7 Great Spots to Eat and Drink in Queenstown
Queenstown competes with the best when it comes to sitting down at the table for some southern hospitality.
Words by: Ashlyn Oswalt
Photography by: Supplied
Queenstown’s fun doesn’t stop once you set foot inside. With an abundant hospitality scene featuring adventurous food, wine, beer, and cocktails, you’ll be hard-pressed to find boring dining in the adrenaline-junkie town. From chefs who value sustainability and no-waste measures to lively eateries delivering new corners of the globe to the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll find yourself trading time outside for another meal. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
10 Lake Hayes Road, RD 1, Queenstown
A must-stop on any wine tour of New Zealand is Amisfield Winery. You’d be remiss, however, to just stop in for a flight, as the restaurant is a true gem. With a massive brick fireplace drawing guests in and plenty of large leather armchairs to sink into, you’ll take one look at the menu and be glad you settled in. The degustation menu offers a true taste of Central Otago, taking your tastebuds back to childhood and telling many stories of the land in New Zealand. If you’re after something lighter, the Wine Bar offers smaller plates that perfectly pair with Amisfield’s award-winning wines, all in a refined, cosy setting.
Photo credit: Amisfield
Te Nuku, 43 Ballarat St, Queenstown
Tucked in the centre of Queenstown’s bustling downtown, Rātā offers a classic kiwi experience. The modern, light-filled eatery offers New Zealand classics from the South Island, showcasing the bounty that comes from both the land and sea. Expertly plated and paired with a number of local wines, Rātā offers an experience you soon won’t forget.
Photo credit: Rātā
554 Frankton Road, Queenstown
If you’re looking for the heart and soul of Queenstown, you’ll find it at Sherwood. The three-acre section houses the refined beauty of Sherwood’s hotel, a hyper-local restaurant and bar, and an events space, all acting as a community hub. With a strong focus on the environment, Sherwood’s efforts are the real deal — they are ranked as one of the top ten most sustainable hotels in the world by Expedia Travellers.
As for the restaurant, raw timber and earthy tones greet you, offering private dining with communal tables. The central bar is the focal point of the space, perfect for ordering your next glass of local red. Wind down the night by experiencing the warmth and magic of their communal outdoor fire pit as well, soaking in the magic of Queenstown and Sherwood’s deep commitment to the community.
Photo credit: Sherwood
8/50 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown
Goldie is the new kid on the block, serving breakfast and brunch from Arrowtown coffee roasters, Wolf Coffee Roasters. The modern space and approach is a nice addition to Arrowotown’s strong hospitality scene. If expresso isn’t your thing, or you need to linger a little longer after your breakfast burrito, try their bottomless batch — the perfect way to fuel your time in the adventure capital of the world.
Photo credit: Goldie
30 Brunswick Street, Queenstown
Lil Red is the new spot by famed Otago chef Ryan Henley, located on Level 6 inside of QT Queenstown. Combining cheeky chalet chic with sustainable, local foods and zero waste goals, you can have your cake and eat it too here. In true apres-ski style, you can sit by the fire with a glass of red, indulging in Wagyu beef or confit salmon. According to their website, Lil Red is here for a good time, not a long time, so get in quick to enjoy this delightful new spot with incredible views.
Just a note that at the time of publishing, Lil Red is temporarily closed due to the impact of alert level changes. However, once they reopen they’ll launch an exciting new spring menu and change from pop-up restaurant to a permanent fixture with a seasonal menu change — how fun!
Photo credit: Lil Red
Altitude Brewery and Taproom
827 Frankton Arm Walk, Queenstown
Located on the shores of Lake Whakatipu, Altitude Brewery and Taproom is a funky little spot that packs a punch. The old garage space welcomes all with open arms, first through their outdoor space rife with picnic tables, a food truck, and lawn games, and then through their lofted indoor warehouse. You can tell the action happens here, and there’s plenty of beers on tap to prove that the team behind Altitude keeps busy. With interesting flavours for every palette, there’s an afternoon to be had here, nursing sore ski legs.
26 Ballarat Street, Queenstown
Rooted in Mexican soul food, Margo’s serves up a delicious feast in this high-energy, colourful spot. It’ll be hard to choose just one thing on the menu, so we suggest going with friends so you can split the whole lot. From the mana goat barbacoa empanadas to the salt and cumin cauliflower fajita, you’ll find something for everyone. It wouldn’t be right to wash all those tacos down with water, so be sure to sample their range of margaritas — from frozen to spicy — or toast a celebration with a shot of tequila.
Photo credit: Margo's
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Neat Wānaka Places
The Coffee Shack
Proof that good things come in small packages, The Coffee Shack serves up some of the best coffee in town from its pocket-sized converted garage interior.
Pembroke Pâtisserie offers hot pastries for your picnic, sweet pastries galore, or for those who like the finer things in life there’s artistically prepared macarons and tiny tarts.
Red Star Burger
A Wānaka institution, Red Star has been filling hungry bellies with burgers for over 15 years.
It’s a seabird you can eat that smells like fish and tastes like mutton.
Black Peak Gelato
With the cheery motto ‘handcrafted happiness’, Black Peak makes sure gelato treats are nothing short of exceptional.