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StarChefs
Features New Zealand Travel Guide
 
TRAVEL ARCHIVE
New Zealand Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay, and Play
May 2010

Between the plentiful, product-driven cuisine and the extreme sports, New Zealand is the ideal vacation destination for an adrenaline-seeking culinary pro. With such an abundance of extraordinary local produce, fish, protein, and wine it’s no surprise that the culinary scene in New Zealand is thriving. Chefs are taking full advantage of the natural bounty to create sophisticated dishes that highlight all the remarkable ingredients they have to work with.

Sustainability is deeply engrained in the culinary culture of New Zealand. From eco-conscious and antibiotic-free New Zealand King Salmon farms to ethically raised deer (not to mention the pristine produce), New Zealand chefs understand that sustainable products just taste better. And this is evident in their elegant, ingredient-driven cuisine.

As one of the world’s most vibrant New World wine regions, a visit to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without visits to some of the area’s great wineries. Many of the wineries in New Zealand conveniently also have excellent restaurants, and the chefs, winemakers, and sommeliers all have a deep-rooted understanding of terroir and dedication to creating memorable food and wine pairings.

Besides beyond a culinary playground, New Zealand doubles as an adventure-lover’s paradise. From bungee jumping to horseback riding, and from zip lining to sea kayaking, there is an activity for every whim. New Zealand may be across the world (depending on where home is), but it’s worth the trip for the food, the wine, and the adventure.

Auckland, Hawkes Bay, and
Waiheke Island
Arrowtown, Gibbston, and
Queenstown
Nelson and Wellington
Clooney Restaurant
Kitchen
Merediths
Te Whau
Terroir Restaurant at Craggy Range Winery
Amisfield Bistro & Winery
Chard Farm Winery
Fergburger
Saffron
Boulcott Street Bistro
Hippopotamus Restaurant
Hopgood’s Restaurant + Bar
Logan Brown
Martin Bosley's
The Orangerie
Relish Waterfront Dining
 
Auckland Nelson and Wellington Queenstown Taupo
Hotel De Brett Monaco Resort
Museum Hotel
Azur Lodge Millenium Resort
 
Golden Bay and Montueka Hastings and Rotorua Queenstown
Anatoki Salmon
The Sea Kayak Company
Firstlight Deer Farm
Tramping Tour at Wai-O-Tapu
AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand
 


Amisfield Bistro & Winery
10 Lake Hayes Road, RD1 9371
Queenstown, New Zealand
+64 3 442-0556
www.amisfield.co.nz
Hours: Tues-Sun 11:30am-8pm


This Central Otago winery and restaurant is on the shore of Lake Hayes and nestled at the foot of the mountains, just 10 minutes outside of Queenstown. Chef Jason Innes and Chef de Cuisine Emma Jones’ food is rustic Italian with New Zealand flare—a perfect match for Amisfield’s Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. A dish of meaty fried salmon with green beans and artichokes hearts is balanced with bright fresh red chilies and paired with their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. Beyond the seasonal and locally-sourced food, the dining room is modern-rustic and airy with vaulted ceilings; the outdoor patio is an ideal spot to enjoy the food, wine, and scenery.

Recommended Dishes:
  • Fried Salmon, Green Beans, Artichokes, and Fresh Red Chilies
  • Panzanella Bread Salad with Tomato, Anchovy, Celery, and Basil
  • Fried Salmon, Green Beans, Artichokes, and Fresh Red Chilies
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    Boulcott Street Bistro
    99 Boulcott Street
    Wellington, New Zealand
    +64 4 499-4199
    www.boulcottstreetbistro.co.nz
    Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm; 6pm-11pm, Wine Bar: Mon-Sun 12pm-7pm


    Chef Rex Morgan’s upscale casual restaurant focuses on clean flavors and seasonality. Previously working culinary marvels at Citron, Morgan went from high-end degustation to approachable bistro fare at Boulcott Street. After just a few months at his new digs, Chef Morgan has created an ingredient-focused menu that shows New Zealand product to its best advantage—as he says “letting the product do the work.”

