Queenstown is a place that truly caters to all budgets and palates. Whether you’re wanting to get the most of the town’s nightlife, seeking a good place for brunch or eager to treat yourself to a nice sit down meal, there are lots of options to consider. For those wanting to relish the local fine dining scene, here are some of the area’s very best offerings.
If you fancy some New Zealand lamb, the Roaring Megs is the place to visit. The restaurant has won several accolades – which hang proudly on its walls – for its beef and lamb dishes. It is also one of the first fine dining restaurants to open in Queenstown, so you know it has a great reputation. All mains, be it lamb, steak, venison or salmon, come with their own wine pairing suggestions.
Another award-winner in the local fine dining scene: but this time, wine is the main contender. Gantleys Restaurant boasts having New Zealand’s ‘most awarded’ wine list, earning the Award for Excellence from New York’s Wine Spectator magazine every year since 1996. Diners can choose from six-course tasting menu with wine matches or an a la carte experience that makes the most of its contemporary flavours. Bookings are essential and the restaurant offers complimentary transport from central Queenstown upon arrangement.
The Grille by Eichardt's, Queenstown | Courtesy of The Grille by Eichardt's
Part of the luxurious Eichardt’s hotel, The Grille’s lakefront location and elegant interiors will make patrons feel like they’ve stepped into a contemporary French brasserie. Homegrown dishes is where this fine dining establishment thrives: its menu features seasonally available oysters, freshly caught fish as well as charcuterie boards with locally cured meats.
Owned by Michelin-starred New Zealand chef Josh Emett, Rata is renowned for its relaxed setting and a strong emphasis on local flavours. Locally sourced fish and meat are prominent features in its dining menus while the wine list is a celebration of New Zealand viticulture, from well-known producers to boutique winemakers that are worthy of praise.
Botswana Butchery’s Queenstown premises have proven to be quite a hit among the town’s locals and visitors since its inception in 2008. In the winter months, the lush interiors are given an added layer of warmth thanks to the log fireplace. Meat is the obvious speciality in this fine dining establishment, but the restaurant is also known for its premium seafood dishes, decadent desserts and incredibly diverse New Zealand cheese selection.
Saffron is located in Arrowtown, but the 15-20 minute trip from Queenstown will be well and truly worth it. A chic decor and pleasant ambiance aptly complements the restaurant’s seasonal food offerings. There are three- and five-course tasting menus, which can be adapted to suit various dietary requirements, plus a range of fish, seafood, lamb, beef and vegetarian options to please all fine dining tastes.
Bar, Restaurant, European, Contemporary, Oceanian, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
For fine dining with a romantic, rustic feel you can’t beat The Bunker Restaurant and Bar. With dimmed lighting and music setting the scene, the cosy restaurant keeps things simple but luxurious. If you really want to get to grips with the local flavours, try the Taste of South set menu: it features a wide selection of meats, cheeses, seafood and wines from the Central Otago and the wider South Island.
With a stunning location that overlooks Lake Wakatipu, Prime Waterfront Restaurant and Bar is the ideal choice for those wanting to enjoy Queenstown’s famous alpine vistas. In summer the balcony offers great al fresco dining opportunities while winter patrons still get to relish those views in comfort of an open fire. Meat and seafood is this restaurant’s forte, though vegetarian and gluten-free diners also have their fix of wholesome dishes to choose from.