A Foodie's Guide to Queenstown and Wānaka

Close up of Cheese Burger and Fries

It’s easy to mention the great outdoors when talking about Queenstown and Wānaka, but what about the incredible food scene? All that adventuring requires some serious fuel and these two Lakes District towns do not disappoint.

Words by: Ashlyn Oswalt 

Photos by: Nancy Zhou

With long, hot summers, open plains and plenty of lakes abound, there’s a lot growing in Otago. So, whether you’re hitting the slopes or simply looking for a place to take in the scenery and local dishes, we’ve rounded up our favourite places to eat and drink in Queenstown and Wānaka.

Dripping Bowl - Wānaka

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82 Anderson Road, Wānaka

If you’re after something healthy to fuel your weekend, look no further than the Dripping Bowl. This food cart specialises in whole foods and offers up mostly organic, healthy options. Kombuchas, smoothie bowls, bone broths and buddha bowls are lovingly prepared and ready to eat in minutes, allowing you to skip the gluttonous fast food for something that won’t leave you feeling sluggish on the mountaintop.

Pembroke Pâtisserie - Wānaka

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20 Alison Avenue, Albert Town, Wānaka

Bringing a taste of France to Wānaka, the team at Pembroke Pâtisserie have perfected traditional pastries and coffees. From warm loaves of sourdough to chocolate eclairs and pain au chocolats, you’ll find all the best in fine pastry behind their glass. Either stay and dine to enjoy the airy space or grab some colourful creations to takeaway and brighten a friend’s day.

Red Star Burgers - Wānaka

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26 Ardmore Street, Wānaka

If you like your burgers packed full of flavour, your beer craft and your music loud, then head over to Red Star Burgers. A Wānaka favourite for over 15 years, this burger joint has a large menu of gourmet burgers that’ll tickle the fancy of beef, lamb, venison, chicken and vege lovers alike. Be sure to get an order of their salted fries, too, a simple but delicious way to round out such a treat. 

Burrito Craft - Wānaka

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42 Brownston Street, Wānaka

The fact that Burrito Craft serves out of a food truck means their menu is simple, only featuring the very best. Their fish tacos bring crowds from far and wide, and their selections perfectly meld comfort Mexican food with delicious, vibrant Otago flavours. Catering to vegetarians, too, we’re certain everyone can find something to tickle their fancy at Burrito Craft.

arc - Wānaka

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74 Ardmore Street, Wānaka

Showcasing the best that Otago has to offer, arc serves up some delicious local and sustainable options in a fine-dining setting, without the airs and graces. Dishes are designed to share, are both simple and intricate and use local ingredients in innovative ways that allow each element to shine. Creative mocktails, cocktails, and an extensive range of wine and beer are of course available to complement the plates, elevating the overall dining experience in this relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

Muttonbird - Wānaka

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33 Ardmore Street, Wānaka

The relaxed setting of Muttonbird sets diners at ease immediately, with ‘60s and ‘70s jams pumping through the speakers. The menu is meant to be shared and enjoyed at a relaxed pace, with Jerusalem artichokes, blooming onions and chicken liver parfaits for starters and whole fish, pork hocks, and more for mains. Rotating based on the seasons and local producers' inventories, no two dinners at Muttonbird will be quite the same — reason enough to keep going back.

Bistro Gentil - Wānaka

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76A Golf Course Road, Wānaka

If you’re looking for French fine dining in a snowy ski town setting, you’ll find it at Bistro Gentil. With wines by the glass and a tasting menu that reflects the seasons and French traditions, you’ll be ready to settle into a long evening of wine and dining. The modern space with mountain views makes for the perfect backdrop to a special evening out.

Kika - Wānaka

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2 Dunmore Street, Wānaka

Kika is a beautiful, dark, refined space that’s perfect for an intimate meal shared with someone special. Their menu takes inspiration from Italy, but things like fried chicken and elote make appearances on their starters and mains. Their desserts are divine — with options like vanilla creme brulee and almond cookies and cream, you won’t want to leave before you’ve sampled one, or two.

Close up of burger and fries

The Lab Kitchen - Queenstown

For excellent burgers, head over to The Lab Kitchen. Stacked high and featuring local produce and meat, you’ll find some hearty options to fill you up after a long day outside. The food truck is on the move, so you’ll need to keep tabs on where it currently is to score a burger and their delicious pastries.

A laughing staff member holding two plates of food.

Yonder - Queenstown

Funky, vibrant, and full of flavour, you won’t be disappointed by Yonder’s menu morning or night. Their brunch menu features a wide array — think boysenberry and apple pancakes next to vegan butties and corn and jalapeño fritters. Their dinner menu features plenty of sharing plates, baos, and tacos, speaking to Queenstown’s eclectic international mix of people and cultures. Yonder’s quirk doesn’t stop with food, though, as drinks like Fireball Coladas and Cold Bro Martinis make this place extra special.

Group of people dining at Sherwood

The Sherwood - Queenstown

If you’re looking for a place that truly cares about sustainability, look no further than the award-winning The Sherwood. A quaint hotel on the outskirts of town, The Sherwood’s restaurant offers sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and a beautiful menu that highlights local foods grown around the Lake District and Sherwood’s own garden plot. From woodfired flatbreads and local wines at night to gingernut pancakes and coffees in the morning, we’ll forgive you for not wanting to leave your spot by the fire all day.

Landscape view of Amisfield building

Amisfield - Queenstown

Known for their award-winning wines, Amisfield knows a thing or two about fine dining as well. Focusing on celebrating the region’s bounty, Amisfield aims to highlight the best in New Zealand’s food culture alongside their wines. Their menu is ever-evolving with the seasons, but think blue cod cooked on an open fire, lamb and kūmara dishes and beautifully prepared vege.

Neat Wānaka Places

Cardrona Distillery

A distillery tour taking place.
Place Wānaka Editor's Pick
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Stop by for a tour and tasting session at Cardrona Distillery and set your eyes on the magnificent copper stills responsible for turning grain into spirits.

The Coffee Shack

A woman waiting in line at The Coffee Shack.
Place Wānaka
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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.

Urban Grind

A man holding a plate of food.
Place Wānaka
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An all-day neighbourhood eatery that's been providing locals with delicious fare since 2011.

The Precinct

People walking down the alleyway.
Place Wānaka
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A stylish, shared complex in Wānaka with a range of alluring retail and hospitality stores.