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Northland Snapper, Battered Bluff Oyster, Tuatua Clam, Mash, and Pepper Purée
  • Seared Venison, Porcini Marshmallow, Shitake, and Manis Jus
  • Northland Snapper, Battered Bluff Oyster, Tuatua Clam, Mash, and Pepper Purée
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    Chard Farm Winery
    205 Chard Road RD 1
    Gibbston, New Zealand
    +64 3 442-6110
    www.chardfarm.co.nz
    Hours: By appointment

    Conceived in the 1980s, this family-run farm has focused mainly on its Pinot Noir production since 2003. The region's lower altitude produces riper flavors in this varietal, full of vibrant cherry notes, and a velvety texture. Rob Hay, owner of Chard Farm Winery in Central Otago, studied wine-making practices in Germany, before returning to his native New Zealand. He discusses his practices and shows us his recently renovated vineyards of Pinot Noir, minerally Riesling and perfumed Pinot Gris. In 2008, Chard Farms won the New Zealand International Wine Show Bronze Medal.
    Chard Farms Winery
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    Clooney Restaurant
    33 Sale Street, Freemans Bay
    Auckland, New Zealand
    +64 9 358-1702
    www.clooney.co.nz
    Hours: Lunch Mon-Thurs by Reservation; Fri Walk-In; Dinner Mon-Sat Walk-In; Sun by Reservation; Lounge Thurs-Sat 9pm-Late


    Clooney’s was opened in 2006 in a converted warehouse, and its clean industrial architecture proves to be a suitable backdrop for Chef Des Harris’s effortlessly elegant New Zealand cuisine, with posh touches. Luxurious venison with preserved cherries showcases some of New Zealand’s wealth of product, but also demonstrates serious technique.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Prime Angus Beef Tenderloin with Onion-Truffle Oil Flan, Pomme Mousseline, Red Wine Sauce, and Cripsy Sweetbreads
  • Confit Duck Leg with Pedro Ximenez-Soaked Prunes, Parsnip Purée, and Elderflower Jelly
  • Prime  Angus Beef Tenderloin with Onion-Truffle Oil Flan, Pomme Mousseline, Red Wine  Sauce, and Cripsy Sweetbreads
    + Click image to enlarge


    Fergburger
    42 Shotover Street
    Queenstown, New Zealand
    +64 3 441-1232
    www.fergburger.com
    Hours: Mon-Sun 24 hours


    A great fix for that burger craving while you’re in New Zealand, this super casual, quirky spot is the Kiwi answer to Shake Shack. The burgers are mammoth-sized and a sure cure for a hangover after a night out in Queenstown (Kiwi's know how to drink!). Patties range from beef to lamb to chicken and tofu. Open around the clock, it makes for a convenient after-hours spot.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • The Fergburger: Beef, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Aioli, and Tomato Relish
  • Southern Swine: Beef, Streaky Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Aioli, and Tomato Relish
  • Southern Swine: Beef, Streaky Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Aioli, and Tomato Relish
    + Click image to enlarge


    Hippopotamus Restaurant
    Museum Hotel
    90 Cable Street
    Wellington, New Zealand
    +64 4 802 8935
    www.museumhotel.co.nz/mh_bar.html
    Hours: Breakfast Daily; Lunch: Mon-Fri; High Tea: Daily 2pm-4:30pm; Dinner Daily


    Located inside Wellington’s slick Museum Hotel, Hippopotamus is headed by Executive Chef Laurent Loudeac, whose updated French technique is applied to the gallicized New Zealand cuisine. We sampled his breakfast menu, but stick around for dinner and you will find selections, such as a boneless rack of New Zealand lamb with Provencal spices, that marry New World ingredients with regional French preparations.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Oeufs en Cocotte: Baked Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Cream, and Toast
  • Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple-Raisin Compote, Maple Syrup, and Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple-Raisin Compote, Maple Syrup,  and Whipped Cream
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    Hopgood’s Restaurant + Bar
    284 Trafalgar Street
    Nelson, New Zealand
    +64 3 545-7191
    www.hopgoods.co.nz
    Hours: Thurs-Fri 11am-2pm; Mon-Sat 5:30pm-Close

