Queenstown’s restaurant scene is guaranteed to satisfy all cravings. You have your pick of cheap eats and classy venues — it’s just a matter of selecting the right place for your palate. To make things easier, here are nine local gems that everyone must visit.
Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Oceanian, Seafood
If fine dining is what you seek, you’re going to love the Botswana Butchery. Meat straight from the butcher’s block is one of their main specialities – but their menu is filled with seafood delicacies too. The lush restaurant also has exquisite views of the lakeside and a nice log-fire to keep you cozy on a chilly winter’s evening.
Rata is the brainchild of Michelin-acclaimed, Kiwi celebrity chef, Josh Emett. In case you’re wondering, the restaurant is named after a native tree. As for the food, lunches are on a set menu, and large dining groups can feast themselves on set options too. Food offerings are incredibly diverse – for instance, some Rata’s starters include venison carpaccio, cured salmon, and smoked eel.
Over the years, Fergburger has become as much of a Queenstown must-do as the area’s primary attractions. Its reputation has stemmed out of the value of their meals. Burgers are filling and reasonably priced. If you’re backpacking through the South Island, you may even find a few discount coupons offered in hostels. Order online if you don’t want to brave those queues – popular options include the Codfather, the Chief Wiggum and, for vegetarians, the Bun Laden.
Bar, Restaurant, European, Contemporary, Oceanian, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
A rustic, intimate setting will welcome diners into The Bunker. From there, you can browse through a beautiful selection of food offerings – game meats are the house speciality, but classic dishes like lamb and seafood make a memorable appearance too. The upstairs bar has made a name for itself because of its impressive wine list and cocktail concoctions.
A collaboration between Josh Emett and restaurateur Fleur Catton, Madam Woo brings reasonably-priced Malaysian flavours to the Queenstown crowds. Madam Woo’s menu was created by Emett and Malaysian-born Jane Leong – the duo met each other while working at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant. The idea is to offer a contemporary twist to traditional Asian cuisine.
Located right at the heart of Queenstown’s shopping precinct, Captain’s Restaurant is a popular stopover at all mealtimes. The venue is famous for their lamb racks, and there are a trove of options for seafood lovers too. Vegetarians will also have their fill of delectable breakfast offerings and fresh lunch salads.
Over the years, Jervois Steak House has become a favourite among Queenstown locals and visitors. For a place with a penchant for all things meat-related, they actually cater quite well to vegetarian tastes – the beetroot risotto is a popular contender. The carnivorous crowds will relish the finest meat cuts, including wagyu, prime rib, and savannah angus.
Tanoki Teppan and Sake Bar is hidden away in an alley – but the search for this downtown gem is definitely worth it. Fresh Japanese tapas, an extensive list of sake and cocktails, and a trove of teppan grill creations inspired by traditional dishes are some of the standout features of this cool restaurant.
Fishbone is your definite go-to for locally-sourced seafood. This Queenstown institution has earned a reputation for its fresh South Island produce and flavours over the last couple of decades – they even have their own farm, which grows 18 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Must-try seasonal dishes include the bluff oysters, prawn tacos and their Indian-inspired seafood curry.