Dining Out: A History of the Restaurant in New Zealand

Perrin Rowland

‘A lushly attractive book, Dining Out . . . rewards the reader with an indepth and interesting read.’ – Judith McKinnon, Hawke’s Bay Weekend


From oyster bars and ordinaries to hotel dining rooms, from Dunedin’s Savoy to K Road’s Hi Diddle Griddle, from haute cuisine to Pacific flavours, from hogget to hapuka – Dining Out introduces us to the history of the New Zealand restaurant from the 1860s to the present. Drawing on menus, memories, photographs and newspapers, Perrin Rowland tells the story of New Zealand’s first nineteenth-century restaurants; luxury in the golden age; licensing and the Depression years; World War II and the Americans; post-war dining and the six o’clock swill; the rise of ethnic restaurants; and our contemporary explosion of flavours.

Throughout she asks important questions about eating out and the eaten out. How did international trends – from hamburgers to nouvelle cuisine – shape the restaurant experience? How have New Zealanders reconciled a culture of the ordinary bloke with the luxury of dining out? And was it really all bad coffee and soggy chips before 1980?

Extensively illustrated and engagingly written, Dining Out is a great gastronomical tour through New Zealand history. Perrin Rowland shows that in amongst the silver service and salads of the New Zealand restaurant experience lies a great story about the way our peoples and cultures have changed over the last 150 years.


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Perrin Rowland is an experienced chef and food writer who has cooked her way around the world from her native USA, through Ireland and Italy to New Zealand. She gained her MA in History from The University of Auckland with a thesis on the history of New Zealand restaurants. She has written food-related entries for Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and has been a restaurant reviewer for Auckland’s 95bfm.


September 2010, 238 x 200 mm, 224 pages, colour & b/w illustrations
Hardback, ISBN 9781869404642, $59.99