    Modern farm-to-table is alive at this small neighborhood restaurant in Nelson, thanks to Chef-owner Kevin Hopgood, who gives the restaurant its name. Indulgent desserts featuring ingredients from the local Founders Park farmers’ market shone and a small but constantly shifting savory menu changes with the season and availability of local produce.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Buttermilk Panna Cotta with White Peaches and Iced Raspberry Parfait
  • Vanilla Cheesecake with Poached Plums and Boysenberry Sorbet
  • Buttermilk Panna Cotta with White Peaches and Iced Raspberry Parfait
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    Kitchen
    Hotel De Brett
    2 High Street
    Auckland, New Zealand
    +64 9 925-9000
    www.hoteldebrett.com/kitchen


    The avant garde platings, filling and hearty grain salads and upscale modern entrees are not what one would anticipate when dining at a hotel; Kitchen defies expectations at Auckland’s Hotel De Brett. Each of Chef David Verheul’s dishes pairs beautifully with wines from Central Otago, Martinborough and Hawke’s Bay vineyards, which are the focus for the wine list, but a few Old World selections are also available.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Slow-Cooked Lamb Rump with Goat Curd, Jersey Bennes, Snowpeas, and Chamomile
    Gallette of Black Quinoa, Silverbeet, and Feta with Salad of Baby Vegetables, Flowers and Shoots, and Hazelnut
  • Yuzu Parfait with Honeydew Melon Sorbet, Semi-Dried Blueberries, and Pistachio
  • Slow-Cooked Lamb Rump with Goat Curd, Jersey Bennes, Snowpeas, and
    + Click image to enlarge


    Logan Brown
    192 Cuba Street
    Wellington, New Zealand
    +64 4 801-5114
    www.loganbrown.co.nz
    Hours: By Reservation


    Chef Al Brown prepared dishes for us in his home test kitchen, but if his succulent roasted paua and roasted grouper throats are anything to go by, his Logan Brown is well worth the trip while you’re in Wellington. The seared wild hare dish was Brown’s homage to the upcoming autumn season, and the dishes’ gamey and deep flavors captured that crisp fall feeling—like being in a forest.  Note: You can catch Chef Brown in his New Zealand show Hunger for the Wild.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Seared Wild Hare Fillet with Warm Porcini and Pear Salad
  • Roasted Grouper Throats with Garam Masala Potatoes and Kaffir Lime Sauce
  • Seared Wild Hare Fillet with Warm Porcini and Pear Salad
    + Click image to enlarge


    Martin Bosley’s
    Upstairs at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
    103 Oriental Parade
    Wellington, New Zealand
    +64 4 920-8302
    www.martin-bosley.com
    Hours: By Reservation


    Produce-driven plates with a seafood emphasis are Chef Martin Bosley’s forte—no small wonder given the restaurant’s perch over the harbor. Bosley began his tenure in the restaurant world at the tender age of nine, and still views New Zealand cuisine with fresh eyes—something he attributes to New Zealand itself being a young country. His cuisine is driven by the seasons and local products, which he marries with subtly modern cooking technique and beautiful plating.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Trio of Tartare: John Dory, Chilled Crab Bisque, Saffron Milk Water, Red Capsicum Gelée; Queensland Spanner Crab, Wasasbi Sherbet, Pork Crackling; and Tuna, Clam, Soubise Earl Gray Tea Powder
  • Furred and Feathered: Cocoa-Dusted Venison Short Loin with Mushroom-Thyme Cake, Wild Mushroom Reduction, Beet, Blackberry Powder, Carrot Purée, Smoked Tomato Jam, Suet Pork Pie, Truffled Lentils, Silvebeet, and Roasted Quail
  • Furred and Feathered: Cocoa-Dusted Venison Short Loin with Mushroom-Thyme
    + Click image to enlarge


