The 18 Best Queenstown Restaurants For 2024
— Updated on 29 December 2023

The 18 Best Queenstown Restaurants For 2024

— Updated on 29 December 2023
Chris Singh
WORDS BY
Chris Singh

As the crowning jewel of New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown shoulders the country’s adventurous lifestyle very well.

To think about Queenstown is to imagine piles of the world’s greatest snow, jetboats squeezing through narrow spaces, and off-the-bridge bungee jumping with a side of ziplining. To visit Queenstown is to give yourself over to a hungry blend of pristine nature and heart-pumping adrenaline. Although you’ll definitely need to be across the best restaurants Queenstown has to offer if you want to keep that spectacular lifestyle running efficiently.

Can’t drive without fuel, after all. And so to help you navigate your next ski sojourn to Queenstown, I’ve pulled together a curated list of the best dining experiences in town.



The Best Queenstown Restaurants & Eateries

1. Nest Bar & Kitchen, Fernhill

(Photo by Nest Bar & Kitchen)

Head to Kamana Lakehouse on Fernhill Road to find the popular Nest Bar & Kitchen. Designed with slopes glass windows to really maximise those million-dollar mountain views, the Mediterranean restaurant has a heady dose of alpine atmosphere to complement all the scrummy treats, which range from calamari and saffron sliders to crowd pleasers like the signature Southern Alps merino lamb rack with whipped buttermilk.

The restaurant hosts an exclusive Central Otago cellar so even if you’re not making the trek for a feast, it’s worth sliding up to Queenstown’s highest alfresco eatery for some Japanese whiskies or top-tier wine while looking over Lake Wakatipu.


2. Botswana Butchery, Marine Parade

(Photo by Botswana Butchery)

Ever since it opened in 2008, Botswana Butchery has been coveted as one of the quintessential dining experiences of Central Otago. Extensions of the restaurant in Sydney and Melbourne may vary in quality, but the Queenstown original is the real deal, shaping a historic Archer’s Cottage into a powerhouse steak restaurant beloved by locals and visitors.

Provenance is key to Botswana Butchery’s success. The kitchen sources top-shelf produce from New Zealand and Australia to work into dishes like the signature Lake Ohau wagyu eye fillet and equally popular slow-roasted whole lamb shoulder from nearby Lumina in Central Otago. There are few feasts to go down as brilliantly as this after a banging day on the slopes.


3. The Sherwood, Frankton Road

(Photo by The Sherwood)

You’ll find The Sherwood along Frankton Road, on the edge of Lake Wakatipu about 3.5 KM outside of the city centre. The kitchen is powered by its steadfast dedication to sustainable sourcing with all produce coming from either its organic kitchen garden or local growers and producers. All organic waste is also returned to the kitchen garden, creating a circular ecosystem from which the kitchen builds simple dishes that change far too regularly for me to name any signatures.

Due to Queenstown’s southerly position, growing seasons are much shorter and so The Sherwood is constantly evolving its offerings based on its hyperlocal approach. As the website reads, “if we can’t grow it or forage for it, we buy it locally.” The bar, by the way, sticks to a similar ethos. Zero-waste principles apply so 60% of wine is bottled in-house.


5. Odd Saint, Queenstown CBD

(Photo by Odd Saint)

Often referred to as the best cafe in Queenstown, Odd Saint thrives on its all-day offering led by Executive Chef Matt Tobin and Head Chef Anton Walden. I’ve only been for breakfast but by all accounts, those later hours of the day are the time to head along when the kitchen busts out favourites like sweet and sour Cajun prawn roast and Hoosier fried chicken with butter curry.

You’re unlikely to need a reservation but I recommend trying to grab a table in the heated garden courtyard rather than the bistro.


6. Bespoke Kitchen, Queenstown CBD

(Photo by Bespoke Kitchen)

Sometimes, the simplest options yield the most satisfying results. This is precisely the case with Bespoke Kitchen, another flag bearer for Queenstown’s modest spread of all-day cafes. The kitchen’s brunch offering is it’s most popular, looking over the majesty of the Remarkables with produce-forward bowls of hangover-curing fare like a winter greens benedict and the town’s best karaage chicken burger.

