Let’s cut to the chase. When it comes to travel, food can make or break the getaway in its entirety.
So the question right now is… does Queenstown have what it takes to “make it”?
The answer (which you’ll be relieved to hear): a resounding yes.
When it comes to cuisine, this incredible winter paradise punches well above its weight. There’s much to be discovered and savoured when you’re not lapping one of the town’s four world-class ski resorts, whether it be the uniquely regional flavours or the unparalleled quality of the local produce. After a day on the snow, there’s no better reward than a crackling fireplace, a delicious meal, and some time with friends in Queenstown’s cosmopolitan town centre.
We’ve taken it upon ourselves to put together the ultimate skier’s culinary guide for eating your way around Queenstown, New Zealand this winter season.
Sometimes, the simplest options yield the most satisfying results. As you’ll soon find out, this is precisely the case with these first recommendations. What better way to start your day, before heading up the mountain for an unforgettable day on the slopes.
Bespoke Kitchen – $$
9 Isle St, Queenstown
Face it, cafe culture is here to stay. And I, for one, welcome it with opens arms and an open stomach. What better way to get a feel for the local produce than at a local eatery? At Bespoke Kitchen, you’ll find a deliciously organic twist on all your favourite cafe classics. Take the Bespoke Bowl, for example: organic brown rice with fried cauliflower and tofu, supported by the freshest daily greens, pickled radish, tahini, and peanut sauce. Or perhaps the house made beetroot cured salmon, avocado, and pea spread on rye toast.
Yonder – $$
14 Church St, Queenstown
This institution is another one to keep an eye out for. Uniting entire worlds of flavours, you’ll find a variety of culinary fusions, leaning more towards central Asian. Stop me if you’ve heard this next one: slow-cooked pork belly in an apple puree, with a salad of carrot, bean sprouts, cucumber, red pepper, and of course, pork crackling. What about blue cod ceviche, salt ‘n’ szechuan squid, corn+jalapeno fritters, miso cured salmon?
For something authentic on the go…
There won’t always be time to sit down and dine when you’re trying to maximise your time on the mountain. For those in-between moments when you’re racing to get on the hill or squeezing in a quick bite on the go, we’re prescribing the following.
Fergbaker – $
40 Shotover St, Queenstown
Fergbaker has been widely regarded as having “the best pies” in the country. Which is no small feat in itself. But if pies aren’t exactly your thing, try the freshly baked bread, selection of sandwiches, or choose from one of the many delicious sweet treats. There’s something for everyone here.
Taco Medic – $
3 Searle Ln, Queenstown
Taco Medic is a collaboration of the fresh and vibrant cultures of New Zealand and mexico, a major hit with the locals. Once again, there’s a full showcase of local produce to be found here, everything on the menu is made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and only the freshest handmade delicacies for your snacking pleasure.
Eric’s Fish and Chips – $
13 Earl St, Queenstown
Nothing says New Zealand like fish and chips. It’s right up there with the All Blacks, the Haka, and Sam Neill. Eric’s Fish and Chips has made a name for itself by serving some of the finest and freshest seafood to be found in the local waters, in hearty, hearty portions, and free from all possible pretension.
When the sun goes down…
After a long day of skiing, exposure to some breathtaking scenery, and getting as much vertical in as possible, it’s time for a well-deserved drink. But the views don’t have to be limited to the daytime, sit back and watch the sunset behind the snowy mountains. With the added bonus of experiencing some fine winter cuisine and cocktails, which will be well earned after a long day on the hill. Mulled wine or espresso martinis are the perfect cocktail to enjoy while sitting fireside at the many bars and restaurants Queenstown has to offer.
The Lodge Bar – $$
2 Rees St, Queenstown
The pristine Lake Wakatipu? Check. A backdrop of snow-capped mountains against an unobstructed skyscape? Check. Top notch refreshments? Triple check. Kick your feet up and tip back a glass of something strong (or not so strong) at the distinctively atmospheric The Lodge Bar. Your eyes will thank you for it.
The Bathhouse – $$
38 Marine Parade, Queenstown
Situated right on the lakefront, The Bathhouse is prime sunset real estate, overlooking Lake Wakatipu with uninterrupted views over the bay and surrounding snowy mountains. A cosy fire will keep you warm while taking in the views and enjoying a local wine. If you feel so inclined to stay after sunset for an evening meal (which my sources indicate you are likely to), a pleasantly low-key affair is what awaits you.
Public Kitchen & Bar – $$-$$$
Steamer Beach/Wharf, Queenstown
It’s the little things that you’ll appreciate at Public Kitchen & Bar. Beyond the coveted view, selection of drinks, and welcoming ambience, there’s also food that can only be described as hearty, comforting, and classic. It’s fine dining with a warm hug.
And there’s always room for something a little more classy…
Who doesn’t enjoy the finer things in life? Here are some of Queenstown’s more upscale dining options.
Rata – $$
Tek Nuku, 43 Ballarat St, Queenstown
From the brilliant mind of Michelin-star chef, Josh Emett, comes Rata. In addition to being a collaborator of Gordon Ramsay’s, as well as being the proprietor of two other New Zealand culinary hits, Hawker and Roll and Madam Woo, Emett has the midas touch when it comes to eateries. And Rata is no exception. Grass-fed beef tartare, bluff octopus a la plancha, duck leg and pistachio terrine, pan-fried blue cod — this is well and truly some of Queenstown’s finest.
Fishbone Bar & Grill – $$
7 Beach St, Queenstown
There’s a reason why New Zealand seafood is exported (and celebrated) the world over. At Fishbone Bar & Grill, it’s easy to see why. Steamed Fiordland crayfish from the southern glacial waters, whole flounder roasted in brown butter, lemon, parsley, and crispy capers. Dishes are paired with seasonal ingredients, many grown by the chef himself.
Jervois Steak House – $$-$$$
8 Duke St, Queenstown
Top cuts of beef are what you’ll find here, but you probably could have guessed that with a name like Jervois Steak House. The meats are sourced from the very best beef and lamb producers and not just domestic cuts of Taupo eye fillet or Wakanui sirloin either. Amongst the wide and expansive selection, you’ll also find the likes of Japanese A5-grade wagyu, Tasmanian and Queensland Wagyu, 1824 King cuts and ribeyes (on the bone)… you name it. You simply cannot go wrong here.
This article is the second in a complete directory brought to you in partnership with Destination Queenstown. If you missed our Quickfire Guide To A Boys’ Ski Weekend In Queenstown, head over to Boss Hunting.