We were in New Zealand for February and had the opportunity to eat out a lot as well as visit a lot of wineries. We found Cuisine’s 2007 Wine Country magazine to be a most useful resource for wineries, restaurants and other artisanal stores. It has around 300 pages of information. The magazine is in stores until mid April. Many wineries carry it too.
We found chowhound a little light in New Zealand entries. Here’s a list of a few places that we enjoyed with a short note or two. I hope someone will find it helpful.
South to North:
Postmasters House in Arrowtown, Central Otago. The food was great—we really liked the seared venison. Nice quaint old home. The waitservice was a bit amateurish, but the owner/manager made up for it. Had a really nice Bald Hills Pinot Gris and Felton Road Pinot Noir.
Mount Difficulty Winery, Bannockburn, Central Otago. The lunch we had was simple yet good. Their Pinot is great and the view from the restaurant was spectacular.
Gibb’s Vineyard Restaurant, Marlborough. It’s a little restaurant amongst the Vineyards. We had the best lamb (chops) of our whole trip here.
Highfield Estate, Marlborough. Another small menu with a spectacular view. Beautifully smoked salmon.
Terrior Restaurant, Craggy Range Vineyards, Havelock North, Hawkes Bay. Yet another vineyard with a spectacular view. The restaurant is closer to haut cuisine. The lunch we had was excellent. Especially enjoyable bread.
Rush Monros Ice Cream Gardens, Hastings, Hawkes Bay. One tends to eat a lot of ice cream and dairy in NZ. This was the best ice cream we had. Wow. I really enjoyed the passionfruit. The also had a manuka honey one that was tasty. (Some of their ice cream is found around NZ)
The Fishmongers, Parnell, Auckland. They had a good selection of fresh fish and the chips were good too. They are both made while you wait. Like many places that sell chips in New Zealand, 1 serving will serve 2 or 3 people.
Vogels Bread. For a prepackaged bread, Vogels Mixed Grain bread was really good. If you need bread in the morning or for a packed lunch, try it.
We were really disappointed with the pies. I didn’t find any that I really knocked me over. I can’t say what was the best, but the worst was at Jade Stadium in Christchurch. I forget the brand, but the wrapper was either yellow or orange.
Lastly, for a spectacular view (but no food), drive to Chard Farm Vineyard in Central Otago. You are rewarded with a spectacular view and some sumptious winto take home. Hope this is useful.