Unlike Odd Saint, Bespoke Kitchen shuts up shop by 4 PM, making this a strictly breakfast, brunch and lunch spot. I suggest heading on over here before the slopes and then taking your apres-ski feast elsewhere.


7. Yonder, Queenstown CBD

(Photo by Yonder)

Asian influences with Central Otago produce. It’s an air-tight approach that has paid dividends for this popular Queenstown cafe over the years. Aside from Madam Woo’s incredible hawker rolls, those simple, perfectly done kimchi quesadillas are always on my mind well after I take off from Queenstown.

While dinner brings out those Asian influences, Brunch takes a more worldly approach. The cafe is well-regarded for its Turkish eggs but all the usual brunch staples sit on the menu as well, making this another sure-shot for any pre-powder feasting.


8. Fergbaker, Queenstown CBD

(Photo by Ferg Baker)

You’ve surely heard of Fergburger and how it is one of the must-try burgers in New Zealand. And, of course, the fresh-forward Queenstown institution is definitely worth a visit.

But don’t make the mistake of skipping sister venue Fergbaker, right next to the legendary burger shop wafting a different kind of scent. Instead of burgers stuffed with local produce, you’ve got soul-warming pies, massive croissants, freshly baked bread, and various sweet treats.

It’s the best bakery in Queenstown, by a country mile and you’ve got until 4 AM on Fridays and Saturdays to get your hands across those brilliant pork belly pies.


9. Taco Medic, Queenstown CBD

(Photo by Taco Medic)

A reliable and cheap Queenstown eatery from when ski season has already chewed through your adventure budget.

This affordable craft taqueria is the best choice for anyone curious about what Mexican food tastes like with local New Zealand flavours. You better believe that means that the Baja-style fried fish, Oaxacan spiced pan-seared fish and prawn tacos.

From all accounts, Taco Medic is in contention for the best tacos in the country.


10. Erik’s Fish & Chips, Queenstown CBD

(Photo by Erik’s Fish & Chips)

There’s not much else as emblematic of a Kiwi diet than a fish and chips shop. Erik’s Fish & Chips is considered one of the best in the country, as classic as they come with hearty portions showcasing the country’s finest and freshest locally caught seafood.

Hoki, monkfish and blue cod are the best orders here, but there’s everything from calamari and Bluff oysters to king prawns and mussels.


11. The Lodge Bar, Queenstown CBD

queenstown restaurants thelodge
(Photo by The Lodge Bar)

The Lodge Bar comes as the lifestyle extension for renowned premium menswear brand Rodd & Gun, debuting in 2016 with a prime position overlooking Lake Wakatipu and gesturing towards Cecil and Walter Peaks.

Although it’s not just stiff, well-deserved wine you’ll find at this cosy establishment, with the food menu sporting everything from meat pie croquettes with smoked cheddar to house-made tortellini with parsnip, sage and brown butter.

The restaurant menu changes regularly so make sure you check ahead for new dishes before going to The Lodge Bar for some regional wine and food for lunch or dinner. Plus, the town doesn’t have many Italian restaurants, so if you want pasta, the tortellini is highly recommended.


12. Madam Woo, Queenstown CBD

queenstown restaurants madam woo
(Photo by Madam Woo)

Queenstown has several unique dining institutions but none as unexpected as Madam Woo.

The casual mod-Asian restaurant serves up authentic Hawker-inspired Malaysian food with a few contemporary flourishes and locally-minded twists. Those hawker rolls are always the first thing I go for when I land in Queenstown. I’d even go so far as to suggest that if you had to eat just one thing in Queenstown, it’d be a pork hawker roll.


13. Rata, Queenstown CBD

queenstown restaurants rata
(Photo by Rata)

Michelin-trained chef Josh Emett, who also owns Madam Woo, runs Queenstown’s foremost fine diner with Rata. Driven by local produce, the kitchen is often credited as the best dining experience in town.

It’s been about five years since I ate at Rata and I imagine things would have changed dramatically since then, but from online reviews and the current menu, it looks like Emett still has that wise hyperlocal approach. Current dishes include blue cod with Southland swede, orange, pine nut and koji butter, and free farm pork rack with tamarillo, cabbage and a bread & butter sauce.


