Rotorua: Eat Streat

By: Jill Malcolm

Rotorua: Eat Streat Rotorua: Eat Streat
Rotorua: Eat Streat Rotorua: Eat Streat

We promise that's not a misspelling! Check out the great new dining precinct at the lake end of Rotorua’s Tutanekai Street...

In the Brew Bar I took my first sip of a pre-prandial, locally-brewed, Croucher pale ale.
"That’s the wrong spelling," said the guy standing next to me. With his boney finger, he stabbed at the two words I’d written down.

"Eat Street?" I said.

"Nah, it’s Eat Streat," he said. " See – Eats Treat. D’ya get it?"

Well what’s in a name? However you spell it, this dining precinct at the lake end of Rotorua’s Tutanekai Street is an amazing concept. Some of the city’s best restaurants line up here, cheek by jowl along a covered walkway that has a retractable roof, and underfoot a unique geothermal heating system.

I spoke to a waiter at Ambrosia Restaurant. He was from Wales and had earned his keep in many towns and cities around the world.

The street-side verandah of each restaurant is made of timber to reflect the importance of forestry and wood processing in the district. The patterned street surface links Eat Streat to the nearby lakefront, and the rafters and roof that are bathed in subtle coloured lighting that lends the whole place a festive air.

It took some hard thinking to decide which restaurant we’d to eat in.

In the end we chose Leanardo’s Pure Italian Restaurant where we managed to bag the last table. It was Monday when restaurants anywhere often have a night off. Not here, the whole street (sorry, streat) was humming with the heart-warming sound of people enjoying themselves.

From the menu at Leonardo’s I chose Spaghetti al profumo di mare – pasta, fresh mussels and prawns and anchovies and Bill had porchetta belly stuffed with fennel leave and cabbage with chilli lemon dressing.

We could have joined the queue and rounded off the evening with and an icecream from the 50 varieties on offer at Lady Jane’s Ice Cream Parlour. But pasta and pork-laden as we were, it was easy to decide that enough was enough.

Jill Malcolm is a former editor of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations and author of the Great Kiwi Motorhome Guide.

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