Here's a picture from one of my other favorite dining experiences here:
You've probably already read about it on Keith's blog. What really made it a great experience wasn't the food so much (semi-raw chicken can never really be great), but the live music performed by the owner was supremely entertaining.
Last night we ate Mexican food. Sort of. This was actually the first Mexican restaurant we had seen. The menu included a glossary of terms such as "taco" and "enchilada". Very exotic. The menu also included seviche and sangria and there was a picture of a matador on the wall. I ordered a lemonade to go with my meal. The waitress/owner/Indian lady politely brought me a Sprite. "Oh, I ordered lemonade" I said. "Uh huh", she replied and walked away. The delicious "lemonade" complemented my not-very-Mexican chicken nicely.
Today we happened upon a Korean place. From the outside it looked like it was a quick, cheap eat, but once we got inside we realized the place was actually quite big, crowded for being 2 o'clock, and there was a giant projection screen t.v. showing Asian pop videos. We ordered two simple stir fries, which turned out to include like ten separate dishes of mysterious food-like items. Even after we were finished eating I could only identify two of the objects from the tiny bowls.
Thrice sweetened mystery beverage, bonus!
The ordering process in restaurants is as varied as the type of cuisine available. Sometimes a waitress does all the things you expect a waitress to do, but other times you're expected to get up and order at the bar. You may pay as you order or you may pay at the end. Maybe you get sat with menus, but you still have to go and place your order. Or maybe the food is sitting there in a glass case and you just go and grab it for yourself. One thing that doesn't vary is that you always have to get up to pay your tab, and you never need to tip.
*This is a notable drawback of dining in NZ in the winter time. Everybody has to have their damn door open. I know it's a temperate climate and all, but I would argue that if it's cold enough to have your log fire burning, then it's clearly too cold to have the doors agape.