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 $NZ25 to $NZ35 for a breakfast in a restaurant and around $NZ50 – $NZ80 per person for dinner, plus drinks.

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.

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.

RestaurantPriceWhy we love it
Best OverallSoul Bar$$$Food lovers in Auckland adore this waterfront spot, serving up locally sourced dishes in a stunning setting.
Best Fusion Hello Beasty$$$Positioned on the lively Viaduct, this establishment presents a contemporary blend of New Zealand and East Asian cuisine.
Best ValueCafe Hanoi$$ - $$$The menu showcases affordable street-inspired Vietnamese dishes served in a stylish and sophisticated setting, which significantly contributes to its remarkable popularity.
Best InternationalAlma$$ - $$$Nestled within Britomart, a recently added Spanish eatery by Hip Group maintains its character post-sale, featuring a warm interior and a menu influenced by Andalusian cuisine and local ingredients, resulting in a unique and inviting dining destination.

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.

RestaurantPriceWhy we love it
Best OverallAtticus Finch$$Right in "Eat Street", fantastic tapas style dishes with global influences. Sharing style family dining.
Best Fine DiningRegent Room$$$"Pacific Fusion", sharing platters, tapas style in a beautiful setting. For a treat.
Best ValueUrbano Bistro$$Experience a seamless blend of flavors in a spacious and inviting setting, where innovative cuisine crafted from premium New Zealand ingredients shines, catering to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks.

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.

RestaurantPriceWhy we love it
Best OverallFloriditas$$Located in Cuba Street, globally inspired dishes using fresh Kiwi produce with excellent service.
Best FusionChow$$Have a drink in the Library bar next door, then one of their cocktails with your noodles. Great for a group of friends.
Best SeafoodShed 5$$$Indulge in a dining experience where the finest New Zealand seafood takes center stage, offering a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that highlight its freshness and quality.

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.

RestaurantPriceWhy we love it
Best OverallPublic Kitchen$$$This lakeside restaurant with a beautiful outdoor terrace is all about serving exceptional local produce coast off the coast or in the hills or farmed down the road.
Best ExperienceRata Restaurant$$$Discover a contemporary eatery in the heart of Queenstown, surrounded by a native urban forest and historic buildings, offering a menu of balanced and inventive New Zealand cuisine, accompanied by exceptional service, making it a sought-after dining destination.
Best CasualThe 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!

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!

RestaurantPriceWhy we love it
Best Overall27 Steps$$$One of the most talked about restaurants in Christchurch, this fabulous restaurant in New Regent Street is worth a visit.
Best LocalCook 'N' with Gas$$Renowned in Christchurch, Cook 'N' with Gas is a multi-award winning bistro offering high-quality modern New Zealand cuisine within a historic villa, creating an informal yet exceptional dining experience.
Best ExperienceSoul Quarter$$$Enjoy a cozy and inviting dining atmosphere with European and Louisiana-inspired cuisine, featuring local and seasonal ingredients, accompanied by a thoughtfully crafted drinks selection and attentive service.
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.

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