Eateries in Queenstown range from fine dining to casual, with a few big names which Aucklanders may recognise.
While Queenstown is famous for its sweeping mountain scenery and adrenalin-inducing adventure sports, it also has an exceptional hospitality sector. There are several excellent fine-dining restaurants in town and with wine country just down the road, long lunches are great options for sunny days.
And for those looking for simpler meals or to refuel after an active day on the slopes, there are several pubs and more casual restaurants which serve heartier meals. For lighter options, or simply relax at a local vineyard with a glass of wine and a platter or head to one of the local takeaways for quick eats at lower price points.
Queenstown is also known for its nightlife and there are several bars in town which are well worth visiting for a casual drink or a longer night out. With over 100 restaurants, bars and cafes in Queenstown, there something for everyone, no matter your dining preference.
A beautifully presented main meal at Rātā, Queenstown
If you’re a serious foodie who wants to experience some of the best restaurants in the country, Queenstown is an excellent place to start. From cuisine with a local influence to more traditional French and Italian flavours, fine dining in Queenstown will exceed your expectations. Taste local meat and flavours in central Queenstown at Rātā, The Grille or The Bunker for a fine-dining experience in a rustic setting (stay late for a night out). Venture further afield to Aosta in Arrowtown for beautiful Italian flavours or True South Dining Room in Franklin.
Outdoor dining in central Queenstown
For a less formal night out, there are several good casual restaurants and gastropubs to choose from. You can find a range of international cuisines as well as some local flavours. For a fun meal out head to Madam Woo (a sister to the Auckland restaurant) for delicious Asian-fusion cuisine or Tatsumi which serves excellent modern Japanese food. On the lower end of the price scale are local favourites Fergburger (the burgers are worth the queue), The Cow is renowned for its pizza and, or head to Taco Medic for your Mexican fix.
Gibbston Valley vineyard
On the edge of the Central Otago wine region, there are over 100 wineries within an hour’s drive from Queenstown. The region is famous for its pinot noir and it’s tasting the local wine is a must while you’re in town and many wineries offer wine tastings (although you may need to book in advance). If you aren’t a wine drinker, it’s still worth visiting a vineyard for the lovely setting – pick a winery with a restaurant and try the wonderful food too. Closest to Queenstown, you’ll find Amisfield near Arrowtown and Akarua Wines & Kitchen in Lake Hayes (both with excellent restaurants), while the Gibbston Valley wineries are less than half an hour away.
Queenstown is home to some excellent cafes, perfect for brunches, coffee and muffins, or cheaper lunches. No matter where you stay in Queenstown, you’ll find a café close by and many are very child-friendly, providing crayons and toys for little ones. There are simply to many good cafes in Queenstown to name them all, but some favourites are Bespoke Kitchen, Vudu and the iconic Joe’s Garage with branches in Frankton and Queenstown (and now several other places around the country). If you enjoy sweet treats, be sure to head to Cookie Time, Patagonia Chocolates and Fergbakery (a sister store to the famous Fergburgers).
Sitting outside Atlas Beer Cafe
If you’re more of a beer drinker, you’ll find plenty of craft beer options in Queenstown, as well as several local pubs if you’re after a hearty meal. As well as the larger pubs on the main road, there are a couple of smaller places well worth visiting. In town, Beech Tree, Smith’s Craft Beer House and Little Blackwood are great options for a meal and a pint, while Altas Beer Café and Searchlight Brewery offer premium local craft beer. If you’re heading down from the mountain after a day of skiing, Cargo Gantley’s Pub in Arthurs Point is warm and cosy with great food and beer.
The Below Zero ice bar
After a full day of outdoor activities, there are plenty of places in Queenstown to party. Many pubs and bars are open late, and bar hopping is a must, especially in summer. If you aren’t sure where to start, Below Zero Ice Bar is a favourite with visitors as everything in a bar is made of ice – including walls, furniture and cocktail glasses. For a more low-key vibe, try Winnie’s, home to local DJs and bands or head to Upstairs at the Bunker for a cocktail and lounge music.