Al fresco dining in Queenstown Mall

Cost of eating out in New Zealand

Fresh, varied and influenced by natural local ingredients - the food in New Zealand is exciting and full of flavour. Enjoying a delicious meal and a glass of wine can be one of the best bits of your New Zealand trip.

From crayfish to roast lamb to gourmet burgers, New Zealand's dining scene has gone through a renaissance in recent years, there are so many delectable dishes to enjoy.

But of course you want to know how much it costs to eat out here in New Zealand right?

We're MoaTrek, we've been running small group tours all over our amazing country since 1971 and we reckon we're just the right people to talk to about food and wine in New Zealand.

Here's our handy guide to the cost of eating out in New Zealand, plus some of our favourite restaurant recommendations.

Is dining out expensive in New Zealand? What kind of prices can you expect?

Dining in restaurants can be one of the big expenses of your trip to New Zealand, but when you compare it to the costs of dining in the UK, Australia or the USA it is not that much different.

Some prices might be slightly higher, but that is bound to happen when you consider the small population here and the fact that anything that isn’t grown locally has to be shipped to this remote island on the bottom of the world.

Also, although you will be paying slightly more to dine here - the quality of New Zealand restaurants is generally quite high.

There are many establishments that are focused on making their high quality local ingredients really shine. In addition to a thriving food scene, there is also a strong cafe culture which means that you can find excellent coffee no matter where you go.  Eating in New Zealand is truly a treat.

How much does eating out in New Zealand cost?

The prices of food in restaurants in New Zealand will vary significantly, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $NZ12 to $NZ20 for a breakfast in a restaurant and around $NZ30-$NZ50 per person for dinner.

The cost of a lunch will be somewhere in between, but if you are eating in a more high end establishment it can cost as much as dinner.

You can find cheaper meals if you check out some of the great international cuisine here, such as Korean, Chinese and Japanese (sushi is surprisingly affordable).

There are also several common fast food chains such as Burger King or McDonalds as well as sandwich shops and fish and chip shops.

Food Price Comparison - New Zealand vs the rest of the world

Are you wondering about the cost of eating out in New Zealand vs the USA? Or the UK or Australia?

Let’s crunch the numbers and see how these countries compare. Here are some of the prices of the common items that you might be frequently eating, so that you can see how they compare.

Prices are in US dollars, as of May 2021.

  Cost in NZ Cost in Australia Cost in USA Cost in UK
McDonald's Big Mac $4.87 $4.98 $5.66 $4.44
A pint of beer  $5.10 $6.94 $3.99 $4.62
Inexpensive restaurant meal for one $13.37 $15.52 $15.00 $17.02
Starbucks tall latte $3.06 $2.86 $2.75 $2.88
Small Bottle of Coca Cola (in a restaurant) $2.43 $2.58 $1.91 $1.89
Portion of Fish and Chips $15-$20 $12.00 $13.00 $4.00
Tour group enjoying lunch in a Marlborough winery

Our favourite restaurants in Auckland

As our biggest city, and first stop for many people on their trip to New Zealand, there are so many great restaurants, cafes and food trucks to discover.

Many of Auckland's best restaurants are within walking distance of the central city. Particular areas to try are Viaduct Harbour, the newer Wynard Quarter and Ponsonby Road, just to name a few.

  Restaurant Price Why we love it
Best Overall Soul Bar $$$ Food lovers in Auckland adore this waterfront spot, serving up locally sourced dishes in a stunning setting.
Best International Ebisu $$$ The best of ancient Japanese traditions and fresh Kiwi fare, in the trendy Britomart precinct.
Best Value Sri Pinang $$ A BYO spot with a laid back atmosphere and affordable prices, Sri Pinang is located on K Road and is known as one of the best Malaysian restaurants in town.
Best Takeaway Petra Shawarma $

This family run business in Kingsland is your best bet for hearty, tasty and generous portions of authentic Middle Eastern food.

