstand views of the lake and mountains no matter the weather. Their cocktail menu is ideal for a pre or post-dinner drink, and when you’re feeling peckish, you can choose from sharing platters, pizzas and mains.

Away from the hustle and bustle of town, the Mole & Chicken is a warm and welcoming restaurant in the suburb of Hilltop. It’s where the locals head for a drink in the sunshine, a hearty meal by the fire, and to catch a live game on the big screen.

Mavericks Gastropub has a food and drinks menu as long as your arm, so rest assured that there’s something for everyone, young and old. They also boast an awesome beer garden, where you can take in the most magnificent views while watching over the mini golf next door.

Lakefront Dining

If there’s one thing we do particularly well in Taupō, it’s dining by the lake. First up is Two Mile Bay Sailing Club, where you can’t get any closer to the water unless you’re in it. Their wood-fired pizzas are some of the best around, and the vibe is always pumping with live music on weekends and throughout the summer.

On the main lakefront strip in town, you’ll find Jimmy Coops Lakehouse, the flagship restaurant for Lakeman Brewery and Farm. You may be interested to know that the same grain that brews the beer also feeds the cows, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more local burger and beer combo anywhere else.

Dixie Browns is a firm favourite for many locals and visitors, with an incredible menu catering to all tastes and the kids too!

And just around the corner, with the same lake and mountain views, is Waterside. With an array of hearty meals, you could even just stop by for dessert - their freakshakes are amazing.

Jolly Good Fellows is a friendly, English-style pub that is front and centre along the lake - on a warm summer's evening, you could have a meal in their outdoor courtyard, then pop over the road for a swim! Edgewater Restaurant is also just a hop, skip and jump to the water’s edge (it’s all in the name, really), and here you can delight in a bespoke menu that touches on all of the food groups with refined elegance.

Okay, so Huka Prawn Park may not be on the lake, but it does feature a pretty impressive view of the mighty Waikato River. In fact, you won’t find anywhere else to dine riverside in Taupō, which makes this place a great spot to enjoy a family-friendly meal.

Sweet Treats

In between your main meals, you might fancy a tasty treat, and that’s quite alright with us! Here’s where you can find something to satisfy those sweet cravings.

Simple Bakes Taupō is all about homemade goodness, with a selection of mouth-watering baked treats, made fresh onsite daily. From cupcakes to cookies, coffees and cakes, you’ll find it all here!

Kona Kones is a new kid in town, and it’s where you’ll find all the ice cream that your heart desires. But if donuts are your thing, then make sure you head to The Doughnut Box to satisfy your cravings! Out at The Landing is Suga Mummas, a dessert bar serving gelatos, premium ice creams, sorbets, deluxe thick shakes and fancy treats - perfect for a post-mini golf indulgence.

And along the lakefront is The New Yorker food cart - you can’t go past their famous ice cream pizza! It’s an absolute must when you’re in town.

Speciality Foods

When you come to Taupō, make sure you indulge in some of our local, freshly made products.

For organic fruit and vegetables, chocolates, honey, freshly baked bread and other artisan delights, head to Taupō's community farmers' and craft market, Market Central Taupō. The market operates on Sunday mornings at Northcroft Reserve in Taupō town, and here’s where you can stock up on all sorts of wonderful local eats and drinks.

At Huka Honey Hive, you’ll find an array of honey products - some locally sourced and others from all around New Zealand. You can also enjoy their onsite cafe, with lots of special ‘honeyed’ food and beverages.

We’re also proud to have two local coffee roasters in town. Volcanic Coffee can be purchased at specialty food merchants, down at Market Central, or ordered online. And Sacred Grounds Coffee has a roastery in town, where you can buy freshly roasted beans and purchase a barista-made coffee while you wait!

For gourmet food and wines galore, check out The Merchant of Taupō. Their shelves are loaded with an exciting and delicious assortment of local and imported specialty goods.

Local Brews

While the food in Taupō is incredible, so is the ever-growing list of local breweries.

Beehave Craft Meadery is a boutique operator that brews beer by fermenting honey mixed with water. And at the Brewbar on Spa Road, you can learn all about it, taste it, enjoy it and then take it home. Awesome!

Lakeman Brewing Co. is an award-winning producer of craft beer, and from the supermarket to local bars, restaurants and liquor stores, you have no excuse not to grab a six-pack when you’re in town. Luckily there’s also stockists all around New Zealand, so you can always get your hands on it when you return home too!

The Crafty Trout Brewery brews all their beers and ciders onsite in downtown Taupō, and you’re always welcome to stop by and watch them do their stuff. They’ve won many awards for their efforts, and if you visit their gift shop, you can buy your own batch of winning brews.


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