    Merediths
    365 Dominion Road
    Auckland, New Zealand
    +64 9 623-3140
    http://merediths.co.nz
    Hours: Tues-Sat 6pm-Close; Thurs-Fri Lunch 12pm (Reservations Essential)


    A small 40-seat restaurant in the Mt. Eden neighborhood outside of Auckland, Merediths is an upscale departure from the lush, green vineyards and rustic vineyard restaurants so typical of the region. From understated and soft-spoken Chef Michael Meredith himself, to his black and white only art deco dining room and his cuisine, everything at Merediths is the definition of elegance. His dishes are quietly innovative and feature brilliant and unusual flavor combinations, like white chocolate and tomatoes—a preview of the bright future of New Zealand cuisine.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Eel Two Ways; Smoked and Brandade with Scallops, Cauliflower Purée, Pickled Cauliflower, Jamon, Fresh Tomato, and Basil
  • Heirloom Tomatoes, Sorrell-White Chocolate Ice Cream, Gooseberries, and Olives
  • Quail Two Ways: Soy-Marinated Breast and Confit Leg with Dumplings, Swede Purée, Sliced Paua, Edamame, Enoki, Coconut Mousse, and Peanuts
    Eel Two Ways; Smoked and Brandade with Scallops, Cauliflower Purée, Pickled Cauliflower, Jamon, Fresh Tomato, and Basil
    + Click image to enlarge


    The Orangerie
    Monaco Resort
    6 Point Road
    Nelson, New Zealand
    +64 3 547-0797
    www.monacoresort.co.nz/orangerie
    Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-10:30am, 5:30pm-11pm (hours vary by season); High Tea Sun 2pm-4pm


    Monaco Resort in Nelson is known for Chef Neil Ward’s weekly high tea, served every Sunday afternoon, with six savory or sweet options, such as strawberry Swiss roll, brownie truffles, or scones. Delicate tea sandwiches range from cucumber fingers to smoked salmon and cream cheese. Dinner service at The Orangerie veers away from Brit-inspired Commonwealth classics, and more toward French-inflected New Zealand cuisine.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Pan Seared Prawns with Ciabatta Bruschetta, Smoked Paprika, and Sweet Chili Beurre Blanc
  • Lamb with Milk and Honey: Marinated Lamb Rack with Kumara, Spinach, Boulangère Potatoes, and Red Wine Reduction
  • Lamb with Milk and Honey: Marinated Lamb Rack with Kumara, Spinach, Boulangère Potatoes, and Red Wine Reduction
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    Relish Waterfront Dining
    322 Wakefield Quay
    Nelson, New Zealand
    +64 3 539-1307
    www.relishdining.co.nz
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm; Sat-Sun 9am-10pm


    Located in the port town of Nelson, Relish is a waterfront restaurant overlooking the harbor. After spending time at vineyards and restaurants in Napier, Auckland and the Marlborough Sounds, Cliffin has turned his attention to quayside dining. His local produce-centric menu marries well with the New Zealand wine list.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Salt-Crusted Snapper Fillet with Roasted Kumara, Bok Choy, and Green Curry Coconut Cream
  • Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Fondant Potato, French Beans, Smoked Apple, and Calvados Jus
  • Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Fondant Potato, French Beans, Smoked Apple, and Calvados Jus
    + Click image to enlarge


    Saffron
    18 Buckingham Street
    Arrowtown, New Zealand
    +64 3 442-0131
    www.saffronrestaurant.co.nz
    Hours: Daily 12pm-10pm


