New Zealand is the perfect getaway for anyone wishing to be thousands of miles away from the ordinary yet still feel a familiar breeze. While many know the country for its sweeping South Pacific landscapes and dramatic nature, New Zealand is also is internationally renowned for its food and wine scene. With over 9,000 miles of coastline and green, rolling hills in-between, it’s the perfect setting for locally sourced seafood, succulent lamb and grass-fed beef that’s recognized worldwide. Top it all off with a chilled glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or a rich Pinot Noir, and you have a plethora of memorable dining adventures at your fingertips. Here are five of the best restaurants in New Zealand that are guaranteed to leave you impressed.
It is impossible to talk about the fine dining restaurants in New Zealand without first mentioning Sidart. This Auckland establishment serves the finest seasonal New Zealand produce transformed into unbelievably artistic and delightful dishes. Progressive Indian flavours are mixed with contemporary cooking techniques to please the diners with an unforgettable culinary experience. The restaurant is known for offering warm and tailor-made service to each diner. Here you will find the best regional wines which will be offered as fine accompaniments to your meal. Feast on dry-aged quail or some of the most tender venison you will have ever had. Scallops, smoked eel and spanner crab are among some lighter options and the flavour combinations are out of this world. The interior is delightfully contemporary and smart – cool grey tones are lifted by natural wood elements and striking bold metal details.
Mudbrick Restaurant and Vineyard
If you search for the best regional and vineyard restaurants in New Zealand, Mudbrick leads the way. Located in dream-like scenery complete with vineyards, endless blue skies, and rolling hills, this place soothes the soul as soon as you arrive. It is a perfectly romantic setting where you can gaze over the Hauraki Gulf during dinner. The atmosphere is well-balanced and calm with candles lighting up the dining space in the evening. During summer the restaurant extends to the open-air conservatory overlooking the sea, while in the winters an impressive wood-burning fireplace heats up the space. The owners emphasize that the atmosphere here is as important as the food. Start your meal by feasting on a twice-cooked pork belly amuse-bouche or try the New Zealand oysters
Like other top restaurants in New Zealand, Elephant Hill enjoys an awe-inspiring natural setting. The water is so close you can almost touch it, while a refreshing ocean breeze sweeps across the estate and on sunny days there’s that familiar salty sea air feeling. The whole Elephant Hill estate sits dramatically in the surrounding landscape, among vast lines on vineyards. The building is monumental and modernist, predominantly featuring glass and concrete elements in the architecture. The naturally beautiful setting serves as inspiration for a delightful menu here, where interesting dishes are accompanied by wines from the vineyard. Fresh tuna is covered with a blanket of cucumber, coriander, wasabi, toasted sesame and foraged sea spinach. Alongside seafood you will also find some of the finest wagyu beef dishes but do keep in mind that the menu changes seasonally. Head chef Punit D’Souza and his team are true masters in orchestrating a vast range of ingredients to all come together in perfect unison.
Boulcott Street Bistro
Boulcott Street Bistro is among the most legendary restaurants here in New Zealand. Opening nearly 30 years ago, it has since become the go-to destination for those in search of an intimate fine dining experience in Wellington. Here they serve innovative and modern dishes alongside bistro-style favorites, all of course accompanied by the finest wines and a typically warm and welcoming New Zealand hospitality.
Before even mentioning the food, take a minute to enjoy the quaint and beautiful setting. The restaurant is set in a Victorian-era cottage, Plimmer House. The interior is equally charming and slightly resembling coastal style with its white walls and ceilings. Only serving the freshest seasonal ingredients, the restaurant makes sure that the menu is always interesting even for returning patrons. West Coast whitebait served in a free-range egg roll is a must-try and so is the Angus pure beef tartare. Red wine-braised lamb is a New Zealand classic and pan-fried market fish is also something you might not want to miss.
The Sugar Club
Well, how can we not include a skyline restaurant, even if it’s halfway across the world? The Sugar Club is guaranteed to take your breath away with its indulgent food, striking interior and ever-so-impressive view of Auckland. New Zealand-born, London-based chef Peter Gordon is behind the success story of the Sugar Club that sits 53 floors above the city at the top of the Sky Tower. And it’s not just the restaurant that is reaching for the sky – so is the menu, which has been elevated to new heights by championing seasonal ingredients that have been locally and sustainably-sourced. That said, fusion cuisine plays the leading role here with bold flavors from around the world. Raw dry-aged beef meets smoked beetroot tartare, while Hauraki Gulf fish is accompanied by asparagus and buckwheat. Ashburton beef is beautifully combined with kimchi-churri – and yes, it really is as good as it sounds!