A vacation in Taupō is always a good time. Whether it’s summer on the lake or winter enjoying its geothermal delights, it’s always a lovely place for a weekend getaway. But where to eat when you’re there?
We asked well-known culinary duos what they recommended and got some great advice – from great fish and chips to multi-course tasting dinners.
Paul Froggatt and Katherine Froggatt-Ong
Paul has been the executive chef of the prestigious Huka Lodge for nine years and his wife Katherine runs Asian cooking classes under the Coriander Lime Kitchen banner. Here are their choices:
* Go beyond the lake to Taupō
* Back Your Backyard: The Natural Gems of Taupō
* Cooking class with the chef who took Huka Lodge to the list of the best restaurants in the world
Embra is one of the new places to go in Taupō. The chef is a gentleman called Phill, who worked briefly here at Huka Lodge as well as Poronui Lodge. He was in Scotland but recently returned home and opened a small restaurant with very good food. The five course tasting menu is excellent and it’s a great place for a nice sit down dinner and an evening. It really is good, honest cooking.
Thai Delight is ideal for authentic Thai flavors. When we take the family we always order the tom yum soup and the kids love the pad thai. In terms of curries, they make good green and red curries but also an excellent massaman. The same lady also owns a modern Thai restaurant called The Mira which has lots of seafood dishes and offers a few western dishes if you have a mixed group.
The cozy corner
We love The Cozy Corner’s coffee and also the fact that they cater to all sorts of diets – gluten and dairy free, vegan, keto. They also have a good selection of cabinet dishes.
Katherine cooks a lot of amazing Asian food so we have a lot of Indian flavors at home but dosas masala is something we don’t cook so it’s great to be able to go to Incredible India and get a new one . They do snacks, both northern and southern options. Their curries are very good too.
We love The Brantry for its special events. They always have something interesting going on, so it’s worth looking ahead on their website and booking so you know when you’ll be in town on a specific date. We’ve been to their Gin Dego and Matariki dinner specials and it’s so great to see someone doing something a little different. They have a Hunter Gatherer dinner and cooking school events coming up which should be fun.
Industrie is a good place to go for French pastries. It is very popular with locals.
This place isn’t fancy but it’s great for Vietnamese flavors. Fresh spring rolls, duck curry and lemongrass chicken salad are all tasty.
Philip and Nora Blackburne
Phill Blackburne has returned home to Taupō after many years in Scotland working at the Michelin-starred Castle Terrace (now closed). He and his wife, Nora – who runs the house – opened Embra, featuring New Zealand products prepared using French and British techniques. They also recommend Cozy Corner as a top choice for coffee and family breakfast. And like Paul and Katherine, they love The Brantry for a sit-down meal. Here are some of their other recommendations:
For a drink and a good time, Rosemary’s is the place to go. Pool tables, smash burgers, live music, decor worthy of a dive bar – it’s the perfect place for a good night out with friends.
If you’re willing to get out of town for a bit, the world-renowned Huka Lodge absolutely offers an impeccable dining experience – Paul is an exceptional chef and we’re so lucky to have him here in Taupō.
Two Mile Bay Sailing Club
The Two Mile Bay Sailing Club is fantastic on summer evenings with music and drinks, literally on the water. Nice enough for a little date night.
Phill loves some K’s Kitchen Korean Fried Chicken for lunch! It’s his guilty pleasure. They have a family food truck and their fried chicken alone – or their chicken burgers – are sublime. They are usually parked on Spa Road or at the Sunday Market in Northcroft Reserve.
If we stay inside, the pastries and sourdough at Bread Culture are fantastic. Reuben, the owner, cooks everything himself and either works in a cafe in town or sells at the market on Sunday mornings.
Wild Roots Culinary Concepts (private dinner chef)
If you want someone to cook for you in your accommodation, Nikki Pennefather is a private chef who runs Wild Roots Culinary Concepts. She is such a talented chef and creates amazing meals and experiences for people in their homes. His respect for local products is something that resonates with our own philosophy.
Prue and Felicity Campbell
Prue and Felicity run Brantry House, Taupō’s favorite hangout for good food and art (it incorporates the Zea You Gallery). The sisters have been part of the Taupō hotel community for 20 years and always come up with creative and unique culinary concepts. They recommend Huka Lodge and Embra for special dinners, but also have a few suggestions for casual dining, especially when you’re going out with the family:
Replete is an institution and has been a staple of the cafe scene for many years. It’s cohesive and reliable and the kind of place your whole group will love. Thai chicken curry is always a favorite.
For a great sit down meal, Le Bistro is great, well established and never fails to deliver. They are known for their pork belly and their calamari with handmade gnocchi is always very popular too.
Cooked with love
Everyone knows donuts from Baked with Love. In fact, all the homemade pastries are excellent and it’s a great place to take the family where everyone will find something to their liking.
Wabi Sabi is popular for sushi and bubble tea. We love their bentos – the vegetarian is our favorite.
Grasshopper is our go-to for fish and chips and has been around for years. Grab some breaded or breaded fresh fish (we go for the snapper and hot fries) and eat it lakeside. Perfect
Luna’s offers excellent ice cream and sorbets with a wide selection of flavors for the whole family.
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