Despite its diminutive size, there are a wealth of dining options in Queenstown. Whether you’re tucking into a famous Fergburger or sitting down for a waterfront three-course meal, the town’s chefs and restaurateurs pride themselves on an ethos of fresh, regionally sourced produce. So who better to ask for recommendations among the clutter of great choices than one of them? Josh Emett, head chef at fine-dining restaurant Rata, shares his pick of the best restaurants in Queenstown and nearby Arrowtown.

Best breakfast

Bespoke Kitchen

“I usually do Bespoke or Vudu, they’re owned by the same people. I always do a slice of sourdough, scrambled eggs and a side of mixed vegetables, which is always mixed up but lots of greens. I very rarely change. I’ve been coming down here for a long time, so I know what I want. They also do great cabinet food and cakes.”

Top lunch spot

“My go-to for lunch chops and changes a lot. Queenstown is quite a seasonal town in terms of cooking so one of our focuses is you cook by the seasons, trying to drag things in from other regions is quite difficult and a slow process as we don’t have that massive infrastructure so a lot of people here cook quite seasonally. Akarua Wines & Kitchen, on the way out to Arrowtown, does this well.”

Best place for dinner

Amisfield [in Arrowtown] is doing great things, either lunch or dinner. Aosta, also in Arrowtown, is really cool and so is the Spanish tapas place, La Rumbla. Or. a good thig to do for lunch is to go on the TSS Earnslaw and have the lunch at Walter Peark Farm. We helped them do it around four years ago and they do a buffet lunch with lots of local meats, there’s a running farm out there and the ride of the Earnslaw is really great. You need to get out on the lake when you come to Queenstown.”

Best spot for a late-night drink

“Probably Bardeaux because it sits right smack bang in the middle of everything and everyone seems to walk past so it’s not always absolutely mobbed. It’s got a great big roaring fire and big seats and it feels really comfortable. Eichardt’s is a great place for a bit of a nightcap as well, it’s quite cool and sophisticated.”

Best cheap eats


“If you don’t want to wait in the line for a Ferburger, go to Ferg Bakery. They do amazing pies; they have great recipes for pastry. What they produce there is of really great quality, they use great recipes and are technically really good.”

Best family-friendly venue

Definitely the Earnslaw, take them over and do the buffet. You can always go up the gondola, every time my wife and I come to Queenstown with the kids we do the gondola and the luge, it’s so much fun and the big buffet they do up there is pretty good. We often take them to Madam Woo for lunch, there’s so much kids can eat on the menu, and it’s nice to go out to Arrowtown to Chop Shop for breakfast or brunch.”

Best romantic dinner

Aosta eggplant

“Queenstown can be a bit difficult for romance; maybe I would head out to Aosta. They do great pastas, so start and finish there, and they do a very cool thing with the tiramisu.”

Best restaurants with a view

“The Grille or Botswana Butchery sit at the front on the waterfront but there are very few places that sit full front and centre lakeside.”

Local secret spot

“There’s a place called Tanoshi, that’s where my staff always seem to sneak off to for late-night dinners. It’s Japanese, in the alleyway around the corner with good food and open late.”

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SEE ALSO: Queenstown Comes Alive in Spring – Here’s How to Make the Most of It


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