    Chef Peter Gawron and his wife Melanie offer rustically elegant and comforting cuisine, at this small-town upscale casual spot. From the perfectly cooked pheasant prepared with two cooking applications to freshly grilled local seafood, everything is beautifully presented. Chef Gawron takes his inspiration from the wine industry, which he feels provides the backbone in the area for the culinary community.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Beef Cheeks Braised in Chinese Master Stock and Crisp-Fried, Cauliflower-Apple Purée, and Curry Oil
  • Central Otago Pheasant Cooked Two Ways: Breast with Porcini Mushrooms and Hazelnut; and Braised Leg En Croute with Wild Mushrooms and Sautéed Grapes
  • Beef Cheeks Braised in Chinese Master Stock and Crisp-Fried, Cauliflower-Apple Purée, and Curry Oil
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    Terroir Restaurant at Craggy Range Winery
    253 Waimarama Road
    Havelock North 4230
    Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
    +64 6 873-7126
    www.craggyrange.com
    Hours: By Reservation


    Set in a valley at the base of a mountain range, this picturesque winery and restaurant is hard to leave. It features sophisticated, technique-driven cuisine courtesy of Chef Leyton Ashley. Sommelier Mike Bancks expertly pairs Craggy Range wines with the winery’s restaurant Terroir to intoxicating effect that intrigues the mind as well as the palate.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Firstlight Venison Carpaccio with Walnuts and Juniper
  • Rose Veal, Soubise, Crumbled Veal Sweetbreads and Crab Apple Jelly
  • Rose Veal, Soubise, Crumbled Veal Sweetbreads and Crab Apple Jelly
    + Click image to enlarge


    Te Whau
    218 Te Whau Drive
    Waiheke Island, New Zealand
    +64 9 372-7191
    www.tewhau.com/restaurant.asp
    Hours: Tasting Room and Restaurant Fri-Sun 11am-4:30pm; Sat 6:30pm-Close


    Chef Marco Edwardes at Te Whau vineyard complimented a bottle of the vineyard’s minerally “The Point” with tender grilled beef when we visited him, emphasizing the wine’s clay and damp earth notes, and celebrating its sense of terroir. The vineyard restaurant serves New Zealand cuisine paired with Te Whau’s Burgundy-style Chardonnays and wild yeast fermented reds, in addition to regional New Zealand picks and classic French Champagne, all while overlooking Waiheke Island and Rangitoto.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Twice-Cooked Duck with Spicy Oxtail Dumplings, Bok Choy, Shiitake Mushrooms, Cashews, and Duck and Mandarin Jus
  • Seared Venison Carpaccio with Honey and Rosemary Vinaigrette, Porcini Panna Cotta, Red Pepper Coulis, Micro Cress, Shaved Parmesan, and Beet Root
  • Seared Venison Carpaccio with Honey and Rosemary Vinaigrette, Porcini Panna Cotta, Red Pepper Coulis, Micro Cress, Shaved Parmesan, and Beet Root
    + Click image to enlarge




    Azur Lodge
    23 MacKinnon Terrace
    Queenstown, New Zealand
    +64 3 409-0588
    www.azur.co.nz
    Rooms start at $642 US


    Private lodges of beechwood and stone overlook the mountains as the sun rises at this Queenstown retreat, making for a serene and restful stay at this spa-like resort. Relax by the fire in your modern room, or explore the local wild-life with a hike or horseback ride. A helicopter tour of the area can even be arranged by Azur upon request.

    Azur Lodge
    + Click image to enlarge


    Hotel De Brett
    2 High Street
    Auckland, New Zealand
    +64 9 925-9000
    www.hoteldebrett.com/
    Rooms start at $207 US

    With under 30 rooms, Hotel De Brett offers a more boutique feel than some of Auckland’s larger hotels. It has the advantage of being centrally located near the city’s Ferry Building and Sky Tower, and a library/drawing room is available for you to unwind and read at the end of the day. Kitchen is particularly well-appointed for a hotel restaurant, should you find yourself not in the mood to venture outside this urban retreat.