Our favourite restaurants in Rotorua

When you visit Rotorua, if you're anything like us, you'll be busy doing things all day so we just love "Eat Street". Just minutes walk from the lakefront, a collection of the best restaurants in town all under one roof. Lots of variety to pick from.

  Restaurant Price Why we love it
Best overall Atticus Finch $$$ Right in "Eat Street", fantastic tapas style dishes with global influences. Sharing style family dining.
Best fine dining Regent Room $$$ "Pacific Fusion", sharing platters, tapas style in a beautiful setting. For a treat.
Best value Indian Star Tandoori $$ Located on “Eat Street” amidst an abundance of other great restaurants, this Indian spot offers excellent service and flavourful food. It’s won several awards for it’s fresh and tasty cuisine.

Our favourite restaurants in Wellington

The dining scene in Wellington is going from strength to strength, they're now home to festivals like "Eat Wellington" and "Beervana", which tells you something.

If you happen to be visiting when these events are on don't miss out. The great thing about Wellington is that all the best restaurants are really close, right around the Courtney Place and waterfont areas.

  Restaurant Price Why we love it
Best overall Hippopotamus $$$ Located in the Museum Art Hotel, the dishes are gorgeous works of art influenced by French cuisine and the service is a performance in its own right.
Best fusion Chow $$ Have a drink in the library bar next door, then one of their cocktails with your noodles. Great for a group of friends.
Best value Fisherman's Plate $$ This simple and welcoming eatery is known for having the best Vietnamese Pho in town - as well as excellent fish and chips.

Our favourite restaurants in Queenstown

With Queenstown's reputation as a visitor favourite, you'd expect to find all kinds of great dining options and you won't be disappointed.

Hosting international visitors for many years has given birth to a truely global cuisine scene, in such a small area. Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Italian as well as the latest modern Kiwi dining.

Just like with activities, you're spoilt for dining choice here in Queenstown.

  Restaurant Price Why we love it
Best overall Public Kitchen $$$ This lakeside restaurant with a beautiful outdoor terrace is all about serving exceptional local produce coast off the coast or in the hills or farmed down the road.
Best value Fergburger $$ CNN called it the best burger joint in New Zealand… and possibly the planet. Some of the creative burger options include the Tropical Swine (beef, bacon, cheese and pineapple), the Little Lamby (New Zealand lamb and mint jelly) or the Sweet Bambi (wild Fiordland Deer with Thai plum chutney)
Best casual The Cow $$ A bit hard to find hidden down a laneway, but a Queenstown institution. Freshly made Pizza, open fires and staff you won't forget in a hurry!
Best takeaway Hikari Sushi $ This popular spot offers excellent sushi at very affordable prices. You can also treat yourself to warm sake, Udon Ramen, tempura and other Japanese treats.

Our favourite restaurants in Christchurch

Smack bang in the middle of the breadbasket of the nation and as the largest city in the South Island, Christchurch has always punched above its weight in the restaurant game, a lot of our guests finish their New Zealand trip in Christchurch, so a celebration dinner is called for!

  Restaurant Price Why we love it
Best overall Cook'n with Gas $$$ One of the most talked about restaurants in Christchurch, this award-winning bistro serves excellent modern New Zealand cuisine in a chilled out 1860s villa.
Best value Shirley's Kitchen $$ Popular with university students, this Malaysian spot offers fantastic and affordable food. Try the Kampua, a mouthwatering dish that features noodles, BBQ pork and crispy onions.
Best takeaway Burgerfuel $ This iconic burger joint has locations all over New Zealand and the burgers are top quality - made with fresh, local ingredients such as 100% pure New Zealand grass fed beef and batch brewed tomato relish.
Ladies enjoying pre dinner drinks in New Zealand

Food & wine on your MoaTrek tour

We know how important food is when you're travelling, and for many of us, a huge part of the pleasure of travelling comes from trying great new food in exotic locations.

When you're travelling with us on our small group tours, you'll love the home hosted lunches and special dinners at our favourite spots along the way, find out more about the food and wine on our tours here.

Tours you’ll love