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The best restaurants in Queenstown

Love food and wine? You’ve come to the right part of New Zealand. Discover the best restaurants in Queenstown, from fine-dining amid vineyards to creative tapas joints, writes Caroline Smith.

The best restaurants in Queenstown: Amisfield

A kitchen for all seasons, this organic winery is a food and wine destination in one, dedicated to sustainable, locally-sourced products of ethical hunters, gatherers and farmers. Dine in the light-filled indoor cellar or alfresco, in the relaxed kitchen garden. The dishes are of gastronomic precision, complemented by the dining room’s dramatic backdrop. Undoubtably one of the best restaurants in Queenstown and its surrounds.

Amisfield summer menu
Amisfield summer menu

The best restaurants in Queenstown: Rātā

This restaurant strives to distil the essence of New Zealand dining, with a menu that changes daily and features sustainable, seasonable produce. Rata’s chefs preserve, ferment and dehydrate everything they serve in-house, to bring New Zealand’s Southland seasonal flavours to guests year-round in dishes as pretty as they are tasty.

Nature and nurture unite in the Rata dining room
Nature and nurture unite in the Rata dining room

Botswana Butchery

Team a historic lakeside cottage with leather couches, white linen, open fires and a 1,800-bottle cellar and you have the recipe for one of Queenstown’s best restaurants. Expect hearty menus of regionally-sourced meats with tasty sauces and sides. Pescatarians, fear not; those with a preference for seafood are also well catered for.

Botswana Butchery is a perennial Queenstown dining favourite
Botswana Butchery is a perennial Queenstown dining favourite

Aosta

This Arrowtown restaurant’s namesake is a city in northern Italy that lies on the same 45th parallel as the Central Otago region of New Zealand – with similar characteristics of season and terroir to boot. Cooking techniques from this alpine region of Italy are applied to carefully selected local produce such as Saratoga Te Mana lamb and Havoc Farm pork, with inspired results thanks to Aosta’s highly awarded chef Ben Bayly. Top-rated New Zealand wines are served alongside the best Italy has to offer.

Pretty plates of wagyu tartare at Aosta
Pretty plates of wagyu tartare at Aosta

Boardwalk

Boardwalk’s location on Steamer Wharf is as impressive as it gets. The view across Lake Wakatipu makes it hard to concentrate on the menu: a blend of seafood and meats with local produce the hero. Just popping in for a glass of wine? There’s also a well-curated bar menu for those who would prefer to drink in those views, rather than sit down to a full meal.

Boardwalk interior
Boardwalk interior

Jervois Steak House

There’s no ambiguity about the focus of this steak house in the Sofitel complex: it’s meat, meat and more meat. And for devoted carnivores, there’s nothing more mouthwatering than a menu devoted to top beef producers from across New Zealand, Japan and Australia. Add a sauce and side and soak up the big flavours in a setting that rivals the great steak houses of America.

Jervois Steak House Queenstown
Jervois Steak House Queenstown

Sherwood

Inspired by their setting, Sherwood’s chefs craft dishes that reflect the changing seasons. With a commitment to producing zero waste, this applauded restaurant is devoted to creating a sense of place. Expect wood-fired flatbreads with house-smoked sausage or truffles, plus free-range lamb and sustainably caught seafood enhanced by homegrown garden delights.

Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan

Uniting a cellar door and destination restaurant, this establishment is housed in the glorious garden setting of historic Walnut Cottage. Food and wine here is made with passion and served with simplicity, featuring the bountiful local produce of Southland. Come for lunch all week as well as dinner on Fridays.

Short ribs are a favourite at Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan
Short ribs are a favourite at Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan

La Rumbla

Born out of a love for Spanish, Latin American and Med-style dining, this exceptional tapas bar in Arrowtown serves share plates with local flair – think Fiordland octopus or seafood paella loaded with scallops, prawns and mussels. The food is complemented by internationally-sourced wines, locally-brewed beers and cocktails with finesse.

True South Dining Room

This hotel dining room has it all: views across Lake Wakatipu to The Remarkables mountains, as well as a slew of awards for chef Corey Hume’s food. True South features creative, seasonal dishes with an element of surprise, which allow Southland’s superior produce to truly shine. This is sophisticated, elegant dining at its best.

Meal with a view at True South Dining Room © S. Goodwin Photography
Meal with a view at True South Dining Room © S. Goodwin Photography

The Grille

Eichardt’s Private Hotel enjoys a dress-circle position on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Its dining room, The Grille, reflects the enduring history of the estate while channelling the warmth and sophistication of New York-style bistros. The menu is a homage to regional bounty, with homegrown, free-range and locally-sourced ingredients at the fore. Think hearty steaks, burgers and seafood paired with rich sauces and seasonal greens, or indulge with a full breakfast featuring homemade jams, local honey and Havoc Farm bacon.

The Grille focuses on local, seasonal produce
The Grille focuses on local, seasonal produce
This article first appeared in the Signature Luxury Travel & Style Ultimate Guide to Queenstown ebook. To download the latest issue click here.