Queenstown is known for its amazing hospitality and alongside that hospitality is the great food served at restaurants and cafes and the delicious drinks served at any bar. Here are some of the best.
Joe’s Garage | www.joes.co.nz
Joe’s Garage is as humble as the name sounds – because it only ever intended to be a garage! Joe’s Queenstown was the first site of many for the chain, but back before they opened a café, Joe’s Garage was simply a place that fixed coffee machines. Customers kept coming in asking for a coffee… then a breakfast. The rest is history!
Today the team serves amazing award-winning coffee and made-to-order breakfast and lunch and the business has been so good that they no longer repair coffee machines. A good honest meal is the business these days – simple free range eggs and South Island bacon, pikelets with jam and cream and even mince on toast (with an egg on top, of course). The view to match this food is anything but simple – Joe’s is situated in New Zealand’s premier alpine resort on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps.
Mt Difficulty | www.mtdifficulty.co.nz
You’ve tried their amazing wines, now try the food! Mt Difficulty’s cellar door and restaurant showcase the essence of Central Otago to thousands of visitors annually. A new extension to the Cellar Door building separates the wine tasting area from the restaurant, enhancing the experience of wine tasters and diners alike. On a fine day the outdoor terrace is the perfect spot to take in the dramatic views and in winter, two interior fireplaces provide warmth and ambience.
The Cellar Door is open daily for tastings between 10.30am and 4.30pm, and the restaurant for casual lunches from 12 noon until 3pm. The kitchen is open, offering unique insight to a chef’s world. The menu showcases the freshest of produce, with a choice of platters to share or more substantial fare, including the chef’s signature dish of slow roasted duck served with seasonal fare.
Carrick | www.carrick.co.nz
Bannockburn, home to Carrick wines, is found nestled at the southern end of one of the broad glacial river valleys surrounded by the Cairnmuir and Carrick mountain ranges. The restaurant was opened in 2002 and has received many accolades. It is open daily for lunches and occasionally in the evening for special functions and by arrangement.
The restaurant likes to focus its meals around fresh seasonal local produce, as well as some New Zealand’s best game, some of the country’s most exceptional fish and shellfish from cold water southern seas, summer fruit and local organic vegetables grown close to Carrick to match. Carrick now boasts a large summer vegetable garden in the vines adjacent to the restaurant. In the restaurant you can enjoy borlotti beans, mange tout, zucchini flowers and fantastic new potatoes. There are even hens that provide free range eggs to the kitchen!
Barmuda | www.goodbars.co.nz
Once you’ve feasted on Queenstown’s finest, you’re sure to have worked up quite the thirst! Whether you’re in for an early drink in the courtyard, a delicious dinner or an all-out, late night party, Barmuda is the place to be. Barmuda is an opulent establishment with a central bar for partygoers and a plush lounge for the more relaxed patrons.
With cold nights upon us, take a spot by the roaring fireplace in the courtyard to keep warm and feel great. If you’re in for the long haul, get to the courtyard early to catch the last of the afternoon sun! Visit the bar and ask the bartender for the Cocktail of the Week – it’s currently an “Extra Digit”, a rich aperitif consisting of Plymouth gin, advocaat, Herring cherry liquor and homemade cinnamon syrup served in a cocktail glass with a shaving of nutmeg.
Wai Restaurant | www.wai.net.nz
Sitting on the Steamer Wharf right on the waterfront, Wai’s fine dining restaurant and function venue specialises in seafood, Central Otago wines and stunning views. Few New Zealand restaurants offer finer dining in a more dramatic location. Wai is well-known for its spectacular views of the snow-capped Remarkables, its warm elegant dining room, world class cuisine and low-key friendly hospitality.
Always foraging and exploring, chef and co-owner Martin James has created a winter menu infused with regional flavours and molecular twists that will both intrigue and delight.
Coupled with a glass of local Central Otago Pinot noir you will be treated to the best the region has to offer. This is relaxed fine dining done exceptionally well, so you won’t need a frock or a tie, just a reservation. Online reservations can now be made via Wai’s website so you don’t miss out.
Finz Seafood & Grill | www.finzdownunder.co.nz
Finz Seafood & Grill has been a popular choice with Queenstown diners in the know for the past seven years and has been recently revamped to include extended lake front dining.
Finz is a busy bustling little seafood bistro with crisp white tablecloths and wooden chairs. It is a place you can go and enjoy great food and wine and not break the bank. Whilst specialising in seafood and offering some of the freshest seafood you will find in Queenstown, for the meat lovers Finz also offers some of the best meat cuts from around the district. Don’t go past delights such as the 400g of prime rib-eye on the bone or the Southland lamb cutlets.
The bar overlooking the lake offers a place for an après ski or pre-dinner drink or a casual quick bite to eat. An extensive wine selection, including Central Otago Pinot Noir is on offer.
The Ballarat Trading Co. | www.ballarat.co.nz
The Ballarat Trading Company boasts itself as Queenstown’s Original Gastro Pub – and by original, they mean out of this world. Designed by award winning designer Tom Skyring and inspired by an 1850’s trading emporium, The Ballarat, as it is known by locals, is something truly unique, embracing the colour of old world Queenstown. There’s a real man’s man feel to the ambience – leather dining booths, taxidermy everywhere and antique skis hanging up, this place is truly unique… and mad as chips!
Speaking of chips, we have to recommend Ballarat’s fish ‘n’ chips served with the company’s own tartare sauce, which is perfect for a good dousing over your dinner! If chips aren’t your thing, perhaps the retro prawn cocktail, or even some homemade ice cream will go down a treat. Once you’re settled in, you’ll probably want one of everything!
Zephyr | Facebook search “Zephyr Queenstown”
Tucked away in a corner of Searle Lane, Zephyr is one of those places you wouldn’t know existed if a local (or your local gay magazine!) didn’t tell you it was there. The little club is one of Queenstown’s newest establishments and also one of its best kept secrets.
At first, walking into Zephyr is like walking into a club house – that’s because the premises were constructed from materials salvaged from demolished Christchurch buildings following the 2011 earthquake. But don’t worry – the only shaking going on is on the dancefloor! Zephyr hosts live music and DJs and is always partial to a private party! For less raucous nights, settle in for a game of pool or sink into a comfortable sofa or bar stool.
For all you retro lovers out there, you’re in luck! Zephyr is decked out in mid-century Kiwiana and is topped off by the artwork of emerging local artists.