Spectacularly framed by frosted mountains, iridescent lakes and rolling landscapes, Queenstown typifies the raw, wild beauty of the South Island. Arresting and memorable, it’s hardly surprising that this small town nestled in the heart of Central Otago has become one of the most highly-regarded tourist destinations in the world.
Brimming with boutique, luxurious and immersive experiences, Queenstown’s superior culinary landscape is matched only by its unparalleled beauty.
Below we present our definitive guide of where to wine and dine in Queenstown, Arrowtown and its surrounding areas.
Serving up some of the best homemade treats in the region, Provisions is an iconic morning spot in Arrowtown. Our recommendation: do not go past its freshly-baked sticky buns — the best thing since (excuse the pun) sliced bread.
Located in the heart of Queenstown with seating overlooking the picturesque Lake Wakatipu, Vudu Larder is a wildly popular spot, with a menu of fresh takeaway or dine-in options. If you’re looking for serenity with your morning cuppa, we recommend getting in early.
Delivering expertly-brewed Wolf Coffee to-go and a selection of brunchy bites, Good Day is the Arrowtown gem that will get any day off to a flying start. Whetherit’s avocado on toast with homemade dukkah, or smoked andouille sausage with peperonata and a soft egg, this tasty spot has something for everyone.
The Chop Shop
Quirky and different, with food that packs a punch, The Chop Shop is tucked away above Arrowtown’s main street. We would call it a hidden treasure, but almost everyone knows how good it is, which makes waiting for a table expected (but worth it).
The health-focused eatery Queenstown can’t get enough of, Yonder offers wholesome fare to suit every persuasion. Its menu encompasses dishes free from gluten, dairy, nuts, sugar, and animal products and its stone cottage setting offers a cute, cosy atmosphere.
While you might have seen various Joe’s Garages dotted around New Zealand, the Queenstown outpost was where it all started. Having quickly built a name for its delicious coffee and hearty, filling food, breakfast at Joe’s never disappoints. And for those hitting the slopes, the bacon and egg buns are also the perfect early morning takeaway option before heading up the mountain.
FOR LARGER APPETITES…
Book in for a delicious long lunch or dinner at the acclaimed Amisfield Bistro & Cellar Door — the outpost of one of the largest, single-estate vineyards in Central Otago. Nestled on the shores of Lake Hayes, Amisfield is as renowned for its idyllic backdrop as it is for its pure-tasting pinot noir and hyper-seasonal dishes. It also features an outdoor glasshouse by its exterior fireplace, designed to fit up to six diners for a memorable, al fresco experience under the stars.
Led by renowned chef Ben Bayly, Aosta combines the culinary philosophies of Italy with the fresh, local fare of Central Otago and Southland. From its intimate setting to the way it executes complex flavours in a simple, unpretentious way, Aosta is a must-visit.
Lauded for its menu that highlights fresh, local ingredients, many foraged from the wider Central Otago region, The Sherwood’s restaurant serves up delicious, hyper-seasonal fare in dishes inspired by the offerings of the land.
With an interior that emits a neighbourhood bistro vibe, similar to what you might expect to find in Sydney, Rātā by Josh Emett has become one of Queenstown’s premier foodie destinations. Renowned for its slow-cooked food and robust flavours, this is the perfect place for a long lunch or an indulgent dinner.
East meets west at one of Arrowtown’s tastiest eateries. Fan Tan boasts a menu of Asian and New Zealand-Pasifika flavours in a series of fusion-style dishes designed for sharing.
Smithy’s Smoke House
What could be better on a crisp winter’s day than sitting near an open fire and indulging in a plate of perfectly cooked, succulent smoked meats? Smithy’s Smoke House (at Millbrook Resort) offers just that. Here, you can enjoy unparalleled al fresco dining under the stars, where tapas and various meat dishes, craft beers, fine wines and whisky are served around roaring fire pits.
Having brought the flavours of sunny Spain to Arrowtown, La Rumbla is a firm favourite among locals. With a menu of tapas-style dishes and European flavours, this is the perfect spot for a relaxed, tasty bite.
Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan
Set in the historic ‘Walnut Cottage’ just a few minutes’ drive from Arrowtown, this relaxed eatery is as good for breakfast as it is for lunch or wine tastings. With a menu that showcases only the finest ingredients, sourced from Aotearoa’s top growers, makers and artisan suppliers, expect a line-up of honest, comforting shared plates.
Delighting dine-in or takeaway punters, this Arrowtown hot-spot is a delicious, recently-expanded eatery where slow-cooked meats, rotisserie chicken, burgers, ribs and other seasonal dishes are delivered by operators renowned for their friendly service and great food.
Jervois Steak House
One of the jewels in Nourish Group’s crown, the South Island chapter of Jervois Steak House (JSH), is arguably one of the best restaurants in Queenstown. Offering premium cuts of meat accompanied by soulful sides like truffle mac and cheese and baked candied kumara, JSH is where we keep coming back to for a cosy and delicious dinner.
A divine collision of Kiwi and Mexican cuisine, expect traditional, hand-pressed masa tortillas packed full of salsa. Taco Medic also shines a light on fresh local ingredients and packs a flavoursome punch.
The Lodge Bar
From its lakefront position alongside the Rodd & Gunn store, The Lodge Bar exudes the ambience of an elevated mountain cabin. With animal hides strewn over plush, fire-warmed armchairs, this restaurant’s exceptional fare and curated wine and cocktail list makes it the perfect place to relax and take in the view.
WHERE TO DRINK…
Located in the iconic Eichardt’s Private Hotel is the deliciously cosy Eichardt’s Bar. A Queenstown institution since 1867, Eichardt’s has been serving après ski drinks for well over a hundred years. With its crackling fireplace and large sumptuous sofa, this place is one of the undeniable gems of Queenstown.
A hidden gem in the heart of Arrowtown, The Blue Door Bar offers a cosy, intimate setting in which to enjoy an after-dinner tipple or a drink with friends. With comfortable chairs and its roaring log fire, after a long day on the slopes it will be almost impossible to leave.
Fork & Tap
From its charming, historic location, Arrowtown’s Fork & Tap serves up an array of craft beers, delicious wine and a menu of tasty bites to match. The perfect spot to mingle with the locals and share stories of the day’s on-piste adventures.
Nest at Kamana Lakehouse
Take in the spectacular lake views from the floor-to-ceiling windows that frame Nest’s dining room. Rendered in an art-deco style and offering modern Mediterranean bites alongside an extensive list of Japanese whiskys and local wines, this high-altitude kitchen and bar is the perfect place to enjoy an early-evening drink.
WORTH THE TRIP…
The Cloudy Bay Shed
Take a scenic 45-minute drive from the heart of Queenstown into Cromwell and get lost in The Shed by Cloudy Bay, a whimsical cellar door experience. With tasting sessions of Cloudy Bay’s full range of wines alongside private tours of the vineyard, The Shed is the perfect antidote to the busyness of Queenstown and offers an indulgent, relaxing, sensory escape.
Nestled in Clyde, a historic Central Otago township just over an hour’s drive from Queenstown, Olivers is an elevated eatery in the restored Victoria Store (an iconic landmark of the region), and is renowned for its fresh, produce-driven fare.
Quiet and unassuming, the Cardrona Distillery has a particular type of charm that isn’t easy to put your finger on. Completely family owned, Desiree and husband Ash Whittaker have worked together on the distillery since its inception and, together with their team of experts, have conceived a number of acclaimed drops, including the triumphant creation of a recently-anointed single-malt whisky. Head along to the beautiful distillery and be guided on a tour of the facilities, where you’ll learn about the processes behind each of the hand-distilled, artisan spirits — including milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation — an experience that will conclude with a tasting.
The Mountain Kitchen – Minaret Station
Located on The Alpine Group’s 50,000 acre high-country station (on which is also a boutique accommodation for overnight stays), The Mountain Kitchen can be booked by those simply wanting to experience this incredible property for an afternoon. Offering a scenic dining experience where locally-sourced ingredients are prepared by resident chefs and accompanied by award-winning wines, lunch at The Mountain Kitchen can be booked for guests of four or more and includes a spectacular scenic helicopter flight from Wanaka or Queenstown.