    Hotel De Brett
    + Click image to enlarge


    Millenium Resort
    243 Lake Terrace
    Taupo, New Zealand
    +64 7 376-1692
    www.manuels.co.nz
    Rooms start at $200 US


    On the edge of Lake Taupo, you will find Millenium Resort, with a stunning view of the Central Plateau Mountains. With facilities like a tennis court, gymnasium, heated swimming pool, and sauna, it makes a comfortable choice for both active visitors and families.

    Millenium Resort
    + Click image to enlarge


    Monaco Resort
    6 Point Road

    Nelson, New Zealand
    +64 3 547-0797
    www.monacoresort.co.nz
    Rooms start at $85 US


    This idyllic and laid back Nelson resort located on the Monaco peninsula appears from a distance to float on the surface of the water. The rooms inside each brick cottage have a homey English countryside feel, with their rose paintings, wooden beams and rustic furniture and the whole complex mimics a village, complete with stream and village green. The Kiwi-French restaurant The Orangerie makes for a comfortable spot for afternoon tea, should you feel the need to stay within the Brit theme during your stay.

    Monaco Resort
    + Click image to enlarge


    Museum Hotel
    90 Cable Street
    Wellington, New Zealand
    +64 4 802-8900
    www.museumhotel.co.nz
    Rooms start at $141 US


    Museum Hotel in central Wellington flanks the city’s harbor and New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa. Rooms are comfortably modern, with rich chocolate browns and bronze color schemes. Some are available with an attached kitchenette so you can prepare yourself a morning cup of coffee or tea without leaving your room. In-room washer-dryers, a 42-inch TV screen, and high-speed internet access are among the other touches that makes the hotel a user-friendly option. The recently rennovated Hippopotamus restaurant serves very competent French-Kiwi cuisine under the direction of Executive Chef Laurent Loudeac.

    Museum Hotel
    + Click image to enlarge




    AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand camera icon
    Kawarau Bungy Centre
    State Highway 6, Gibbston Valley
    Queenstown, New Zealand
    +64 3 442 4007

    www.bungy.co.nz/
    Prices start at $86


    With six AJ Hackett sites in Queenstown, you can admire some of the best available views of the city before slicing through the air for the ultimate adrenaline rush.

    AJ Hackett Bungee New Zealand
    + Click image to enlarge


    Anatoki Salmon camera icon
    McCallums Road, Anatoki Valley
    Golden Bay, New Zealand
    +64 3 525-7251

    www.anatokisalmon.co.nz
    Free entrance, pay per fish caught


    If you are planning on visiting New Zealand with your brood, Anatoki Salmon is a small freshwater salmon farm that doubles as a family fishing experience on the banks of the Anatoki River. Once you secure your catch, free cleaning and hot-smoking are available.

    Anatoki Salmon
    + Click image to enlarge


    Firstlight Deer Farm camera icon
    PO Box 2093 Stortford Lodge
    Hastings, New Zealand
    +64 6 878 2712
    www.firstlightfoods.co.nz


    Firstlight is a venison and wagyu beef producer whose collection of 35 farms may be open to visitors upon request. Our visit to Firstlight’s Hastings farm from the back of a pick-up truck was an eye-opener.

    First Light Deer Farm
    + Click image to enlarge


    The Sea Kayak Company camera icon
    506 High Street
    Motueka, New Zealand
    +64 3 528 7251
    www.seakayaknz.co.nz
    Prices start at $130 US per person


    Abel Tasman National Park, the smallest of the country’s national parks, is a scenic option for your first kayaking trip, or you may choose to rent kayaking equipment and venture out on your own if you are a more seasoned sportsman.

    The Sea Kayak Company
    + Click image to enlarge


    Tramping Tour at Wai-O-Tapu camera icon
    201 Waiotapu Loop Road, RD 3
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    +64 7 366 6333
    www.nz.com
    Prices start at $150 per person


    Learn about Rotorua's natural geothermal features, as well as the local flora and fauna guided by a local naturalist.

    Tramping Tour at Wai-O-Tapu
    + Click image to enlarge


     

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