14. Jervois Steak House, Queenstown CBD

queenstown restaurants jervois steak
(Photo by Jervois Steak House)

Another upscale restaurant for those who want to live it up in Queenstown.

Jervois Steak House is built on top cuts of locally sourced beef, sourced from the very best producers in New Zealand and Australia. Amongst the wide and expansive fine dining selection, you’ll also find the likes of Japanese A5-grade wagyu, Tasmanian and Queensland Wagyu, 1824 King cuts and on-the-bone ribeye.


15. Amisfield Restaurant & Cellar Door, Frankton

queenstown restaurants amisfield
(Photo by Amisfield Restaurant & Cellar Door)

A famous local Central Otago cellar door on New Zealand’s South Island, Amisfield is that off-centre Queenstown stop just about every self-respecting gourmand and wine lover needs to make at least once.

The incredibly cosy, convivial restaurant inside is best experienced with a fine dining 7-course feast, making use of the best flavours the kitchen has sourced that season, worked into European-inspired food designed to bring out the best in Central Otago, whether it’s for lunch or dinner.

Just make sure lamb is on the plate at some point. It’s a local favourite.


16. The Grille by Eichardt’s, Queenstown CBD

queenstown restaurants the grille
(Photo by The Grille)

Located in a 5-star hotel, Eichardt’s, The Grille remains a top pick for those seeking fine dining experiences in Queenstown. Clearly inspired by the moody eateries of New York City, this institution is laser-focused on showcasing the produce of Central Otago and Southland.

Signature dishes include the kitchen’s legendary seafood chowder and various cuts from the best meat sourced across the South Island.


17. Boardwalk, Queenstown CBD

queenstown restaurants boardwalk
(Photo by Boardwalk)

Whether you want live crayfish or a winter-warming fish curry on a cold night, fine dining and seafood go hand-in-hand at Boardwalk Restaurant.

Located on Steamer Wharf, this fine dining king of Lake Wakatipu is built on the idea of serving fresh seafood in a more upscale setting, but there are just as many options for those who want to go for the vegetarian menu or eat a big, juicy local steak with some wine on the side.


18. The Cow, Queenstown CBD

queenstown restaurants the cow pizza
(Photo by The Cow)

An old-school New Zealand pizza restaurant shaped into a disused cow shed? Count us in.

The Cow has been thriving in the heart of Queenstown for over 40 years. The faultless, simple range of pizza and pasta makes this a hub of local comfort food completely worthy of legendary status. Grab a bolognese pizza and scoff it down by the fireplace with a wine in hand. There are few Queenstown traditions that are as endearing.


How Boss Hunting Chose Queenstown’s Best Restaurants

Between myself and some of my colleagues in the Boss Hunting office, we’ve been to Queenstown many times over the past few years. Whether it’s for a hosted press trip or a personal visit, we’ve been lucky enough to eat around town on more than a few occasions, which has given us the confidence to be able to put together a guide on Queenstown’s best restaurants.

When judging restaurants, we first consider how satisfied the food and drink leave us while also paying attention to service, concept and atmosphere. Is the restaurant bringing something new to Queenstown? Is it maximising the incredibly bounty of Central Otago produce? Does the wine list express the best of New Zealand? These are all questions we’ve asked ourselves and each other when discussing restaurants in Queenstown.

And by restaurants. we also include cafes and more casual eateries. I mean, of course Fergbaker wouldn’t qualify as a restaurant. Yet, if the food is good, it’s on this list. After all, this is a guide on where to eat in Queenstown and the scope is wide.

For more information on how we put together these lists please check out our editorial policy.


Found this guide to Queenstown’s best restaurant helpful? Check out some of our other New Zealand content.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best restaurant in Queenstown

Rata is constantly rated one of the best restaurants in Queenstown, but recently the fine dining institution has seen strong competition from The Lodge Bar, Boardwalk, and The Grille.

What is the best affordable restaurant in Queenstown?

Madam Woo’s hawker rolls are some of the best casual food you can find in Queenstown, right up there with Fergburger and Erik’s Fish & Chips.

Where is the best place for wine in Queenstown?

You can’t go past Amisfield Winery when it comes to some of the best wines in the country.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Chris Singh
WORDS by
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.

TAGS

Share the article