7 cosy winter bars and restaurants

Rug up and head out to these North Island hot spots. We’ve rounded up the cosiest places for winter dining where you can sit by a fire, enjoy a drink and dine on some of the best fare in Great Lake Taupo, New Zealand.

Vine Eatery and Bar

Vine is the place to be seen on a Friday night or after a day on the snow. It is the ideal place to get out of the cold and relax in front of the fire in one of the comfy leather armchairs. Enjoy a mulled wine or cocktail and a platter of nibbles as you warm your toes.

Vine’s popularity stems from its swanky interior, cocktail lounge and easy tapas-style menu where you can select several small dishes to maximise your taste experience. A full a la carte menu is also available for those who want a more traditional approach to dining.

Vine also specialises in craft beer, fine wine and whiskey with the huge selection reflecting over 25 years in hospitality. Find out more Vine Eatery & Bar here.

Edgewater Restaurant

The elegant Edgewater Restaurant is located within Millennium Manuels hotel on the lakefront in Taupo. This restaurant has the perfect combination of stunning views and impeccable food, with a longstanding reputation as one of the best restaurants in the region.

You’ll find award winning local and international cuisine, a cosy crackling fire and simply stunning sunset views. Probably one of the most romantic places you could choose to have dinner in Taupo! Find out more about Edgewater Restaurant here.

Plateau Restaurant and Bar

Plateau is another of Taupo’s top restaurants that is a popular place for visitors and locals to meet by the warmth of the fire on a chilly winter’s evening. The excellent food represents ‘real New Zealand’ cuisine, and the décor embraces the uniqueness of the Central Plateau region with copper, leather, dark wood and pumice fittings and features.

Dishes frequently feature fresh local ingredients including Taupo’s own brand of beef, and the all-day bar menu is inspired by casual dining and the shared eating experience. The food is complimented by a great range of craft beers and fine wine. This restaurant and bar should be your pick if you want a casual place to meet friends and enjoy the best of fresh regional cuisine. Find out more about Plateau here.

Mole & Chicken

The Mole & Chicken is arguably the best neighbourhood family restaurant in Taupo. Located in the heart of the suburb of Hilltop, the consistently good food and service has made it hugely popular with locals. The fresh cuisine menu includes a daily fresh fish dish, specials and a nutritious childrens’ menu.

This is a great place to watch sport on the big screen, sit by the log fire and enjoy the beautiful views across the lake. There are many bonuses to dining at this neighbourhood local including easy, free parking and a complimentary shuttle service if you’re not driving. Find out more about the Mole and Chicken here.

Tongariro Lodge

Turangi's Tongariro Lodge is an authentic fishing lodge with oodles of New Zealand charm. Situated on the banks of the legendary Tongariro River on the southern shores of Lake Taupo, you can lounge by the fire with a drink or indulge in one of their winter dining options.

The Bay Brasserie

The Bay Brasserie in Acacia Bay is another friendly neighbourhood restaurant and bar that has a cosy lodge-style winter vibe. The huge woodfired pizzas are a great choice to fill hungry tummies after a day on the slopes, and the staff are friendly and accommodating. Find Bay Brasserie on the map here.

Dixie Browns

For a cosy place that’s really suited to family dining, try Dixie Brown’s on Taupo’s lakefront. There’s a warm fire inside and heaters and blankets at the outside tables if you want to dine al fresco and enjoy the lake view. The menu is wide and varied, ensuring there will be something to suit everyone's tastes.

Try the pizzas - very tasty and very filling, and make sure to leave room for one of their famous desserts or double thick shakes. The rotating dessert cabinet displays an incredible array of divine desserts that are hard to resist. Find out more about Dixie Browns here.